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RotoBaller NBA Recap: James Harden Continues Historic Run


Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games. Saturday was a rather quiet night in terms of fantasy-relevant information, although Kyrie Irving's right knee sprain does carry important implications. Irving is scheduled to undergo further testing on his knee, but the good news is that it's not his left knee, which was the one that he had surgery on to end his season last year. Terry Rozier becomes a must-add option until we figure out the severity of the damage.

The Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the New Orleans Pelicans 99-90. Joakim Noah led the way for the Grizzlies, posting 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds and three assists. The performance was a real blast from the past type of effort, but I wouldn't expect displays like these to continue with Jonas Valanciunas being available on Tuesday. New Orleans Pelicans forward Kenirch Williams continued his meteoric rise, recording 10 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and one three-point basket. I touched on the 24-year-old during my recap yesterday, and his ownership has already more than doubled. However, he is still available in 71 percent of Yahoo leagues and is my favorite add that is currently under 40 percent owned.

And going back to the Boston Celtics, the lucky leprechauns weren't so fortunate on the night. Aside from losing Irving to his knee injury, they also surrendered a 28-point advantage to the Los Angeles Clippers, eventually losing 123-112. The Clippers provided a strong team effort across the board, but the most notable player to talk about was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With all the moves that Los Angeles made during the trade deadline, Gilgeous-Alexander has skyrocketed back to fantasy relevance. On Saturday, he scored 14 points with four rebounds, five assists, one block, two steals and one three-point basket. These types of stat-stuffing displays were something that the 20-year-old consistently provided at the beginning of the season, and he seems to be back on track after a slow few months. The Kentucky product is still available in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues and is well worth a pickup in standard settings. The three main fantasy takeaways of the night are still to come, so without further ado, let's dive a little deeper into what happened on February 9th.

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Brook Lopez Hosts A Block Party

Brook Lopez blocked three shots on Saturday night against the Orlando Magic, including a disrespectful rejection on Aaron Gordon (link right here). Apart from the dismissals, Lopez was rather quiet on the night in most other categories. He did provide two steals but ended the proceedings with just nine points and no three-pointers.

The seven-footer is a unique fantasy commodity because of his lack of rebounding, but he more than makes up for it by averaging 2.4 threes and 2.1 blocks per game. If you are looking for a big man that can give you good free throw shooting, threes and blocks, he could be a game-changer to acquire before the fantasy trade deadline.

 

Otto Porter Jr. Scores 17 Points Against Former Team

For the second straight night, Otto Porter Jr. rendered a quality performance for the Chicago Bulls. The newly-acquired forward scored 17 points to go along with two rebounds, two assists, one block, two steals and two three-pointers against his former Washington Wizards teammates.

Through two games for the Bulls, Porter Jr. has connected on 13 of 24 attempts from the field and six of 10 shots from deep. Chicago doesn't play much defense, but the 25-year-old is known for his length and great perimeter defending. If Porter Jr. can remain healthy, he is a threat to yield top-30 production in nine-category leagues for the rest of the season and is someone to consider acquiring at the deadline due to his consistent production in multiple categories.

 

James Harden Continues Historic Run

On Saturday night, James Harden scored 42 points on 28 shots, increasing his streak of scoring at least 30 points to 29 consecutive games. Harden was bothered by a left shoulder issue throughout the contest, and he had to get worked on by the training staff during each timeout. The 29-year-old was seen with ice on his shoulder in the locker room after the game but said he would be alright.

Harden is averaging an absurd 36.6 points per game this season and continues to hold a stranglehold on the MVP race. Giannis Antetokounmpo is his closest pursuer, but it is hard to imagine that Harden wouldn't capture his second straight MVP award if he keeps up this pace and remains healthy. Keep an eye on his status in the next few days, but the 'Bearded Wonder' should be fine for the game on Monday.

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