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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Los Angeles Lakers Have Playoff Hopes Stunted

Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games. Saturday saw the Los Angeles Lakers drop a much-needed game, the Houston Rockets pick up a huge road victory and the Milwaukee Bucks continue their offensive dominance. Since we are on the topic, let's begin there. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 140-126. Milwaukee is ranked second in the league, averaging 116.6 points per game and trail only the Golden State Warriors in offensive production. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, two blocks and three three-pointers, but it was a collective effort that helped get the job done. Seven Bucks players scored in double figures, and nobody in the starting lineup recorded less than 16 points. Milwaukee is going to be a tough out in the East and is trending towards being the number one seed.

The New Orleans Pelicans stunted the Los Angeles Lakers playoff push with a 128-115 home victory. These are the type of contests that the Lakers can't afford to lose, and it makes it even worse that Anthony Davis was not available for the Pelicans on the day. Los Angeles is currently 10th in the West and find themselves 3.5 games back of the eighth seed.

And the Houston Rockets outlasted the Golden State Warriors on the road 118-112. The Rockets were without their MVP candidate James Harden but found quality production from Kenneth Faried. Faried scored 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds, two assists and two three-pointers. Golden State's defensive stalwart Draymond Green was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter with a left ankle sprain, and while the injury did not look to be too severe, Green was in agony as he left the court. It is a situation worth monitoring, and the 28-year-old should be considered questionable for Monday's game. Our three main takeaways from the February 23rd slate are still to come, so without further ado, let's take a deeper dive into Saturday's proceedings.

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Kevin Love Dominates Memphis On Saturday

In the past week, Kevin Love has shown that he is still capable of producing big numbers when on a minutes restriction. Love scored 32 points on 9-for-15 shooting, adding 12 rebounds, one block, one steal and six three-pointers in 26 minutes. Love also provided a robust 16 points and 11 rebounds during Thursday's contest in 22 minutes and has averaged 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in his past three games since returning to the starting lineup.

Cleveland is going to continue to monitor Love's minutes moving forward, but it has become quite clear that the 30-year-old can be productive with limited playing time. If you held onto him as he dealt with his lingering foot problems throughout the season, it looks like your patience is going to be rewarded.


D'Angelo Russell Matches Career-High

D'Angelo Russell, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday on Saturday, gave himself a present by matching his career-high in scoring. Russell scored 40 points to go along with one rebound, seven assists, two steals, one block and six three-pointers during Brooklyn's 117-115 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The most impressive part of the performance was that Russell scored the final 12 points for the Nets in a 2:26 span.

Spencer Dinwiddie is close to returning, and Caris LaVert is still ramping up his production level, but if you own Russell, enjoy the return you have received from the Ohio State product. The one-time All-Star has made himself a lot of money after his production this season, and it is possible that we haven't seen him hit his prime quite yet.


Thomas Bryant Explodes For Wizards

After being moved to the bench for the Washington Wizards, Thomas Bryant magically regained some of his fantasy stock, posting 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, two steals and three three-pointers on 9-for-11 shooting in 31 minutes. The production was superb for the 21-year-old, but there is a substantial possibility that this is nothing more than a mirage.

Bobby Portis, who was starting for Bryant, got into early foul trouble, which helps to explain the sudden revival for the Indiana product. Portis has been dealing with foul trouble often this season, but Bryant doesn't seem to be anything more than a big body that will play around 20 minutes on most nights. If you need a center that will provide rebounds and scoring, the former second-round pick in the 2017 draft could be worth a look, but it remains unlikely that you will find any consistency from Bryant.

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