Dr. A's Fantasy Basketball Weekend Recap: Lakers Storm Back, Bucks Getting Healthy, AD Nearing Return?

Dr. A's Fantasy Basketball Weekend Recap: Lakers Storm Back, Bucks Getting Healthy, AD Nearing Return?

For once, injuries aren't dominating the NBA landscape as of Sunday night. But that doesn't mean they aren't hanging around. Giannis Antetokounmpo is still dealing with his knee issues, though both he and Khris Middleton are expected back for the Bucks on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Clippers showed what they can do when both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard play together, the Knicks' skid continued, and Nic Claxton went off on Sunday night. Here's the Weekend Recap to catch you up on what happened while you were watching football. 

Kawhi Leonard racked up 30 points, nine rebounds and three three-pointers on 10-of-18 shooting, and Paul George added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and a three-pointer as the Clippers beat the Mavs 112-98 on Sunday. The Clips outscored Dallas 63-44 in the second half and got the win with Leonard and George playing together for just the 18th time this season. If those two can stay healthy and keep playing together, the Clippers can make a move in the West.

Norman Powell is playing very well and had 19 points in 30 minutes off the bench, while Terance Mann hit just 2-of-7 shots for seven points in 18 minutes. Mann has been a bit of a mess over his last four games, struggling with his shooting and consistency, while Powell has been on a tear since Jan. 6. He's averaging 19.2 points

For once, injuries aren't dominating the NBA landscape as of Sunday night. But that doesn't mean they aren't hanging around. Giannis Antetokounmpo is still dealing with his knee issues, though both he and Khris Middleton are expected back for the Bucks on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Clippers showed what they can do when both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard play together, the Knicks' skid continued, and Nic Claxton went off on Sunday night. Here's the Weekend Recap to catch you up on what happened while you were watching football. 

Kawhi Leonard racked up 30 points, nine rebounds and three three-pointers on 10-of-18 shooting, and Paul George added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and a three-pointer as the Clippers beat the Mavs 112-98 on Sunday. The Clips outscored Dallas 63-44 in the second half and got the win with Leonard and George playing together for just the 18th time this season. If those two can stay healthy and keep playing together, the Clippers can make a move in the West.

Norman Powell is playing very well and had 19 points in 30 minutes off the bench, while Terance Mann hit just 2-of-7 shots for seven points in 18 minutes. Mann has been a bit of a mess over his last four games, struggling with his shooting and consistency, while Powell has been on a tear since Jan. 6. He's averaging 19.2 points and 2.9 three-pointers in January and he should be rostered everywhere by now, but is available in nearly 73 percent of ESPN leagues. And the Clippers play four times this week, so what are you waiting for?

The Clippers are now just 9.0 games out of first place and are just a half-game behind the Mavericks for the No. 7 seed. The Clippers are just 4-6 over their last 10 games but appear to be heading in the right direction. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are 3-7 over their last 10 and the loss of Christian Wood (thumb) has been devastating. Luka is essentially on an island by himself until Wood is able to play again. Wood will be re-evaluated this week and could return before it's over, but the Mavs have now lost four of their last five. The only good news is they don't have a back-to-back set coming until Feb. 10 and 11. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed five straight games with his mysterious knee injury and, like the Clippers, the Bucks might be ready to roll two superstars out there at one time on Monday. Giannis and Khris Middleton, who has been out with a knee injury for the last 18 games, are both probable for Monday's game against the tanking Pistons.

Milwaukee plays four times this week and doesn't have a back-to-back until Feb. 9 and 10, so hopefully the duo will be able to play in nearly every game between now and the All-Star break. This, of course, is bad news for guys like Bobby Portis (sell high), Grayson Allen, Jevon Carter, Joe Ingles and Pat Connaughton, while Jrue Holiday should also take a hit in the scoring column. The Bucks have managed to hang onto the No. 3 seed in the East with their two stars in street clothes and might be ready to go on a run if they can both stay healthy. They're 5.5 games back of the No. 1-seed Celtics and 4.5 games behind the No. 2-seed Sixers and have (mostly) advantageous matchups against the Pistons, Nuggets, Pacers and Pelicans this week. 

OG Anunoby was out on Sunday with a sore right ankle and is awaiting the results of an MRI. If he's going to miss more time, Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher should get a boost in Toronto. The Raps play three times this week and four times next week, and Achiuwa had 12 points, 11 rebounds and two steals on Sunday. Boucher came off the bench for 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes in Sunday's win over the Knicks, and both are worth a look in fantasy right now. 

Speaking of the Knicks, they've now lost four straight games after winning three in a row. They don't have an easy schedule going forward with the Cavs, Celtics, Nets, Lakers, Heat, Clippers and Sixers on the docket. The Knicks play three times this week and four times the week after, but those matchups are going to be tough and New York could take a fall in the standings over the next two weeks. The Knicks are currently the No. 7 seed in the East but could find themselves closer to 10th before the All-Star break.

It shouldn't negatively impact guys like Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett, however. Meanwhile, Jericho Sims looks like Tom Thibodeau's preferred replacement for Mitchell Robinson (thumb). Sims was 5-of-5 for 10 points, seven rebounds and a block in 33 minutes of Sunday's loss to the Raptors. He's worth picking up, while Obi Toppin (11 minutes) and Isaiah Hartenstein (15) minutes have become afterthoughts. Sims is the big man to roster in New York right now. 

The Lakers overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Blazers on Sunday night, winning the second half 75-41 on their way to a shockingly easy win. Thomas Bryant went off for 31 points, 14 rebounds, a block and four three-pointers on 12-of-15 shooting, while LeBron James hit 14-of-24 shots and two triples for 37 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Dennis Schroder started and hit 6-of-13 shots, two triples and 10-of-10 free throws for 24 points, six rebounds and eight dimes, and Russell Westbrook hit just 3-of-13 shots for six points in 26 minutes. Schroder is averaging 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists over his last two games and the Lakers play three times this week and four games the following week. If you need a point guard, Schroder is worth grabbing right now.

It's possible we could see Anthony Davis (foot) late in the week but the Lakers still haven't told us when he'll be back. He reportedly looked "phenomenal" in a full-contact scrimmage on Saturday, so he's getting close. Bryant should take some sort of hit when Davis is back so now might be a good time to sell high on him. 

Kyrie Irving had 38 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in Sunday's win over the Warriors and outplayed Stephen Curry, who had 26 points, six rebounds and seven dimes in the loss. Ever since I bet heavily on Kyrie ahead of his 7-of-20 shooting, 15-point dud last Sunday, Irving has caught fire. He's averaging 38.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 5.0 three-pointers over his last three games.

After a four-game losing streak, the Nets have won two straight (at UTA, at GSW) and play three games in each of the next two weeks, and then four times in the final full week before the All-Star break. Claxton went off for 24 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and three blocks on Sunday, while Royce O'Neale, and Joe Harris also played well. It's too bad the Nets don't have any four-game weeks on the immediate horizon, but Kyrie, Claxton and O'Neale should be in play this week. And if Ben Simmons is your thing, he had seven points, three rebounds, 11 assists, a steal and a block on Sunday after being ejected two games ago against Phoenix.  

Both James Harden and Joel Embiid sat out for the Sixers on Saturday but should be ready to go against the Nets on Wednesday. Harden should be ready to rock and roll against his former team and I'll be rostering him everywhere possible for that one. 

Jonathan Isaac (knee) is reportedly going to play for the Magic on Monday against the Celtics, which would be his first game action since August of 2020. I'm not racing to pick him up and my expectations bar is set very low. But it would be pretty cool if he came back and started going off. The announcement from his pastor of him being fully healthy and ready to go is worth the price of admission, either way.

Here's to hoping Isaac goes off for the rest of the season, but I'm not holding my breath. If Isaac does come back, stays healthy and gets decent minutes, Franz Wagner, Terrence Ross, Paolo Banchero and Bol Bol could all take a hit. But I wouldn't panic on any of them just yet. 

The Warriors, Thunder and Sixers all play just two games this week, so act accordingly with players from those clubs. There are 13 teams playing four times this week, so grabbing a lower-tier player from one of them might make sense.

Here are the four-game teams for Week 15: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, ORL and SAS.

Injury Report

  • Deandre Ayton (illness) has missed two straight but should play on Tuesday. 
  • LaMelo Ball (ankle/wrist) is questionable Monday. Dennis Smith Jr. is worth using if he's out. 
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) should be good to go for the Hawks on Monday.
  • Joel Embiid (foot) sat out on Saturday but should be ready to go on Wednesday vs. Brooklyn.
  • Rudy Gobert (groin) has missed three straight but might be ready to play Monday. 
  • James Harden (foot) was out Saturday but should be back on Wednesday against the Nets.
  • Brandon Ingram (toe) is questionable for Tuesday. He hasn't played since Nov. 25.
  • Nikola Jokic (hamstring) sat out Sunday and has missed two straight. Hopefully, he'll play Tuesday.
  • Michael Porter Jr. (personal) sat out Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday.
  • Robert Williams (knee) left early Saturday and is questionable for Monday and Tuesday.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Alexander
Steve 'Doc' Alexander has been covering hoops for more than 20 years and recently joined Rotowire after spending his entire career at NBC Sports.
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