Trae Young

Thursday’s NBA slate on DraftKings had a few injury absences and lineup changes before things got started. 76ers PF/C Al Horford (knee) didn’t play primarily due to precautionary reasons as he deals with knee soreness, while Nuggets SG Gary Harris had a personal issue pop up and was ruled out a few hours before the game. Celtics SF/PF Jayson Tatum (groin) returned on a minutes restriction of about 25 minutes, and Clippers SG/SF Paul George (hamstring) and PG Patrick Beverley (groin) also returned to the lineup after injury absences. There were a few non-injury related lineup shuffles as well, as Wizards PF/C Thomas Bryant came off the bench and was replaced in the starting five by PG/SG Gary Payton II. The Hawks also elected to go to their big starting five against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, starting C Damian Jones over SG/SF Cam Reddish.

News that affects Friday’s NBA slate also dropped. Mavericks PG Luka Doncic injured his ankle during Thursday’s practice and will not play on Friday. In addition, Trail Blazers PF Carmelo Anthony (personal) did not travel with the team to Los Angeles and will not play against the Lakers on Friday.

The reserves for the NBA’s All-Star Game were announced. Here’s how DK Live recapped the reserves:

NBA All-Star game reserves finalized — The Athletic’s Shams Charania first broke the All-Star reserves. The reserves are headlined by Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard, who has been on an epic hot streak lately, averaging 48.5 points over his last four games while posting his first career triple-double in his most recent game. The full list of All-Star game reserves is below:

–East: Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis

–West: Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul

The NBA also handed down a suspension due to an altercation between the Knicks and Grizzlies on Wednesday stemming from this hard foul:
Elfrid Payton, Jaren Jackson Jr. suspended one game for altercation — The NBA has handed down the punishments from Wednesday’s brawl at Madison Square Garden. Three players have been suspended for a single game, while a few others have received fines. The name at the top of the list is Payton, who essentially began the ruckus by flagrantly fouling Jae Crowder late in New York’s loss to Memphis. He’ll likely serve his suspension Saturday when the Knicks take on the Pacers, possibly leaving the door ajar for Dennis Smith Jr. top re-enter the rotation. As for the Grizzlies, Jackson Jr. ($5,900) could be set to miss Friday’s tilt at New Orleans. If so, Jonas Valanciunas ($6,300) is averaging 1.32 DKFP per minute with the sophomore off the floor in 2019-20. — Garion Thorne


And most importantly, first basketball game was played at Staples Center since the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The Clippers played this tribute video to Kobe, which was narrated by SG/SF Paul George, who credited Bryant for inspiration to play basketball. 

Chaos then ensued at tipoff, as Kawhi Leonard was mysteriously missing from the court after the game had already locked. The Clippers first deemed Leonard questionable to play before ultimately ruling him out. Here’s how DK Live documented the Leonard mess:

Kawhi Leonard (back) will not play Thursday vs. Kings –– Despite Leonard ($10,800) participating in warmups and being originally listed as a starter, Leonard was not on the floor nor on the bench when tip-off occurred. After a few minutes of confusion, it was announced that Leonard was dealing with lower-back tightness and would be questionable to play this evening. The Clippers later ruled him out shortly before midnight ET. Leonard’s original injury status was not announced by the Clippers until after the scheduled game-time of 10:30 p.m. ET, so lineups had all locked by the time the news was first released. Landry Shamet ($5,000) started at small forward while Paul George ($8,200) returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Jan. 5th. — Steve Buchanan


 

FANTASY RECAP

The primary focus for fantasy owners was a six-game NBA slate on DraftKings. Here’s how DK Live recapped some of Thursday’s most noteworthy fantasy NBA performances and DraftKings Sportsbook themes: Trae Young dishes out 18 assists in win vs. 76ers — It was clear pretty early on in Friday night’s matchup between Atlanta and Philadelphia that Young ($9,900; 77.0 DKFP) was going to be in for a special evening. These are the types of things that can happen when you’ve already racked up double-digit assists before the end of the first quarter. However, unlike so many of the sophomore’s huge DFS performances, this one actually came with a win. The Hawks took down the 76ers by a score of 127-117, with Young doing most of the damage. He’d register 39 points and also set new career-high in both assists (18) and free throw attempts (21). For Philadelphia, Shake Milton ($4,200; 46.25 DKFP) was the slate’s big value play, collecting 27 points to go along with five rebounds and six dimes. — Garion Thorne
Bradley Beal takes out his All-Star anger in win vs. Hornets — I’m sure in Beal’s ($9,400; 62.25 DKFP) mind he was actually able to complete his “I should be in the All-Star Game” triple-double, but for DFS owners, the guard’s performance on Thursday was perfectly acceptable. On the evening he found out he wouldn’t be going to Chicago for All-Star Weekend, Beal dropped a massive stat line in Washington’s 121-107 victory over Charlotte. The 26-year-old collected 34 points, nine assists and nine rebounds, leading to his fifth-straight start with more than 50.0 DKFP. In fact, Beal’s averaging an eye-popping 39.0 points per game in that specific run. Never doubt narrative street, I guess. — Garion Thorne

Kyle Lowry stuffs the stat sheet in win at Cavaliers — Moments after finding out that he’d be named an All-Star for the sixth-straight year, Lowry ($7,500; 44.25 DKFP) took the court against Cleveland and put together one of his more complete DFS efforts of the past few weeks. The veteran was all over the stat sheet, racking up 23 points, five assists and five rebounds, while also tying a season-high with four steals. It’s not like Toronto didn’t need the help, either. Despite being overwhelming road favorites coming into Thursday, the Raptors barely edged out a 115-109 victory. Serge Ibaka ($7,100; 37.5 DKFP) was equally important in the win, scoring 26 points in a spot-start for the injured Marc Gasol (hamstring). — Garion Thorne

For a full leaderboard of tonight’s fantasy NBA scoring, download the DK Live app or head over to live.draftkings.com.

And here’s how DK Live recapped Thursday’s most noteworthy fantasy NHL performances:

Pavel Zacha’s big night not enough as Devils fall in the shootout — 65 minutes of hockey wasn’t enough in New Jersey, as these teams insisted on duking it out in the shootout. How we got here, however, had a lot to do with Zacha ($2,700; 31.5 DKFP). Not usually one to make much noise offensively, Zacha nearly doubled his goal total on the season in one game, scoring a short-handed goal in the first and a power-play goal in the second. He’d assist on another just a couple of minutes later, bringing his season points total to 21. While he still has a way to go to at least tie his career-high of 13 goals in a season, he does have five through 46 games this season. Filip Forsberg ($6,700; 24.5 DKFP) scored two goals for the Predators. — Steve Buchanan

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (lower body) will not return Thursday vs. Kings — After exiting tonight’s contest in the second period, Ekman-Larsson ($4,300; 8.4 DKFP) will not return to Arizona’s matchup with Los Angeles due to an lower body injury. The veteran had logged over 12 minutes of ice time before being ruled out, blocking three shots in the process. Ekman-Larsson has been extremely durable for the Coyotes so far this season, appearing in all 52 of the team’s contests entering Thursday’s slate and having skating the 14th-most minutes of any player in the NHL. Still, despite that volume, Ekman-Larsson’s managed just five points in his past 12 games. — Garion Thorne


A LOOK AHEAD

Friday has a seven-game slate on DraftKingsand the featured contest is a $15 entry tournament that has a prize pool of $400k. Set your lineups here: NBA $400K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]Here’s an early look from DK Live at some notable NBA injuries ahead of Friday’s slate.

Luka Doncic (ankle) has been ruled out Friday at Rockets — Doncic injured his ankle towards the end of Thursday’s practice, and it didn’t take Dallas long to rule him out for Friday’s contest in Houston. Luka will have an MRI on the ankle, so it sounds like there’s the potential for this to become a multi-game injury. Tim Hardaway Jr. (back) is also questionable against the Rockets. If he plays without restrictions, he’d be one of the names to pick up the scoring slack in Doncic’s absence. If THJ is also ruled out, names like Kristaps Porzingis, Jalen Brunson and Seth Curry should all become popular plays in a great matchup. Stay tuned for updates on the severity of Doncic’s injury, along with a timeline. — Julian Edlow

Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder) questionable to play Friday vs. Nuggets — Get ready for another Khris Middleton ($8,000) chalk night? After missing Tuesday’s high-scoring win over Washington due to a shoulder ailment, Antetokounmpo has been listed as questionable to suit up Friday against Denver. Still, if the Greek Freak can’t give it a go, we all know the protocols in place. Ersan Ilyasova ($3,800) will more than likely draw another start, while Middleton and Eric Bledsoe ($7,100) will see their roles expand. In fact, each has a usage rate of over 32% in the minutes they’ve played without Antetokounmpo this season. Bledsoe might also get a boost from George Hill (hamstring) having already been ruled out and Donte DiVincenzo ($4,500) questionable with an ankle issue. — Garion Thorne

Carmelo Anthony (personal) out Friday at Lakers — Due to personal reasons, Anthony ($6,500) will not make the trip to Los Angeles with the rest of his teammates as Portland prepares for its contest with the Lakers on Friday. The 35-year-old has been incredibly durable since making his debut with the Blazers, having only missed a single game in that span of time. However, it was Anthony Tolliver who filled in for Anthony on that December evening, who is no longer on the squad’s roster. I’d anticipate Nassir Little ($3,000) eventually drawing the start in the veteran’s place, though Gary Trent Jr. ($3,800) will also likely seen an increase in minutes off the bench. — Garion Thorne

Anthony Davis (glute) questionable to play Friday vs. Trail Blazers — It’s at the point where it’s more surprising to NOT see Davis ($9,600) on the injury report rather than seeing him included. Per the usual, Davis is listed as questionable with a glute injury, which was the same injury he had a questionable tag for against the 76ers on Sunday. He’d go on to log a team-leading 38 minutes with scoring 47.3 DKFP. Unless something dramatically changes during shootaround on Friday, chances are he’ll be ready to suit up in this game. JaVale McGee ($3,800) is also questionable to play with an illness, which has sidelined him for the last two games. Dwight Howard ($4,600) will likely start again if McGee is ruled out. Alex Caruso ($3,000; neck) is also questionable. — Steve Buchanan


For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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