The Cavaliers secured an exciting overtime win over the Heat in Cleveland on Monday evening thanks largely to the play of two talented rookies. Kevin Porter Jr. slipped late into the draft this past summer, but is starting to reward the Cavaliers' trust in him with some impressive scoring performances -- including last night's career-high 30 points.
In just his 45th career game, Porter became only the fourth Cavaliers player in franchise history to score as many as 30 points as a teenager, joining Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Dajuan Wagner. Prior to the All-Star break, Porter was heating up with double-digit scoring in seven consecutive games only to see his playing time dry up in his first two outings after the break. Last night, however, he led Cleveland with 41 minutes and 18 shots from the floor, signaling that a breakout may be on the way for a player rostered in just 5.3% of ESPN leagues.
For a more stable statistical source on Cleveland, fellow rookie Darius Garland claimed the best net rating in the starting lineup last night thanks to his 14 points and seven dimes. Rostered in just 18.3% of ESPN leagues, it's worth noting that Garland has averaged 14.3 PPG, 7.6 combined assists and rebounds and 1.6 combined blocks and steals during the past week.
I thought that Beal was going to go on quite the scoring bender once he was left out of the All-Star Game, and he's certainly delivered. On Monday, he became the first player to score 50 points on consecutive days since Kobe Bryant in March 2007. He's also the first player in Wizards history with consecutive 50-point games and the first with consecutive 45-point games since Michael Jordan. For those willing to take on the volatility of his opportunity and production rates, Shabazz Napier can be quite helpful whenever he's trusted with a big role, as he produced 27 points and seven rebounds for Washington in a close loss to the Bucks on Monday.
In downing the feisty Wizards, the Bucks saw Khris Middleton deliver another big outing with 40 points on 28 shots. Middleton now has 90 points in his last two meetings with Washington. Those in deep leagues might want to give Donte DiVincenzo a shot, as he produced an efficient double-double off the pine for Milwaukee last night and claims one of the better steal rates in the league.
Phoenix earned a rousing win over Utah on Monday as Rubio and Devin Booker became the first Suns duo to post at least 20 points and 10 dimes in the same game since Steve Nash and Boris Diaw on March 5, 2006.
Tim Hardaway Jr. produced 23 points for the Mavericks, posting at least 20 points in consecutive games for first time this season. As the Mavericks' key complementary scorer next to Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, Hardaway remains available in roughly 40% of ESPN leagues.
Embiid set a new personal best in scoring last night, dropping the most points by a Sixers player since Allen Iverson back in 2005. With Ben Simmons seemingly sidelined for the foreseeable future, Embiid's scoring could reach new heights in the weeks ahead.
Injuries of note
Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns missed a fourth straight game on Monday with a fractured left wrist. The Timberwolves are 6-15 without him this season. Malik Beasley remains a scoring force worthy of universal attention in fantasy leagues, while forward James Johnson tallied an efficient 19 points on just nine shots to go with last night's two blocks.
The Bulls are only listing Wendell Carter Jr. as questionable for tonight's game against the Thunder, leaving the door open that we may well see the young big man return to action against after an extended absence.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
The Pelicans are in Los Angeles tonight to face former franchise talent Anthony Davis on his new turf. While the star matchup of Zion Williamson versus Davis is a compelling storyline, a bigger reason to like this game is that it claims Vegas' highest point total of the entire slate at a robust 238.5 points.
With New Orleans ranked fourth in the NBA in pace, the number of possessions should rise tonight for both teams. That should result in higher floors for all involved and increase interest in stacking from both sides for DFS purposes. For those in search of some helpful streaming options in redraft competition, former Laker Josh Hart's awesome rebounding production from the bench merits attention in this up-tempo contest.
Top players to watch Tuesday
I'm intrigued by how Chicago's Coby White will perform against Oklahoma City's strong defensive backcourt. White is currently enjoying an historic scoring binge off the bench for a rookie. However, facing Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tonight will present a unique challenge for the North Carolina product.