The Knicks are now 2-0 against the Mavericks this season and 1-9 against all other teams after beating the Mavs in Kristaps Porzingis' anticipated return to Madison Square Garden. Porzingis is averaging 24 PPG this season against his former team and 17.1 PPG against all other teams.
In the loss, Luka Doncic had 33 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his NBA-leading fifth triple-double of the season. According to Elias, Doncic joins Magic Johnson (Feb. 5, 1980) as the only players with a triple-double at Madison Square Garden before turning 21.
New York's Marcus Morris Sr. pulled up for a step-back 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead for good, giving the productive combo forward his third career go-ahead shot in the final 20 seconds of the game. Morris delivered a team-high 20 points and has now recorded 20 points in five of his past seven games. Enjoying a great workload in regards to minutes and shots with New York, Morris is still available in free agency in more than half of ESPN leagues as of Friday morning.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 33 points (10-23 FG), 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals, 3 TO
At 4-8, Portland is tied for their worst 12-game start in the Damian Lillard era. With the need for an infusion of frontcourt scoring, the Trail Blazers are signing Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed deal, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, hasn't played in an NBA game in more than a year (Nov. 8, 2018 with the Rockets). Some are calling for the Blazers to prioritize their defensive woes over Anthony's offensive-centric game, but it's worth noting Portland has struggled offensively this season. After ranking third in the NBA in offensive efficiency last season, they've fallen to 14th this year. They also rank in the bottom 10 in field goal percentage and last in assists. Since Second Spectrum began tracking in 2013-14, Anthony has averaged five points per game out of isolation, third-most in the NBA, trailing James Harden and LeBron James. I'm guessing Anthony won't help fantasy teams very much in his role with Portland, but speculative shares in deeper leagues could make sense, given Zach Collins' shoulder injury will take several months to heal.
Paul George scored 33 points in his Clippers debut Thursday, the fourth-most all-time in a player's first game with the Clippers. Kawhi Leonard, who didn't play Thursday, scored 30 points in his Clippers debut last month, making George and Leonard the first pair of teammates in NBA history to each score 30 points in their team debut in the same season according to the Elias Sports Bureau. These two seem pretty good at basketball.
Rookie Coby White, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 draft, shined in defeat for the Bulls, as he became the first rookie in NBA history with six 3s in back-to-back games. Despite coming off the pine for Chicago, White is being afforded rare offensive freedom to create his own shot when on the floor, aiding a recent scoring binge that includes 53 points across his past two appearances. White also became the first rookie since Donovan Mitchell in 2017 with consecutive 25-point games off the bench.
Things are looking sunny in Phoenix with the team sitting at 7-4 and with emergent two-way wing Kelly Oubre Jr. thriving, evidenced by the second 30-point game of his career on Thursday night, both of which have come in short time with the Suns. Somehow still floating in free agency in a quarter of ESPN leagues, Oubre provides helpful production across several categories.
Injuries of note
The Cavaliers' Larry Nance Jr. suffered a thumb injury that forced him off the floor on Thursday evening. The versatile big man had been dealing with a thumb ailment before aggravating the injury in that contest. We'll learn more about Nance's injury ahead of Cleveland hosting the Sixers on Sunday.
Both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin are expected to play tonight for the Pistons against the Hornets. This rings especially true for Griffin, who isn't even listed on Detroit's most recent injury report.
Analytics advantage for Friday
The key analytics advantage for Friday reveals the Jazz are allowing just 10.6 fastbreak PPG, good for third fewest in the NBA this season. The Grizzlies host the Jazz tonight and are averaging 15.5 fastbreak PPG, seventh most in the NBA.
With Utah, it always starts with defense. This season, the Lakers are the only other team allowing under 100 points per 100 possessions. Given these unsavory matchup metrics for Memphis, it's prudent to consider pivoting from DFS and streaming shares of the young Grizzlies, given these unfavorable matchup ingredients amid an otherwise solid eight-game slate on Friday.
Top players to watch tonight
With only three of the eight games for Friday set with point spreads below seven points, tonight's slate appears rife with potential blowouts. One game that could still prove fun for fantasy purposes, even if one team pulls away, would be in Minnesota with the Timberwolves hosting the Wizards in a game that has the highest point total of the entire slate by roughly 15 points, suggesting this is a destination game for fantasy fans.
While Bradley Beal and Karl-Anthony Towns are the marquee names in this matchup of cross-conference foes, I'm most intrigued by the continued ascent of Andrew Wiggins after years of downward trajectory. Improved scoring efficiency, savvier shot selection, and an uptick in assist creation all combine to support a surprising revitalization of the young wing's game.
With Washington allowing 47.2 fantasy points per game to shooting guards using DraftKings' scoring model, the second most in the NBA, Wiggins' revival campaign could continue this evening.