Even in an overtime loss to the Pelicans, it was a historic night for the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic recorded his fifth triple-double of the season, becoming just the sixth rookie ever to record five triple-doubles in a season. Doncic is only the third player with five triple-doubles before turning 21, along with Magic Johnson and LeBron James. He now has the second-most triple-doubles by a rookie in the past 30 seasons (Ben Simmons had 12). While Doncic's legacy is just beginning to build, Dirk Nowitzki scored eight points on Monday and moved into sixth on the NBA's all-time scoring list, passing Wilt Chamberlain.
Speaking of "The Big Dipper," Elfrid Payton produced his fifth straight triple-double in the win over Dallas and joined Russell Westbrook (four times), Oscar Robertson (three times), Chamberlain (twice) and Michael Jordan (once) as the only players in NBA history with triple-double streaks of at least five games. Payton has become an absolute statistical force with Jrue Holiday sidelined, climbing to 20th overall on the Player Rater the past 15 days. Payton is still available in roughly 20 percent of ESPN leagues and has the makings of a league-winning finisher for fantasy managers if Holiday remains sidelined.
With an eye on meaningful fantasy performances and relevant statistical trends, let's delve into the night that was in the NBA.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 29 points (10-26 FG), 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 5 TO
Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans: 19 points (5-12 FG), 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 TO
Jake Layman, Portland Trail Blazers: 0 points (0-5 FG), 3 rebounds
In downing the Pacers last night, Lillard became just the second player in Trail Blazers history with at least 30 points and 15 assists, joining Clyde Drexler's brilliant performance back in March of 1986. Lillard also became only the fifth player in NBA history to record at least 200 3-pointers in five or more seasons, joining Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden and Ray Allen.
Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade combined for 51 points off the bench in an impressive road win in Oklahoma City for a suddenly dangerous Heat team. This marked the second time this season they've each had 25 points off the bench in a game (Feb. 27 vs. Warriors), while no other team this season has had two players score 25 points off the bench even once this season. The Heat outscored the Thunder 67-10 in bench points, good for their biggest differential in franchise history. Whiteside, however, is struggling for Miami; the former fantasy force has averaged only 17.2 MPG the past eight games, all off the pine in favor of the more productive Bam Adebayo. Even Kelly Olynyk is running ahead of Whiteside in the rotation.
The Bulls snapped a five-game losing streak, thanks in part to the play of Robin Lopez, who made 79 percent of his field goal attempts en route to 24 points in the win, his third game in the past four with at least 20 points (had three 20-point games across his first 60 games played this season).
In extending their league-leading winning streak to nine in a victory over the Warriors last night, the Spurs won their 42nd game of the season, which guarantees they will finish with a winning record for the 22nd straight season, all under Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have spent only 65 days below .500 over the past 22 seasons. The next closest team in that time is the Rockets, who have spent 904 days below .500 in that span. Derrick White continues to be the key waiver warrior from San Antonio, as his diverse defensive game was on display against Golden State last night.
The Cavaliers secured their first three-game home winning streak this season in a win over the Pistons on Monday. The Cavs shot 58.2 percent from the field, marking the team's best shooting percentage this season. Collin Sexton poured in 27 points for his sixth straight 20-point game, good for the longest streak by a Cavs rookie since Ron Harper in 1986-87. Cedi Osman also produced a strong line with 21 points and 10 combined rebounds and dimes. Osman is still a free agent in roughly 80 percent of ESPN leagues.
Detroit rested Blake Griffin and it might have cost the Pistons the game, but it's worth noting Andre Drummond's dominance on the glass. Drummond now has 32 games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds since his debut in 2012-13, while the next-closest player has 15. Drummond has a dozen 20-20 games this season, while the rest of the Eastern Conference has 11, per ESPN Stats & Info.
On this date back in 1995, Jordan came out of his 17-month retirement and played in his first NBA game for Chicago since Game 6 of the 1993 Finals against Phoenix. In front of a charged-up crowd at Indiana's Market Square Arena, Jordan scored 19 points in 43 minutes, but the host Pacers downed the Bulls in overtime 103-96. The game was televised on NBC and drew a 10.9 national rating and an estimated 35 million viewers, making it the most watched regular-season game in NBA history.
Injuries of note
• Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as questionable ahead of tonight's meeting with the visiting Lakers with a right ankle sprain he incurred in Sunday's game against the Sixers.
• Robert Covington is expected to miss tonight's game against Golden State with a knee injury that has kept him off the floor for all of 2019.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
D'Angelo Russell's reunion tour in California culminates with Wednesday's visit to Los Angeles to face the Lakers, but I'm just as intrigued by his anticipated matchup tonight with De'Aaron Fox. The analytical insight for this matchup is found in Vegas, as this Nets-Kings game claims a healthy opening total of 232 points. Further supporting lofty offensive expectations for this game is the fact that the Kings lead the league in pace, while Brooklyn ranks 12th in this measure of possessions per 48 minutes.
With transition basketball and heavy 3-point volume expected to flourish in Sacramento tonight, finding ways to stack each of these rosters in DFS competition is a savvy play. For those seeking streaming options, Brooklyn's Joe Harris is available for the price of a roster spot in more than 80 percent of leagues and could enjoy increased shooting opportunities in this up-tempo environment.
Top players to watch tonight
Fresh off a dominant showing against the Bucks on Sunday, the Sixers' Joel Embiid is sitting out tonight's trip to Charlotte due to load management. Jimmy Butler has embraced the "Buckets" moniker of late with increased usage and clutch-scoring duties. For the season, Butler claims the team's most significant bumps in both usage rate and fantasy points per 36 with Embiid sidelined. Building out DFS lineups with shares of Simmons, Butler and a blend of players in the Nets vs. Kings matchup is a sound recipe for tonight's slate.