Not only did Luka Doncic address the crowd during pregame activities in Mexico on Thursday night, speaking fluent Spanish before handing the mic to a bemused Blake Griffin, he followed that impressive performance with yet another monster game, putting up 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second 40-point triple-double this season.
No other player in the NBA has done that even once this season. In fact, the only other 40-point triple-double in NBA history by a player under age 21 was by LeBron James, who did it once. It was Doncic's fourth career 40-point game, tying Kevin Durant for the second-most in NBA history by a player before turning 21 (James did so eight times).
The historic milestones keep coming for the Slovenian superstar, as Thursday's opus marked his 20th straight game with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, giving him sole claim to the third-longest such streak in NBA history, behind only two runs from Oscar Robertson in the mid-1960s.
It wasn't just Doncic's historic exploits driving Dallas to the win over Detroit, as Seth Curry notched a season-high 30 points, his second career performance of at least 30 points. Curry isn't a consistent scoring option for fantasy managers and the Mavs, alike, but he's worth paying attention to when he's hot from the floor, which is the case over the past five games (14 PPG, thanks to 52% from 3-point range).
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 41 points (14-24 FG), 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 TO
Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks: 2 points (1-6 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 TO
Embiid carried the 76ers with a season-high 38 points, including 16 in the decisive final frame. The Kansas product also tied a season high with six assists and pulled down 13 rebounds. The 38 points were the most by a 76ers player in Boston since Allen Iverson scored 40 in November 2005. Overall, Embiid scored or assisted on 52 points. The 76ers are now 19-7 this season, their best 26-game start since going 20-6 in 1984-85. Boston's loss now means the only unbeaten teams at home this season are the 76ers (13-0) and Heat (11-0).
After a career scoring performance on Thursday, Whiteside is impressively found at third overall on the Player Rater during the past 15 days behind only Anthony Davis and James Harden. With Thursday's unique line, Whiteside became just the third player in the NBA this season with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. The Trail Blazers have now lost six straight in Denver, while former Nugget Carmelo Anthony at least produced a solid fantasy line on Thursday with 20 points and nine rebounds, good for his fourth 20-point game this season.
Despite dealing with an allergic reaction to an avocado (no really), Detroit's Andre Drummond was to deliver his seventh game this season with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in the loss to Dallas, second most in the NBA behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In a win over the struggling Spurs, the Cavaliers snapped an eight-game losing streak, thanks to having three players score at least 25 points -- Love, Collin Sexton (28) and Jordan Clarkson (25) -- marking the first time the Cavs had three 25-point scorers since February of 2017 (LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Korver). If I had Love on my fantasy roster(s), I'd try to market him in trades fresh from this epic outing.
Injuries of note
Denver's Millsap left last night's win over Portland with a quad ailment. Jerami Grant poured in 20 points, thanks to earning 31 minutes of exposure with Millsap ailing. Grant has always been a fun source for defensive production, but he's increasingly valuable on offense of late, given he's made 58.3% of his 3-point attempts during his past five games. If Millsap misses any time, Grant should be added in most competitive formats.
The Bucks' Antetokounmpo is listed as questionable with quad soreness that saw him miss the team's last game. Milwaukee plays both Friday and Saturday, so it seems quite possible the reigning MVP sits at least one of these games out.
Analytics advantage for Friday
The Clippers face the Timberwolves this evening in a game that airs on ESPN. While the team's duo of superstar wings earns a ton of attention, it's worth noting that the Clippers are averaging 52 PPG off the bench this season, on pace to have the top two bench PPG seasons since starts were first recorded in 1970-71, per Elias, and the only two seasons above 50 bench PPG.
Given the Timberwolves' recent defensive woes, a uniquely affordable stack of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell could pay dividends this evening in DFS play; the duo is on pace to become the first pair of teammates to both average at least 18 PPG off the bench (min. 10 games played as a reserve) since starts were first recorded in 1970-71, per Elias.
Top players to watch tonight
Something must give when the Lakers visit the Heat Friday on ESPN, as the Lakers have won 12 straight road games and Miami has won 11 consecutive home games to begin the season. Per Elias, this is just the seventh game in NBA history pitting a road team on a double-digit road win streak at a home team on a double-digit home win streak.
James is seeking to record consecutive triple-doubles for just the second time as a Laker (he had three straight between Nov. 1-5 this season). James is the Heat's all-time leader in triple-doubles with nine, but Jimmy Butler already ranks fourth with three this season. While there are fun matchups throughout these rotations to consider, pitting James and Butler against one another in a game on ESPN this evening makes for must-watch theater.