Saturday night in the NBA was just as exciting as ever, and fantasy basketball owners reaped the benefits. Ten players hit the 25-point plateau, but none were as prolific as the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 40-plus points for the 19th time in his illustrious 15-year career. This column will discuss Dirk’s record-breaking night, as well some other players who fared well on Saturday — and some who didn’t.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: There really aren’t enough superlatives that one can say when talking about Dirk Nowitzki, but words like “amazing”, “sensational” and “legend” come to mind. The future Hall of Famer did it again on Saturday night, scoring 40 points (20 of them in the 3rd quarter), while making 10-of-20 field goals, 15-of-16 free throws and five three-pointers to boot. He also chipped in four rebounds, four assists and two steals. The 35-year-old has recorded a number of milestones this season. Earlier in the year he passed Alex English for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and tonight he achieved another feat, becoming the oldest player to score 40 points in a game since Shaq did it on February 27, 2009. Dirk Nowitzki is putting together another MVP-like season and shows no signs of slowing down in Dallas.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Durant (33 points, 15-17 FT, 10 rebounds, 7 assists), Gerald Henderson (season-high 30 points, 9-9 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block), Trevor Ariza (23 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 3-pointers)
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers: After a tremendous start to the season, Evan Turner is beginning to turn into, well, Evan Turner. The field goal percentages in the high 40s are long gone and this is the Evan Turner fantasy owners have come to know — or at least tolerate. He has exceptional talent, but the inconsistency is maddening, and Saturday night’s performance didn’t prove otherwise. In 39 minutes of action vs. the Knicks, Turner scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting and managed just five rebounds, one assist, one block and a single trey. He also committed an unruly six turnovers. His excellent rebounding (6.3 per game) and assist numbers (3.9 per game) from the small forward position is what makes it so difficult to stomach his overall shooting percentages and streaky scoring. In the Sixers’ first three games of the month, Turner averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, four assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 47.4 percent from the field. In their last four games he’s averaging a meager 12.o points, three rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.3 steals while hitting just 36.2 percent of his field goals. It’s players like this that make fantasy owners wish they had a crystal ball.
Dishonorable Mention: Bradley Beal (13 points, 4-16 FG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists), Brian Roberts (7 points, 2-10 FG, 8 assists in his second game since replacing the injured Jrue Holiday), Doron Lamb (8 points, 3-12 FG, 0 steals, 0 blocks in 32 minutes)