Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden

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The Lakers’ dramatic descent will understandably be the top NBA talking point on Tuesday, but we should also give the Phoenix Suns some attention for gamely upsetting the Bucks on Monday evening in a compelling victory for the struggling franchise. The Suns shockingly completed their series sweep this season against Milwaukee.

The Bucks and Knicks — the teams with best and worst records in NBA — are the only teams that haven’t defeated the Suns this season. Phoenix entered as underdogs of at least 13 points in both wins against Milwaukee, becoming the first team to beat a team twice as 13-point underdogs since the 2001-02 Bulls against the Lakers.

Led by Kelly Oubre Jr., the Suns mounted a successful comeback effort, buoyed by beating the Bucks by 15 points in the final quarter. Oubre impressively went to the stripe 17 times, resulting in 27 points on just 14 field goal attempts. Rookie Deandre Ayton helped the cause with his 34th double-double of the season, 13 more than any other rookie. Just as notably for fantasy investors is the fact Oubre netted three blocks in the win and has averaged one swat per game in addition to 1.3 steals per contest with Phoenix.

The productive two-way performance resulted in Oubre earning the top fantasy score on DraftKings among both the shooting guard and small forward markets for Monday’s slate. Rostered in fewer than half of ESPN leagues as of Tuesday morning, Oubre is a must-add asset for these final pivotal weeks of the marathon that is the NBA campaign.

Monday recap

Highlights

Kelly Oubre Jr., Phoenix Suns: 27 points (7-14 FG), 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 2 TO

Julius Randle, New Orleans Pelicans: 30 points (10-23 FG), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers: 24 points (10-18 FG), 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 5 TO

Lowlights

Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks: 7 points (3-11 FG), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 TO

Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: 6 points (1-13 FG), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 TO

Ricky Rubio, Utah Jazz: 3 points (1-8 FG), 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 TO

Monday takeaways

  • The Lakers’ third straight loss was particularly brutal, given it came against metro rivals and a team directly ahead of them in the standings, as the Clippers vaulted to the seventh seed in the West with the win over their roommates. The Lakers are now 5.5 games behind the final seed in the Western Conference and entered last night’s contest with just a one percent chance to make the playoffs, per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. Despite the loss, it’s impressive that Rondo secured his 32nd career triple-double and his first with the Lakers. Per Elias, Rondo became just the second

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