Dr. A's NBA Weekend Recap: Wembanyama's Dominance, Injuries to Barnes, Brunson and Booker

Dr. A's NBA Weekend Recap: Wembanyama's Dominance, Injuries to Barnes, Brunson and Booker

This article is part of our NBA Observations series.

Here are some key storylines and thoughts that you might have missed over the weekend, as well as a look at what some impacts may be as we enter Week 20 of the NBA season. Victor Wembanyama had a week to remember, Jalen Brunson went down, and the Warriors got run out of the gym by the Celtics on Sunday. 

Five-game week for the Nets

The Nets have a coveted five-game week starting on Monday night against the Grizzlies, but Cam Thomas has already been ruled out due to his sprained ankle. It will be surprising to me if he plays on Tuesday, but I am still going to roll him out in my 30-team, weekly-lineup league in the hope that he will play three games this week. I wouldn't mess with Ben Simmons, personally, but Dorian Finney-Smith, Dennis Smith Jr., Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker, Cam Johnson and Day'Ron Sharpe will probably all be picked up at some point this week in deeper leagues. The Nets play on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, while many teams play just three times this week. 

Jalen Brunson leaves with knee injury

Jalen Brunson missed his only shot and left Sunday's game after just one minute with a left knee contusion. X-rays were negative, and his status for Tuesday's game against the Hawks is very much in doubt. Miles McBride played 47 minutes on Sunday and finished with 16 points, five assists, a rebound and four three-pointers. He would be the big winner if Brunson misses time, while Josh Hart would also see a boost. Hart was a monster on Sunday with 13 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, two blocks and three triples. The fourth-place Knicks held off the Cavaliers on Sunday but will need Brunson healthy if they're going to keep pace over the next week.  

Victor Wembanyama is a certified freak

Victor Wembanyama came through with another monster performance for his fantasy managers on Sunday when he torched the Pacers for 31 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, a steal, six blocks and three three-pointers on 11-of-17 shooting. He also knocked down 6-of-7 free throws and is simply having an incredible run. He's scored at least 21 points in seven of his last nine games and has blocked at least three shots in eight straight, which includes a 10-block game along with six of them with at least five swats. Wembanyama has scored in double figures in every game since Dec. 26 and has scored at least 15 points in 30 straight games. He's double-doubled in six straight games; he has at least one steal in eight straight, including two games with five steals; he's had at least five assists in three straight, and in six of his last eight; he's hit at least one three-pointer in 12 straight games. The Spurs have won two straight, Wemby has all but locked up the Rookie of the Year Award over the last month, and San Antonio is probably going to be a force to be reckoned with next season. Oh, and he's only missed six games, despite playing for one of the game's most conservative coaches and being as skinny as a bean pole. Congratulations are in order if you had the foresight to draft him early this season. He's going to be the No. 1 pick in a ton of leagues next year, and it's difficult to see him falling past No. 3 in any draft. 

Celtics wax Golden State 140-88, win 11th straight game

The Celtics destroyed the Warriors 140-88 on Sunday to become the first team in NBA history with three 50-point wins in a season (vs. Nets, Pacers, Warriors). Boston is on an 11-game winning streak, winning games by an average of 22.1 points per game. They clearly look like the best team in the league at this point, just as they have for most of the season. And they didn't even need Kristaps Porzingis on Sunday, who sat out with a quad injury. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 29 points, Jayson Tatum celebrated his birthday with 27 points and Payton Pritchard added 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals off the bench in the win. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry was 0-for-9 from deep, marking the third time this season he failed to make a three-pointer. A guy named Lester Quinones led the way with 17 points off the bench for the Dubs. 

Scottie Barnes suffers fractured hand on Friday

Scottie Barnes suffered a fracture to the third metacarpal bone of his left hand on Friday and will be out indefinitely. This is obviously a tough blow for fantasy managers. Guys like Kelly Olynyk, Gradey Dick, Bruce Brown and Ochai Agbaji should all see a boost in playing time while he's out. 

Devin Booker sits on Sunday due to ankle injury, out 7-10 days

Devin Booker got hurt late on Saturday and was unable to play on Sunday due to a right ankle sprain. Bradley Beal went off for 31 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Royce O'Neale slid into the starting lineup with nine points, three boards, four assists, two blocks and three three-pointers. Eric Gordon, who is on a minutes restriction after missing three straight games with a groin injury, added 15 points off the bench in 30 minutes, while Grayson Allen struggled for eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. With Booker out 7-10 days, the aforementioned group of guys should continue seeing elevated roles.

Anthony Edwards bails out of Friday's game for birth of his child

Anthony Edwards left Friday's game at halftime to be present for the birth of his first child. But like the warrior he is, he was back in action Sunday and racked up 27 points and a full stat line in a tough one-point loss to the Clippers. He should be good to go for all four of Minnesota's games this week. 

LeBron James iffy for Monday due to ankle tendinopathy

LeBron James is questionable against the Thunder on Monday due to left ankle peroneal tendinopathy. This is a big game for the No. 10 Lakers against the No. 1 Thunder, so my guess is Bron will play, but it will likely depend on how his ankle is feeling at shootaround. He's played in five straight games without limitations, so he'll hopefully be ready for Monday.

Jaren Jackson sits with quad injury, doubtful for Monday

Jaren Jackson missed two games this weekend with a right quad injury and is listed as doubtful for Monday's game versus the Nets. I've been predicting a shutdown coming for JJJ for a month or so. While this isn't officially him being shut down, it's incredibly tough on his fantasy managers. Santi Aldama and GG Jackson will benefit the most from his absence, and it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to in his three other games this week. The Grizzlies have lost five straight games; it would make sense for them to eventually shut Jackson down at some point. Let's just hope it's not happening right now. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo questionable Monday due to Achilles tendinitis

Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable for Monday against the Clippers due to Achilles tendinitis after showing up on the injury report with knee tendinitis over the last few weeks. The Greek Freak is attempting to become the first player in NBA history to shoot at least 60% from the field while averaging at least 30 points per game. Bobby Portis would likely benefit the most if Giannis can't go. Khris Middleton (ankle) is doubtful to play on Monday. Jae Crowder has been starting in his place but hasn't looked very good, while Malik Beasley is helping to pick up his slack. 

Donovan Mitchell sits out on Sunday due to left knee soreness

Donovan Mitchell missed Sunday's game due to left knee soreness and has now missed two straight with the injury. Sam Merrill came through with 21 points and seven three-pointers off the bench, while Isaac Okoro had 17 points, five boards, four assists, two steals, a block and three triples in the start. Caris LeVert also sat out with an elbow injury, further clearing the way for Merrill and Okoro to go off. 

De'Aaron Fox may be on track to play on Monday

De'Aaron Fox was a full participant in Sunday's practice after missing two games with a left knee bruise. Davion Mitchell was a bit disappointing in his stead. Both the Kings and fantasy managers will be welcoming Fox back with open arms if he's able to go on Monday. The Kings play Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday this week. It will be interesting to see if he not only plays on Monday, but whether he's able to go in the mid-week back-to-back against the Lakers and Spurs.

Tyrese Maxey avoids concussion scare on Sunday

Tyrese Maxey took a shot to the head on Sunday and went to the locker room for concussion tests but was able to start the fourth quarter in a 120-116 win over the Mavericks. He finished with 24 points in 39 minutes and appears to have avoided a serious injury. He'll hopefully be ready to go on Tuesday against the Nets and play in all four of Philly's games this week. 

Lauri Markkanen ruled out for Monday due to quad contusion

Lauri Markkanen won't play on Monday due to a right quad contusion and will miss his first game since Dec. 21. Hopefully, this isn't the beginning of a shutdown for Markkanen and he'll be available for his other two games this week, but it could be a rough week to roster Markkanen. Talen Horton-Tucker stands to benefit in his absence.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Alexander
Steve 'Doc' Alexander has been covering hoops for more than 20 years and recently joined Rotowire after spending his entire career at NBC Sports.
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