In the history of the NBA, there have been over 2,600 regular season games to feature a triple-double. Wednesday's Rockets-Hawks matchup with James Harden and Trae Young was the first game ever to feature two 40-point triple-doubles. Harden delivered 41 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 dimes for his 15th career 40-point triple-double, placing him seven behind Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA history. Harden also registered his seventh career showing with at least 20 3-point attempts. All other players in history of the league have combined for just nine such games.
Young's Hawks may have lost the game, but it was still impressive to see him produce 42 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists for the first 40-point triple-double in franchise history. Young became just the sixth player with a 40-point triple-double before turning 22, joining LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, and the man he was dealt for on draft day, Luka Doncic.
It wasn't only these star guards showing up on Wednesday in Atlanta, as the widely available Eric Gordon -- who is rostered in just 20.2% of ESPN leagues as of Thursday morning -- produced 17 points while lofting nine 3-pointers in the victory. For the Hawks, Alex Len continued to shine off the pine with 14 points and 10 rebounds and the best net rating on the roster.
The verbal sparring between Miami's Jimmy Butler and Indiana's Warren dominated the focus of headlines and highlights from last night's matchup, all while emerging floor-spacer Duncan Robinson tallied 17 points with four made 3-pointers. Robinson is sixth in the league in made 3-pointers with 123 on the year after having made only 10 last season. Derrick Jones Jr. is showing that he's more than merely a great dunker, as he delivered 18 points, seven boards, and four "stocks" (combined steals and blocks) in the victory.
Chicago's Kris Dunn enjoyed a strong game last night in a loss to the Pelicans. The Notre Dame product notched 15 points and seven assists but, most importantly, a game-high five steals to overtake Ben Simmons for the league lead in swipes. Dunn still isn't an efficient scorer, but he's also an absolute defensive force worthy of more attention from fantasy managers (rostered in just 15% of ESPN leagues).
Toronto's rookie wing Terence Davis produced a career-high 23 points and had 11 boards for the first double-double of his career in a win over the Hornets last night. For now, Davis is mostly a nice dynasty option with Norman Powell likely to return to the rotation soon, but it's never wise to discount Toronto's ability to develop capable two-way wings, seemingly out of nowhere.
Golden State's Damion Lee produced a rich line in a loss to the Bucks last night that included 15 points, four assists, four rebounds, and four made 3-pointers. Alec Burks was comparably productive with 19 points, seven assists, and five boards, confirming that both scoring guards are strong free-agent targets for fantasy managers to consider.
Injuries of note
Brandon Ingram suffered a finger injury while producing a career-best 11 assists last night, as reported by ESPN's Andrew Lopez. The injury is not believed to be serious.
Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari is listed as "out" for Thursday's game against the Rockets due to a lingering calf injury.
Joel Embiid has been ruled out for tonight's tilt with the rival Celtics due to a finger injury suffered in the team's win over the Thunder on Monday evening. In a bit of positive news for Philadelphia, gifted rookie defensive force Matisse Thybulle is due to return from a lingering injury of his own.
Analytics advantage for Thursday
With Embiid's looming absence tonight for the 76ers, its worth noting that Al Horford's usage spikes a sizable 4.4% with Embiid off the floor. Scoring forward Tobias Harris also enjoys a sizable leap in fantasy points per minute on DraftKings without his teammate in the lineup, setting both men up as solid DFS targets for Thursday's somewhat light four-game slate.
Top players to watch on Thursday
Russell Westbrook and the Rockets visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, which will mark Westbrook's first visit to Oklahoma City as an opponent. Westbrook was drafted No. 4 overall by the then-Seattle SuperSonics in 2008. The team relocated soon after the draft to Oklahoma City and Westbrook's legendary career began.
Over his 11 years with the Thunder, Westbrook became the second MVP in franchise history (Kevin Durant) and averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons. Including the playoffs, there have been 157 triple-doubles recorded by Thunder players since the team relocated in 2008. Amazingly, all but nine of them belong to Westbrook.