There were 11 games on Monday night and the Warriors, Cavs and Spurs all won, while the Pacers took out the Raptors and the Heat beat the Jazz. And where was Robert Covington?
Warriors 113, Wolves 104 – D’Angelo Russell scored 30 with five 3-pointers, Alec Burks had one of the best games of his life with 25 points, eight assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers, Damion Lee had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points, seven boards, two steals and three blocks in 30 minutes. Draymond Green even graced us with nine points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and seven turnovers in 33 minutes. Additionally, Marquese Chriss had six points and 11 rebounds, and Glenn Robinson sat this one out, but is due back on Christmas Day. Burks should be owned everywhere (three more games this week), Lee and WCS are worth an add in most leagues, and Green may have played well enough that owners might be able to move him now. Chriss at least belongs on your radar given how good he’s looked when on the court this year.
For the Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns was out again with his sore knee and has now missed four straight. That’s scary considering he doesn’t miss games, but he’s still day-to-day. Robert Covington played just 12 minutes and didn’t appear in the second half, leading most of Twitter to speculate that he’d been traded during the game. While it’s possible trade talks could have been the reason for him sitting, we still haven’t heard anything supporting that idea. Andrew Wiggins struggled with his shot, Gorgui Dieng was effective in another start for KAT, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver combined to miss all nine of their shots, and a guy named Jordan McLaughlin blew up for 19 points, two rebounds, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers on 7-of-13 shooting in 22 minutes. He’s a hot pickup in my 30-team league but the rest of this box score is a disaster.
Sixers 125, Pistons 109 – Tobias Harris scored a season-high 35 points with seven rebounds, two steals and four 3-pointers on 14-of-21 shooting against his former team, Joel Embiid added 20 points, eight boards, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer, and Ben Simmons triple-doubled with 16 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists. Furkan Korkmaz got loose off the bench for a career-high 21 points after failing to score more than eight points in his previous 11 games. Korkmaz has fluke written all him, while this is your sell-high moment on guys like Harris and Simmons if you’re so inclined, as they were out of their minds tonight.
Andre Drummond came off the bench for disciplinary reasons but still led the way with 27 points and nine rebounds on 13-of-16 shooting while the rest of the Pistons were pretty bad on Monday. Derrick Rose was back from a sore knee and had 16 points and seven assists, Markieff Morris added 11 points off the bench, and Svi Mykhailiuk had 13 points and four 3-pointers in the start. The other four Pistons starters all scored in single digits with Blake Griffin (illness) hitting just 2-of-14 shots in the loss. Popular stash Christian Wood played through his knee bruise but didn’t do much in his four minutes. Once Griffin is traded Wood could be in line for a big second half. Outside of Drummond and Rose, it’s tough to trust most Pistons right now.
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Pacers 120, Raptors 115 OT – All five Pacers scored in double digits last night, led by T.J. Warren and Myles Turner, who each scored 24 in the big win. Aaron Holiday came through with a big double-double with 19 points and 10 assists, Domantas Sabonis had 12 points, 17 rebounds and a block, and Jeremy Lamb had 12 points and a full stat line in the win. Turner has righted the ship, scoring in double figures in seven straight games and just missing his season high in points tonight. He hit 9-of-12 shots and five 3-pointers, so If you want to sell high on Turner, now’s the time. Malcolm Brogdon was out with a groin injury which is another reason Holiday is worth owning in all formats right now.
The Raptors starters looked good in this one with Kyle Lowry going off for 30 points and nine dimes, Serge Ibaka dropping 23 & 9, Fred VanVleet had 21 points, 11 assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and OG Anunoby added 15 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. Pascal Siakam missed another game with a groin injury and is out indefinitely, and Marc Gasol remains out with a hamstring injury. Anunoby is attractive with them out and Chris Boucher will also see a boost, but had just five points, six boards and two blocks in just 14 minutes off the bench. He’ll need more minutes than that if he’s going to come through in fantasy. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is also worth a look right now and had eight points, nine boards, six assists and three blocks off the bench.
Wizards 121, Knicks 115 – Bradley Beal had 30 points and a full stat line despite hitting just 13 of a career-high 38 shots (shooters gonna shoot), Ish Smith had 17 points and four assists in a start for Isaiah Thomas (suspended), and Troy Brown Jr., who Matt Stroup and I highlighted in the Waiver Wire Podcast, went off for a career-high 26 points, nine boards, seven assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. Brown should be picked up in all leagues at this point, especially with as banged up as the Wizards are. The Wiz have two more games this week and then go 4-4-2-4 over the next month! Gary Payton II went off in his Wizards’ debut for 10 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, six steals and a 3-pointer in 34 minutes off the bench. With Thomas out again on Thursday, Payton should be a sneaky DFS play in that one, if nothing else.
For the Knicks, Julius Randle hit 11-of-21 shots and four 3-pointers on his way to 35 points and a full stat line, RJ Barrett had 18 points, six boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, Mitchell Robinson came through with six points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in 23 minutes, and Elfrid Payton had five points, seven boards, 12 assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in the loss. Damyean Dotson had 19 off the bench with five 3-pointers and Alonzo Trier scored 11, but the Knicks don’t use Dotson enough to get too excited. Just put him on your radar. Robinson started with Taj Gibson out with an illness, but he was in foul trouble again, as usual.
Magic 103, Bulls 95 – Aaron Gordon double-doubled for the second straight game but is still really struggling with his shot, Jonathan Isaac had a fun 13-9-5-4-3 stat line, Nikola Vucevic had 21 points, seven boards, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and Markelle Fultz added 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, a block and a 3-pointer in the win. Terrence Ross hit six 3-pointers for a season-high 26 points and with him getting so hot, D.J. Augustin and Evan Fournier totally fizzled in this one. I’m expecting to Ross to cool off and for DJA and Fournier to bounce back in the next one.
For the Bulls, starters Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Kris Dunn were all quiet, Zach LaVine scored 26 points, but hit just 8-of-26 shots, and Tomas Satoransky played well with 20 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and four 3-pointers. The Bulls bench was a disaster and you only want to mess with the starters in fantasy.
Heat 107, Jazz 104 – The Heat kept it going with a big win against the Jazz and improved to 22-8 on the season and 13-1 at home. Meyers Leonard double-doubled (I don’t trust him), Jimmy Butler scored 20 with eight rebounds, and Bam Adebayo kept it going with 18 points, 12 boards, six assists, three steals and three blocks. Duncan Robinson (5 points) and Kendrick Nunn (10 points on 5-of-15 shooting) were quiet, while Tyler Herro came through with 17 points, six boards and three 3-pointers off the bench, and Goran Dragic had 15 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers, also off the bench. With Dragic back Nunn could struggle and it will likely get worse when Justise Winslow (back) returns. Derrick Jones Jr. was quiet with eight points and six rebounds but is also worth keeping an eye on. And now that Dragic is over his groin injury he’s worth a look in most leagues.
The Jazz got solid production from Bojan Bogdanovic (19 points), Joe Ingles (season-high 27 points) and Rudy Gobert (18 points, season-high 20 rebounds, 5 blocks), while Donovan Mitchell hit just 5-of-18 shots and 1-of-6 3-pointers for 13 points, three boards, seven assists and three steals. Royce O’Neale has been playing well but cooled off in this one, but Ingles has become a must-own player since Mike Conley went down again with his hamstring injury. The Jazz traded Dante Exum for Jordan Clarkson on Monday and Clarkson could offer some instant offense off the Jazz bench.
Spurs 145, Grizzlies 115 – LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 40, DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and 10 assists, Trey Lyles had a season-high 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers, and Dejounte Murray added 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals on 7-of-10 shooting in their easiest win of the season. Lyles had scored a total of 31 points in the month of December, so don’t take the bait on tonight’s big line. In fact, the only Spurs you should pay attention to are Aldridge, DeRozan and Murray, for the most part. The Spurs shot 67 percent from the floor in this one.
The Grizzlies might want to rethink their defensive plan going forward but got 22 points and six 3-pointers from Jaren Jackson Jr., 18 points and 12 boards from Jonas Valanciunas, 19 points and four assists from Ja Morant, and 14 points and a decent line from Dillon Brooks. Jae Crowder’s woes continued on 1-of-9 shooting, but he continues to get 30 minutes a night. Brandon Clarke is also worth owning but was quiet with 10 points in 21 minutes.
Cavaliers 121, Hawks 118 – Collin Sexton led the way with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal, Darius Garland came through with 21 points and three 3-pointers, Kevin Love had 20 points, eight boards, five assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, and Cedi Osman had 18 points and three 3-pointers in the win. Kevin Porter Jr. added 15 points, nine boards, two steals and a 3-pointer off the bench, but keep in mind the Cavs were playing the Hawks tonight, who usually make every opponent look like an all-star team. The Cavs should continue to lean on the kids and every player mentioned here should be on your radar going forward.
Bruno Fernando started at center again but left with a mouth contusion and never returned, while Alex Len left with a sprained left ankle and did not return to the game. Fernando should be good to go for the next one, but Len could be looking at some missed time. That would mean more good news for John Collins, who returned from his 25-game suspension tonight and blew up for 27 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Their absence could also get Damian Jones back in the rotation for Atlanta. Trae Young had 30 points, 11 assists, four steals and five 3-pointers, De’Andre Hunter scored 23 and Kevin Huerter pumped in 19 points with five triples and three steals in the tough loss.
Nuggets 113, Suns 111 – The Nuggets got standard solid production from Jamal Murray (28 points, 7 assists and the game-winner) and Will Barton (13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a 3-pointer), and Nikola Jokic went crazy with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, a steal and four 3-pointers for his fifth triple-double of the season and second in his last three games. Paul Millsap and Gary Harris were quiet, and Jerami Grant scored 11 off the bench. Millsap and Harris are still worth owning in most leagues and there was nothing to learn from this one in regard to fantasy.
For the Suns, all five starters (Dario Saric, Kelly Oubre, Aron Baynes, Ricky Rubio & Devin Booker) scored in double figures and Ricky Rubio had a big night with 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in the tough loss. Aron Baynes started with Deandre Ayton (ankle) out again, but the entire Suns team managed to get through this game without a blocked shot. Booker may still be bothered by his arm injury and hit just 3-of-12 shots for 11 points. Frank Kaminsky, Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges all hit double figures off the bench and all hit at least two 3-pointers in the loss.
Pelicans 102, Blazers 94 – Derrick Favors and Brandon Ingram double-doubled, Jrue Holiday had 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and four 3-pointers, and J.J. Redick scored 16 point with four triples in the win. Josh Hart, who has been a hot pickup, hit just 1-of-5 shots and scored a disappointing three points. Maybe he’ll bounce back on Christmas vs. the Nuggets. The Pelicans are 8-23 and you have to think they turn C Jaxson Hayes loose at some point, but he played just 17 minutes in this one.
Carmelo Anthony was back in action and led the way with 23 points, nine rebounds and a 3-pointer, Hassan Whiteside double-doubled with 11 points, 16 rebounds, a steal and four blocks, C.J. McCollum scored 20 and Damian Lillard had 18 points and seven assists after missing all 20 of his 3-point attempts. Starter Kent Bazemore scored just three points in 31 minutes and the bench didn’t do much of anything for the Blazers.
Rockets 113, Kings 104 – James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 62 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and seven 3-pointers, Clint Capela double-doubled, Danuel House scored 14 with four 3-pointers, and P.J. Tucker had 11 rebounds and three steals to go along with his five points as the Rockets held off a late Kings’ comeback. House’s stat line was empty, but he’s getting healthy and played 32 minutes. I still like him as a stash until he gets it figured out. Ben McLemore played 24 minutes and scored eight points, and it feels like his fantasy run is about over.
De’Aaron Fox had 31 points, nine boards, six assists, a steal and a 3-pointer and Richaun Holmes had 12 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 31 minutes of the loss. Marvin Bagley, Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield were all quiet in this one, as Hield hit just 3-of-12 shots. Bagley’s yet to put it all together since returning from his thumb injury and Barnes has been fading, but Bagley played 23 minutes and is about to take off, while Barnes saw 30 minutes and scored 25 in his previous game, so I’m holding onto both of them. Nemanja Bjelica is still clinging to value with his 10 points, two 3-pointers and two blocks in 30 minutes, while Trevor Ariza scored 12 points in 35 minutes off the bench. Neither player is a must-own, but I’m still holding Bjelica in several spots, for now. Bogdan Bogdanovic was out with an ankle injury and is day-to-day, which helped Ariza’s minutes.