Tuesday’s NBA schedule was light, with only four games being played. That meant even more eyeballs on Carmelo Anthony, who made his debut for the Portland Trail Blazers. And while there may be the desire to make immediate judgements as to whether or not this partnership will work, Tuesday’s game in New Orleans may not have been the best indicator for multiple reasons.
First and foremost, Anthony was immediately thrust into the starting lineup with just one pregame shoot-around to work with his new teammates. Add in the fact that he was joining a depleted roster short on high-level scoring options with Damian Lillard (back spasms) sidelined, and this had the makings of a night that wasn’t going to go all that well from a numbers standpoint. Anthony, who was expected to play around 20 minutes, played 24 in Portland’s 115-104 loss to the Pelicans and finished with ten points (4-of-14 FGs), four rebounds, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers.
The good news is that he shot 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, but he was 2-of-11 on twos and also turned the ball over five times. Following the game, Terry Stotts said that he thought Anthony “looked pretty good” considering the circumstances. At best Anthony is worth a “kick of the tires” in deeper leagues given Portland’s many injuries, but don’t expect to see “vintage” Carmelo anytime soon.
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Anthony’s debut was one of two changes to the Portland starting lineup, with Anfernee Simons starting in place of the injured Lillard. He played 36 minutes, scoring 13 points (4-of-13 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs) with three rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers. While Simons has been part of the rotation all season long he’s still outside of the top-200 in both eight- (punting turnovers) and nine-category leagues, so his fantasy value is going to depend on Lillard’s availability. Portland returns to action Thursday in Milwaukee, and if Lillard can’t play Simons would make sense as a streaming/DFS option.
Rookie Nassir Little had a good night off the bench, tallying 12 points (5-of-6 FGs), 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes. He’s played at least 23 minutes in each of Portland’s last four games, but the combination of the addition of Anthony and the eventual return of Lillard could have a negative impact on Little’s fantasy production. Kent Bazemore (11/3/4 with three 3-pointers) also scored in double figures off the bench, with C.J. McCollum (22/4/5/2/1 with four 3-pointers leading the way offensively. Hassan Whiteside accounted for 14 points, 14 rebounds and one blocked shot, but the fact that he only attempted seven shots (making five) isn’t good. Given the state of Portland’s rotation, he needs to be more active offensively.
For the victorious Pelicans, the big news was the return of Brandon Ingram after he missed four games with a knee injury. Ingram played 35 minutes, finishing with 21 points (8-of-20 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and one three-pointer. The field goal percentage wasn’t great but Ingram was active on both ends, and he didn’t have to deal with a minutes restriction either. Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go along with five rebounds, ten assists and one three-pointer.
Two Pelicans who have seen their opportunities increase due to the injuries are bigs Jaxson Hayes and Nicolo Melli, and both have done a good job of taking advantage. Hays started and played 21 minutes, tallying nine points, seven rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots. The rookie center is highly active on both ends, changing and blocking shots defensively with his ability to run the floor leading to ease scoring chances in the paint. Melli was just 1-of-6 from three, but he finished with a solid line of 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
With Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor both sidelined due to injury, neither Hayes nor Melli should be available on any waiver wire. If they are, go change that immediately. It’s worth noting that Hayes sprained his left ankle early in the fourth quarter, and despite his saying that he was fine the young center was taken out of the game and did not return.
J.J. Redick, who shot 4-of-9 from three, and E'Twaun Moore also scored in double figures. Redick started and finished the game with 18 points, five rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes, with Moore chipping in with 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer in 21 minutes off the bench. Frank Jackson was also available after missing Sunday’s game with a neck contusion, playing 19 minutes and accounting for nine points, two rebounds and two 3-pointers.
Warriors 114, Grizzlies 95 — Given the number of injuries that Golden State has been forced to deal with this season, Alec Burks appeared to be well-positioned to put up solid numbers on a consistent basis. While he’s had some good games, consistency has been an issue of late as Burks has alternated single-digit scoring efforts with games of at least 20 points. Tuesday was a good night from him, as he shot 9-of-15 from the field and 9-of-9 from the foul line and scored 29 points with eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers.
Just outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats, Burks should be rostered in most leagues due to the Warriors’ depth issues. There may be some nights in which he fails to have much of an impact, but the positives outweigh the negatives with regards to Burks.
Glenn Robinson III (20/1/2 with three 3-pointers), Eric Paschall (17/5/3 with one blocked shot) and Marquese Chriss (17/6/2 with four blocks) also scored in double figures, with Paschall doing his work in just 24 minutes as he fouled out. He’s the best fantasy option of the three and should already be rostered in most leagues. As for Chriss, his value will likely take a hit once Kevon Looney (hamstring) makes his return to the lineup. He’ll be practicing with the Warriors’ G-League affiliate in Santa Cruz while Golden State finishes this current road trip, and Looney could return to game action as soon as next Monday provided there are no setbacks.
Draymond Green fell two points short of a triple-double, scoring eight points with ten rebounds, 11 assists and two blocked shots in 35 minutes. He left the game in the third quarter after hitting his elbow on the court, but the veteran forward was back on the court with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth. If Green were forced to sit out Wednesday’s game in Dallas, the aforementioned Chriss would benefit from a minutes standpoint.
Ja Morant (two rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer) led four Grizzlies in double figures with 20 points, but the more important player to discuss is Jaren Jackson Jr. Foul trouble limited him to 18 minutes, as he scored eight points with one three-pointer before fouling out. JJJ didn’t grab a single rebound or block a shot Tuesday, and for the month of November he’s averaging 0.9 blocks and 0.4 steals per game. Before anyone panics, keep in mind the fact that Jackson is only 20 years old and is playing for his second head coach in as many years. If anything, it would be a good idea to try to “buy low” on Jackson and acquire him via trade.
Dillon Brooks (18 points, three rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers), Brandon Clarke (17/5/3/1/1) and Jae Crowder (15/11/4 with four 3-pointers) were the other double-digit scorers for Memphis. Clarke has been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats, while Brooks and Crowder are hovering just outside of the top-100. While Clarke is rostered in 68% of Yahoo leagues, Brooks and Crowder are both below 40%. If either one happens to be available on the waiver wire, pick them up as soon as possible.
Kings 120, Suns 116 — While one valued member of the Kings rotation, Buddy Hield, received a contract extension just before the deadline in October another did not. That would be Bogdan Bogdanovic, who at season’s end will be a restricted free agent. And given how lean the free agency market is expected to be in comparison to the highly-anticipated 2021 class, he could be in line for a lucrative deal this summer.
In Tuesday’s win over the Suns Bogdanovic had one of his best games of the season, shooting 11-of-14 from the field and finishing with 31 points, four rebounds, seven assists, three steals and seven 3-pointers. The only blemish on his stat line was the turnover count (six), but Bogdanovic more than made up for that by producing in multiple ways. He’s just inside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats, one of four Kings who can make that claim. For the month of November, Bogdanovic is averaging 16.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 3.4 three-pointers per game, shooting 47.1% from the field, 48.0% from three and 81.3% from the charity stripe.
Bogdanovic was one of five double-digit scorers from Sacramento, with four being starters. Richaun Holmes had a very good night, posting a line of 20 points (8-of-11 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), 15 rebounds, one steal and two blocked shots. Nemanja Bjelica (17 and eight with one steal, one block and three 3-pointers), Harrison Barnes (15/2/2 with one block and one three-pointer) and the aforementioned Hield (12/5/4/1 with one three-pointer) were the others, with Hield shooting 3-of-14 from the field after scoring 35 in Sunday’s win over the Celtics.
The fifth starter, point guard Cory Joseph, dished out 14 assists while also tallying six points, five rebounds, one steal and two blocks. Joseph’s fantasy value isn’t great, even though he’s filling in for the injured De'Aaron Fox. Even in deeper leagues where there may be a need for assists he isn’t a great option, as Joseph had a total of 15 assists in the four games prior.
Phoenix made a change to its starting lineup ahead of Tuesday’s game, with Frank Kaminsky starting in place of the injured Aron Baynes (right hip contusion). Kaminsky played 23 minutes, scoring 17 points with four rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers. With Baynes’ injury and Deandre Ayton still suspended, Kaminsky may be worth a look for the short-term. He hasn’t been great in most leagues, but the 7-footer has scored at least 16 points in three of his last four games.
Devin Booker paced the Suns with 30 points, five rebounds, eight assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes, with Kelly Oubre and Mikal Bridges scoring 20 points apiece. In addition to his 20 points Oubre contributed eight rebounds, five steals, two assists and one three-pointer, with Bridges tallying five rebounds, two steals and one three-pointer.
The biggest concern for Phoenix coming out of this game is the health of Ricky Rubio, who was limited to 16 minutes as he re-aggravated a back injury. He missed all seven of his field goal attempts, scoring one point with one rebound, two assists and one steal. Tyler Johnson (2/3/3 in 18 minutes) and Elie Okobo (4/2/5 in 18 minutes) picked up a few more minutes as a result, but neither is a viable fantasy option at this point.
Rookie wing Cameron Johnson, who’s been a top-100 player in nine-cat over the last two weeks, tallied 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He’s scored in double figures in four of Phoenix’s last five games, and he’s hit at least two 3-pointers in each game of that run. He’s only rostered in 4% of Yahoo leagues, and this would be a good time to buy low on the rookie out of North Carolina. Cheick Diallo played 15 minutes, scoring two points with four rebounds and two blocked shots. If Baynes has to miss time beyond Tuesday, Diallo will benefit minutes-wise but not enough to justify grabbing him off the waiver wire.
Lakers 112, Thunder 107 — Anthony Davis and LeBron James did the usual Tuesday night, combining for 59 points, 18 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals to lead the Lakers past Oklahoma City. Davis shot 13-of-24 from the field, scoring 34 points with seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. James tallied 25 points (10-of-21 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs), 11 rebounds, ten assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes, becoming the first player in NBA history to have at least one triple-double against all 30 teams.
Those two accounted for more than half of the Lakers’ 112 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13/4/2 with three 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. Often criticized by some within the Lakers fan base, KCP is shooting 6-of-11 from three and averaging 14.0 points per game over his last three outings. Other key contributors on the night include JaVale McGee (eight points, six rebounds, one steal and four blocks), Rajon Rondo (eight points, ten assists, two rebounds and one three-pointer) and Dwight Howard (three points, six rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
The lone concern for Los Angeles is the health of Kyle Kuzma, who was inadvertently poked in the eye during the first half. While it was announced that the forward was available to return, he did not play in the second half. Kuzma was dealing with some swelling in his right eye, so he may not have been all that effective had Frank Vogel decided to use him. He’ll be re-examined on Wednesday, and the Lakers are off until Friday when they visit the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Monday’s game was the second in as many nights for Billy Donovan’s team, which lost a close one to the Clippers Monday night. Dennis Schroder had no issues, as he shot 12-of-20 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line and scored 31 points with four rebounds, one assists and three 3-pointers. With Chris Paul (four points, five rebounds, ten assists and four steals) and Terrance Ferguson (three points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer), Oklahoma City needed every point that Schroder was able to score.
Danilo Gallinari, who struggled with his shot against the Clippers, was 7-of-11 from the field and finished with 25 points to go along with six rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers. He’s been a top-50 player all season long, so Monday’s effort wasn’t much more than a blip on the screen for Gallinari. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (16/5/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) and Nerlens Noel (15/8/1/3) also scored in double figures, while Steven Adams grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists in 24 minutes of action.
Noel has been the more productive of the two centers in recent games, and for the season he’s been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats. Yet as of late Tuesday, he was owned in just 28% of Yahoo leagues. If Noel’s available on the waiver wire, pick him up.
Wednesday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
San Antonio at Washington, 7 PM
New York at Philadelphia, 7 PM
Orlando at Toronto, 7:30 PM
Milwaukee at Atlanta, 7:30 PM
Cleveland at Miami, 7:30 PM
Charlotte at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM
Golden State at Dallas, 7:30 PM
Detroit at Chicago, 8 PM
Utah at Minnesota, 8 PM
Houston at Denver, 9 PM
Boston at LA Clippers, 10 PM