The Mavs stunned the Bucks despite a monster night from Giannis, James Harden and Russell Westbrook made a historic comeback over the Spurs and Chris Paul turned back the clock for the Thunder on Monday night.
Mavericks 120, Bucks 116 – No Luka Doncic? No problem, as the Mavericks somehow knocked off the Bucks in Milwaukee without him. It was just the Bucks’ fourth loss of the season, while the Mavs improved to 18-8 in their surprising season. Tim Hardaway Jr. disappeared in this one, hitting just 1-of-10 shots for six points, but Jalen Brunson (13-4-11-1) and Seth Curry (26-5-4 with four 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting) both stepped up with big games, while Kristaps Porzingis had one of his best games of the season with 26 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers on 9-of-19 shooting. Hopefully Porzingis starts doing this once Luka is back. Dwight Powell was disappointing, Dorian Finney-Smith played well with 15 points, eight boards, three 3-pointers and a block, while Maxi Kleber (10 points, 7 boards, 2 2-pointers before fouling out) and Delon Wright played well. Wright hit 5-of-6 shots and a 3-pointer for 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block, but played just 19 minutes. I just don’t understand why he’s not getting minutes from Carlisle. As I said on Monday’s podcast, I’d rank the Dallas pickups as 1. Brunson, 2. Hardaway, 3. Curry, 4. Wright. But it would only take Wright getting 25 minutes a game to bump him from No. 4 to No. 2, but Brunson looks like the clear winner in Luka’s absence. On a side note, Luka is already off crutches and out of a walking boot, and while they’re still acting like he’s going to miss two weeks, I get the sense he’s going to be back a lot sooner than that. Maybe I’m just an optimist, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Luka played on Friday or Sunday. But I’m not exactly expecting him to.
The Bucks, who were without Eric Bledsoe due a fractured shin, got a crazy line from Giannis Antetokounmpo that included 48 points, 14 rebounds, four dimes, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 18-of-31 shooting (and 11-of-16 free throws). But after that it makes sense why the Bucks lost. Kyle Korver was their second leading scorer with 17 points and five triples in 25 bench minutes, Ersan Ilyasova scored 11 with six boards and a 3-pointer in 17 minutes, and George Hill added 10 points and two steals in 24 minutes. Khris Middleton was disappointing with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting (but did have a steal, block and a 3-pointer) and Brook Lopez hit 1-of-8 shots. In some good news though, Donte DiVincenzo started for Bledsoe and hit just 2-of-8 shots, but also had 10 points, nine rebounds, three steals and a block to go along with his five points. He’ll likely start for Bledsoe for at least a couple weeks and while I like him better in DFS than standard leagues, he’s worth a pickup right now and has three more games this week. Hill is also going to be worth a look as long as Bledsoe is out, while Middleton will be much better on most nights. I’m not touching Korver or Ilyasova.
Wizards 133, Pistons 119 – Bradley Beal went off with 35 points, 10 assists and five 3-pointers, and Isaiah Thomas came back in a big way with 23 points, six assists and five 3-pointers on 9-of-13 shooting in one of his best games in years. That was enough to put away the Pistons, while new starter Ian Mahinmi (for injured Moe Wagner/Thomas Bryant) had nine points, eight boards and a block in 25 minutes. Isaac Bonga also started over Troy Brown Jr. and had nine points, six rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer. He hasn’t been doing much but looked better tonight. Davis Bertans added 17 points, four boards, three assists, a block and three 3-pointers off the bench, Ish Smith had 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench, and Brown had 10 points, six boards and two 3-pointers. Mahinmi and Bonga might be worth DFS punts, Bertans remains a must-own player, and Thomas deserves to be owned again after tonight’s monster line. I’m probably going to hang onto Smith for a minute, as I just don’t trust than Thomas can stay healthy.
The Pistons were without Blake Griffin (knee) and Andre Drummond (eye) allowing Markieff Morris and Thon Maker to start. Morris came through for his DFS owners with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, while Maker didn’t do much. Bruce Brown had 20 points, six boards, three assists, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 5-of-10 shooting and also hit 8-of-8 free throws. Luke Kennard had 14 points, six boards, six assists and two 3-pointers in the start and Derrick Rose went off from the bench with 22 points, six boards, eight assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. Christian Wood was also fun with 12 points, six boards, a steal and a block in 28 minutes. There’s a lot going on here and a lot of potential pickups, but most of it is based on how long Griffin and Drummond are out. Both could be back soon, but Griffin’s knee problem is a concern. Any time they’re out Morris, Rose, Brown and Wood are all strong plays, while Mahinmi could also be worth a DFS punt. Wood’s a popular stash right now while Rose and Brown are holds, and Morris should be deployed any time he’s starting. The Pistons are 11-17 and if they continue to struggle the Griffin shutdown watch will switch into high gear, which is why Wood is such a popular pickup right now even though he wasn’t all-world last night.
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Raptors 133, Cavaliers 113 – Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell all went off in the easy win, while Marc Gasol added eight points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal on 4-of-9 shooting. Gasol’s been playing a lot better and I picked him up in a few leagues where he was dropped. OG Anunoby added 12 points and nine boards from the starting lineup. Serge Ibaka had 14 points, five boards and a block off the bench. Powell should continue to play well as long as Fred VanVleet is out and looks like a must-own player, while Gasol and Anunoby are worth a look if they’re on your waiver wire. The Wizards have three more games this week, play three next week, then go 4-4 in the next two after that.
For the Cavs, Collin Sexton hit 10-of-16 shots for 25 points, five boards and four assists and Darius Garland had one of his better games with 20 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and four 3-pointers on 7-of-14 shooting. Kevin Love was quiet with nine points and seven boards as he waits to be traded, Tristan Thompson had 18 points and eight boards, and Cedi Osman scored 12 points with three 3-pointers. The bench was pretty quiet with both Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Porter Jr. both scoring nine. KPJ is a stash right now. Larry Nance Jr. had seven points, six boards, a block and a 3-pointer, and will be a hot pickup when Love is traded. Keep an eye on Garland as he’ll become a hot pickup if he starts playing consistently.
Rockets 109, Spurs 107 – The Rockets outscored the Spurs 56-35 in the second half and overcame a 25-point deficit for the biggest comeback in franchise history. Russell Westbrook went off with 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer after sitting the last one out, and James Harden added 28 points, eight boards, seven assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers on 10-of-29 shooting. Dejounte Murray tried to start a fight with Harden after the two ran into each other after a Murray layup, but Harden didn’t take the bait and then put the Spurs away late. Clint Capela had a big double-double, P.J. Tucker just missed a double-double and Danuel House continued to disappoint with four points and two steals on 2-of-8 shooting. I still think House is going to get going soon, but he’s been a rough player to own over the last few weeks between his poor play and injuries. With House struggling, Ben McLemore got 29 minutes and stayed relevant with 17 points and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes off the bench. If you’re looking for threes BMac’s worth a look.
The Spurs looked great in the first half, opening up a 72-53 lead but couldn’t hold off the Rockets after the break. I’m guilty of giving up on Murray too early and he had a 16-5-3-2-1 line on 8-of-15 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge double-doubled, DeMar DeRozan had a 12-5-5 line, and Bryn Forbes hit six 3-pointers for 18 points in the loss. Rudy Gay had a strong double-double and stat line off the bench and Derrick White added a 16-6-3 line off the bench with two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Meanwhile, Jakob Poeltl played just 10 minutes in the loss. Aldridge, DeRozan and Murray are still the only reliable Spurs players who can be counted on, but Forbes, Gay, Poeltl, White and Patty Mills are all intriguing on most nights. The Spurs are now 10-16 on the season (and 3-9 on the road) after blowing Monday’s game.
Grizzlies 118, Heat 111 – The Grizzlies saw six players score in double figures, including starters Jaren Jackson Jr., Jae Crowder, Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant, and bench players Brandon Clarke and De’Anthony Melton. JV and Morant had 20 & 10 double-doubles and are must-starts anytime they’re playing, Jackson Jr. has emerged as a must-start player after a rough start, while Jae Crowder and Dillon Brooks (nine points) have become intriguing players on four-game weeks, which they have this week and next. Clarke is worth grabbing with all his upcoming games now that he’s healthy and Melton continues to get nice run, even on nights when Morant is playing. Crowder and Brooks didn’t play/shoot well tonight, but with three more games this week and four games next week, I’m still glad I own both of them.
Jimmy Butler (25-4-8-1 with a 3-pointer), Duncan Robinson (12 points, four 3-pointers), Bam Adebayo (14-13-5-3-3 on 4-of-12 shooting) and Kendrick Nunn (18 points, three assists, two 3-pointers) all played well from the starting lineup. Tyler Herro had 22 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 7-of-20 shooting off the bench, and Derrick Jones Jr. hit 6-of-9 shots for 15 points, four steals and a 3-pointer in 31 minutes off the bench. Meyers Leonard was quiet as a starter and Kelly Olynyk was scoreless off the bench in 18 minutes, and this Heat team is looking like a bit of a fantasy mess. As far as who you should own, I’d rank the Heat players like so: Butler, Adebayo, Nunn, Robinson, Jones, Herro. I like Olynyk and am intrigued by Leonard, but they were both just too bad on Monday to keep the faith in, at least in the short term. This was a big win for the 10-17 Grizzlies, as well as a big loss for the 19-8 Heat. Things will change, especially with guys like Nunn and Robinson, once Goran Dragic (groin) and Justise Winslow (back) are back. However, they’re not currently even traveling with the team for this road trip.
Thunder 109, Bulls 10– Chris Paul rolled back the clock for 30 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and six 3-pointer on 9-of-12 shooting on Monday, meaning this is probably his sell-high moment. Five of his 3-pointers came in the deciding fourth quarter after the Thunder overcame a 19-point half-time deficit for the win. They were also down 26 points in the first quarter and Paul had just two points at halftime. Danilo Gallinari had 22 points, four 3-pointers, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, Steven Adams nearly double-doubled and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a very quiet 7-point game in the win. Dennis Schroder came through with 18 points, four boards, five assists, a steal, a block, two 3-pointers and six turnovers off the bench. This is your buy-low moment on SGA as it was his first single-digit scoring game of the season, even though he played 34 minutes. It will be hard for him to go off on nights when CP3 is playing like it’s 2013. Nerlens Noel had nine points, five rebounds, a steal and two blocks in 20 minutes. While he’s not worth owning right now, a trade of Adams could quickly change that scenario. Terrance Ferguson (hip) was back from a five-game absence and had 12 points and four 3-pointers, but I’m not interested in picking him up.
For the Bulls, Zach LaVine went crazy with 39 points, three 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists and two steals on 15-of-25 shooting in the loss. He’s bothered by shin and shoulder issues, but they clearly weren’t problems tonight. Lauri Markkanen filled the stat sheet with 13 points, two steals and two blocks, but didn’t make a 3-pointer, Wendell Carter Jr. just missed a double-double and had a steal and two blocks, and Tomas Satoransky had a fun line with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer in 33 minutes. Kris Dunn was quiet in his 30 minutes but did have five assists, three steals and a 3-pointer. I don’t really trust many Bulls, outside of LaVine, Markkanen and WCJ.
Blazers 111, Suns 110 – Damian Lillard had a huge 3-point play with 26 seconds remaining when Aron Baynes was called for a block and the Blazers eked out a one-point win at Phoenix. Lillard finished with 27 points, five assists and three 3-pointes, C.J. McCollum came through with 30 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, Hassan Whiteside had a 10 & 14 double-double with three blocks, Carmelo Anthony came through with 23 points, eight boards, two steals, three blocks and four 3-pointers, and Kent Bazemore added 11 points, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers to round out the starting lineup. The bench was invisible for the Blazers and I remain very impressed by the play of Melo in Portland. And despite Melo’s monster line, only the four blocks represented a season high. Bazemore’s worth a look but I bet you can find a better free agent off the waiver wire, despite the Blazers’ four-game week this week.
The Suns are also in a four-game slate this week and Devin Booker missed his second straight game with a right forearm injury that has him listed as day-to-day. Starters Frank Kaminsky (17 points, 5 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 3-pointers), Dario Saric (17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, one 3-pointer), Kelly Oubre Jr. (24 points, three 3-pointers), Mikal Bridges (8 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) and Ricky Rubio (a 10-11-14 triple-double with two steals and a 3-pointer) all came through in the tough loss. Rubio also had eight turnovers, but who’s counting? Aron Baynes played just 19 minutes off the bench for 13 points, a steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers, and Cameron Johnson added 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 5-of-8 shooting. Kaminsky and Baynes are about to get a dose of reality with Deandre Ayton ready to return from his 25-game PED suspension. I think Kaminsky may still hold a little value but I’m afraid Baynes is going to go away, even though he’s played really well in Ayton’s absence this season. Either way, with Ayton back on Tuesday night, both Kaminsky and Ayton, and maybe Saric, are at least going to take a hit in usage. And most of Monday’s starters will have the ball in their hands a little less once Booker is back, too.