It was a busy eight-game night on Monday to kick off Week 6 and, yes, the Warriors won again and are now 19-0 on the season. The Hawks beat the Thunder, the Celtics downed the Heat, the Spurs lost to the Bulls in a night of mini upsets, while dueling point guards Damian Lillard and Chris Paul both went down in the same game. Let’s dive right in, and you can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Warriors 106, 103 Jazz – The Warriors won in Utah, but it wasn’t easy. Stephen Curry only had seven points at halftime but came through in a big way in the fourth quarter and the Warriors escaped with another W. Rodney Hood tried an ill-advised 3-pointer late, despite the Jazz only being down a point, Draymond Green had the rebound of the game on the miss and got it to Curry, who promptly iced it with a pair of free throws for the three-point win. Curry led the way with 26 points, four treys and a full line, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson both scored 20, and Andre Iguodala failed to score a point off the bench. Harrison Barnes is out, but Iguodala (and Brandon Rush) simply aren’t guys you can rely on in his absence. Ian Clark led the Warriors off the bench, and was the only player not in the Big 3 to score in double figures for the Warriors.
Derrick Favors is back and ready to roll, and had 23 points and 10 boards on 9-of-15 shooting, Gordon Hayward led the way with 24 points, and Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 13 points, 11 boards, a steal and a block. Alec Burks was nice with 19 points and two 3-pointers, while Trey Burke continued his quiet ways with four points and two assists in 22 minutes. Note to self – cut him after this column is done. Hood is worth owning, but will fluctuate from night to night.
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Clippers 102, Blazers 87 – The news of the night, outside of the Warriors’ 19-0 start, was that both Chris Paul and Damian Lillard were unable to finish their game with similar injuries. Paul suffered a rib muscle strain and Lillard has an abdominal injury. Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford would likely excel if Paul’s going to miss time.
Lillard has still never missed a game in his career, so he’ll try to be ready for Tuesday night against Dallas. If he’s out, look for C.J. McCollum to slide over to point guard, with Gerald Henderson and Allen Crabbe stepping up at shooting guard. Owners of the point guards will obviously want to watch for news on Tuesday and this is not the way any of us wanted to see the week get started.
The Clippers got 23 points, eight boards, six assists, a steal and a block from Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan went off for 18 points, a season-high 24 boards, a steal and two blocks in the win. Yeah, he hit just 12-of-34 free throws, which is ridiculous, but you knew what you were getting in that department when you drafted him. J.J. Redick had 14 points and four 3-pointers, but hit just 5-of-14 shots, while Crawford added 11 points, four assists and no 3-pointers on 4-of-10 shooting. Rivers played 25 minutes, but hit just 2-of-8 shots for six points and zero assists, but is still the favorite to start at PG if Paul is out on Wednesday against the Pacers.
The Blazers had a bad night, hitting just 38 percent of their shots and 5-of-23 3-pointers in the loss. Al-Farouq Aminu struggled, hitting just 3-of-15 shots, while Mason Plumlee was solid with 10 points, 13 boards, a steal and two blocks. He shouldn’t be available in any leagues and is averaging 12.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks over his last five games. CJM also struggled without Lillard, hitting 4-of-15 shots and a 3-pointer for 12 points, four rebounds and a steal, but also had a season-high 10 assists. If Lillard is out tonight I’m thinking CJM will go off. Moe Harkless had 15 points and a nice line off the bench, and Ed Davis added 13 points, 10 boards and a block. I have no idea why one of them isn’t starting over Noah Vonleh, who played just 13 minutes. Davis has double-doubled in three of his last five games, averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last five games, making him a hot pick up right now if you need a big man. Harkless is too up and down for my taste.
Pistons 116, Rockets 105 – The Pistons got a breakout from Stanley Johnson off the bench, as he connected on 6-of-11 shots and four 3-pointers for 19 points, 10 boards, a steal and two blocks. If you played him last night, congratulations are in order, but I need to see it a few a more times before I’m taking the bait again. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond were both huge again, while Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova weren’t bad. Ilyasova’s a guy I can roll with or cut, but I still think he could get hot at any time. And while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit just 2-of-8 shots and scored just four points, he played all but four minutes of this game, which is worth noting. In other words, he’s the only SG the Pistons are messing with right now.
James Harden did James Harden things (29 points) and Marcus Thornton stayed hot off the bench with 18 points, six boards, two steals and four 3-pointers. He was really struggling prior to his last two games, and given his bench role and limited minutes, he’s not really reliable in standard leagues. But picking him on the right night in a daily league could reap rewards. Dwight Howard had modest numbers in the second game of a back-to-back and owners have to watch for news on him with another back-to-back set coming up this Friday and Saturday. Friday looks like the favorite for him to get a night off at this point. Trevor Ariza disappeared with two points on 1-of-9 shooting (Thornton), as he is prone to do every few games, and Clint Capela stayed kind of hot with 11 points, five boards and four steals, but played just 22 minutes. That was certainly better than Terrence Jones’ 15 minutes off the bench, and the Rockets are just killing Jones and his owners by not playing him. In fact, he was benched for the entire second half, for reasons I don’t fully understand. Ty Lawson was decent off the bench, but played just 19 minutes, and it’s clear he’s going to have to continue to work himself back into good graces in Houston. For whichever night Howard sits this weekend, I would not be afraid to have either Capela or Jones in my lineup. Corey Brewer played just 16 minutes and can be dropped in most leagues.
Celtics 105, Heat 95 – The C’s used a balanced attack to beat the Heat, getting double digits from all five starters (Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas), while Evan Turner chipped in with 13 off the bench. Turner also had six boards, three assists and three steals, but was really struggling coming into this one. I slept on Sullinger and he’s turned into another reliable Celtic, although there’s no telling how long it will last. He’s averaging 10.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over his last five games, despite scoring in single figures in three of them. He’s a popular daily play with a lower salary right now. Bradley blew up for 25 points, three 3-pointers and a full stat line on 9-of-15 shooting, and also led the team in minutes with 39. He’s averaging 18.6 points and a lot of goodies over his last five, and is another hot daily-league guy right now, while he should be owned in all standard leagues. Johnson double-doubled with 13 & 10 along with a steal and two blocks, but that was his first double-double of the season, so don’t get too excited.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat with a season-high 30 points, with five steals and no 3-pointers, and committed six turnovers. Wade has only missed one game this season, and while I’m not trying to jinx him, I am concerned that his next DNP is just around the corner. Now looks like a nice sell-high moment to me. Chris Bosh added 21 & 10 with a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, while Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Gerald Green were all mildly disappointing. Green’s worth a look as long as Luol Deng is out with his hamstring injury, while Dragic and Whiteside should obviously be owned in all leagues. Dragic has been a pain, but I’m not sure you’re going to find a better option on waivers. Deng is targeting a Thursday return against the Thunder, meaning Green’s shelf life is on a very short leash.
Hawks 106, Thunder 100 – Jeff Teague scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, helping to overshadow Russell Westbrook, who also had a big final stanza. Paul Millsap added 26 points, 11 boards and a fat line, and Al Horford added 21 points, 13 boards, a steal and two blocks in the win. Thabo Sefolosha started and didn’t score, but did have eight boards, six assists and four steals in 39 minutes. Kent Bazemore played just 22 minutes, but my guess is he’ll be back up to speed by the end of the week. I didn’t start him this week since he’s coming off the ankle injury and is also coming off the bench. We’ll have to wait and see if he overtakes the starting job from Sefolosha at some point, as the Hawks like Thabo guarding the opposition’s best player. Dennis Schroder played just 17 minutes for five points, and it’s impossible to predict when the Hawks will turn him loose.
The Thunder are back at full strength, as Russell Westbrook flirted with a triple-double and scored 34, Kevin Durant had 25 and a full stat line, and Serge Ibaka added 17 points, five boards, a steal and four blocks in the loss. Enes Kanter added six points and 10 boards, and is the only member outside of OKC’s Big 3 that I trust to any extent. Dion Waiters was 0-for-7 for one point last night, while Anthony Morrow hit 3-of-12 shots for 10 points in 23 minutes.
Bulls 92, Spurs 89 – The Bulls got a balanced attack from the starters, but no superstar lines. Pau Gasol led the way with 18 & 13 and three blocks, Jimmy Butler had 14 points and a full stat line (including five turnovers), Doug McDermott came off the bench for 12 points and a 3-pointer, and Derrick Rose and Tony Snell each scored 11 in the win. Rose was just 5-of-17 shooting, but at least he’s playing. Nikola Mirotic struggled after a 25-point game, finishing with eight points and two 3-pointers on 3-of-8 shooting, but will bounce back. The Bulls were playing the defensively-minded Spurs, so I’m not reading too much into this one. Joakim Noah quietly had eight points, 11 boards and seven assists off the bench for one of his best lines of the season. Of course, he had zero points and five boards in his previous game, so there’s no reason to get too excited just yet. Eight points are his season high and he’s done it three times. Yuck.
The Spurs got 25 and another sweet line from Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge pumped in 21 & 12 and a block in the loss. Danny Green still stinks and had nine points on 3-of-10 shooting, but I’m still hesitant to drop him. As soon as I do it, I feel like he’s going to start going off. But yeah, it’s been a real rough ride with Green thus far.
Bucks 92, Nuggets 74 – I learned the hard way this was not the night to start Jerryd Bayless, but he started and played 33 minutes, hitting just 2-of-6 shots for seven points and four assists. Michael Carter-Williams played 30 minutes off the bench and had 12 points, six boards, nine assists, three steals and three blocks. He had done nothing in his previous two games and this may have been more of a fluke than anything else. I’ll take Bayless as long as he's starting and getting the minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo was quiet again in his second straight game, Greg Monroe had 18 points and two blocks, but just five boards, and O.J. Mayo hit just 3-of-8 shots for nine points in another start. If Mayo keeps starting he’s worth keeping a close eye on, as he could get hot at any time. Khris Middleton cooled off after a nice run, but still had 10 points, five boards and three 3-pointers despite hitting just 3-of-9 shots. He’s fine. Jabari Parker came off the bench and scored 16 with two steals and two blocks, but he’s nothing more than an average, end-of-your-bench fantasy player right now. John Henson had eight points, seven boards and three more blocks, but is averaging just 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over his last five, with the 17 minutes he’s getting a game being the main obstacle from him being worth owning.
The Nuggets were pretty bad tonight, led by Danilo Gallinari’s 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting, while only Kenneth Faried (11 & 7), Emmanuel Mudiay (10 & 4) and Will Barton (10 points, six boards, two 3-pointers) joined Gallo in double-digit scoring. Nikola Jokic started at center and had eight points, six boards and two blocks, and Joffrey Lauvergne had seven points and six boards off the bench. Once Jusuf Nurkic is back, the center position in Denver is going to get pretty messy. I’m not feeling any of them right now, but Jokic is the guy to own in the short term.
Kings 112, Mavericks 98 – DeMarcus Cousins was back from a three-game absence and put up 31 points, nine boards, six dimes and a block, and hit 1-of-8 3-pointers and 10-of-10 free throws. It’s easy to dismiss his 3-pointers thus far, but the reality is that he’s shooting a lot of them and has hit 13 of them in the Kings’ 19 games. Nothing to sneeze at. He’s also scored 29 or more points in six of his last seven games played! Rajon Rondo has been killing it and had 12 points and five assists, despite hitting just 7-of-14 free throws. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 12.2 assists over his last five games, and is clearly having a bounce-back year. Rudy Gay bounced back from a couple of duds with 20 points and seven boards, while Willie Cauley-Stein got just 12 minutes. Omri Casspi (10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 3-pointers) and Darren Collison (15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) look like guys to add in deep leagues, while Marco Belinelli was quiet with two points in 15 minutes. As expected, Kosta Koufos disappeared with the return of Cousins, and failed to score in 12 minutes. It’s time to move on.
All five Mavs’ starters scored in double figures, but were led by Chandler Parsons’ 14 points. Hopefully he’s about to turn it on. None of the starter’s lines looked very good on paper, although Zaza Pachulia double-doubled with 13 & 10. Devin Harris and Raymond Felton both played big minutes off the bench, but Deron Williams played 35 of them and hit 4-of-14 shots for 10 points and seven assists. This is a three-headed point-guard monster with little hope in sight. Dwight Powell’s run appears to be over and he played just 12 minutes, while JaVale McGee got 10 minutes with six points and two rebounds. There’s still a chance he could get healthy and start making a difference, but there’s no reason to add him right now.