Hornets 110, Cavs 99 – Kemba Walker missed his first seven shots after scoring just four points on Saturday, but bounced back for 30 points, Jeremy Lamb bounced back with 18 points and 12 rebounds (pick him up), and Marvin Williams also double-doubled with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a couple 3-pointers (I still don’t trust him) in the win. Nicolas Batum was disappointing again, and if you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. I don’t blame you for dropping him. Cody Zeller came in hot and didn’t do much, but I bet he bounces back in the next one.
My man, Larry Nance Jr., started and had 10 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, a block and zero turnovers in 34 minutes of Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets. Collin Sexton’s line wasn’t great and he hit just 5-of-16 shots, but I still think there’s too much potential to drop him. I’m as intrigued by Jaron Blossomgame as the next guy, but his two-way contract with the G-League makes him too risky. Jordan Clarkson returned from a sore back and Matthew Dellavedova (knee) was out, creating a perfect storm for JC. Alec Burks (8 points, 25 minutes) has been a bummer and I guess it’s time to move on.
Sixers 131, Knicks 109 – Ben Simmons triple-doubled (13-11-10) and Joel Embiid double-doubled (24 & 10), and Jimmy Butler bounced back for an efficient line with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting in an easy win. Landry Shamet was a surprise with a career-high 17 points and four 3-pointers in 22 minutes, but there’s nothing to see here, unless you’re in a really deep league and need threes.
For the Knicks, Tim Hardaway returned from a bout with plantar fasciitis and had 27 points and a fun stat line, Kevin Knox kept it going with 21 points, six boards and three 3-pointers on 8-of-17 shooting, Enes Kanter had 15 points and six boards, and Noah Vonleh added six points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. I’m a bit worried about a Hardaway shutdown, as plantar fasciitis can do that, I still think Vonleh is worth owning in most leagues, and I know that Knox is. Emmanuel Mudiay has been a star for a month, but hit just 3-of-12 shots for 11 points, three boards, five assists and a 3-pointer. He’s been on a tear, so he was due for an off night, but I still like him. Damyean Dotson was back from his shoulder injury and had 14 points, but he’s too inconsistent to trust. Dotson’s return was likely responsible for Trey Burke’s DNP, but as a Mudiay owner, I’m fine with it. Mitchell Robinson was out with a sprained ankle, and it’s probably time to move on.
Spurs 129, Magic 90 – LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan were all solid, and Bryn Forbes got loose for 17 points, four rebounds, zero assists and three 3-pointers on 7-of-8 shooting. I don’t trust him, but find him interesting in fantasy. Marco Belinelli had 18 points and four 3-pointers in just 17 minutes, and 17 minutes is all you need to know if you’re thinking about him. Per usual, I only trust Aldridge, Gay and DeRozan on this team, which has somehow won seven of their 10 December games, and sit as the No. 8 seed in the West. Their defense has improved dramatically over the last six games, and they’ve won six of their last seven.
The Magic were without Nikola Vucevic (birth of a child), and got seven points, eight boards, two steals and two blocks out of de facto starter Mo Bamba. Vuc will be back soon, so Bamba’s shelf life is about to expire. None of the starters were particularly great, and no one off the bench scored more than nine points. Jonathon Simmons left with a sprained ankle, which should be good news for Jonathan Isaac. It also helps Terrance Ross, who has scored eight or fewer points in three of his last four games. He’s really cooled off, which was bound to happen.
Raptors 99, Pacers 96 – The Raptors kept it going and are now an NBA best 24-9, as Kawhi Leonard had a big night (28-10-6-4), and Pascal Siakam, Greg Monroe (starting for Serge Ibaka (knee)) and Fred VanVleet (4-of-17 shooting) all scored in double figures. The bench did nothing, and Monroe and VanVleet are on a short leash, as Ibaka (swollen knee) and Kyle Lowry (thigh) probably won’t be out much longer. This was a gift win for the Raptors, playing without two of their key players. If Ibaka and Lowry miss more time, Monroe and VanVleet will be worth DFS fliers, but I’m not messing with them in standard fantasy leagues.
The Pacers have dropped two straight after falling to Cleveland on Tuesday, but got solid lines out of Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner (10 points, 14 boards, 5 more blocks), Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, while Darren Collison was quiet with a 7-6-4 line. Young, Bogdanovic, Collison and Sabonis are all generally worth owning, but there has been some inconsistency with most of them and the Pacers only have two games next week. Despite the two losses, the Pacers are still 20-12 and sit in No. 4 hole in the East.
Suns 111, Celtics 103 – The Suns have won four straight, and all I can say is ‘what is going on?’ Devin Booker had 25 points and another fun line, Deandre Ayton had 23 points and a season-high 18 boards, and T.J. Warren had 21 points as the Suns won yet another game. Do they not want a shot at Zion Williamson? De’Anthony Melton missed both his shots and didn’t score, and I’m fine with dropping him. Just be ready to pounce if Booker gets hurt again, or shut down at some point. Josh Jackson had 11 points and a nice line off the bench, and Kelly Oubre had 13 points, six boards, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers off the bench in his Suns’ debut. Let’s give Oubre two more games to get into the starting five before making any decisions on him. I’m holding him for now, and Jackson is doing enough to be owned in most leagues.
The Celtics got a big game from Kyrie Irving, Aron Baynes broke his hand, and Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart played well in the loss. Jaylen Brown was back from his hand injury, but didn’t do much in a start, and the Celtics would simply like a do-over in this one. With Baynes’ loss, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams are worth putting on your watch list at this point, as long as Al Horford is out with his sore left knee. Williams went nuts with eight points, eight boards and five blocks, and I’m intrigued. He’s averaging 3.2 blocks over his last five. Brown is also intriguing, but has been lost in the Celtics mix for most of the season. They’ve lost two straight after winning eight games in a row.
Nets 96, Bulls 93 – Spencer Dinwiddie went off for a 27-6-3-2 line with four 3-pointers off the bench, and Jarrett Allen bounced out of a slump with 16 points and 12 boards in the win. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was dealing with a quad injury, had a 2-of-10 shooting dud, and Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs and D’Angelo Russell were all duds, but the Nets still won. Kurucs started again, but has really struggled in his last two games. You can do better off your waiver wire. And I’m just not feeling RHJ, who came into this one on a bit of a hot streak. Speaking of hot streaks, the Nets have won seven straight.
The Bulls got nice lines from starter Kris Dunn (24 points, 6 assists), and Bobby Portis (double-double) off the bench, but the rest of the stat lines were not good. And Portis sprained his ankle with a minute left in the game, leaving him iffy going forward. If he’s going to miss time, Jabari Parker might be returned to action. Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Justin Holiday, Dunn and Portis are all worth owning still, but the tanking Bulls will probably be a crapshoot for the rest of the season. Zach LaVine is going to miss serious time with his ankle injury, so owners have to make a decision on whether to keep him or not, but I think Holiday is a must-hold player given LaVine’s injury. Holiday was bad last night with five points on 2-of-10 shooting, but he’s due to blow up soon. In fact, I think he’s a great pickup right now, especially if you missed out on Tyler Johnson or Derrick Jones Jr.
Bucks 123, Pelicans 115 – All five Bucks starters (welcome back, Malcolm Brogdon) played well in the win, and there was nothing happening on the bench, although PF D.J. Wilson had nine points, 10 rebounds and a block. Just keep an eye on him if you’re in a deep league.
The Pelicans are now 5-12 over their last 17 games and are already seven games out of the playoffs. Rumors of Anthony Davis opting out of his contract in 2020 are already swirling, and after a 4-0 start to the season, the Pelicans have been a mess. Davis also went to the locker room a couple times last night, once with an ankle injury, and the other time due to his stomach, which was upset before the game started. He had another big game on Wednesday, but I’m starting to have some minor concerns about a possible shutdown. Simply put, the Pelicans should be better than they are. Jrue Holiday had a monster game with a 25 & 12 double-double with big numbers, and Darius Miller (20 points, 6 3-pointers) and Jahlil Okafor (season-high 17 points) had nice games, but the Pelicans are a mess. Miller got a start with both Julius Randle (ankle) and Nikola Mirotic (ankle) out of the lineup, but I don’t trust him, at all. And I’m mad at Tim Frazier, who’s been awful in his last two games.
Pistons 129, Wolves 123 OT – Reggie Bullock backed up his career-high 24 from Monday with a career-high 33 points on Wednesday, draining seven triples on the way. He’s been on fire for three straight games, and while I don’t trust him (at all), it’s time to grab him. Unfortunately, the Pistons play just three games in each of the next two weeks. Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson also played very well for the Pistons, who got the OT win. Make sure Jackson’s not on waivers in your league. Every other Piston was useless last night. And Drummond was the hero, sending the game to OT with a tip-in, and hitting a rare 3-pointer for a dagger.
Taj Gibson is fading fast, Derrick Rose went nuts with 33 points and seven assists, as Jeff Teague sat again with an ankle sprain, and sounds doubtful for Friday. If that happens, Rose should be an automatic DFS play on Friday. Dario Saric had another nice game and it only feels like a matter of time before he makes Gibson an afterthought.
Rockets 136, Wizards 118 – P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela double-doubled, James Harden went off, and Chris Paul and Eric Gordon were solid in the win. The bench did next to nothing, but Tucker, as usual, is worth a look in all leagues. He’s this year’s “float on and off the wire” special. Oh, and the Rockets set a record with 26 3-pointers made.
Trevor Ariza was at it again last night with a 15-6-3-3 line in 36 minutes, while all five starters hit double figures and John Wall double-doubled. Jeff Green was quiet, but is still worth a look for as long as Otto Porter Jr. is out, and Thomas Bryant had 12 points, four boards and a block, barely keeping him on the fantasy radar in deep leagues. I’m done with Markieff Morris, at least for now, and don’t believe the Sam Dekker hype. Ariza needs to be owned.
Jazz 108, Warriors 103 – Rudy Gobert and reserve Jae Crowder both double-doubled, Ricky Rubio had 10 assists (and three points on 0-of-8 shooting), Joe Ingles bounced back (told ya) and Derrick Favors was solid in the win. Ingles, Crowder and Favors (in that order) should be owned, and Rubio is a great buy-low right now, as January, when he typically goes on a tear, is right around the corner. Mitchell hit just 5-of-26 shots on the night, and was much more fun to own last season, in my opinion. He’s shooting 35.6 percent over his last five, and 41.1 percent on the season.
There’s literally not one thing I can tell you about the Warriors box score that you don’t already know. And I’m running out of room. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both topped the 30-point line, but the Dubs lost.
Blazers 99, Grizzlies 92 – The Memphis box score looks better than the Blazers on paper, but PDX got the win. Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard were both surprisingly good off the bench, and instrumental in the win, but aren’t really worth a fantasy look, and Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu were very quiet for the Blazers. Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic didn’t turn any heads, and the only explanation I can give for them winning this game is ‘Grizzlies.’
Mike Conley was back from his hamstring injury and had a big 23 points, six assists and five 3-pointers, while all five Grizzlies starters hit double digits in scoring. Again, I’m not sure how they lost this game. Jaren Jackson Jr. (16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 3-pointers) and Kyle Anderson (15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block) both played very well. I’m a fan of owning both of them at this point, and it’s nice to know that Anderson may be capable of living up to the hype. Sadly, the Grizzlies (and Pacers) only have two games next week.
Thunder 132, Kings 113 – Paul George (43-12-7), Russell Westbrook (19-11-17-6), Steven Adams (20 & 23) and Jerami Grant (22 points, 2 3-pointers, 9-of-11 shooting) all went crazy last night, and whooped up on the Kangz. Man, what a night from those starters, as even Tyler Ferguson had 14 points, but Dennis Schroder was out for a one-game suspension. Grant tied his season high with 22 points, and should be owned in most leagues.
The Kings let the starters play tonight, although my boy, Nemanja Bjelica, only got 23 minutes and finished with 10 points, six boards, a block and a 3-pointer. I’m still holding him as long as Marvin Bagley is out. Buddy Hield scored a career-high 37 with seven 3-pointers, De’Aaron Fox had 28 points, 12 assists and an awesome stat line, and Willie Cauley-Stein and Justin Jackson were both solid. Jackson got the start with Bogdan Bogdanovic out with a sore foot. I get a lot of questions about WCS, but he should be owned in my book, as should Bogdanovic. Jackson isn’t worth grabbing unless Bogdanovic is going to miss time. Good night!