Twelve games and limited space mean that I’m going to have to pick my spots. Forgive me if I don’t mention your favorite player. Here we go! Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Hawks 127, Sixers 106 – The Hawks snapped a three-game slide, getting big lines out of Paul Millsap (zero rebounds-what?), Al Horford and Jeff Teague against the lowly Sixers. Kent Bazemore stumbled with eight points, but still had a full stat line with just five shots taken. He’s fine, and Thabo Sefolosha didn’t do much. Dennis Schroder had 17 points, seven assists, three steals and two 3-pointers off the bench, but keep in mind that this was a blowout against the Sixers. Ignore it for now. You guys know I don’t like Schroder as long as Teague’s healthy. Millsap’s zero rebounds might be the most mindboggling stat of the night, but it means nothing.
The Sixers got a season-high 24 points out of Isaiah Canaan, which was impossible to see coming, given his four points in his previous game. I really don’t trust any guard playing for Philly right now. Starting forwards Robert Covington and Jerami Grant were quiet, but Covington remains a must-own player, while Grant will take a hit once Nerlens Noel is back from his eye injury. Kendall Marshall started at PG, but only had seven points and four assists in 15 minutes, while T.J. McConnell played 17 minutes and Tony Wroten played 15. Three-headed point guards for an NBA team are a fantasy nightmare, so tread carefully with any of them (read: ignore). Jahlil Okafor had 19 points and seven rebounds, and along with Covington, is the only reliable Sixer right now. Richaun Holmes had 12 points, seven boards, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes off the bench, but this was a garbage-time special.
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Pacers 107, Mavericks 81 – C.J. Miles took his benching in stride and hit three more 3-pointers for 20 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Hold him. Paul George was quiet again with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting, and he’s really cooled off over his last three games – a good buy-low opportunity? Monta Ellis has played well in two straight games, new starter Lavoy Allen didn’t do much, and Ian Mahinmi bounced back with five points and 10 boards in 22 minutes. He continues to hold off Jordan Hill (6 points, 6 rebounds in 23 minutes), but barely.
The Mavs were a mess and only Raymond Felton (16 points) and Dirk Nowitzki (13 points) hit double figures. Felton has been playing well at shooting guard and is worth a pick up in all leagues, averaging 13.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games. There was literally nothing else to see in the Dallas box score, except that Chandler Parsons (season-high 29 minutes) limped to the locker room before the game ended. If he’s going to miss time, it should just mean more minutes for guys like Felton, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea, as Wesley Matthews can handle most of the SF minutes.
Magic 113, Hornets 98 – Channing Frye played well again with 17 points and five 3-pointers, giving him two solid stat lines in a row. And no, I don’t think it will last, and I’d rather hold Andrew Nicholson, who didn’t do much tonight. All five Magic starters scored in double digits and we saw a nice bounce-back for Evan Fournier, who had 15 points, three 3-pointers and two steals in 24 minutes. Maybe he’ll survive? Elfrid Payton is having a nice season and even hit 5-of-9 shots as a bonus, while Victor Oladipo continues to squirm off the bench. He had 11-4-4, but I’m pretty mad at Scott Skiles for ruining him thus far. Aaron Gordon quietly played 25 minutes off the bench and had six points, seven boards and two steals, so just keep him on your radar in case he’s about to bust loose.
The Hornets got 16 points, four steals and a 3-pointer from Jeremy Lamb off the bench, which was his best game of the month. The December-high 24 minutes were a big reason, so put him back on your radar in case it sticks. Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum both struggled, but are fine, while Marvin Williams has officially cooled off, performing poorly in three straight. He should eventually bounce back, but he’s no longer a must-start player. This was just a bad night for the Hornets. Al Jefferson’s five-game suspension started tonight, so he only has to sit out for four more games, meaning Cody Zeller’s mediocre run is coming to a close.
Heat 104, Nets 98 – Chris Bosh and Luol Deng both had off nights, but played 30-plus minutes, while Dwyane Wade shook off a flu bug for 28 points and a nice line that included 13-of-17 shooting. I still think he’s going to be given a night off soon. Hassan Whiteside racked up 20 points, 13 boards and a block amid trade rumors, and Goran Dragic added 16 points and five dimes, showing signs of life. Gerald Green went to the bench and had 13 points, meaning he’s fading, while Justise Winslow played 33 minutes and hit 4-of-5 shots and three 3-pointers for 11 points and eight boards. This is something to monitor, especially during trade season.
Brook Lopez scored 25 and Jarrett Jack had a big double-double with 22 points and 10 dimes in the loss. Jack looks much better than he did a couple weeks ago. Starters Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson and Thaddeus Young were all quiet, but Thadd is the only must-start player of that trio. The Nets bench didn’t do much, but deep-leaguers might want to take a look at Andrea Bargnani, who had 10 points and five boards last night. Again, deep-leaguers only, but he has scored in double digits in four straight off the bench.
Pistons 119, Celtics 116 – Andre Drummond was solid and made up for no blocks with a rare 3-pointer, and Reggie Jackson came through with 23 points, but just three assists in the win. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the big story with a career-best 31 points with three 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting in 44 minutes. He also had a steal and a block, has hit double figures in scoring in four straight games, and is averaging a nice 18 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.0 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting over his last five games. Get him in your lineup. Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova were a bit quiet again tonight, but I’m guessing both of them will get hot again soon. There’s nothing to see on the Pistons’ bench, so the aforementioned are who you want to own.
The Celtics got a career-high 38 from Isaiah Thomas after an off night and Jared Sullinger had 17 points, 10 rebounds and a 3-pointer. I started them on Tuesday, but I was a day early. Avery Bradley didn’t do much, but played 38 minutes so stick with him, and Kelly Olynyk was scoreless in his 16 minutes. The ride has been over for a couple games, but he could easily get hot again at any time. Jae Crowder started again and scored just nine points, but had seven boards and a 3-pointer in 32 minutes, meaning he’s still a good player to own.
Knicks 107, Wolves 102 – Arron Afflalo scored 29 points, hitting 9-of-14 shots and three 3-pointers, finally living up to the hype. Carmelo Anthony had 20 with 15 rebounds, nine assists and a steal, block and 3-pointer, and Kristaps Porzingis is alive with 11 points, six rebounds, seven blocks and a 3-pointer, despite hitting just 4-of-14 shots. Lance Thomas is worth a deep-league look and had 14 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer, while Langston Galloway picked up Jose Calderon’s slack with 12 points, six dimes and a 3-pointer. The Knicks are a tough team to get a read on right now, but Galloway’s worth keeping a close eye on.
Ricky Rubio just missed a quadruple-double with nine points, 10 boards, 12 assists and eight steals, despite hitting just 3-of-10 shots. If you get him on the right night, look out. Karl-Anthony Towns was big with 25 & 10, and Gorgui Dieng got a start at PF with Kevin Garnett resting, and had 14 points, 10 boards, a steal and a block. Please, Sam Mitchell – start him! Andrew Wiggins was solid and had a steal and a block to go with 23 points, and Zach LaVine stayed hot with 19 points, two boards and two assists in 9-of-20 shooting. He should be owned in all leagues, especially since Kevin Martin was out with a wrist injury.
Bulls 98, Grizzlies 85 – Keep an eye on new starter Taj Gibson, but he hasn’t done enough to be owned in all leagues just yet. Tony Snell fell back to earth after a monster game, while Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were all solid. Doug McDermott played 23 minutes and had 17 points with four 3-pointers, and he appears to be heating up. Nikola Mirotic got just 15 minutes, and it might take a trade of a teammate or two to fully open him up. Joakim Noah was quiet with three points and six boards, but played 29 minutes and looks much better.
Matt Barnes fizzled in 22 minutes and was in foul trouble, but I think you should hang onto him. Zach Randolph had 10 points and 11 boards off the bench, but Barnes is going to continue to hinder him going forward. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley came in hot but struggled, and Courtney Lee got hot for 18 points, seven boards, six assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting. He may not play this well again for another month.
Thunder 106, Blazers 90 – Steven Adams had one of his best games with 11 points, 11 boards and a block, while Russell Westbrook had one of his worst with 13 points and five assist on 5-of-15 shooting, yet the Thunder still won. This was Adams’ first double-double of the season, and I’d still rather own Enes Kanter, who had 12 points and 13 boards off the bench. Dion Waiters scored 18 points off the bench, but I still don’t trust him.
Al-Farouq Aminu had just five points in 21 minutes and Allen Crabbe scored three points in just 16 minutes. Both guys had been playing very well, so give them another game or two before panicking. Mason Plumlee is heating up again and had 14 points and 10 boards, while Damian Lillard (tweaked an ankle) and C.J. McCollum played like they should be owned in all leagues. Meyers Leonard showed signs of life with four points and six boards in 26 minutes, but he’s not there yet, while Ed Davis has become an afterthought in Portland.
Spurs 114, Wizards 95 – The Spurs rolled again with Tim Duncan resting, as Kawhi Leonard went off for 27 points and a fat line. LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t bad, and David West had nine points and 10 boards, but was only starting because Duncan was out. Tony Parker double-doubled with 10 & 10, while Danny Green stunk it up again with seven points, four boards, a 3-pointer and nothing else in 19 minutes. Save your email – I’m not cutting him, but if you want to, or did, good for you. I’m jealous, but am just hoping for a second-half resurgence.
Otto Porter disappeared again with two points on 1-of-6 shooting, and he’s been just awful since his 28-point explosion three games ago. He also left with a thigh injury and rookie Kelly Oubre scored a career-high 18 points in his stead. I don’t like Oubre, but think Porter will be better if he can walk tomorrow. Marcin Gortat went off for a 20-10 double-double, John Wall double-doubled with 20 & 11, and Gary Neal fizzled while replacing Garrett Temple in the starting lineup with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. I still like Neal and Ramon Sessions (10 points, four assists) over Temple to fill in for Bradley Beal (leg). Jared Dudley went to the bench and had two points in 19 minutes, but was playing deep-league well. Maybe he’ll bounce back, but I still don’t like him.
Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward had big lines for the Jazz, but Alec Burks failed to take advantage of a start (finally) with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. He’s getting used to his new starting role, so just hang in there with him. Jeff Withey fizzled in a start for Rudy Gobert (hurry back, please), while Trey Burke had 12 points, four boards and five assists, but hit just 4-of-13 shots. He’s a borderline own, but at least the minutes are there (28 tonight). Trevor Booker’s month of disappointment continued (9 points, 3 boards) and I’m cutting him loose. Sorry about the false alarm.
Clippers 103, Bucks 90 – Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick led the Clippers, as usual, but none of them were great. DeAndre Jordan would have been better than nine points and eight rebounds, but was ejected after a pair of technicals in just 18 minutes. I doubt he’s suspended, but keep an eye on the news feed if you own him. Josh Smith scored 13 off the bench, but if Josh goes 3-of-3 from downtown, did the tree really fall?
Michael Carter-Williams finally started for the Bucks and was nice with 17 points, six boards, five assists and a steal. Hopefully he’s good to go from here on in. Miles Plumlee started for Greg Monroe tonight (Jason Kidd must hate John Henson) and stunk, Jabari Parker didn’t do anything of interest, and Khris Middleton and O.J. Mayo both played well in the starting unit. I wish Mayo would become consistent. Giannis Antetokounmpo came off the bench and hit just 4-of-12 shots, but still had nine points, 11 boards and a 3-pointer. I wish Kidd would just play MCW, Mayo, Antetokounmpo, Parker and Monroe and be done with it, but we all know it’s not that simple. Kidd simply hates fantasy owners. Or at least that’s what I’ve told myself. Also, forget about Jerryd Bayless (ankle), as it appears that ship has sailed.
Warriors 128 Suns 103 – Klay Thompson caught fire for 43 points and eight 3-pointers, and was on several benches if you’re old school and play weekly lineups, as the Warriors had just two games this week. I feel your pain. Andrew Bogut had 12 boards, a steal and a block, but zero points, Draymond Green had his fourth triple-double with 16-11-10, and Brandon Rush scored 11 points in a start for Harrison Barnes, who might be ready to come back next week. You can do better than Rush off your waiver wire. And yes, Stephen Curry had another nice game in an easy win.
The Suns got an off night from Eric Bledsoe on 3-of-12 shooting, but he did have five boards, eight dimes and two steals, and Brandon Knight scored 17 points. Mirza Teletovic, who came in ice cold, hit 9-of-13 shots and three 3-pointers for 24 points, but I need to see him do it again before getting excited. T.J. Warren had 19 points, eight boards, a steal and a block on 9-of-15 shooting, and ditto – I need to see him do it again. Jon Leuer finally cooled off with seven points, five boards and a 3-pointer in just 14 minutes, but give him a couple more games. He’s been great and just got Teletovic’d tonight. Tyson Chandler started and didn’t do much, but he’s going to really hurt Alex Len’s value. I’m good with benching Len, but am not quite ready to cut him. Then again, I’m the idiot who is still holding onto Danny Green.