Sunday was a lot of fun. Aaron Gordon finally had the breakout game we were all waiting for, Klay Thompson is still on fire and Draymond Green posted his ninth triple-double of the season. To make things even better, there were no significant injuries to report which is a rare occasion these days. Let’s get right to it.
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Clippers 123, Bulls 90
Led by DeAndre Jordan’s massive double-double and J.J. Redick’s 21 points, the Clippers easily cruised past the Bulls in this one for their fourth straight win. Jordan finished with 17 points, 20 boards, four assists and four blocks, while Redick added four boards and four 3-pointers to his line. Chris Paul was solid with 19 points and seven assists, while Wesley Johnson added 11 points off the bench. Coach Doc Rivers did say on Saturday that CP3 would “probably” get an occasional day off to rest down the stretch, but his owners shouldn’t be concerned because he is going to put up some scary numbers with Blake Griffin (hand) out for two months. Jordan and Redick will also get a significant boost moving forward. Austin Rivers has played well in two straight games and had 16 points with five treys in this one, but I have zero trust in him.
Jimmy Butler had 23 points to lead the Bulls, but he had a weird line with one board and zero assists in 37 minutes. This was his third game of the season without an assist and he had 10 dimes in his previous game, so it’s not a concern. Derrick Rose pulled his weight instead of his hamstring on Sunday with 20 points, five boards and four assists, but his production on a nightly basis is way too sporadic for my taste. He is annoying to own in fantasy and his next injury is always around the corner. Pau Gasol had 15 points with 14 boards and five assists, while Taj Gibson added seven points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. For now, Gasol and Gibson are the only reliable bigs in Chicago. Rookie Bobby Portis played just 18 minutes with eight points and six boards, but I’m quickly losing confidence that he will truly break out this season. Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn’t trust him yet.
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Heat 105, Hawks 87
Who would’ve thought that Amare Stoudemire would be the Hawks’ worst nightmare? STAT had his first double-double of the season with 13 points, 12 boards, one block and three steals in 21 minutes. Hassan Whiteside (hip) is day-to-day, so I’d recommend staying away from Stoudemire. Dwyane Wade scored 17 points with eight assists, while Chris Bosh had 17 points, seven boards, two assists and two 3-pointers. Goran Dragic was pretty quiet with nine points and four assists, but this game was over in a hurry and the Heat were probably just managing his minutes. He won’t reach his ADP, but Dragic should be so much better after the All-Star break. On a side note, Miami has suddenly won four straight games and are fourth place in the East.
Paul Millsap played through a tweaked ankle and looked fine despite the lopsided score, finishing with 17 points, five boards, one assist, two steals and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes. He’s a top-10 asset in fantasy moving forward. Al Horford also had 17 points with a couple of blocks and three 3-pointers, and it’s a little surprising that his name has come up in trade rumors. He is on the last year of his deal, but it would take a massive offer from a team like the Celtics to make a deal work. Jeff Teague’s name has also been in the rumor mill, and while he has picked up his play recently, he shot just 3-of-11 from the field in the loss and had 15 points with six assists. His owners should be rooting for a trade. Dennis Schroder (11 points, three assists) is a solid stash in case that happens, but he is a low-end play for now. Kent Bazemore (eight points, 10 boards) and Kyle Korver (zero points on 0-of-6 shooting) are both still slumping, but Bazemore is the only must-own wing in Atlanta right now and should get hot soon.
Magic 119, Celtics 114
Aaron Gordon finally broke out in Sunday’s win over the Celtics, scoring 19 points with 14 boards, five assists and two blocks in 39 minutes. I’ve been preaching patience to his owners all season along with several of my colleagues, and it’s time to call him a must-start player. Channing Frye was a DNP-CD and the Magic snapped an eight-game losing skid, so they would be foolish to go away from Gordon now. Their playoff hops are also fading, so his development should be their top priority. AG is averaging 30.0 minutes over his last five games. Thank you, Scott Skiles.
Speaking of promising young players, Mario Hezonja had a career night with 17 points, three boards, three assists and three treys in 33 minutes. However, Elfrid Payton (nine points, four boards) and Victor Oladipo (11 points, four assists) both got into some foul trouble, so I need to pump the brakes on Hezonja’s performance just a little bit. He is a decent stash in deeper leagues, but his dynasty owners can finally start to feel more confident. Nikola Vucevic played well with 16 points, 13 boards, seven assists and three blocks, while Tobias Harris did his part with 16 points and six boards. Evan Fournier made some noise with 24 points and four treys in 23 minutes, but I don’t feel good about his outlook down the stretch. Keep in mind that he was also held to eight points in his previous outing…
Marcus Smart came out of nowhere to score 26 points with five treys to lead Boston, which is very surprising because he was shooting 23.8 percent from deep prior to Sunday. I need to see him do it again before I’m ready to call him a must-own player. Jae Crowder was a letdown with five points on 2-of-8 shooting, but he deserves a pass here. The guy has been a top-30 player in standard leagues…
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley combined for 45 points in the loss, with Thomas adding four assists, five treys and two steals while Bradley added three steals and three treys. Bradley has been a hit-or-miss option all season, so this is a decent sell-high opportunity. As for the bigs, the Celtics got very limited production from Jared Sullinger (five points, four boards) and Kelly Olynyk (nine points, three boards, three assists).
Mavericks 91, Suns 78
Dirk Nowitzki (rest) took the night off for the Mavs, so Raymond Felton moved into the starting lineup and had 10 points with six assists and three steals in 36 minutes. Ignore him and move on. Chandler Parsons finally cooled off with 15 points and two 3-pointers, but he was overdue for a bad game after playing some incredible ball in the past two weeks. Wesley Matthews’ struggles continued with just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting, and he has now scored in single digits in each of his last four games. He has too much upside to drop, though. The good news is that Deron Williams got back on track with 27 points, four assists and two treys, while Zaza Pachulia continued to impress with nine points and 15 boards.
The Suns went small to match up with Parsons at the four, so Mirza Teletovic (14 points, two treys) started in place of Alex Len. This shouldn’t be a permanent move, and I’d definitely recommend stick with Len even though he played just 15 minutes with six boards, eight boards and three blocks. He will eventually get all the minutes he can handle. Tyson Chandler double-doubled in 33 minutes, but his role could vanish on the tanking Suns down the stretch. Sell high while you can. Archie Goodwin was awful again with three points on 1-of-11 shooting, but at least the minutes were there (36). Keep him stashed on your bench since Brandon Knight (groin) has no timetable. Devin Booker stayed hot with 19 points, seven boards, four assists and two treys, but he has been a must-start player for a while now.
Warriors 116, Knicks 95
Draymond Green messed around and recorded his ninth triple-double of the season, posting a massive line of 20 points, 10 boards, 10 assists, two triples and a couple of steals and blocks. He was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field and took much better care of the ball after having seven turnovers vs. the 76ers on Saturday. Klay Thompson was ridiculous again with 34 points and five treys, and he has been the best player in standard leagues over his last three games with averages of 37.0 points, 2.7 boards, 2.0 assists and 5.3 pointers on 65.6 percent shooting from the field. Good grief. Stephen Curry looked like he was human for once with just 13 points, while Harrison Barnes finished with just eight points in 31 minutes. Barnes is in a slump, but you would regret cutting him.
Carmelo Antony had 24 points and 10 boards to lead the Knicks, but I still can’t stress the importance of selling high while you can. The Knicks keep losing and Anthony’s knee is a concern, so the shut-down risk is very real. Derrick Williams (11 points, six boards) would benefit the most if that ever happened, so he’s a decent handcuff in deeper leagues. Langston Galloway started at point guard again and had nine points, five assists, three boards and three steals, but he shot 3-of-13 from the field. He’s just not very good and I wouldn’t be excited to own him even if Jose Calderon (groin) continues to miss time. Kristaps Porzingis struggled with foul trouble, but he still posted a respectable line of 14 points, six boards, one steal and two triples in 20 minutes. He will be better on Tuesday vs. the Celtics.
Blazers 96, Wolves 93
Damian Lillard helped the Blazers secure their fourth straight win, scoring 21 points with eight assists, four boards, one steal and one trey in 32 minutes. C.J. McCollum was no slouch either with 21 points and two steals, but he didn’t have a 3-pointer for the first time since Nov. 16. Is there a better backcourt in the West other than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson? I don’t think so. Mason Plumlee had a boring night with six points and three boards in 20 minutes, but that’s because the Blazers were getting some excellent minutes from Meyers Leonard. He finished with 13 points, six boards and three 3-pointers, but as much as I love his upside, he hasn’t been able to string together several good performances in a row this season. Keep an eye on him, though.
Should we go ahead and give the Rookie of the Year Award to Karl-Anthony Towns already? The only other rookie in the rear-view mirror has been Porzingis this season, but Towns is running away with this race. He had 21 points with 13 boards and three blocks, and it’s starting to become clear that he could be a top-five pick in fantasy leagues as soon as next season. Gorgui Dieng had another double-double with 13 points, 10 boards and one block, and I promise he will be a beast down the stretch if he continues to get more than 30 minutes a night (he played 38 minutes on Sunday and 39 minutes on Friday). It begs the question, what took coach Sam Mitchell so long to unleash him?
Ricky Rubio had one of his best all-around games with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, adding nine assists and three steals. If you do own Rubio, make sure you find a way to own Zach LaVine as well. The young guard scored 14 points in 25 minutes, but was averaging 25.0 points in his previous three games. I’m not sure what’s going on with Andrew Wiggins (15 points on 3-of-18 shooting), but I still wouldn’t panic even though he scored five points in his previous outing. Coach Sam Mitchell did hint that he was fatigued last week, so that would be the best explanation.
Hornets 101, Lakers 82
In just his second game back since returning from a serious shoulder injury, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a massive double-double with 19 points, 12 boards, three assists and two 3-pointers on 6-of-7 shooting. I’m shocked about how good he looks, and it’s hard to not pick him up in all leagues after this performance. It helped that Nicolas Batum (toe) was out, but MKG’s role as the starting small forward is all but safe. Pick him up and see where he takes you. Marvin Williams also doubled-doubled with 19 points and 12 boards, and like I said on Friday, he isn’t going away and coach Steve Clifford loves him. Something is definitely up with Kemba Walker who finished with just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, but he hasn’t been listed on the injury report. He is probably just tired from putting the Hornets on his back during the month of January, so I wouldn’t worry since Charlotte has two days off until they play the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
The Lakers tied a franchise record with their 10th straight loss, and they got some bad news on Sunday when they learned that Larry Nance (knee) could be held out until the All-Star break. However, that’s good news for Julius Randle who finished with 10 points, 11 boards and two assists in 31 minutes. He is slowly starting to pop up on the standard-league radar, but he is just a low-end asset. Roy Hibbert is still a waste of space and was scoreless in 21 minutes with two rebounds, while Kobe Bryant played through a shoulder issue and scored 23 points with four treys. It was a solid night for the Black Mamba, but he will be a headache to own. Jordan Clarkson added 13 points with a couple of 3-pointers and D’Angelo Russell scored 10 points with six boards in 30 minutes. I know he’s frustrating, but stick with the rookie.