A light NBA Tuesday (three games) featured two big blowouts, one triple-double, heavy trade rumors around one Phoenix Sun and Kawhi Leonard sitting out a back-to-back — not due to rest, but apparently because of a minor injury. All of that and more… right here:
Rockets 111, Blazers 103
HOU: Chris Paul put down a triple-double in the victory over the Blazers, his first 3-D of the season — and first in nearly a year — though not exactly the most emphatic one. CP3 finished with an 11-11-10 line with three steals, a block and no 3s on 2-of-12 shooting. He is now rolling with two consecutive strong games after a 23-point, eight-assist line on Saturday, and looks to be back in a groove after missing time late last month with that hamstring injury — and initially struggling upon his return.
Eric Gordon got a start but was relatively quiet with 14 points and four assists (with no treys) in 39 minutes. He’s been notably better as a starter this year (18.9 ppg/3.0 3s vs. 13.6 ppg/2.3 3s off the bench), so hopefully he continues to get that chance. Helping his cause: James Ennis, who lost his starting spot to Gordon, left with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Danuel House (12 points), Nene (10) and Gerald Green (13) all made some random noise off the bench, and it’s possible that House and/or Green would benefit from a lengthy Ennis absence.
POR: Al-Farouq Aminu stayed hot for the Blazers, putting up 10 points with 15 boards and two 3s. He’s now averaging 14.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 1.6 3s in his last six games. Another notable line for Portland came from Moe Harkless, who played 31 minutes and finished with nine points, four rebounds, a steal, two blocks and one triple. Harkless isn’t producing consistently yet, but is on the deep-league radar with averages of 1.0 spg, 1.4 bpg and 1.2 3s this month.
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Spurs 111, Suns 86
PHX: First things first — stop what you’re doing now and go see if De’Anthony Melton (18 percent owned in Yahoo) is still available in your league. Melton had another strong line as the starting PG, posting 17-7-6 with two steals and three 3s in 33 minutes. Over his last five games, he’s at 14.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.6 spg and 1.8 3s. Devin Booker (hamstring) remains sidelined, Elie Okobo went back to the G-League for the moment, and those numbers from Melton can help fantasy owners just about anywhere for as long as he’s getting consistent run.
Not appearing on the stat sheet for Phoenix — Trevor Ariza, who was a DNP-CD as he continues to be at the center of trade rumors. In fact, the Suns have reportedly had at least eight teams checking in on him, and at this point it’ll be pretty shocking if he’s not dealt sooner rather than later. Ariza is eligible to be traded Dec. 15 — aka this Saturday.
As for the Suns who did get onto the court: T.J. Warren scored 23, Deandre Ayton put up 12-11-4 with two blocks, and Josh Jackson really looked active and involved and energetic — until you looked at the box score at the end of the game and saw that he shot 2-of-14. Whoops. Jackson did get three steals and a trey in his 35 minutes, and was coming off an impressive line on Monday (18-4-8), which pretty much sums up the Josh Jackson experience: It’s going to be tumultuous. At times exciting. And overall draining. But possibly rewarding. Jackson’s last 10 games: 11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.3 bpg and 0.6 3s — on 37.8 percent from the field and 73.3 from the line with 2.8 turnovers.
Looking deeper into this side of the box score — Richaun Holmes cooled off a bit but still had eight points and three blocks in his 17 minutes, while Mikal Bridges had eight points and two 3s with very little else in 32 minutes. I like Bridges too as a pickup right now if you can weather some inconsistency, as he obviously stands to play a ton with Ariza likely headed out of town. The other name to keep an eye on here in deeper formats is Jawun Evans, who got 26 minutes and posted four points with three boards, three assists and two steals.
SAS: Bryn Forbes got hot against the cratering Suns, scoring a season-high 24 points with 11 rebounds and five 3s. It was his third straight double-digit game, but even with the big night, Forbes is averaging just 10.5 ppg, 1.6 apg, 0.3 spg and 1.5 3s (in 23 min. per game) his last eight. For the Spurs, Rudy Gay (13 points) hit double digits in a fourth consecutive game and has put up a stellar 19.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.8 bpg and 1.3 treys during that stretch.
DeMar DeRozan (a season-low five points and nine assists) had his line held in check by game flow as the Spurs won by 25. Derrick White put up seven assists and three steals, but scored just four points and is really requiring a lot of patience from fantasy owners. White’s last eight games: 6.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.6 apg, 0.9 spg and 0.3 3s in 24 minutes a game. Lastly, Jakob Poeltl (eight points, 11 rebounds in 21 minutes) had another game to make you consider adding him in deeper leagues.
Raptors 123, Clippers 99
TOR: The late game was another big blowout, as the Raptors, without Kawhi Leonard (injured and/or resting — more on that in a second) got 25 from Serge Ibaka (with three blocks in 24 minutes) and 21 from Kyle Lowry — who broke out of a recent slump — as they crushed the Clippers. Fred VanVleet also had a huge game stepping into the starting lineup for Leonard, with five points, six rebounds and a career-high 14 assists — his first game in the pros with double-digit dimes. FVV has certainly been a bit uneven lately, but owners who have stayed patient in deeper formats have gotten 9.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.7 3s the last 10 games.
“Nurse said they had been targeting this back-to-back as Kawhi's first of the season, but he tweaked his hip late in Sunday's game. Leonard went through shootaround this AM, and they hoped he would play, but he's still sore. Status for tomorrow in Golden State also up in the air.”
So there you go. We’ll have to keep an eye on Kawhi leading up to Wednesday, and hopefully the night off has him ready to go in a big-time matchup against the Warriors.
LAC: Remember how the Blazers box score featured 90 points from the starters and 13 from the bench? This one was almost the opposite. With the game getting out of hand relatively early, L.A.’s bench scored 64 of its 99 points, led by Boban Marjanovic (18 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes — classic Boban) in a complete throwaway game for L.A. across the board. If you were counting on Clippers Tuesday, you’ll have to hope that the blowout loss leads to some nice redemption on Thursday evening against the Spurs.
(Also of note: Lou Williams sat this one out after injuring his hamstring on Monday.)
In other news…
*Victor Oladipo (really sore knee) did some work at Tuesday’s practice (including 4-on-4), and is being called questionable for Wednesday. Things certainly appear to be headed in the right direction overall, though at this point Wednesday still seems iffy, if not doubtful, for a return.
*Al Horford is reportedly dealing with patellar tendinitis, and Brad Stevens said his center is “day-to-day right now, but we may go slowly with him.” That sure makes Horford sound iffy for Wednesday, and potentially for the rest of this week at least. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving (shoulder) is not on the injury report and should be back in action after missing one game. Gordon Hayward (illness) is being called doubtful.
*Tristan Thompson is reportedly set to miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained foot. It’s been a glorious run for TT for over a month now, as he’s averaged 14.0 ppg, 13.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 spg and 0.4 bpg in his last 18 games. I don’t see him as a must-hold in shallow leagues though, given that Kevin Love could be back in January to vacuum up a bunch of those rebounds and impact all of Thompson’s numbers in a negative way.
*Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) is listed as out on Wednesday, which means another start for Jalen Brunson — who has 15.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg and 0.5 3s in his last two games — both starts. We may also finally see the season debut of one Dirk Nowitzki (ankle), who is listed as questionable. (As always, with these injury reports, make sure to check the Rotoworld player news page closer to tipoff for the latest updates, because things do change.)
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Injury Quick Hits: Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck) is probable for Wednesday. … Mike Conley popped up on the injury report with a sore hamstring and is being called questionable. … John Wall (heel) and Otto Porter (knee contusion) are listed as day-to-day ahead of Wednesday’s matchup with the Celtics. … Nikola Mirotic (ankle) is out for Wednesday, while E’Twaun Moore (lower leg) is questionable. … Jeremy Lin (back) did individual work on Monday, but is not expected to play on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Omari Spellman (hip) is expected to miss his third straight for Atlanta. … Trey Burke (knee) is slated to miss his fifth straight game on Wednesday, while Allonzo Trier (hamstring) will be reevaluated next week. … Robert Covington (knee) is probable for Wednesday. … Brandon Knight (knee) is on track to make his season debut early next week, and is a name with some potential upside to keep in mind for if and when Chris Paul gets hurt.