Blake Griffin’s surprising elbow surgery was the story of the day on Sunday, and vaulted Spencer Hawes into must-own territory. And Boogie Cousins won one for his team. Monday’s Dose catches you up on what you missed while you were watching golf, or doing something productive in the great outdoors.
Games Week 16 (All-Star Week)
2 Games: ATL, BRK, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
1 Game: BOS, CHA, PHI, PHX, POR, TOR
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $250,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here's the FanDuel link.
12 Things We Learned On Sunday
1. Blake Griffin’s Injury stinks – No one saw it coming, or at least no one who could have warned you to prepare for the news. He’ll have elbow surgery for a staph infection on Monday and could miss up to six weeks as he recovers. My guess is he won’t be out for quite that long, so if you own him, you have no choice but to sit tight and hope for the best. Unless you can find someone willing to pay up for a guy who’s future couldn’t be cloudier.
Additionally, the Clippers are currently the seventh seed in the West, and were blown out by the Thunder on Sunday. The Thunder are now just one game behind ninth-seed New Orleans, two games behind No. 8 Phoenix, six games behind No. 7 San Antonio, and 6.5 games behind the Clippers. It will be interesting to see how the Clippers fare without Griffin, but I am also banking on Griffin returning to action sooner than later. The Clips have trailed by at least 20 points in three straight games and their upcoming schedule is not pretty. In other words, this Griffin injury could actually keep the Clippers from the postseason.
2. Hello, My Name Is Spencer – Spencer Hawes started in place of Griffin on Sunday and had 17 points, two 3-pointers and a block in 35 minutes. He did most of his damage in the first half and had just one rebound, but there is no reason Hawes should be available in your league by Monday night. Pick. Him. Up.
3. Pop robbed of 1,000 wins – The Spurs were hoping to get coach Gregg Popovich his 1,000th win on Sunday, but they couldn’t get it done against the Raptors. Tim Duncan (3-of-14 shooting) and Marco Belinelli (17 minutes) led the Spurs in scoring with 12 points each, which helps to explain why they didn’t win. The Spurs will try for Pop’s 1,000th again on Monday against the Pacers. And in case you’re wondering, Kawhi Leonard hit just 5-of-17 shots for 11 points in 37 minutes.
4. Hawks fall at Memphis – The Hawks-Grizzlies game was a good one, but Memphis scored the game’s final eight points to hang on for a 94-88 win over the league’s best team. Paul Millsap hit just 2-of-10 shots for four points and six rebounds for the Hawks, which is probably why they lost. The Hawks’ schedule eases up after this one, as they will face Minnesota and Boston in their next two, before facing Toronto, Milwaukee and Dallas. You can go ahead and circle Friday, March 6 as the next big game for the Hawks, when they’ll face the streaking Cavaliers at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
5. Boogie Cousins hits big-time game-winner – DeMarcus Cousins went off for 28 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, and hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat the Suns 85-83 on Sunday. Boogie also had six turnovers in his sixth straight double-double, but all is forgiven after this one. The shot he hit to win the game wasn’t exactly pure, but it went in, which is all that matters. He’s got an All-Star chip on his shoulder, and even though he’s now going to the game as an injury replacement, that chip isn’t going away anytime soon.
6. James Harden goes nutso, but the Rockets lose to the Blazers – James Harden tied his season high with 45 points and added nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals and four 3-pointers on 11-of-25 shooting, but the Rockets still couldn’t beat the Blazers. Harden also hit 19-of-23 free throws, and has completely lived up the early-season hype this year. Donatas Motiejunas was the only other starter in double figures with 10 points and six boards, but hit just 1-of-7 free throws.
7. Eric Bledsoe will be changing diapers – Bledsoe was a late scratch on Sunday and the news didn’t come in time for you to pull him out of your lineup. He stayed home for the birth of his child, but some more notice than this would have been nice. He’s fine, and will hopefully be back for the Suns’ next game, which is at home on Tuesday against the Rockets. Isaiah Thomas started in his place and went off for 26 points, five assists and three 3-pointers, and I hope you used him, instead of Bledsoe, in DFS. Unfortunately, I threw some cash away tonight by starting Bledsoe, and getting suckered into C.J. Miles. More on him in a minute.
8. Brian Roberts and Ramon Sessions showed up on Sunday – Roberts came through with 19 points, five assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting for the Hornets, and Sessions had 10 points, seven rebounds and six dimes on 4-of-5 shooting in 32 minutes on Sunday for the Kings. It was nice to see a couple Waiver Wired guys come through when it mattered. We don’t know when Kemba Walker or Darren Collison will play again, making both back up point guards worth owning.
9. Josh Smith is heating up for Rockets – Smith played 29 minutes and hit 6-of-12 shots and 4-of-7 3-pointers for 16 points, five rebounds and four assists on Sunday. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s coming off the bench, but is clearly loving life without Dwight Howard around, and with the other Houston power forwards all struggling. If you stuck with him all season, you’re being rewarded right now.
10. False alarm on Ryan Kelly – Kelly went off for 20 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block and five 3-pointers on Friday, but disappeared again on Sunday with two points on 1-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes. He’s scored five or fewer points in six of his last seven games, and I take back what I said about him in Waiver Wired. Meanwhile, point guard Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Carlos Boozer played just 15 minutes (which appears to be becoming a trend) and Ed Davis went off for 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block on 6-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes. It’s amazing how good guys look on nights when they don’t miss shots, but Davis still looks like the best power forward to own for the Lakers right now. I officially can never trust Kelly again.
10. Mitch McGary can play? – The OKC rookie got loose for 19 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes, and only missed one shot. This was his first double-double and just his third NBA game. It makes you wonder why he hasn’t gotten any more run for Scott Brooks, but he’s also been injured for much of his short career. It’s not a coincidence that Kendrick Perkins was suspended and Steven Adams left with a hand injury on Sunday. Nick Collison started over McGary for the second half after Adams left, but if nothing else, McGary should be on your radar. And if he does something on Monday at Denver (licks chops) in the ballpark to what he did on Sunday, think about grabbing him.
11. J.R. Smith, C.J. Miles, Terrence Jones and Cody Zeller are annoying – Smith had scored between 12 and 17 points in his previous three games, but hit just 1-of-4 shots on Sunday for two points. Miles, who had scored 26, 15 and 17 points, along with nine 3-pointers in his previous three games, hit just 1-of-5 shots for two points on Sunday. Jones, who really hasn’t done anything since returning from his leg injury, hit 1-of-5 shots for three points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. And Zeller has really stunk for four straight games, failing to score more than five points in any of them and totaling just nine points over that stretch, hitting just 3-of-15 shots. Any of these guys can get hot at any time, but trying to rely upon them to produce can be very frustrating. Smith is the guy I trust the most, which means I don’t trust him that much.
12. Miles Plumlee > Brandan Wright – With Alex Len down and out with a sprained ankle, Plumlee started for the Suns on Sunday. He had just four points, but added 12 rebounds, a steal and four blocks on 2-of-3 shooting in 23 minutes. Wright played just 17 minutes and had five points, three rebounds and no blocks, which is really nothing more than he was doing before the Suns lost Len. So if you’re looking for a Len fill-in, Plumlee looks like your guy. However, it doesn’t sound like Len’s injury is quite as severe as it was originally believed, although I’ll believe he’s back when I see it.