The Rockets rolled the Warriors after Draymond Green and Kevin Durant didn’t kiss and make up, the Nuggets destroyed the Hawks, who were without Taurean Prince, and the Clippers held on to beat the Spurs, who have now lost five of their last six games.
Carmelo Anthony done in Houston after 10 games
Carmelo Anthony lasted just 10 games in Houston and is done with the Rockets. There’s a lot of chatter about where he might play next, but I can’t understand why any NBA team would want him. He’s won one playoff series in his career, is on his last NBA leg, and teams seem to play worse with him than they do when he’s in their lineup. It’s over, although he’ll likely land somewhere. As I said on Twitter, if Hue Jackson can still get an NFL coaching job and Matt Millen could run the Lions for seven disastrous years, then Melo can probably find one or two more teams to take a flier on him. But it’s a bad idea. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Draymond Green speaks
Draymond Green spoke to the media at length about the Kevin Durant situation, but basically said ‘sorry, not sorry.’ There was no apology, and there’s clearly still some friction between the two, and it has affected the whole team. Steve Kerr said his team is “banged up spiritually,” which is probably the best description of what’s going on in Oakland right now. While a lot of people think the two can put this behind them and move on, I’m not so sure. There’s a lot of bad blood between them and if you can imagine you and your best friend getting in a serious fight, and saying things you can’t take back, all while completely sober – well, there’s some irreparable damage there. Onto what happened on Thursday night…
Rockets 107, Warriors 86 – James Harden hit just 8-of-23 shots and 4-of-14 3-pointers for 27 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, but also had just one turnover, which was weird. Even with Harden struggling so badly, the Warriors didn’t even put up a fight. James Ennis had a season-high 19 points with a fun stat line and played 33 minutes for the Rockets. He’s playing well and Carmelo Anthony is gone, so Ennis can be added to the list of guys who should be given serious consideration in all leagues. I don’t really trust him, and I doubt he and P.J. Tucker can play well on the same night, but Ennis has to be on your radar at this point. Clint Capela had a 10 & 10 double-double, and Chris Paul had a 10-5-7-3-2-2 stat line in the blowout win. P.J. Tucker was a huge disappointment, finishing with three points, four rebounds, one assist and nothing else in 31 minutes, and it was probably because he was in my DFS lineup. Tucker’s worth a look in all leagues, but tonight’s game was pretty bad. He’s averaging 8.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and while he’s getting 37 minutes a night right now, he’s just not doing much with them. He’s a borderline hold in 12-team leagues. Eric Gordon had 17 points and three 3-pointers, Gerald Green played four minutes in his return from an injury, and Gary Clark is worth keeping an eye on after his nine points, seven boards, two assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers. He’s been playing well, but not well enough to be owned in 12-team leagues.
The Warriors looked like a team missing its superstar after its other two superstars just had a falling out. Draymond Green, the center of attention, was 0-for-3 for zero points, five rebounds, five assists, a steal and five turnovers in just 24 minutes. Yes, he hasn’t been a big scorer this season, and yes, he’s not completely healthy with his foot injury, and yes, he was just returning from that injury, but still… This was not a good look. Kevin Durant led the team with 20 points and five boards on 6-of-15 shooting, and Klay Thompson hit just 5-of-16 shots and was 0-for-5 from downtown for 10 points. Andre Iguodala started at point guard for “defensive purposes”, sending Quinn Cook to the bench, and had five points and six rebounds, while Cook came off the pine for 11 points, two rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers. At least someone was hitting threes for GSW, as the starters failed to hit one for the first time since 2013! Kevon Looney added 12 points, five boards and a block in 18 minutes, and that’s the tale of the tape for the Warriors. I’m not too worried from a fantasy standpoint, as guys are going to get ‘theirs,’ but Warriors fans have to be a bit concerned right now. Hopefully Cook is back in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Mavs as Stephen Curry continues to sit out indefinitely with his groin injury.
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Nuggets 138, Hawks 93 – This one was over after the first quarter as the Nuggets snapped a four-game losing streak, but it was also a bit weird. Jamal Murray was benched for violating team rules, but at least there was a real reason for him starting the game on the bench. Monte Morris started, but had just eight points, two boards, two assists and a steal in 29 minutes. He’s been playing well and is right there with Ennis as a possible pickup right now, but he didn’t bring his A game on Thursday. Juancho Hernangomez finally caught fire and hit 9-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for a season-high 25 points, nine rebounds and a steal in 31 minutes. I picked him up in a few leagues recently due to the heavy minutes he’s been playing (at least 30 in three straight), so it was nice to see him come through. He’s a guy I’m interested in owning over Morris and Ennis (and San Antonio’s Derrick White). Paul Millsap extracted revenge on the Hawks with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer one night after he didn’t have a single rebound.
Nikola Jokic scored just 12 points, but also had nine rebounds, seven assists, four steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and pretty much did whatever he wanted against the Hawks. He would have triple-doubled had the game not been over before it started. Gary Harris added 18 points, three boards, four assists and two 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting, and Murray hit 4-of-10 shots and three 3-pointers for 14 points, four rebounds, five assists and a block in 23 minutes. Again, he’ll be back in the starting five in the next one. Mason Plumlee, Trey Lyles and Malik Beasley all made some noise in garbage time, but then again, it was just garbage time against a G-League team disguised as the Hawks.
For the Hawks, Omari Spellman was a lone bright spot, bouncing back from his disappearing act on Tuesday with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block, but hit just 4-of-15 shots and went 0-for-7 from downtown. His usage was high, mainly due to the fact that Taurean Prince was out with a sore achilles and DeAndre’ Bembry not being able to throw it in the ocean. Prince isn’t expected to miss much time, if anymore at all, which is great news if you own him. Bembry started for Prince, but was bad, hitting just 1-of-8 shots in 16 minutes. He burned a lot of us in DFS. John Collins was part of the telecast for a few minutes last night, which means he’s traveling with the team and could return as soon as this weekend. Please? Once he’s back, Spellman loses what appeal he has. Alex Len played through his ankle injury and lasted just 13 minutes, finishing with six points, five boards and two blocks. Dewayne Dedmon is on his way back from his wife having a child, and Collins and Prince are close, so Len’s fantasy appeal is waning, at best.
Trae Young hit just 2-of-11 shots, missed all four of his 3-pointers, and committed five turnovers. This wasn’t a great look after he told Sports Illustrated that he was going to have a better career than Luka Doncic, but whatever. Young has flashed signs of being a great player this season, but he has also looked like a guy who just got into a fight with Kevin Durant in his last two games. He’s 4-of-23 from the floor in those games, and 0-for-9 from downtown, with just 10 points and eight turnovers to show for it. Things won’t get easier in his next one at Indiana on Saturday. Young’s going to have a ton of really fun games this season, and he’s also going to go through some slumps, like the one he’s in right now. But getting Collins, Prince and Dedmon back can do nothing but help the kid.
Kent Bazemore knocked, but no one was home, finishing with 14 points and an empty line in just 21 minutes. He was possibly the biggest victim of tonight’s blowout, and another one is coming on Saturday against the Pacers. Jeremy Lin had 16 points, five boards, five assists and three 3-pointers, and I’ve been saying for a couple weeks that he is going to play well with the Hawks losing and getting blown out so much. Over his last five, he’s averaging 12 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 3-pointers. He’s a dicey fantasy play since he’s not starting for the Hawks, but he’s getting enough run on most nights to be given consideration in 12-team leagues. Several other Hawks made some noise off the bench in the blowout, including Vince Carter, Alex Poythress and Kevin Huerter, and all three could get solid minutes against the Pacers on Saturday. But they’re only worth a flier in DFS at this point, and there’s plenty of risk involved with them, as well.
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Clippers 116, Spurs 111 – My man, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, got into early foul trouble and never got going against the Spurs. He still had nine points and five rebounds in 27 minutes, but his stat line was empty, and it was his worst game in recent memory. The thought of dropping him didn’t even cross my mind. Danilo Gallinari had 19 points, six boards and two 3-pointers, and also hit 9-of-10 free throws, Tobias Harris stayed hot with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a block and two 3-pointers, and Patrick Beverley was solid with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Beverley has been alternating good games with bad ones, but came through tonight. Marcin Gortat was OK in the starting lineup with seven points, seven boards and four assists, but the night belonged to the Clippers bench, and I have no interest in owning Gortat.
Lou Williams came off the bench and took over the game late, finishing with a team-high 23 points, three boards, two assists and a 3-pointer, and Montrezl Harrell added 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes. Harrell should be owned everywhere by now.
The Spurs got 34 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block from DeMar DeRozan, who hit 14-of-30 shots. He didn’t hit a 3-pointer, but he had a beautiful 360 layup in traffic, as well as several other highlight-reel moments. LaMarcus Aldridge had 10 points, 16 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but hit just 3-of-15 shots against Gortat and Harrell. Bryn Forbes caught fire to hit 5-of-11 shots and five 3-pointers to tie his season high with 17 points, one rebound and two assists. He’s scored in double figures in six straight games and is racking up 3-pointers at will, but doesn’t do much outside of those two categories. But he also hasn’t seemed to be bothered by the return of Derrick White, who starts at point guard. White lasted just 17 minutes and missed all five of his shots, failing to score and handing out just one assist. He’s been serviceable up to this point, but if you picked him up over another hot free agent, you’re probably regretting the decision, and I’m sorry. Rudy Gay returned to action after a rest and had 19 points, six boards, two assists and a 3-pointer on 8-of-12 shots, good for a season high in scoring. I still don’t trust him to stay healthy this season. Gregg Popovich went with Patty Mills over White last night and Mills had 12 points, four rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in a season-high 33 minutes. Just keep an eye on him. If you own White, you have a decision to make. If there’s a hot free agent you want, go get him. And if you want to give him time to learn the ropes and learn from last night’s disaster, that’s an option too.