It was a seven-game affair in the NBA on Monday, but the injuries were kept to a minimum, Kevin Durant went crazy, the Jazz are reeling, and Stephen Curry could play as soon as Thursday. Here’s what went down while you were possibly watching Lamar Miller go off for the Houston Texans. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Warriors 116, Magic 110 – The Warriors were once again without Draymond Green (toe) and Stephen Curry (groin), but it didn’t stop them from winning their third straight game. Curry’s expected to fully practice on Tuesday and could play on Thursday, while Green’s without a target date after missing his fifth straight game. He’s played in just four games in November, missing eight of them. Kevin Durant went crazy with a season-high 49 points, six boards, nine assists, two steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers, and Klay Thompson added 29 points, two blocks and six triples in the win. They were the only two Warriors to score in double digits. Quinn Cook had eight points, rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, but his clock is ticking with Curry on his way back. “I still missed 17 shots. I tricked off a 50-piece,” said Durant, who was 16-of-33 for the night.
For the Magic, Aaron Gordon was a disaster, missing all six of his shots and failing to score, and left the game with a back injury. Consider him very iffy for Wednesday against the Blazers. Nikola Vucevic stayed hot with 30 points, 12 boards, six assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, but was the only Magic starter to score in double figures. Jonathan Isaac was decent with 15 points, four boards and three 3-pointers off the bench, and would benefit greatly if Gordon were to miss time with the injury. Mo Bamba added 11 points, six boards and a block in just 15 minutes off the bench, and Terrence Ross lit it up with a season-high 28 points, four 3-pointers and two steals on 9-of-15 shooting. He’s hit four 3-pointers in three straight games and has scored in double digits in all but five games this season. If you need 3-pointers and some scoring, he’s definitely worth a look.
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Hornets 110, Bucks 107 – Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb both scored 21, although Walker hit just 3-of-12 shots, but salvaged his scoring line by hitting 13-of-16 free throws. Lamb added eight boards, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers to his line, and should be owned everywhere by now after scoring at least 18 points in six of his last seven games. Marvin Williams played well, but I don’t trust him, and Nicolas Batum was disappointing, despite hitting 3-of-4 shots and playing 34 minutes. He’s an acquired taste, but is still worth owning in most leagues. Tony Parker had 15 points and six dimes off the bench, but it’s impossible to guess when he’ll show up or disappear. Willy Hernangomez didn’t even get off the bench in this one, making him impossible to own despite showing some promise through much of this season. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was back after missing six games with an ankle injury, and had seven points, seven boards, two blocks and one assist. I’m not ready to take that bait, but he did help the Hornets win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just missed a triple-double with a 20-13-9 line, while Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon all played well in the loss. Khris Middleton had 14 points and nine boards, but hit just 4-of-18 shots and 3-of-12 3-pointers to go along with an uncharacteristic five turnovers. Pat Connaughton came off the bench for 15 points, five boards and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes, but is impossible to trust. He’d scored eight or fewer points in his previous five games.
Wizards 135, Rockets 131 OT – The Wizards have won there of their last four games and got a big one tonight against the Rockets. John Wall had a season-high 36 points with 11 assists for a double-double, and Bradley Beal scored 32 points with four 3-pointers and two blocks, while Otto Porter Jr. came through with 14 points, six boards, two assists, three steals and a 3-pointer. Kelly Oubre hit just 2-of-7 shots for four points, but I still like him as long as he’s starting for the Wizards. It just wasn’t his night. Markieff Morris went off for 22 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers, and has now scored in double figures in four straight games. He has three games left this week, if you want to pick him up. Morris has hit nine 3-pointers over his last four games.
James Harden had one of the lines of the night with a season-high 54 points, eight rebounds, 13 assists, three steals and seven 3-pointers, and appeared to be loving life while Chris Paul sat out nursing a sore left leg. Eric Gordon started in his place and had 36 points and eight 3-pointers in the loss. Clint Capela double-doubled and P.J. Tucker had 12 rebounds, three assists, four steals and a 3-pointer to go along with just 12 points, while James Ennis scored 10 points in his 31 minutes. Paul is day-to-day with his strained hamstring (according to coach Mike D’Antoni), so he’ll be hoping to return from a two-game absence on Wednesday. When he’s back, both Harden and Gordon are likely to take a hit, especially Gordon.
Timberwolves 102, Cavaliers 95 – Robert Covington led the way with a season-high 24 points (with two steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers), Karl-Anthony Towns added a 21 & 10 double-double, and Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose all scored in double figures in the win. Covington needed this one after going just 1-of-18 from the floor on Saturday. Wiggins was in the same boat as Covington on Saturday when he missed all 12 of his shots, but hit 4-of-11 last night. Taj Gibson started again and had seven points and eight rebounds, and Dario Saric played just 18 minutes off the bench, hitting 4-of-10 shots for nine points, six rebounds and nothing else. I’m pretty surprised that Saric is still struggling to make an impact with the Wolves, especially after he had 19 points and 14 boards in 25 minutes on Saturday against the Bulls. I still hope he’ll overtake Gibson for the starting job, but I’m not holding my breath with Tom Thibodeau pulling the strings. By the way, the Wolves are now 6-2 since trading Jimmy Butler.
For the Cavs, Larry Nance started and had a fun line with 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two blocks in 38 minutes. David Nwaba was out with a sore knee so Nance got the start alongside Tristan Thompson and finally came through. This was Nance’s best game since an October 27 double-double, but we’ll have to see what happens when Nwaba is back. Thompson had another double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, a steal and a block on 7-of-10 shooting, giving him a double-double in four straight games. He’s easily exceeded expectations and is worth using everywhere with the Cavaliers playing four times a week for the next four weeks.
Rodney Hood came through with a season-high 20 points and two 3-pointers, and has now scored in double digits in three straight. Collin Sexton hit 5-of-19 shots for 11 points, seven boards and four assists, and Cedi Osman overcame a really rough start for eight points, six boards, a steal and two 3-pointers on 3-of-12 shooting. At this point, all five of these guys are worth owning due to Cleveland’s schedule, and I think Osman is about to get hot again. There is some thought that it’s time to sell high on Sexton before George Hill (shoulder) comes back, and it might not be a bad idea. But as someone who owns Sexton in a lot of leagues, I just plan on riding him until the wheels fall off, as I don’t have a ton of faith in Hill (who is doing contact drills now). Jordan Clarkson was a major letdown with four points on 1-of-5 shooting, breaking his string of double-digit scoring games at four, and old man Kyle Korver broke free for a season-high 22 points and six 3-pointers. Unless you’re really desperate for 3-pointers in a deep league, ignore Korver, and look for JC to bounce back in the next one.
Celtics 124, Pelicans 107 – The Celtics, who were without Jaylen Brown (back) started Marcus Smart, who was the only dud in the starting lineup with eight points and five assists, but he also had a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in a team-high 40 minutes. Marcus Morris and Kyrie Irving double-doubled, and Al Horford and Jayson Tatum both scored 20 points with nice stat lines. I don’t wish any ill will toward Brown, but the Celtics might be better off without trying to force him into a role and minutes, as things seemed to flow well for the Celtics last night. Terry Rozier added 14 points and two 3-pointers in 19 minutes off the bench, while Gordon Hayward continued to frustrate his owners with just five points in 23 minutes. I’m thankful I didn’t draft him anywhere.
For the Pelicans, Anthony Davis was back in action and went off with 27 points, 16 boards, five assists, three steals and three blocks, and Nikola Mirotic kept it going with 25 points, five boards and six triples. Jrue Holiday had a solid 13-6-7-3 line with a 3-pointer, but also had eight turnovers, and E’Twaun Moore was a bust with five points on 2-of-7 shooting. After scoring in double digits in seven straight games, Moore’s been funky lately, scoring 30, 3, 19 and 5 points in his last four. He should bounce back in the next one, but the Pelicans are reeling, losing four straight games.
Spurs 108, Bulls 107 – LaMarcus Aldridge scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and added eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks, as the Spurs improved to 9-0 when he scores 20 points this season. Gregg Popovich is talking about giving LA and DeMar DeRozan (21-8-5) a break soon, so be ready for it. Rudy Gay played just 17 minutes and scored eight points, and Pop might have intentionally rested him last night. I’m not a big Gay fan this season, but he’s played relatively well for the most part. Bryn Forbes had 13 points, six assists and three 3-pointers, and has now scored in double figures in three straight games, and in 11 of his last 12. Patty Mills had 17 points and two 3-pointers on 7-of-10 shooting, while disappointing Derrick White had eight points, six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Forbes has been the best player of those three. The Spurs have won two of their last three and sit at 10-10 on the season.
Jabari Parker had a 18 & 10 double-double, Zach LaVine led the way with 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three 3-pointers, but hit just 10-of-26 shots and committed six turnovers. He also missed a game-winning 3-pointer near the end of the game. Ryan Arcidiacono went off with a season-high 22 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and four 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting, and also missed a game-winner for the Bulls. He didn’t even score in his previous game, missing all five of his shots, but is worth a close look after last night’s breakout performance. Justin Holiday stayed hot with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and five 3-pointers, and is now averaging 16.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, a steal, a block and 4.0 3-pointers over his last five. He should be owned everywhere by now. Wendell Carter Jr. added eight points, six boards, a steal and a block, but played just 24 minutes after picking up five fouls. Lauri Markkanen is practicing and should be nearing a return from his sprained elbow, which could end up quieting Holiday down, but I say roll with Holiday until it happens.
Pacers 121, Jazz 88 – After losing two straight games with Victor Oladipo sidelined with a knee injury, the Pacers routed the Jazz with some unlikely heroes. Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, Myles Turner played through his sore ankle and had 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks on 7-of-8 shooting, Tyreke Evans added 14 points, and Darren Collison had eight points, 11 assists and four steals in the win. Doug McDermott came off the bench for a season-high 21 points, six boards and two 3-pointers, but it was a garbage-time special. Evans and McDermott will take a hit once Oladipo is back. Dipo has now missed three straight games (and most of a fourth) with his injury, and remains iffy for his next one. Domantas Sabonis came off the bench and filled it up with 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in 22 minutes, Aaron Holiday had 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Cory Joseph added 13 points, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Holiday, Joseph and Evans will all take a hit once Oladipo is back in action, but all three are worth a look in the meantime. Starter Thaddeus Young had just six points, two rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. He’d been playing better with Oladipo out, but has been a pretty boring fantasy own this season. The Pacers are 8-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor this season and had a season-high 13 steals.
For the Jazz, only Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert scored in double figures, with Favors’ 13 leading the way. There wasn’t a single useful fantasy stat line in Utah’s lineup and they’re really struggling right now, losing six of their last eight games. Donovan Mitchell sat again with his bruised ribs, and the Jazz looked lost without him. Utah is now just 2-6 at home this season and Ricky Rubio hit just 2-of-8 shots for six points and eight assists after going off for 27 points and five dimes on Sunday. This is a good time to think about buying low on Rubio.