It was another six-game night in the Association and there were plenty of surprises, like Danny Granger, Marvin Williams and Bradley Beal, while Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, Aaron Brooks and C.J. Watson were all disappointments. The other interesting fact about Monday night is that every game was tight, with one going to overtime, three decided by one or two points, and three others that were anything but blowouts. Milwaukee’s 104-94 win over the Hornets was the night’s biggest spread. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
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Milwaukee 104, Charlotte 94
The Bucks started Khris Middleton, Johnny O’Bryant and Zaza Pachulia alongside Brandon Knight and Giannis Antetokounmpo, as Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova sat out again. The hottest player on the Bucks right now is Jared Dudley, who came off the bench for 17 points, nine boards, a steal and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. He’s averaging 15.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games and was on the cover of this week’s Waiver Wired. Knight, Antetokounmpo and Pachulia all had nice games with double-digit scoring, while Dudley, O.J. Mayo and John Henson all did the same off the bench. Pachulia is worth using as long as Sanders is out with his illness, but he should be back sooner than later. Middleton was a dud in a rare start with eight points and five rebounds, and O’Bryant can be ignored. Jerryd Bayless had been hot, but hit just 1-of-8 shots in 18 minutes for two points. Milwaukee’s rotation is still a bit messy and only Antetokounmpo, Knight, Dudley and maybe Pachulia are reliable enough to start for fantasy teams on a regular basis.
Kemba Walker hit just 7-of-22 shots, but also made a couple 3-pointers and 12-of-13 free throws for 28 points, four assists, two steals and four blocks in the loss. Al Jefferson is in a funk while dealing with a groin injury and left Monday’s game in the fourth quarter, finishing with six points, eight boards, five assists and a steal on 3-of-12 shooting. Owners should be on the lookout for injury information on Tuesday, as he likely aggravated his groin in this one. Gerald Henderson bounced back with 19 points and a full stat line, but had scored a total of nine points over his previous two games. He’s benefitting from the absence of Lance Stephenson, who is still out with a pelvic strain. Marvin Williams is starting to make some noise and had eight points, 14 rebounds, three steals and a couple 3-pointers in 36 minutes off the bench, and is an intriguing daily play right now, as Cody Zeller has really cooled off.
Chicago 92, Indiana 90
Jimmy Butler went off for 27 points, nine boards, four steals, a block and two 3-pointers, Pau Gasol had 20 points, six rebounds and a block, and Derrick Rose hit just 5-of-20 shots and a 3-pointer for 17 points, six assists and two blocks, but at least he’s playing. Joakim Noah was quiet with six points and seven boards, but also had three steals and a block as he works his way back from an ankle injury. Mike Dunleavy was finally relevant again with eight points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but had been awful coming into this one. It looks fluky to me. Aaron Brooks came in hot with Kirk Hinrich out, but missed all four of his shots and finished with just two points in 22 minutes. Hinrich is nearing a return and Rose is playing, meaning Brooks isn’t someone you want in your lineup going forward.
The Pacers were shockingly led by Chris Copeland, who hit 7-of-10 shots and a 3-pointer for 17 points, five boards and a block in just 18 minutes off the bench. He actually scored 12 points in his previous game, but prior to that he had scored a total of eight points in 25 minutes over an eight-game stretch. Keep an eye on him, as he might quickly become relevant again. David West, Solomon Hill, George Hill, Luis Scola and C.J. Miles all (barely) scored in double figures for the Pacers, while Roy Hibbert had six points, three rebounds, zero blocks and four fouls in just 16 minutes as he continues to struggle. It’s impossible to predict what Pacers will play well from night to night, as position battles and timeshares persist every night. C.J. Watson played 27 minutes, but hit just 1-of-7 shots for four points in another very disappointing line. All I really know here is that George Hill should be scooped up if he’s not owned in your league.
Brooklyn 107, Sacramento 99
The Nets started Mason Plumlee and Jarrett Jack again, and both played well. Plumlee hit 6-of-7 shots and 10-of-16 free throws for 22 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block in 33 minutes, and Jack overcame 4-of-12 shooting for a 3-pointer, 16 points, three boards and a couple assists. Eventually Brook Lopez and Deron Williams will get their jobs back, but the Nets are really easing them back in. Bro-Lo played just 12 minutes for 11 points and six rebounds, and Deron had six points and three dimes in 17 minutes off the bench. Sergey Karasev continues to start, but hit jut 1-of-5 shots for five points, five boards, two steals and a 3-pointer. He could get hot as long as he continues to start, so keep an eye on him. Mirza Teletovic had 11 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes off the bench after failing to score in his last one, and is another inconsistent player that is tough to rely upon right now.
The Kings got 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 9-of-21 shooting from Rudy Gay, but also hit 6-of-6 free throws, which was nice to see. DeMarcus Cousins hit 9-of-12 shots for 24 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and two blocks in 37 minutes, Darren Collison had 16 points, eight assists and two 3-pointers, and Ben McLemore had 11 points and three 3-pointers in another start. Those are the only four players worth a look in Sacramento right now.
Orlando 102, Miami 101
The Magic snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Heat when Dwyane Wade missed a 20-footer to give Orlando the one-point win. Nikola Vucevic hit 12-of-17 shots for 26 points, nine boards and a block, Victor Oladipo was big down the stretch and finished with 22 points, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, and Tobias Harris had 18 points and four rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting. Elfrid Payton played 30 minutes but hit just 2-of-5 shots for four points, but also had eight assists and four steals. With all the minutes he’s getting, he’s an interesting pickup if you need dimes. Kyle O’Quinn started again, and struggled again with five points and two rebounds in just 17 minutes. Channing Frye played 27 minutes off the bench and had 13 points and three 3-pointers, and could become relevant again given the struggles of O’Quinn. Evan Fournier bottomed out by missing all four of his shots for two points, despite playing 32 minutes. Payton’s stealing his minutes and thunder right now.
The Heat welcomed back Chris Bosh and he hit 8-of-17 shots for 20 points and eight rebounds, and it’s safe to get him back in your lineup after he missed eight games with a calf injury. Dwyane Wade stayed hot and hit 7-of-14 shots and 11-of-11 free throws for 25 points, six assists and a steal, and looks really good right now. But looks can be deceiving, and I doubt he’s going to stay fully healthy for much longer. Luol Deng added 14 points, three rebounds and a 3-pointer in the win, while Danny Granger was the surprise of the night. He hit 7-of-10 shots and 6-of-7 3-pointers for a season-high 21 points in 32 minutes off the bench. He had 18 points on Saturday, meaning he’s officially worth a look. Shawne Williams didn’t even get off the bench last night, which could mean Granger is ready to keep this going, assuming his bad knee will allow it. As we pointed out in his blurb tonight, we’ve mentioned the word ‘knee’ 226 times in Granger blurbs over the last few years. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole combined to play 65 minutes, but totaled just eight points, six assists, four steals and zero 3-pointers. That is some really bad point-guard play, but I still think Chalmers has a chance to get things turned around at some point, although the only times he’s really shined this season were when Wade was in street clothes. Chris Andersen played 23 minutes for five points, four rebounds and a block, and is another player worth keeping an eye on as long as he’s starting.
Washington 104, Houston 103
Bradley Beal and James Harden had a nice battle down the stretch, but Beal came out on top, finishing with a season-high 33 points and hit six free throws in the final two minutes. He also had five 3-pointers, hit 10-of-10 free throws and had a steal in the win. John Wall added 13 points, 12 assists and four steals as the Wizards improved to 22-8, good for the best start in franchise history. Paul Pierce came through with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and is heating up again after scoring 17 on Saturday. Nene added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals, and Marcin Gortat had nine points, seven boards and three blocks in the win. Kris Humphries disappeared in this one, missing all six of his shots and failing to score. Now that Nene is healthy and starting, Humps is no longer a reliable fantasy starter.
The Rockets got 33 points, three 3-pointers, six boards, four assists and a steal from Harden, while Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley and Corey Brewer all scored in double figures. Josh Smith was terrible, hitting 1-of-6 shots for three points and it’s possible the honeymoon is already over. Donatas Motiejunas had just three points and six boards in 20 minutes, and is no longer a desirable player to own with Smith taking his job. Howard had just 13 points, five boards and zero blocks in 29 minutes, but he’ll be fine. Brewer is the interesting add here and he played 28 minutes. He’s coming off the bench, but in four games with the Rockets, he’s averaging 16.25 points, 3.5 3-pointers, 1.75 steals and 0.75 blocks. Like I said in Waiver Wired, pick him up and see if he can continue to do this as the team’s new sixth man. Oddly, this game was delayed for about 40 minutes in the first quarter after it was discovered that one of the rims was bent. The basket had to be replaced, and we haven’t seen this type of delay in some time. Darryl Dawkins and Shaquille O’Neal were probably proud of whoever bent the rim.
LA Clippers 101, Utah 97
Blake Griffin stayed hot with 24 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three blocks on 10-of-20 shooting, and Chris Paul came through with 20 points, five rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three 3-pointers on 7-of-14 shooting. J.J. Redick had 17 points and a 3-pointer, Jamal Crawford also had 17 and two 3-pointers, and Matt Barnes joined the double-digit scoring party with 13 points, three blocks and three 3-pointers. He had scored between zero and seven points in each of his last five games, so I’m not reading too much into last night’s 13 points. As usual, DeAndre Jordan scored just five points, but added 19 rebounds and four blocks, as he’s in the midst of another fine season.
Rodney Hood started in place of Alec Burks, who is out with a shoulder injury, and had nine points, seven boards, five assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in one of his best games as a pro. If Burks continues to miss time, Hood might be worth a deep-league look. Gordon Hayward led the way with 22 points, four rebounds, seven assists and four 3-pointers, Derrick Favors added 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and Enes Kanter hit 8-of-17 shots for 16 points and five rebounds. Rudy Gobert stayed hot off the bench with 11 points and 13 rebounds in 25 minutes. He didn’t block a shot, but has worked his way into a timeshare with Kanter, making him worth a pickup right now. He’s averaging 6.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.8 blocks over his last five games. If Kanter or Favors ever go down, Gobert will go from being a “nice to own” player to a “must-own” in a hurry. Gobert had blocked a shot in 10 straight games before last night’s goose egg.
Notes for Tuesday
Nerlens Noel – ankle – Left practice Monday, iffy for Tuesday.
LaMarcus Aldridge – illness – Still questionable vs. Raptors Tuesday.
Tony Parker – hamstring – Already ruled out for tonight.
Kawhi Leonard – hand – Leonard’s getting closer, but out again tonight.
Luc Mbah a Moute – calf – Already ruled out for Sixers.
Kobe Bryant – rest – Missed practice, but expected to play on Tuesday.
Zach Randolph – knee – Iffy again for tonight vs. Spurs, no reliable replacement.
Monta Ellis – ankle – Says he’s going to play on Tuesday and I believe him.
Tyson Chandler – back – Questionable tonight, stay tuned.
Russell Westbrook – rest – Took Monday’s practice off, should be good to go on Wednesday.
Kevin Durant – ankle – Practiced in full, would be surprising if he’s out tomorrow.
Kyrie Irving – knee – Practiced Monday, expected to play on Tuesday.