There were only three games last night and they were all pretty entertaining, well, except for the Nuggets destruction of the Kings. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
I’d like to welcome Matt Stroup and David Leggieri to the Rotoworld hoops staff. Stroup will be writing columns, Doses and doing some podcasting, while David is going to help us deal with the monster known as Twitter, as well as blurbing games on busy nights. They’re both great guys and I’m excited to have them on the team.
Pistons 133, Sixers 132 OT – This one was a doozy and the Pistons held on for the win despite the ejection of Andre Drummond in the fourth quarter after he picked up his second technical foul. I love Joel Embiid as much as the next guy and he’s great for the game. But Drummond brushed Embiid with an elbow and Embiid flopped like a rag doll, then jumped up and told the refs repeatedly to “get him out of here.” The refs listened and ejected Drummond, who was not pleased with Embiid's shenanigans, while Embiid grinned and engaged the crowd. Yes, Embiid is in Drummond’s head, but this move wasn’t all that cool. And Drummond, especially once he sees the tape, is going to be ticked off and I could see this thing eventually going the way of Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul. They meet again on November 3, so you might want to mark your calendar to see what happens. My guess is Embiid draws a flopping fine, Drummond gets the second tech rescinded, and we all move on with our lives, at least until November 3.
As for the rest of the game, Blake Griffin was the story of the night with his career-high 50 points, 14 boards, six dimes, a block and five 3-pointers on 20-of-35 shooting, and he even hit the game-winning free throw on an ‘and-1’ after missing his first six free throw attempts of the game. He scored 33 on Saturday and 26 in the opener, and looks unstoppable right now. And he’s the main reason the Pistons are off to a 3-0 start. And he had just one turnover in his 44 minutes. Impressive.
Drummond had 14 points, 16 boards, three steals and two blocks before leaving, but hit just 6-of-20 shots with five turnovers. Yes, Embiid is in his head. Reggie Jackson had 23 points, three assists, three 3-pointers and just one turnover, and his backup, Ish Smith, hit 9-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for 21 points, three assists and a block. Both of them played really well and I was happy I used Smith in DFS last night. Smith’s underrated and probably sitting on your wire right now, despite scoring in double digits in all three of his game and knocking down six triples thus far. He’s worth a look. Reggie Bullock has scored 16 and 17 points in back-to-back games, so he’s worth keeping an eye on after sitting out the opener. Especially when Stanley Johnson went 0-for-5 for zero points last night.
For the Sixers, Embiid put on a show with 33 points, 11 boards, seven assists and three blocks on 11-of-20 shooting, and also hit 11-of-14 free throws. I’m knocking on wood, but the truth is that we haven’t heard a peep about his health this season, and that is a great thing. Trust the Process! Ben Simmons sat this one out with his sore back and Markelle Fultz got the start. He was solid with 13 points, six rebounds, one assist, a block and a 3-pointer on 6-of-9 shooting, but only played 21 minutes. Dario Saric and Robert Covington played well and filled the stat sheet, and J.J. Redick got loose for a season-high 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and six 3-pointers. Wow! T.J. McConnell also added 10 points and eight assists in a whopping 32 minutes. Simmons is iffy for Wednesday against the Bucks, and if he’s out, expect more good things from Fultz, Redick and McConnell.
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Pelicans 116, Clippers 109 – Anthony Davis was not ready to stand by quietly while Griffin and Embiid stole the headlines, and went off (again) for 34 points, 13 boards, a steal, five blocks and two 3-pointers. He’s double-doubled in all three games, has 10 blocks, and the Pelicans are off to a 3-0 start, and have looked mostly unbeatable. Nikola Mirotic had another nice double-double, Elfrid Payton looks like an All-Star and had a 20-6-6-3 line, and the 20 points were a season high. Jrue Holiday his just 2-of-15 shots, but still had six rebounds, nine assists and two steals. He’s been solid so far, but not mind blowing, and hopefully he can get it going with Payton playing so well.
For the Clippers, Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris stayed red-hot, and as long as Gallinari can stay healthy, he’s going to be a monster on this team. Patrick Beverley flirted with a triple-double with a 12-10-8 line, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had nine points, four boards, two assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in 22 minutes off the bench. He could eventually take over the starting job from Beverley, but I don’t think it will happen in the near future, especially given Bev’s line tonight.
Now the bad news, or good news, depending on where you stand. Marcin Gortat was just awful in this game, failing to score and leaving with just three boards in 12 minutes. Doc Rivers turned to Montrezl Harrell to deal with Davis, and he hit 5-of-6 shots for 12 points, six boards, two steals and two blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. Harrell also went nuts on Sunday with 17 points, 10 boards, three assists, a steal and three blocks on 8-of-10 shooting. I don’t know that Harrell is going to start over Gortat in the next one, but it sure feels like he should. I’ve dropped Boban Marjanovic, or whomever else I can find, and picked up Harrell everywhere I can. I hated writing his blurb tonight, as I’m trying to get him off waivers overnight, but I may not get him after his last two performances. He just provides and edge and a toughness that the Clippers could use now that DeAndre Jordan is in Dallas. Go get him.
The other bad news comes in the form of Avery Bradley. I’ll let my blurb from last night sum it up: “Bradley hit just 1-of-8 shots for two points, two rebounds and nothing else in 29 minutes of Tuesday's loss to the Pelicans. After scoring a season-high eight points on opening night, he's now scored 3, 4 and 2 points in his last three games. And on the season, he's hit just 8-of-31 shots (26%), which is hard to believe, even after his terrible performance last season. Some of us thought he couldn't do worse than that year, but he might be ready to prove us wrong. With all the hot free agents floating around on waivers, Bradley is a cut candidate, plain and simple.”
As for Boban, he played one minute, which I watched, and it featured a missed shot, a Nikola Mirotic blow-by layup, a 3-seconds turnover, and a foul against Davis. Then he sat down again for the night. The Clippers face the Rockets in their next one, and Boban only got five minutes when they met last week. Yes, I like him. Yes, he can be fun. But there are just too many good players out there to wait on Boban, and I’m starting to be convinced that he doesn’t match up with any of today’s running NBA teams. Oh well.
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Nuggets 126, Kings 112 – This game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score suggests, and the only thing we really learned was that playing Nuggets studs last night was a bad idea, as starters for both teams took a seat for the entire fourth quarter in a blowout. Nikola Jokic still managed 14 points, 12 boards, six assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris played well, and Jamal Murray bounced back from a sore leg and a three-point game on Sunday with 19 points, one rebound, four assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in just 19 minutes.
Torrey Craig is starting for Will Barton, who will be reevaluated in six weeks, but had just seven points. He also had a steal and a 3-pointer in his 23 minutes, but he’s not exactly a stat-stuffing machine. Just keep an eye on him. Trey Lyles played 23 minutes off the bench and had 12 points, five boards, three assists and a block, but hit just 5-of-12 shots, didn’t hit any of his 3-point attempts, and committed four turnovers. Lyles may be the guy to own in Barton’s absence, but I’m still intrigued by Craig, and am going to keep a close eye on him. Both will be cheap DFS options going forward, and should hit value on most nights. Mason Plumlee and Monte Morris played well off the bench, but it was only because of the garbage-time factor.
For the Kings, Iman Shumpert started again and had 12 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in just 20 minutes. He will take a hit when Bogdan Bogdanovic is back from his knee injury, but we don’t know when that will happen, and his Sunday line of 26 points, three boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers on 9-of-13 shooting was incredible. I’ve picked him up in a bunch of leagues and the Kings play four games next week. I’m going to roll with him until he proves me wrong.
Marvin Bagley took advantage of the garbage time and went off for a career-high 20 points, nine boards and a career-high five blocks in 32 minutes. He should be owned in every fantasy league out there. Justin Jackson had a season-high 17 points, three rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers off the bench, but will also take a hit when Bogdanovic is back. I am happy I have Jackson in my 30-team league, but am just keeping an eye on him everywhere else. Frank Mason had a nice game after sitting out his previous one, and he’s not trustworthy, and Yogi Ferrell had 11 points and a 3-pointer in the blowout. Shumpert and Jackson are the potential pickups here.
For the starters, De’Aaron Fox was awful, hitting just 2-of-8 shots for six points, four assists and two steals in 21 minutes, for his first bad line of the season. Ignore it, unless you want to trade for him in a buy-low situation. Buddy Hield also struggled on 2-of-7 shooting and a 3-pointer for five points and five boards. He’s looked great up until last night, so he’ll also bounce back in the next one. Nemanja Bjelica is starting at PF and had 10 points, two boards, three assists and a 3-pointer, and has been playing well. But as soon as they decide that Bagley needs to start, Bjelica is going to bench, so I’m not messing with him. The Kings have to start Bagley sooner than later. They just have to.
Wednesday features 11 games, when we’ll see Luka Doncic face Trae Young, the Jazz and Rockets, The Process vs. The Freak, and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson vs. John Wall and Bradley Beal. It should be a fun, busy night. I’ll see you back on Dose duty 24 hours from now!