Games Played Week 13
4 Games – ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAS, TOR, WAS
3 Games – BRK, LAC, MEM, ORL, SAC, UTA
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Pelicans 95, Raptors 93
Despite not having Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday available on Sunday, the Pelicans held on for a 95-93 win over the Raptors, who no longer look like one of the elite teams in the East. Tyreke Evans started at point guard again and led the way with 26 points, five boards, five dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer, hitting 9-of-14 shots in 36 minutes. This was the game we were all looking for on Friday against the Sixers, but Evans never got it going, finishing with just eight points. Alexis Ajinca came to life for the second straight game and it’s no coincidence that it’s happening while Davis is watching from the sideline. Ajinca had 22 points, six boards, a steal and a block on Sunday, and racked up 16 points and 14 boards on Friday. If Davis is going to continue to sit out, Ajinca is at least worth a look in daily play, if not in weekly leagues. Keep in mind he was doing absolutely nothing prior to those two games. Eric Gordon added 14 points, five boards, five assists and a 3-pointer, and Omer Asik also benefitted from Davis’ absence with 11 points and nine boards. Ryan Anderson continues to disappoint, especially since he was starting for Davis, and hit just 3-of-11 shots for nine points and two 3-pointers. He’s too good to drop and owners are just going to have to take the good with the bad, and hope he breaks out of the funk soon. He wasn’t any better against the Sixers on Friday.
As for Davis (toe) and Holiday (ankle), we just don’t know much. Both players remain day-to-day and have missed two straight games. Both players could go on Monday against the Knicks, but then again, they’re playing the Knicks, so they may not even be needed. If they take Monday off, the Pels are not scheduled to play again until Wednesday against the Lakers, which is another game the Pelicans may be able to get by in without their stars. I’d probably roll the dice and play them this week, but there’s considerable risk involved with that decision, as the Knicks, Lakers and Timberwolves are all beatable without them. Stay tuned.
The Raptors are now just 2-7 over their last nine games, but it’s hard to be mad at them when some of those opponents included Portland, Golden State, Detroit and Atlanta. But they were certainly hoping for a win with the Pelicans’ best two players in street clothes. DeMar DeRozan is back and had 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Kyle Lowry hit just 4-of-10 shots for eight points, five boards and five assists. Lowry will be fine, but now that he has to share the spotlight with DeRozan, his big games may happen less frequently. Amir Johnson was solid again with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks on 6-of-7 shooting, and is playing well enough to be added in all leagues. The rest of the Raptors starters were fantasy garbage, while Lou Williams (17 points), Greivis Vasquez (16 points, 9 assists) and Patrick Patterson (10 points, 2 3-pointers) all played well off the bench. Terrence Ross is in a big-time slump and can be dropped now that DeRozan is back. He was benched for Vasquez to start the second half and if that trend continues, Vasquez could make a run.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $125,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7:30pm ET on Monday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Thunder 127, Orlando 99
The Thunder crushed the Magic behind 21 points, 11 boards and eight dimes from Kevin Durant, while six other Thunder players scored in double figures. Russell Westbrook had 17 points and six assists, Serge Ibaka had 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers, and Andre Roberson somehow tied his season high with 10 points. Dion Waiters had 16 points, two more steals and a 3-pointer off the bench, Reggie Jackson added 13 points and five boards off the pine, and Kendrick Perkins somehow got loose for 11 points and nine rebounds. Ignore him.
The Magic got 23 points, five assists and two 3-pointers from Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton stayed hot with 19 points, eight assists and three steals on 9-of-17 shooting (pick him up), and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and seven boards in the loss. Channing Frye has been relevant lately due to the absence of Tobias Harris, and had nine points, five boards, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers, but hit just 2-of-9 shots. Those were the only relevant players for the Magic and Harris’ status for the upcoming week remains a mystery due to an ankle injury. He’s reportedly making progress, but we still don’t have a return date. I don’t think he’s startable in weekly leagues unless we get good news later on Monday. PF Aaron Gordon returned from his foot injury and played fairly well, so just keep an eye on him going forward.
San Antonio 89, Utah 69
The Spurs destroyed the Jazz, despite Tiago Splitter (yes, Tiago Splitter) leading the way with 14 points. Danny Green had 13 points, six boards, a steal and three 3-pointers, but the story in San Antonio is the return of Kawhi Leonard. He filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, nine rebounds, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in 30 minutes, and should be back in your lineup ASAP. Tim Duncan started and had 11 points, six boards, four assists and a block, while Aron Baynes added 12 points and 11 boards off the bench. Baynes has had some nice games this season, but there’s no way to tell when he’s going to have a big game or a goose egg. Manu Ginobili played just 19 minutes and had six points, but also added four dimes, a steal, four blocks and a 3-pointer. Patty Mills cooled off with eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, but should be on your radar if you need a guard. He’s been playing well now for a couple of weeks. Marco Belinelli was out again with a groin injury.
Rudy Gobert led the Jazz in scoring with 13 points off the bench, but also hauled in a career-high 18 rebounds and blocked four shots. If he’s available in your league, don’t ask any questions and just pick him up. Gordon Hayward was the only other player in double figures with 10 points, hitting just 4-of-15 shots in Sunday’s disaster. There’s nothing to learn from Utah’s box score, except that Gobert should be owned in all leagues at this point. Enes Kanter was benched with Gobert starting the second half, but it remains to be seen if Kanter will lose his job. I doubt it happens, but it could. Rodney Hood left the game with a left foot injury, which is the same foot he’s had problems with lately. Expect more missed games for the rookie. Joe Ingles will likely eat up his minutes if Hood misses time.
MLK Day News & Notes
If you’re lucky enough to be off work on Monday, MLK Day rates as one of my favorite days of the year. The action kicks off nice and early with the Timberwolves at Hornets at 2 p.m. ET. Here’s the whole MLK Day schedule.
Minnesota @ Charlotte 2 p.m.
Philadelphia @ Washington 2
Detroit @ Atlanta 2:30 ESPN
Boston @ Clippers 3:30
Denver @ Golden State 4
Dallas @ Memphis 5 NBA TV
Indiana @ Houston 5:30
New Orleans @ New York 5:30
Chicago @ Cleveland 7:30 TNT
Toronto @ Milwaukee 8
Sacramento @ Portland 10
Lakers @ Phoenix 10 TNT
Larry Sanders, who is serving a 10-game suspension, is vowing to give up the weed and try to get his career back on track. Good luck, Larry.
Kobe Bryant is traveling with the Lakers for their road trip, but we have no idea when or how much he’ll play this week. The Lakers don’t have any back-to-backs this week, but that doesn’t mean he’ll play in all four games. Owners should probably plan on him playing in three of them and roll the dice, but that’s a personal decision you’re going to have to make.
Terrence Jones is getting closer to a return from a leg injury, but still doesn’t have a target date for Houston. My guess is he’s going to be half the player he was early in the season while competing with Donatas Motiejunas and Josh Smith for minutes upon his return.
Kevin Love is questionable for the Cavs due to a back injury, but my guess is he’ll play.
Joel Embiid’s (foot) work ethic and maturity are becoming an issue for the Sixers and he reportedly weighs close to 300 pounds. He’s doubtful to play this season.