The Clippers won in a blowout, the Heat won in overtime and the Warriors became the fastest team to ever hit 50 wins by beating the Hawks on Monday. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a monster triple-double (his first ever) and Jae Crowder scored a career-high 27 points. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Pistons 96, Cavaliers 88 – All five Pistons starters scored in double digits, led by Reggie Jackson with 23 points, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, and Andre Drummond’s 16 points, 15 boards, two steals and a block. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 19 points, two steals and two 3-pointers, and Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris each scored 14 points. Harris was particularly nice with five boards, three assists, three steals and a 3-pointer. All of those guys should be owned in most fantasy leagues. Stanley Johnson led the bench with 22 minutes, 10 points, four rebounds and a 3-pointer, and he was the only Piston to score off the pine tonight. Johnson is no longer a must-own player now that KCP is back, and with Harris and Morris are starting over him.
The Cavs got 30 points, five dimes and three 3-pointers from Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love came through with 24 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers in the loss. LeBron James hit just 5-of-18 shots for 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and six turnovers for one of his worst games in recent memory. Tristan Thompson fell flat after a hot streak, missing both his shots and finishing with zero points and six boards in 21 minutes, while J.R. Smith hit just 3-of-7 shots for seven points, four rebounds and one 3-pointer. Matthew Dellavedova led the Cavs off the bench with seven points, and Timofey Mozgov managed just four points and seven rebounds, despite the struggles of Thompson. Thompson had double-doubled in three straight games before tonight’s dud and he was a bit overwhelmed by Drummond. My guess is Thompson will bounce back in the next one, and I still don’t trust J.R. Smith. The good news for owners of Cavaliers is that they’re in a bit of a dogfight with the Raptors, who are just three games back in the standings.
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Raptors 122, Knicks 95 – Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 20 in the easy win. Lowry triple-doubled (22-11-11), DeRozan had three steals and JV had three blocks for the winners. The Raptors gained a game on the Cavaliers tonight, as Cleveland lost to the Pistons, and sit just three games behind the Cavs. James Johnson started and scored 12 points with a 3-pointer and two blocks, and Luis Scola added four points and six boards. Neither player is too enticing in fantasy right now. Cory Joseph had 13 points, six assists and two steals off the bench, and Terrence Ross added 12 points and four 3-pointers. Ross hasn’t looked very good in four straight games, while Joseph is averaging 12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a 3-pointer on 55 percent shooting over his last five games. If you need a guard in a deep league, Joseph might be worth an add. Bismack Biyombo had 10 points, nine boards and a block in just 19 minutes, marking his first trip to double-digit scoring in the month of February.
The Knicks got 23 points, 11 boards and five dimes from Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez went off for 21 points and 13 boards on 10-of-14 shooting, and Kristaps Porzingis added 17 points and a couple 3-pointers in the loss. Jose Calderon was useless, failing to score in 19 minutes, and Arron Afflalo hit just 3-of-11 shots for seven points, marking the first time in February he didn’t score at least 11 points and hit at least one 3-pointer. He should bounce back. Langston Galloway played 25 minutes to lead the bench brigade, but couldn’t get it going. He missed all three of his shots, failed to score, and picked up five fouls. He should be better than this on most nights. I’m not ready to tell you to drop and forget about Galloway, despite this disaster. The Knicks are 6.5 games out of a playoff spot in the East and I’m worried about Melo eventually shutting it down. I also think Calderon is a shutdown candidate, which is why I’m still good with holding Galloway. Additionally, Melo was beyond ticked off after the game and unloaded on the effort from his teammates. ‘'We got to want to do it. We got to want to be out there, we got to want to play, we got to want to compete,” he said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with X’s and O’s. We got to take it upon ourselves individually to take a challenge. We can’t beat nobody allowing (58) points in the paint. Impossible.” Even though it goes against the thought process behind what he said last night, I still can’t help but thinking we will eventually start seeing DNPs from Melo, who will likely cite a sore knee or back as the reason. No way this team is making the playoffs.
Bucks 108, Lakers 101 – All five Bucks starters hit double digits in scoring, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with a monster 27-12-10 triple-double that also included three steals, four blocks and 12-of-17 shooting. That was his first triple-double and the future is now! Red hot Jabari Parker had 15 points and nine boards, Khris Middleton had 18 points and six assists, and Miles Plumlee hit all seven of his shots for 14 points, five rebounds and a block in another start. This was his first double-digit scoring game since prior to Christmas, so I’m not too excited about it. O.J. Mayo started again at point guard and had 12 points, four assists and four 3-pointers, making him worth a deep-league look. Greg Monroe was a bit quiet off the bench with 12 points, eight boards, two steals and a block, but is still a much better player to own than the starter (Plumlee). Michael Carter-Williams came off the bench again, but played 35 points and had 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, and is still a guy I’d rather own over Mayo. At least as long as Jerryd Bayless is out with a sore knee. When Bayless is back, the three Milwaukee point guards are all going to hurt each other fantasy wise.
For the Lakers, starters Julius Randle, Kobe Bryant and Roy Hibbert combined to hit just 5-of-22 shots. Power forward Larry Nance left with sore right knee and didn’t return, but hopes to play on Wednesday. Despite Randle’s struggles last night (5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block), he’s still the PF you want to own in L.A. Jordan Clarkson hit 5-of-10 shots and four 3-pointers for 15 points and a couple steals, while new starter D’Angelo Russell had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Nick Young got hot off the bench to finish with 19 points and three 3-pointers, while Lou Williams struggled in 30 minutes off the bench, hitting 2-of-12 shots for 14 points, six boards, four assists and two steals. He hit 10-of-13 free throws to salvage his line and should be better in the next one. But he does lose some of his fantasy appeal coming off the bench behind Russell. As for Young, this was his best game since November, so we’ll need to see it a few more times before buying into what he’s selling. The Lakers are off on Tuesday, so hopefully Kobe will play again on Wednesday, but the question is, do you want him in your lineup to likely kill your field goal percentage?
Warriors 102, Hawks 92 – The Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to reach 50 wins (50-5), despite blowing a 23-point lead against the Hawks on Monday. Stephen Curry went off for 36 points, eight dimes and five 3-pointers, and Klay Thompson had 28 points and five 3-pointers in the win. Draymond Green scored just six points, but also had 14 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a block on 2-of-10 shooting. Andrew Bogut started and added 11 rebounds and five blocks, and Harrison Barnes scored 14 with three 3-pointers. The Dubs’ bench was very quiet and the Hawks’ furious comeback in the second half helped keep the starters on the floor more than Steve Kerr would have liked. The Warriors need to go 23-4 over their final 17 games to surpass the Bulls for the all-time best record. They picked up Anderson Varejao off waivers and he could play on Wednesday. Just ignore him unless Bogut gets hurt.
The Hawks got a monster line from Al Horford with 23 points, 16 rebounds, six dimes, three steals, five blocks and a 3-pointer, and Jeff Teague played through his wrist injury and had 16 points, six dimes and two 3-pointers in the loss. Paul Millsap was quiet with 11 points and seven rebounds, but also had a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. Kent Bazemore’s cold streak continued and he was just 1-of-7 for four points in 16 minutes. He’ll get it going again at some point, but isn’t a must-own player if you have a hot free agent in mind. Kyle Korver disappeared with two points on 1-of-4 shooting and I still don’t trust (or like) him. Dennis Schroder played just 18 minutes off the bench, but hit 8-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for 18 points and six assists. And that’s the reason so many fantasy owners were hoping the Hawks would trade Teague. Schroder’s been very good in four straight games and with Korver and Bazemore struggling, could see more minutes at shooting guard alongside Teague.
Heat 101, Pacers 93 OT – The Heat brought Hassan Whiteside off the bench for the second straight game and he went off again with 19 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks in 41 minutes. With Chris Bosh possibly out for the year, Whiteside should be very busy the rest of the way. Amare Stoudemire started but played just 12 minutes, and it looks like Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts are the guys you’d rather own. Winslow started the second half over Gerald Green and had 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in 40 minutes, and McBob had 10 points, six boards, two steals and a 3-pointer in 22 minutes. Both are worth a look off waivers with the Heat so banged up, with Winslow serving as option A. Luol Deng stayed hot with 13 points and 16 rebounds (he’s rolling with three straight dub-dubs), Goran Dragic had 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists for one of his better games of the season, and Dwyane Wade returned from a two-game absence with 16 points and a full stat line in 39 minutes, but hit just 4-of-21 shots. I bet Kobe is jealous and my guess is Wade will play again on Wednesday. Green was awful, missing all five of his shots in just 18 minutes and should be an afterthought as long as Wade is healthy. Bosh is out indefinitely but specific information is lacking from the Heat. I’m not a real doctor, but my guess is he’s done for the year. Cut him at your own risk. Beno Udrih left with a foot injury, which should just mean more minutes for Dragic going forward.
For the Pacers, Paul George had 31 points, 11 boards, three steals and four 3-pointers and Myles Turner added 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks before fouling out. Ian Mahinmi also fouled out with 11 points, six boards, a steal and a block, and is worth a look if you need a center. George Hill played 37 minutes, despite being iffy with an elbow injury, but missed all seven of his shots and scored just one point. Monta Ellis joined Kobe and Wade by hitting just 2-of-17 shots for seven points, but will bounce back.
Timberwolves 124, Celtics 122 – All five Wolves’ starters hit double digits in scoring on Monday, led by phenom Karl-Anthony Towns and his 28 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Gorgui Dieng joined the double-double party with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Ricky Rubio flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Zach LaVine started and had 16 points and four 3-pointers, and Andrew Wiggins had an empty 17-point line. LaVine will supposedly continue to alternate starts with Tayshaun Prince, which might be the most confounding situation in the entire league right now. Prince started on Saturday and has now scored a grand total of two points over his last five games. All that starting the old man over the kid does is stunt LaVine’s growth. C’mon, Sam. Shabazz Muhammad played 20 minutes off the bench and scored 13 points, but isn’t someone you should be looking to for fantasy help in standard leagues.
Jae Crowder led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points, nine rebounds and four 3-pointers on 9-of-15 shooting, Avery Bradley scored 22 points with four 3-pointers and three steals, and Isaiah Thomas added 18 points, nine assists and two treys. All three are must-own players, and have been for much of the season. Jared Sullinger (also must-own in my book) started at center and had 12 points, seven boards, five assists and a steal on 6-of-8 shooting, while Kelly Olynyk continues to sit with a shoulder injury. Amir Johnson started, but played just 15 minutes, and it was Jonas Jerebko getting 22 minutes last night. JJ had nine points, but isn’t someone you can trust. Marcus Smart was nice off the bench with 17 points, four boards, seven assists and four steals, which was one of his better games in recent memory. Evan Turner cooled off with nine points, but also had nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in 26 minutes. Turner’s a must-own player in my book, while Smart’s a luxury own if you have room.
Clippers 124, Suns 84 – I’m not sure you can even call this a game, as it turned into more of a practice to get Jeff Green acclimated to the Clippers’ offense more than anything else. Chris Paul saw his fewest minutes in forever with 27 of them and still finished with 16 points and 14 dimes, J.J. Redick had 22 points and four 3-pointers, DeAndre Jordan double-doubled, and Paul Pierce scored 11 with three 3-pointers in just 19 minutes. Green played 24 minutes and had 18 points, five boards, a block and two 3-pointers on 6-of-10 shooting off the bench. I think that’s enough for Doc Rivers to turn him loose in the starting lineup, but my guess is Doc doesn't agree with me just yet. Green’s talented enough to be starting for this team and I hope he does soon, but I’m just not sure Rivers is going to make it happen right away. Just hold onto Green and see what happens. Wes Johnson played 28 minutes and scored 11 points with eight boards, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, but will take a hit if Green is ever turned loose. Jamal Crawford was a dud, missing all four of his shots and playing just 17 minutes. Simply put, the Clippers didn’t need him tonight and he got some much-needed rest. He was absolutely rolling coming in, but got the night off in a blowout. (Sorry, Kelin – my unfortunate H2H DFS sparring partner and Crawford user).
The Suns are an absolute mess. Earl Watson can’t decide whether to play the kids or the old guys, so he’s basically playing everyone right now. Alex Len played 31 minutes and had 14 points, eight boards and two steals, but hit just 5-of-16 shots. I’d like to think he’ll continue to get 30 minutes a night, with or without Tyson Chandler (shoulder), but we just don’t know. Either way, he should be owned. Archie Goodwin came off the bench but played a team-high 38 minutes, finishing with 20 points and zero assists. Devin Booker played 26 minutes and hit 2-of-10 shots. Ronnie Price and Phil Pressey both played about 28 minutes and put up some numbers, but I still trust Goodwin and Booker a lot more than those two. P.J. Tucker and Kris Humphries started, but I still like Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer (off the bench) more. The bottom line is that you’re basically rolling the dice starting any Suns in your fantasy lineup right now, but I’d rank them as follows: Goodwin, Booker, Len, Teletovic, Tucker, Leuer, then the rest.