There were 11 games played on Saturday, putting 22 teams in action. Jarrett Jack and Kenneth Faried left with what look to be pretty serious injuries, while the Warriors needed overtime to get by the Nuggets after Stephen Curry left with a shin contusion. Let’s get to it. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Nets 100, Celtics 97 – Jarrett Jack left with a non-contact knee injury and will have an MRI, so my gut feeling is we’re going to get bad news. Shane Larkin was immediately a hot pickup when news broke, and I like the idea of grabbing him, despite his two points, four assists and two steals in 24 minutes. He should be the man if Jack’s knee is, um, jacked. Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez had big double-doubles, Bojan Bogdanovic came through with 13 points, six boards and a 3-pointer, and Joe Johnson awoke from his basketball coma to score 20 points. He had scored a total of 20 points in his previous three games, so this one was much needed. Larkin and Bogdanovic, who has been hot for his last five games, are the pickups.
Amir Johnson had seven points, 11 boards and two blocks, Jae Crowder played well despite hitting just 5-of-13 shots, and Jared Sullinger played just 18 minutes and had five turnovers in one of his worst games. Avery Bradley left with a hip injury and Isaiah Thomas played well, as usual. Marcus Smart played 24 minutes and scored 11, but still isn’t quite there on the consistency scale, and Evan Turner had 12 points and seven boards in 37 minutes. If Bradley’s going to miss time, Turner will become a hot pickup. The big-man rotation is becoming messy, as Johnson, Crowder, Sullinger, David Lee, Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk all got decent run. Sullinger has cooled off to the point where he’s not trustworthy right now, but none of the aforementioned bigs are worth using, either.
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Kings 142, Suns 119 – DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi, Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison, who I like to refer to as the ‘usual suspects,’ all had nice lines – especially Rondo and Cousins. Marco Belinelli also chipped in with 19 points and is officially hot after scoring 28 in his previous game.
P.J. Tucker cooled off after a big game with just five points, while T.J. Warren (19 points) and Devin Booker (21 points) both played very well. I’ve had those guys ranked Booker-Warren-Tucker, and am sticking with that order for now. Booker and Warren should be owned in all leagues, in my opinion. Brandon Knight was solid with 23 points and a nice line, Tyson Chandler was useless in a start at C, and Alex Len got just six minutes as the Suns continue to use a small lineup. Jon Leuer came off the bench, but still had 11 points, four boards, a steal, a block and a three in just 17 minutes. I like him much better when he’s starting, but he’s still in the rotation and Markieff Morris didn’t even play. Mirza Teletovic might be heating up after scoring 15 on Thursday and 13 yesterday, but is still not a guy I’d put much faith in. Just keep an eye on him.
Thunder 109, Hornets 90 – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka led the Thunder to an easy win, while Steven Adams had eight points, nine boards and three blocks in the start. I still don’t trust him, but he’s at least radar fodder after this one. Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Dion Waiters all scored in double figures off the bench, but Kanter’s the only one you want to mess with.
Cody Zeller cooled off with seven points in 23 minutes, but I’m not ready to give up on him with Al Jefferson down and out. Jeremy Lin started with Nicolas Batum out with a toe injury and had 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Batum shouldn’t be out long, but Lin was playing pretty well off the bench coming in, so he’s still worth a look in most leagues. Kemba Walker stayed hot with 32 points and a solid line, while none of the bench players did much. However, Frank Kaminsky played 33 minutes and hit 2-of-11 shots, while starter Marvin Williams had just four points and eight boards. With Jefferson out and Marvin struggling, Zeller and Kaminsky are both worth owning in most leagues, despite yesterday’s struggles.
Pacers 94, Pistons 82 – Paul George is heating up again and had 32 points, 14 boards, four 3-pointers and seven turnovers, along with a monster fourth quarter. George and Marcus Morris got into it and it escalated, but thankfully no punches were thrown. George Hill stayed hot with 18 points and Monta Ellis scored 14 on 5-of-14 shooting. He’s cooled off, but still played 34 minutes. Ian Mahinmi and Lavoy Allen were both pretty bad in starts for the Pacers, while Jordan Hill is back in action. He had eight points, three boards and a block, which will eventually ruin Allen. Mahinmi just had a bad case of ‘Drummond-itis.’ C.J. Miles and Myles Turner were both very quiet, and I just can’t figure CJM out. He’s all or nothing from night to night.
Starters Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all hit double figures and are all worth owning right now. Ilyasova is particularly intriguing after averaging 13.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last three games.
Cavs 104, Magic 79 – LeBron James had a big game with 29 points and four 3-pointers in a blowout win, while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson both had low-end double-doubles. Kyrie Irving is getting there and had 13 points and five assists, but is still not the player he will be a month from now. J.R. Smith was terrible, hitting 1-of-7 shots for three points and the Cavs’ bench did nothing. There was absolutely nothing to learn from this game, other than that Thompson might be worth a pick up, and that Smith is a highly frustrating player to own.
I can’t believe Channing Frye is still starting for the Magic, but it’s true. He played just 13 minutes last night, while Andrew Nicholson got 28 minutes. Nicholson had just six points and six boards, but you have to think Scott Skiles is eventually going to give in and play him over Frye. This game was over by halftime and Skiles didn’t play his starters much at all. Evan Fournier led them with nine points in 28 minutes, while Nikola Vucevic had four fouls in 13 minutes. Aaron Gordon had 11 points and seven boards, and Shabazz Napier and Mario Hezonja both scored 10 off the bench, but don’t read anything into this game. It was blowout city. Victor Oladipo got the starter treatment even though he was coming off the bench, and played just 14 minutes.
Bucks 95, Wolves 85 – Greg Monroe’s slump is over and he double-doubled, Khris Middleton finally came back to earth, but still had a solid line, Giannis Antetokounmpo was good and Michael Carter-Williams still produced despite hitting 1-of-7 shots for five points. He played 35 minutes and had seven boards, six assists, two steals and three blocks. Jerryd Bayless played 32 minutes off the bench, but hit just 4-of-13 shots for 13 points, five boards, two assists and three 3-pointers. He was helped by the fact O.J. Mayo was ejected in the first quarter, and both MCW and Bayless should be owned in all leagues. Jabari Parker played 35 minutes and had 12 points and six boards. I still don’t love him, but he’s at least showing signs of life again. John Henson got 21 minutes and hit 6-of-7 shots for an uncharacteristic 15 points, four boards and a block. He’s been worth owning for the blocks alone in many leagues, and tonight’s scoring explosion was nice to see.
The Wolves got 19 from Andrew Wiggins and he also had six boards, three steals and a block, and Ricky Rubio was solid with 14 points, six boards, seven assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers for one of his best all-around lines of the season. Karl-Anthony Towns hit just 4-of-17 shots for eight points, 10 boards, a steal and three blocks, and it’s scary to think what he would have done had he made some shots. Gorgui Dieng was really quiet off the bench and didn’t block a shot, and it’s time for him to start over Kevin Garnett, right? Until then, it’s going to be a rough ride. Zach LaVine was quiet in 21 minutes and has been useless in fantasy lately, but I’d still recommend holding him with Kevin Martin completely out of the rotation.
Pelicans 105, Mavs 98 – Anthony Davis played like the No. 1 fantasy pick with 31 points, 14 boards, a steal and a block, and the Pelicans got a win. Imagine that. Norris Cole started for Tyreke Evans (right knee tendinitis) and hit 7-of-16 shots for 16 points, 12 boards, four assists and four steals in 38 minutes. I’m tempted, but he’s a tough play when Tyreke and Jrue Holiday are healthy. I’m not picking him up just yet. Speaking of Holiday, he played 30 minutes with 20 points, five assists and two 3-pointers. Maybe he’s ready to turn the corner.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 but hit just 8-of-21 shots, Chandler Parsons scored just six points, but played 34 minutes, and Zaza Pachulia stayed hot with 14 points, nine boards, four steals and a block. J.J. Barea started and had a solid line, but will take a hit once Deron Williams takes his job back. Williams came off the bench for 11 points in 21 minutes as he works his way back from his hamstring injury. Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton both played well with Williams still limited.
Spurs 121, Rockets 103 – LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 24 & 9, Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and a fun line, and Tony Parker missed all six of his shots and finished with two points, but also had 10 dimes. In two of the weirder developments of the night, Tim Duncan failed to score for the first time in his storied career (14 minutes) and some dude named Danny Green hit six 3-pointers and scored 18 points. I’m sure he’s been dropped in your league and this is the first time all season he’s shown signs of life. Sure, take a flier on him. Boris Diaw scored 20 off the bench, but it was fluky, so I’m not taking the bait.
Dwight Howard was nice again with 22 & 12 and even asked to play the fourth quarter of a blowout loss. He’s good to go and rolling right now. James Harden sat out the fourth quarter and only took 10 shots to finish with 17 points. He’s fine. Patrick Beverley had a quality line and is a low-end fantasy starter, Trevor Ariza had his best game in recent memory, but still scored just 10 points, and Clint Capela had eight points, seven boards, a steal and four blocks. Terrence Jones didn’t do much with his 27 minutes, but him and Capela are going to cancel each other out on most nights. Corey Brewer scored 11 points but played just 19 minutes, and isn’t worth it.
Jazz 92, Grizzlies 87 OT – Rodney Hood stayed hot with a career-high 32 points, five 3-pointers, eight boards, a steal and a block, and has played well in two straight. Hopefully you didn’t dump him during his shooting funk. Gordon Hayward cooled off with 14 points in 42 minutes, Jeff Withey double-doubled with 12 points, 10 boards and four blocks, and Trey Burke cooled off with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting. Withey was helped with Derrick Favors out with back spasms, and the Jazz play five games next week. That makes guys like Trey Lyles, Withey and Trevor Booker all worth a look next week. Especially if you’re Suns-heavy, as Phoenix only plays twice. Rudy Gobert is dunking in warmups, but still doesn’t have a target date. I’m hoping we see him at some point in their five-game week.
The Grizzlies started Tony Allen with Matt Barnes still suspended and he had 13 points, eight boards, three steals and a 3-pointer. I’m not picking him up, but put him on your radar. He’ll take a hit when Barnes is back. Jeff Green struggled mightily in 44 minutes, while Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Courtney Lee all played well. Lee is hit-or-miss, but might help you if you’re in need of threes. Green will bounce back.
Warriors 111, Nuggets 108 OT – Stephen Curry returned to action, but sat out the second half with a shin contusion. I really hope he’s OK. But if he’s not, Draymond Green is possibly the best fantasy player in the league. He had his second back-to-back triple-double of the season, and this one was mind blowing. Green dropped 29 points, 17 rebounds, 14 assists, four steals, a block and five 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting. Speechless. Klay Thompson had 26 points and a nice line, despite hitting just 11-of-27 shots, and Ian Clark played 37 minutes and hit 7-of-8 shots for 15 points. He’s worth a deep-league look after averaging 15 points and 2.0 3-pointers over his last four games. He’ll disappear once Curry is back, but he’s been playing well in nice minutes lately.
Kenneth Faried had the injury of the night, as it’s feared he could miss the remainder of the season with a fractured vertebrae. He left on a stretcher, but the good news is he has feeling in his hands and feet. We’ll know his fate on Sunday after he spends the night in the hospital. Danilo Gallinari and Jameer Nelson both had one of their best games of the season, and Will Barton scored 21 with a monster line off the bench in 50 minutes. He might be an All-Star. Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic were both worthless, while Darrell Arthur came off the bench for 12 points and four boards in just 17 minutes. He’s likely the winner if Faried is done, while I suspect Jokic would get a boost as well. I just hope Faried is OK.
Clippers 130, Sixers 99 – The Clippers destroyed the Sixers so the starters got a fourth-quarter rest. Starters Wes Johnson, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick all scored in double figures, while Austin Rivers went off for a season-high 26 points thanks to garbage time. Nothing to see here.
The Sixers got 13-8-1 from streaking Nerlens Noel, Ish Smith had 10 assists, but just four points on 2-of-9 shooting, Isaiah Canaan posted a donut on 0-for-5 shooting, and Jahlil Okafor got loose for 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting in just 18 minutes. Robert Covington is dead to me and played just 17 minutes, while Nik Stauskas enjoyed garbage time with 18 points and six 3-pointers in a team-high 28 minutes. It’s impossible to have learned anything from this game, as it was over by halftime.