Guys started dropping early on Wednesday with Dwight Howard, Nerlens Noel and Hassan Whiteside exiting, while Dwight Powell, filling in for Dirk Nowitzki, was a no show. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Sixers 96, Magic 87 – Nerlens Noel left with a head injury and didn’t return, JaKarr Sampson left with a hip injury and Nik Stauskas sat out with a shoulder injury. They’re all day-to-day. Robert Covington, Jahlil Okafor and Ish Smith all played well in the starting lineup and Smith double-doubled with 13 & 11. Jerami Grant, Isaiah Canaan and Hollis Thompson all played well off the bench, and Canaan is worth a look after scoring 14, 15 and 16 points with eight 3-pointers over his last three games. Canaan could take a hit once Stauskas is back, and I was wrong about Covington. He’s rolling again and should be owned.
For the Magic, Victor Oladipo sat out again with a knee injury and is day-to-day. Elfrid Payton started and went off for 21 points, six boards, 10 assists and a couple steals on 8-of-13 shooting. Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris double-doubled, while Aaron Gordon stayed on the bench to finish with seven points and eight boards in 32 minutes. Scott Skiles wants to bench Channing Frye and start Gordon, but the numbers tell him the Magic fare better with Frye starting. Ignore the numbers, Scotty! I still think Gordon’s worth holding right now.
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Wizards 106, Heat 87 – Drew Gooden (calf), Otto Porter (hip) and Kris Humphries (knee) were all out for the Wizards. Nene turned back the clock and had 16 points, six boards and five steals for his best game of the season. He’s played in six straight, so his next missed game might be right around the corner and I don’t trust the guy. Marcin Gortat and John Wall double-doubled, and Garrett Temple scored 11 in another start. Jared Dudley scored 10 points with an empty stat line, and Bradley Beal took a step forward with 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Temple’s value clock is ticking.
The Heat are hurting, as Hassan Whiteside left with an oblique injury and will be reevaluated (it didn’t look good), Dwyane Wade sat with a very sore shoulder and could miss more time, Luol Deng left with an eye injury and is day-to-day, Beno Udrih sat out again with a neck injury and could miss more, and Goran Dragic missed another with a calf injury, leaving him iffy for Friday. Gerald Green started, but hit just 2-of-10 shots for four points, while Tyler Johnson bounced back with 14 points, five assists and two 3-pointers. He looks like a safe own right now with most of the Heat guards hurting. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson both played 35-plus minutes, and Winslow had nine points, six boards, six assists and a 3-pointer. He’s worth a look if Wade and Deng are going to sit.
Cavaliers 91, Nets 78 – Kevin Love had 17 points and 18 boards, LeBron James had 17 with a thin stat line, and Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith struggled, combining for 13 points. Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 10 boards off the bench, but has lost value now that Timofey Mozgov is starting at center.
Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez and Donald Sloan all played well for the Nets, and Sloan (12 & 9) now looks like a must-own player in the starting lineup. Joe Johnson finally cooled off with three points on 1-of-7 shooting, but had been playing better. Shane Larkin had seven points and seven dimes off the bench, but Sloan’s the guy you need to pick up.
Knicks 118, Jazz 111 OT – Lance Thomas was out with a knee injury, while Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo all played well in the overtime win. Porzingis hit a huge three late, while Ro-Lo went off for 22 points, 12 boards and three blocks on 11-of-14 shooting (he’s become a must-own player). Melo scored 30 and nearly triple-doubled, and Derrick Williams played clutch down the stretch and in overtime, finishing with 18 points and six rebounds. He was fading hard, so don’t get too excited about this line. However, he’s going to get bench run as long as Thomas is out. Melo passed Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list tonight.
For the Jazz, Derrick Favors missed his 15th straight game and remains “day-to-day” with his back injury, which apparently should have originally been listed as ‘week-to-week.’ So frustrating. Gordon Hayward had 27 and Rodney Hood bounced back after being ejected in his previous game, hitting five 3-pointers on his way to 29 points, six boards and five assists. He’s scored in double digits in seven straight games. Rudy Gobert had 11 points, eight boards and two blocks, and Trey Burke hit 5-of-13 shots and two 3-pointers for 12 points, three boards and three dimes. Trey Lyles stayed relevant with 13 points, four boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, and is worth a look as long as Favors, who has supposedly been day-to-day for a month, is out.
Raptors 115, Celtics 109 – Luis Scola, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (34 points) all played very well for the Raptors, who are in second place in the East. James Johnson’s still not getting it done in lieu of DeMarre Carroll (knee surgery), and Terrence Ross had 14 points and four 3-pointers off the bench. Ross and Patrick Patterson (6 points, 7 boards) are worth keeping an eye on, but neither is a must-own player.
Amir Johnson has really struggled in his last three games for the Celtics and Kelly Olynyk had 18 points and a fun stat line again. If you want to drop Amir for Oly, do it. Especially since Amir couldn’t get up for a revenge game against his former team. Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas were all solid starters, while Jared Sullinger hit just 1-of-7 shots for three points in 13 minutes. I still like him, but Olynyk is the big man playing well right now for Boston. Marcus Smart was quiet with six points, but also had four rebounds, four assists and a steal, and looks like a nice grab right now, while Evan Turner stayed relevant with 11 points, five boards and five assists.
Warriors 125, Bulls 94 – Andrew Bogut played through a back injury and had six points, 12 boards, a steal and three blocks, and looked good. Draymond Green was poked in the eye but played through it, finishing with six points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Hopefully his eye is fine, but it was serious enough he had to go through concussion protocol before being cleared to return. Harrison Barnes scored 19 in the start, while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson played well in the easy win.
Bulls’ starter Taj Gibson was quiet with four points, seven boards and a block, and has yet to explode despite the absence of Joakim Noah. Pau Gasol fell off a cliff, missing all eight of his shots and finishing with a season-low one point. Derrick Rose hit 12-of-22 shots for 29 points, but didn’t hit a three, didn’t record a steal, and had just two assists. He’s scored well in three straight games since sitting out last Thursday, but isn’t doing much besides scoring. Jimmy Butler overcame a rough start to finish with 23 points, but hasn’t looked the same since exploding for 53 points a week ago. Bobby Portis got loose for 16 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes, but should continue to struggle going forward as long as Gibson is healthy. Nikola Mirotic played just 14 minutes and failed to score, but let’s keep in mind this was a blowout. He should bounce back.
Pistons 123, Rockets 114 – Starters Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all scored at least 17 points in the win. Drummond missed an NBA record 23 free throws, hitting just 13-of-36 from the line. Ouch. “It is what it is,” he said after K.J. McDaniels and other Rockets were focused on one thing – fouling Drummond. He was fouled intentionally 21 times.
Houston’s Patrick Beverley sat out with an ankle injury and Dwight Howard left after just one minute with a sprained left ankle. Both players are day-to-day. With Howard down, Clint Capela had 10 points, 13 boards, a steal and a block, and Terrence Jones got loose for 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting, but didn’t do much else besides hitting two 3-pointers. Howard’s injury didn’t look bad, so hopefully he won’t miss time. Trevor Ariza played 43 minutes, but hit just 1-of-8 shots for three points. Yuck. James Harden hit 9-of-22 shots and three 3-pointers for 33 points, and Ty Lawson came through with 18 points, five boards, three assists and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes, starting for Beverley. If Bev is going to miss more time, Lawson should be worth using in all formats.
Hawks 104, Blazers 98 – Kent Bazemore bounced back from a bad night with 23 points, five boards, five assists and three 3-pointers, while Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague all played reasonably well. Kyle Korver had six points and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes, but salvaged his night with five rebounds, four assists and a block. No thank you. Dennis Schroder cooled off, hitting just 3-of-13 shots for eight points, three boards, two steals, a 3-pointer and five turnovers in 20 minutes. He’s so tempting to own, but so doesn’t have a chance at starting until the Hawks give up on Korver.
C.J. McCollum’s dream season continued with 28 points and another full stat line for the Blazers, and Damian Lillard had 18 points, five boards and six dimes, but hit just 8-of-22 shots. Meyers Leonard double-doubled off the bench with 10 points, 10 boards and two 3- pointers, and Allen Crabbe hit just 2-of-7 shots in 28 minutes. Crabbe has been hit-or-miss lately, but at least the minutes are still there.
Thunder 109, Hornets 95 – Kevin Durant (26), Russell Westbrook (16 & 15) and Serge Ibaka (11 & 8) all played well, and Steven Adams came through with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a block. Adams is averaging 8.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over his last five, making him a low-end center option.
For the Hornets, Cody Zeller left early with a shoulder injury, Nicolas Batum left early after aggravating his toe injury, and Jeremy Lamb sat out with a toe injury of his own. Marvin Williams was awful with three points on 1-of-4 shooting, while Kemba Walker had 21 points, but just two assists. Frank Kaminsky (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Jeremy Lin (16) played well off the bench, and both of them would benefit if Zeller and Batum are going to miss time. Spencer Hawes (6 points, 6 rebounds) played 27 minutes, but Kaminsky is the guy you want if Zeller is out.
Mavericks 106, Timberwolves 94 – Dirk Nowitzki sat out with swelling in his knee and Raymond Felton sat with an eye injury. Charlie Villanueva started for Dirk and scored 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting, and Dwight Powell, who figured to do well without Dirk, played just three minutes. Go figure. Chandler Parsons spent a considerable amount of time at PF and came through with 30 points, eight boards and three 3-pointers, and is hopefully good to go the rest of the way. Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews both played pretty well, and Devin Harris had 15 off the bench with Felton out. Dirk’s swelling will have to go down and if he’s out, Parsons, Villanueva and maybe Powell would all benefit.
For the Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns went off for 27 points, 17 rebounds, a steal and six blocks for the best game of his young career, despite the fact that Nikola Pekovic started over Kevin Garnett. Pek is useless and Gorgui Dieng played just 16 minutes, helping KAT’s stat line. Dieng somehow had six points and 11 boards in the limited run, and his owners have to be getting frustrated. Ricky Rubio was 1-of-9 for two points, but had 11 assists, and Andrew Wiggins stayed hot with 23. Shabazz Muhammad played 35 minutes off the bench and had 14 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers. He’s hit double digits in four straight games, but isn’t all that trustworthy.
Kings 112, Lakers 93 – DeMarcus Cousins went off for 36 points, 16 boards, a steal and a block, Rudy Gay had a monster night with 16 points, six boards, two steals, six blocks and two 3-pointers, and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 29 minutes. His minutes are creeping up and it’s time to grab him if he’s available in your league. Rajon Rondo came through with 11 points and 17 assists, and Omri Casspi had nine points, nine boards and a 3-pointer off the bench, hitting just 3-of-11 shots. Darren Collison and Marco Belinelli were both quiet off the bench, and are hit-or-miss from night to night.
For the Lakers, Larry Nance was out again with a knee injury, but Julius Randle hit just 2-of-11 shots for six points, 12 boards and a block in the start. Randle’s a must-own player as long as Nance is out. Kobe Bryant hit just 4-of-13 shots, as usual, scoring 15 points, Roy Hibbert was quiet with six points and a block, and Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams both played well in the starting lineup, as usual. Brandon Bass went off for 18 points, seven boards and three blocks, but good luck trying to figure out the next time he’ll play this well. D’Angelo Russell hit 5-of-15 shots for 14 points and five assists, but is not as strong a play as long as Clarkson and Lou-Will are playing so well.