For the third consecutive Monday, the National Basketball Association held a total of exactly nine games to determine — among other things — how good or bad of a mood we fantasy owners will all be in to begin our week.
Here are some key fantasy takeaways from last evening’s roundball action:
Heat 120, Pistons 115 (OT) — a little bit of Justise: Even with Goran Dragic (toe) back and playing well (21-7-6), Justise Winslow carried a good bit of momentum from his near triple-double over the weekend. Winslow on Monday: 9-6-5 with three steals and a trey in 35 minutes (albeit with shaky percentages). Winslow has now averaged 9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 6.0 apg, 2.3 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.0 3s in his last three games, and is a fun waiver wire add if you can deal with some bad shooting. Also for the Heat, on a disconcerting note, Hassan Whiteside didn’t play on Monday and is headed for tests on his knee on Tuesday. Bam Adebayo started in his place and had 11 points, eight boards, three steals and a block, while Kelly Olynyk had 13-5-4 (with a steal, a block and three treys) off the bench. Josh Richardson continued his tear with 27 points.
On the Pistons side of things, Reggie Jackson scored a season-high 25, but is shooting a crushing 31.8 percent in his last six games — and 35.1 percent on the season. Meanwhile, Glenn Robinson III was impressive in a start, putting up 16 points with a steal, two blocks and two treys in 30 minutes. It was the first time Robinson has played more than 20 minutes all season, but he’s certainly worth a look in deeper formats. Langston Galloway (21-9-4) also went off out of nowhere, but with the Pistons rotation in flux, it’s worth at least monitoring the situation in deep leagues.
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Rockets 98, Pacers 94 — Make sure you get the “III” in there: Deep league person of note (and second person so far with a “III” in his name) James Ennis III hit double-digit points (13) with three treys for the second consecutive game, doing so in a season-high 27 minutes sans Eric Gordon. Again, just a deep league heads-up.
For Indiana, frustration continues with Myles Turner. Since his 18-point, six-block game on Friday, Turner has scored a total of 19 points in his last two games, including a season-low seven (with two boards, a steal and three blocks) in 23 minutes on Monday. Tyreke Evans continued to put up good numbers on a per-minute basis (11 points and two treys in 16 minutes), but he has yet to hit 25 minutes in a game one time all year. Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop him in a shallower league.
Magic 102, Cavs 100 — Cavs veterans show up: George Hill, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith all had their biggest games of the season. For Hill it was 22-4-6 on 10-of-12 shooting (four steals, two treys), while Thompson had 19 and 16 and Smith had 14 points for a second straight game — adding four boards, three assists, two steals, a block and two 3s. I could see potentially adding any of those guys depending on the size of your league, but Hill (12 percent owned in Yahoo, No. 103 in 9-category leagues) would be my top priority. There wasn’t much fantasy intrigue on the Orlando side of things, though Evan Fournier (15 points) sent the Cavs to 1-9 by drilling a last-second game-winning jumper.
Bulls 116, Knicks 115 (2 OT) — LaVine goes berserk: Zach LaVine went off for a monstrous line — a career-high 41 points (four boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks, four treys and eight turnovers). Those turnovers remain a problem (4.3 on the season), but at this point I can identify if you prefer not to sell high. Wendell Carter Jr. also continues to be somewhat ridiculous for a 19-year-old big man. His last four games: 15.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 2.5 bpg and 0.8 3s.
As for the Knicks… I’m not sure how much time we have. Let’s break it down into good and bad.
The good: Damyean Dotson (18 points) has hit double digits in every game he’s played. … Allonzo Trier put up 21 points in his first career start with Tim Hardaway Jr. (back) not playing, and Trier has now hit double-digit points in four of his last five (though he’s still not a priority add for me outside of deep leagues). … Enes Kanter went off (23-24-7). … Noah Vonleh (10 and 11) finally dodged foul trouble. … Emmanuel Mudiay (16 points) and Mario Hezonja (15) both produced, but will need to do a lot more to warrant a standard-league pickup.
The bad: Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina both went scoreless. I’d try to give them both another game, but I get it if you can’t take the inconsistency. Also, Kevin Knox returned and played five minutes, which would be a good thing, except it adds more confusion to a headache-inducing rotation.
Thunder 122, Pelicans 116 — Westbrook — out: As you likely saw, Russell Westbrook rolled his left ankle in this one and had to be helped off the floor (X-rays on the ankle were negative). Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 22 off the bench and could get a chance to start in a great matchup against the Cavs on Wednesday. It’s also worth noting that Jerami Grant (13 points) hit double digits for a sixth consecutive game, and is averaging 13.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.0 3s during that stretch.
For New Orleans, Julius Randle went 10-of-10 from the field for 26 points, a steal, two blocks and two treys. His last five games: 20.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.8 bpg and 0.4 3s — on 61.1 percent from the field.
Nuggets 115, Celtics 107 — Jamal Murray show: Murray scored a career-high 48 points, vaulting himself all the way up to No. 42 overall in 9-category leagues. Trey Lyles (13 points, three boards, two assists, two blocks, three treys) continued to make the most of his 20-25 minutes a night. His last seven games: 11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.7 bpg, 0.9 3s. Juancho Hernangomez only scored eight, but did all of that scoring after starting the second half. I would still prioritize Lyles if you’re adding a Nugget.
For Boston, Kyrie Irving matched his season-high with 31, while Marcus Morris had a season-low six. I’m sure you’re tempted to drop Morris if you just added him off waivers, but I’d try to wait it out a few more games. Morris hasn’t had back-to-back single-digit scoring games all year. It’s also worth noting that Marcus Smart had two steals and four blocks in this game, but scored just nine points — which actually tied his season-high.
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Raptors 124, Jazz 111 — No Kawhi, no Mitchell: Kawhi Leonard (ankle) did not play, while Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby both scored a season-high 17. I’m not racing to add either one, but if I was choosing a Raptor to add, it would be VanVleet. Serge Ibaka fouled out in 14 minutes, but still went 8-of-8 for 17 points. Ibaka has made 23-of-25 shots his last two games.
Donovan Mitchell (ankle) missed this game for the Jazz, which allowed Alec Burks to score 22 more or less out of nowhere. Derrick Favors also had a pretty nice line in this one (11 points, 10 boards, three steals and two blocks), but he’s averaging just 22 minutes a game, which really caps his upside in standard leagues.
Warriors 117, Grizzles 101 — Draymond sidelined: Draymond Green left this game with what’s being called a right foot contusion, and didn’t return for the second half. His availability for Thursday is a question mark, but it’s hard to imagine the Warriors pushing him to play this early in the regular season. Meanwhile, in another deep league development, Alfonzo McKinnie had 14 points and two treys in a season-high 29 minutes. McKinnie has averaged 11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 2.0 3s (0.0 spg, 0.3 bpg) over his last four games, and this is your reminder that the Warriors have five games next week.
For the Grizz, Jaren Jackson Jr. had his first game of more than two blocks — five of them, in fact — while recent waiver wire sensation Shelvin Mack continued his roll: 15 points, three dimes, a steal, a block and two treys in 24 minutes. Mack’s last four: 17.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg and 2.5 3s on 61.5 percent from the floor.
Clippers 120, Timberwolves 109 — Butler is back (for now): Jimmy Butler returned from his latest day of rest and put up 20-4-5, relegating Josh Okogie to 20 minutes (and seven points) off the bench. Derrick Rose put up 21 with Jeff Teague (knee) missing his fourth straight, while Karl-Anthony Towns put up a quietly monstrous line: 20 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, four blocks and a trey.
When it comes to the Clippers, I think I’m contractually obligated to tell you that Boban Marjanovic started and had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes — while Marcin Gortat was a DNP-CD for the second straight game. Also, Lou Williams is heating up big time for the Clippers. After 20 points, six assists and a trey on Monday, he’s now averaging 24.7 ppg, 3.7 apg and 2.7 3s over his last three games. Avery Bradley (ankle) did not play, allowing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to get his first start. SGA’s numbers: six points, three rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block in 25 minutes. At this point, it may take a Patrick Beverley injury for Gilgeous-Alexander to truly break out.
Injury Quick Hits: Taurean Prince (ankle) is doubtful for Tuesday. … John Collins (ankle) is making progress, but will miss at least three more games. … DeMarre Carroll (ankle) reportedly went “pretty hard” at Monday’s practice, and appears to be getting closer to a return, though he’s doubtful for Tuesday. … Rick Carlisle said he’d “be thrilled” if Dirk Nowitzki (ankle) gets into games in November. … Sam Dekker left with an ankle injury. … Isaiah Thomas (hip) has no clear timetable. … Norman Powell sprained his shoulder. … The Pelicans are hoping Elfrid Payton (ankle) can return on Wednesday or Saturday. … Luka Doncic (ankle) returned to a full practice on Monday and is being called questionable for Tuesday. … Four games are on the schedule for Tuesday, with Trae Young getting ready for an encore to his 24-6-15 explosion over the weekend in a matchup with Kemba Walker, who could not ask for a better setup to score a ton of points. Start your Hornets.