Three professional basketball games were on the docket Tuesday evening, and there was a bushel of news that preceded the evening’s action, including some pretty significant beef between Draymond Green (who was suspended Tuesday) and Kevin Durant (who led all scorers with 29 points last night). Here are the fantasy takeaways from what went down on Tuesday:
Cavs 113, Hornets 89 — Wait, what?!?
The Cavs absolutely mauled the Hornets, picking up just their second win of the season and producing a number of notable fantasy performances in the process. At the top of the list sits Jordan Clarkson, who posted 24 points and five boards with a trey and a block on 9-of-15 shooting. In three games sans George Hill, Clarkson is now averaging 16.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.7 apg and 1.3 treys (and is still available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues). And speaking of no George Hill, after back-to-back games of one and three assists, starting point guard Collin Sexton uncorked a 16-5-4 line with two treys against Charlotte. In his three starts, he’s at 17.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.7 3s. Between Sexton, Trae Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the rookie PG situation is getting pretty exciting in a hurry.
Also notable for Cleveland: Tristan Thompson busted out 13 points, 21 boards and five assists (with no steals or blocks), and has now averaged 15.5 ppg and 16.0 rpg in his last four games. The only downside is he has just one block total during that stretch, and has averaged just 0.3 bpg since the start of last season. Meanwhile, J.R. Smith played a season-high 39 minutes (13 points, five assists, three treys, a steal and a block), and is up to 11.2 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.6 spg and 2.4 treys in five games this month. Also invited to the party: Larry Nance (seven points, 12 boards, a steal, a block and a trey for his second consecutive productive line), and David Nwaba? Yes, David Nwaba, who had 18 points in 27 minutes (both season-highs) and will need to do this again before I consider him in any leagues. One more thing to keep in mind as we ponder this statistical bonanza from the metropolitan Cleveland area: The Cavs only have one more game this week.
As for Charlotte… as you can imagine, this was ugly. Kemba Walker scored a season-low seven points on 2-of-16 shooting, while the only line to write home about came from one Jeremy Lamb: 22 points, six boards, three steals and a trey on 8-of-16 shooting. Lamb so far this month: 15.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 spg and 1.5 3s on 50.0 percent from the field. Somehow he’s doing all of this in just 25 minutes a game, which is to say we probably shouldn’t get used to 15.6 and 5.8. Charlotte also only has one more game this week.
Rockets 109, Nuggets 99 — CP3 Rising
Chris Paul hit for back-to-back 20-plus point games for the first time all season (specifically 21 points, five rebounds and four assists) as he continues to put some early-season shooting woes behind him. (CP3 is shooting just 41.9 percent on the season, but he’s 15-of-25 — 60 percent — the last two games, with eight treys.) Clint Capela was not slowed down by a bruised knee, as he posted a season-high 24 points with nine rebounds and a block. Also for Houston, deep-league
All-Star contributor James Ennis had his own season-high of 16 points, with two treys and two blocks. Ennis had combined for seven points total in his last three games, so he’s still got some work to do before he’s a trustworthy pickup. Lastly, P.J. Tucker continues to play monster minutes (41 of them in this one), scoring 12 points with six boards, four treys, a steal and a block. Tucker is doing just enough to make you wonder if you should add him, but outside of deeper leagues I don’t think you’ll lose sleep leaving him out there on the waiver wire.
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As for Denver, the most notable news, believe it or not, was a Monte Morris sighting (19 points, six dimes, three treys in 31 minutes). Monte had sort of faded from relevance after a hot start, but is beginning to reemerge. Last three games: 13.0 ppg, 6.0 apg and 1.7 3s in an average of 27 minutes. If he got dropped it may be time to re-add him, depending on the size of your league. Monte's playing time has actually been pretty consistent all season — only one game under 20 in his last 12 — so his rotation spot looks pretty safe even though the Nuggets have lost four straight.
Also for the Nuggets, Juancho Hernangomez is getting pretty substantial run at the moment (39 on Tuesday, 27 per game this month), but he’s doing even less than P.J. Tucker (six points, nine rebounds and two 3s on Tuesday; 8.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.9 3s and very little else in seven games this month).
Warriors 143, Hawks 118 — (not the real score of this game)
I actually wrote that score before the game started. The real score was a much more modest Warriors 110, Hawks 103. For Atlanta, Trae Young had his worst shooting game of the season (2-of-12), though his shooting really hasn't been the issue with his fantasy value. In his last seven games prior to Tuesday, Trae shot 45.5 percent from the floor. The bigger issue for the Hawks rookie PG has been turnovers (he had just three on Tuesday), and steals. Young took a step forward in that department as well, picking up a season-high three steals, so his 4-5-9 line was not all negatives. The other significant news for ATL is that Taurean Prince (22-4-4 with four 3s) continues to break out of his shooting slump. Prince has now hit 17-of-27 shots in his last two games, and is up to 47.1 percent from the floor this month. If you waited it out — well done.
As for Omari Spellman — who had two straight double-doubles last week — he had zero points and three boards and is obviously droppable, though still not an awful stash in deeper leagues.
The Warriors, as you may have heard, have had just a smidge of internal strife recently (and more on that in a second). As for the stat lines, Kevin Durant scored 29, going 11-of-11 at the free throw line. His last three games: 30.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 8.0 rpg, with 1.7 spg, going 31-of-33 on free throws. KD has also averaged 1.3 bpg over his last four games after averaging just 0.6 in his first 11. I generally stayed away from Warriors in my drafts for fear of them missing too many games this season, but the one I’m starting to regret that with is impending free agent Durant (again, more on that in a minute).
After an off night on Monday with just seven points, Quinn Cook went for 18-4-6 against the Hawks, who had him on their roster last year during training camp (whoops). Klay Thompson hit for 24 points, and is now averaging 27.8 ppg in his last eight games after posting just 15.1 ppg in his first seven. That 27.8 number includes the 52-point night, but even if you leave it out, Thompson is averaging 24.3 ppg in his last seven. Andre Iguodala (8-5-5) had a second consecutive productive line, but is tough to count on unless you're in a very deep league. As for the Warriors bench guys (Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and Alfonzo McKinnie), they weren’t that involved with 13 points combined, though there are still three games left for the Warriors this week — and the potential for starters resting (or getting into more fights with each other).
In other news from Tuesday…
Draymond Green got suspended one game… for getting into it with Kevin Durant over KD’s impending free agency. The argument between the two reportedly got pretty heated, which is stressful if you’re a Warriors fan, and fun if you either want the Warriors to implode or just like a good old-fashioned verbal throwdown. However, from a fantasy standpoint, there’s not a huge impact here. The reality is there was a decent chance Green was going to sit out at least one of the Warriors’ five games this week, so this made the decision easy, and he’s expected back on Thursday — when we will hear a lot about how he and Durant are or are not mending their relationship. Jonas Jerebko, not previously mentioned, got the start for Draymond on Tuesday, and put up 14 points, 13 boards and four treys.
Caris LeVert — NOT done for the season: This one came as a shock to anyone who saw the way he hit the floor on Monday night. The exact timetable was unclear as of Wednesday morning, so fantasy owners who haven’t yet dropped LeVert will probably want to wait for an update. Either way, we’re probably looking at a very long absence, but it’s phenomenal news that we should be seeing him back on the court this year.
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Injury Quick Hits: Russell Westbrook (ankle) appears to be getting closer to a return, but is listed as out for Wednesday. Given the way these things change, it’s worth keeping an eye on his status leading up to tipoff. … Nikola Mirotic (ankle) and Elfrid Payton (ankle) are both questionable. … Jeff Teague (knee) is questionable after he appeared to tweak his knee at least once during Monday night’s game. … Andrew Wiggins (quad) is being called questionable, so make sure to check back on his status as well. … Also being called questionable: Jonathan Isaac (ankle). … Jarrett Allen (illness) is — wait for it — questionable. … Rudy Gay is expected to rest for Wednesday’s game, the first night of a Spurs’ back-to-back. … Moe Harkless (knee) reportedly looked impressive in 1-on-1 drills on Tuesday, but remains out. … C.J. Miles (adductor) is out.
Other Things to Know: The Clippers reportedly aren’t interested in Carmelo Anthony, but the Sixers apparently could be. … James Johnson (hernia) has reportedly been practicing with the Heat for a month, but is working on getting into shape / down to the right playing weight before he returns. … Bogdan Bogdanovic said he is planning to play in both of the Kings’ back-to-back games this weekend, and could soon have his minutes restriction lifted. … Dr. A will answer your fantasy hoops questions on YouTube Live at 4pm ET today. Here’s the link to join. … We have 11 games on the schedule for Wednesday evening. I sat down to preview all of them with Tommy Beer — talking Caris LeVert’s injury, buying low on Otto Porter and much more — on the Rotoworld fantasy hoops podcast.