Kemba Walker did it again, the Hawks are getting healthy, the Pacers destroyed the Jazz without Vic Oladipo, and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis did what they do on Monday night. Oh, and Iman Shumpert had a big night for the Kings to spoil the return of Russell Westbrook. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Hornets 117, Celtics 112 – Kemba Walker, who had 60 in his last game and now leads the league in scoring, went off again with 43 points, five assists and seven 3-pointers, and Jeremy Lamb stayed hot with 18 points and six boards. Willy Hernangomez made some noise with 14 points, three rebounds, three assists, a block and two 3-pointers in just 16 minutes, and I wish he was starting over Cody Zeller. Nicolas Batum had a rough night, hitting 3-of-10 shots, but I’d stick with him if you can.
The Celtics have become a really frustrating fantasy team, as only Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum put up fantasy-friendly numbers. Gordon Hayward played 31 minutes off the bench, but scored just four points, and Al Horford had just three rebounds to go along with his 10 points and three blocks. I’m glad I stayed away from the guys in green on draft night.
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Clippers 127, Hawks 119 – Avery Bradley started over an ill Danilo Gallinari and did nothing, Montrezl Harrell put on another show, hitting 15-of-18 free throws and swiping five steal with two blocks, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander bounced back from an off night. Mike Scott also got some Hawks revenge with a season-high 18 points, six 3-pointers and 28 minutes, but isn’t worth grabbing right now. Patrick Beverley was pretty quiet and played just 19 minutes, never returning after picking up a technical in the third quarter. He may continue to lose playing time to SGA and Lou Williams, who had a season-high 11 assists against his former team.
The Hawks have lost 12-of-13 games, putting them on track for a shot at Zion Williamson, but are now at full strength. It’s going to be tougher for them to tank going forward, but they’ll probably give it their best shot. Taurean Prince had 21 points and three 3-pointers in his return from a sore achilles, John Collins hit 7-of-10 shots for 18 points, six assists and two 3-pointers in just 21 minutes, and Trae Young had 25 points and a career-high 17 assists in 37 minutes. I’ll let you look at the rest of Young’s line, in an effort to not bash him every time I write about him. But let’s just say it’s going to be tough for him to crack Basketballmonster.com rankings as long as he’s struggling with his shot and ball handling. Kent Bazemore was really quiet, but did have eight rebounds, a steal and two blocks, so don’t give up on him if you’re tempted. And Omari Spellman left the game with a bruised right hip, putting him day-to-day.
Pistons 113, Cavaliers 102 – Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Bullock all had big nights, and Reggie Jackson was decent. Bullock is trying really hard to make us want to pick him up, but he’s very inconsistent, scoring 1, 13, 23, 5 and 21 points in each of his last five games.
The Cavaliers were led by Collin Sexton’s 18 points, and he also had four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 6-of-10 shooting. Jordan Clarkson added 16 points, four boards, four assists and a 3-pointer, but the rest of the Cavs weren’t too exciting. But with three more games this week, and four games per week for the next four, in addition to Sexton and Clarkson, guys like Larry Nance, Cedi Osman, Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, David Nwaba and Andrew Harrison are all worth a look, despite some inconsistency, as well as playing for a 2-13 team that will now face LeBron’s Lakers on Wednesday.
Pacers 121, Jazz 94 – The Pacers ran the Jazz out of the gym without Victor Oladipo (knee), as Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans (who started for Oladipo) both put up decent stat lines without scoring much. Bojan Bogdanovic had 21 points, two steals and three 3-pointers, and has scored in double figures in seven straight games. He’s also scored at least 20 in three of his last four, meaning he should be owned everywhere. Myles Turner finally had a fun stat line with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer, and Domantas Sabonis and Aaron Holiday both scored 19. Oladipo shouldn’t be out for long, so Holiday’s not a great option, but Sabonis, who added nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two 3-pointers to his line, is averaging 14.2 points and 10.8 rebounds over his last fie games. Tyreke is intriguing, but inconsistent, and it sounds like Oladipo might be ready to play again on Wednesday. The Pacers are 1-0 without Oladipo this season after going winless without him last season.
The Jazz got a season-high tying 28 points and a great stat line from Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 11 boards, and Jae Crowder had 14 points, five boards, four assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers in the loss. The rest of the Jazz were a disaster, including Joe Ingles, who hit just 2-of-7 shots for five points and five assists. Hang in there with him. Donovan Mitchell scored a season-low seven points in 32 minutes, but he had 28 points on Saturday, and will be fine.
Sixers 119, Suns 114 – Joel Embiid was a monster, Ben Simmons was an assist shy of a triple-double, J.J. Redick had 17 points and two 3-pointers, and Jimmy Butler had 19 points and a couple 3-pointers off the bench. Wilson Chandler was awful in another start, but Mike Muscala came through with 19 points, five boards and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes. This game was closer than it should have been, but the Sixers have won three straight with Jimmy B in the house.
Trevor Ariza was back from his personal leave and had a full stat line, and Mikal Bridges stuck in the starting five over Isaiah Canaan and had 13 points, two steals and three 3-pointers. Devin Booker went off for 37 points, eight assists and six triples, T.J. Warren stayed hot with 21 points and a solid line, and Deandre Ayton hit 8-of-11 shots for 17 points and nine boards against the Process. We’ve been touting Bridges as a must-stash player and the fact he started last night is very encouraging. Canaan was 0-for-3 off the bench and may have finally run out of lives this season.
Grizzlies 98, Mavericks 88 – Jaren Jackson had 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks in 36 minutes and is as must-own as they come right now. Kyle Anderson had eight points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, so maybe he’s finally getting ready to take off? I don’t know. Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Garrett Temple all played well, and JaMychal Green had 12 points, nine boards, a block and two 3-pointers in just 15 minutes off the bench. If you want to pick him up, he might be worth a flier, but he’s not a must-own player in my mind. Shelvin Mack disappeared last night, giving his week an ominous start. Maybe he’ll bounce back against the Spurs on Wednesday.
All five Mavs starters scored in double figures, Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan double-doubled, and Dennis Smith Jr. added 19 points, three boards, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. There was nothing to see on the Mavs bench. Drummond had a season-high 20 boards and the dub-dub was the first of Doncic’s short career.
Bucks 104, Nuggets 98 – Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe both had another big night, and Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon all played well as starters. The Bucks bench was uninspiring, as usual. Milwaukee fell behind in the first quarter for the eighth time in 16 games, but are still 12-4 on the season.
The Nuggets got solid games from Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray (flirted with a triple-double) and Gary Harris, Paul Millsap had eight points, nine boards, a steal and a block, and Juancho Hernangomez was quiet, hitting just 2-of-10 shots and a 3-pointer for six points, seven rebounds and a steal. He has three games left to get it turned around this week, and I’m keeping the faith after he scored 20 and 25 points in each of his previous two games. Monte Morris played 25 minutes and hit 5-of-9 shots for 10 points, three rebounds and four assists. Those aren’t must-own numbers, but he’s averaging 11 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and a 3-pointer on 57 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s getting 29 minutes in those, so he’s worth grabbing in deeper leagues.
Pelicans 140, Spurs 126 – Anthony Davis filled the stat sheet in the win, Jrue Holiday had 21 points, nine assists and two 3-pointers, and E’Twaun Moore stayed hot with 24 points and two 3-pointers on 11-of-16 shooting. Moore is averaging 22.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.6 steals and 2.2 3-pointers on 61 percent shooting over his last five games, and is worth grabbing everywhere while he’s hot. Julius Randle came off the bench and hit 9-of-13 shots for a 21-14-10 triple-double, the sixth of his career.
The Spurs were led by DeMar DeRozan’s 21 points and he added six rebounds, five assists and a steal to his line. Bryn Forbes hit five 3-pointers and 6-of-8 shots for 20 points, but didn’t do much else, Dante Cunningham hit 7-of-7 shots and five 3-pointers for his second good game of the season, Rudy Gay had 17 points and six boards, and LaMarcus Aldridge hit just 2-of-11 shots for seven points and 10 rebounds. Derrick White has been relegated to a bench role and played just 13 minutes. It’s time to drop him for a hot free agent and yeah, we were wrong on him. The Spurs have now lost six of their last eight games and the only ones I’m interested in are DeRozan, Aldridge, Gay and maybe Forbes, who’s averaging 14 points and 3.4 3-pointers over his last five games, but is doing nothing else.
Kings 117, Thunder 113 – Buddy Hield had 25 points and five 3-pointers, Iman Shumpert broke out with 23 points, four 3-pointers and four steals, De’Aaron Fox had just six points on 1-of-10 shooting, but also had a season-high 13 assists, and Willie Cauley-Stein had nine points, 14 rebounds and five assists on 4-of-14 shooting. Nemanja Bjelica stuck in the starting five and showed signs of life with 12 points, eight rebounds, a steal and two 3-pointers, but he’s got a problem named Marvin Bagley looming behind him. Bagley was a beast in the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes. There is a lot of chatter about him needing to start, and it could happen sooner than later. But either way, he looked great last night and should be owned everywhere. And if you want to dump Bjelica, no one would be mad at you. Bogdan Bogdanovic played 25 minutes (again) and had 16 points, five boards, three assists and four 3-pointers, and is another guy I’m into owning right now. As for Shumpert, he apparently only likes to play the Thunder, as he had 26 against them in their first meeting this season. But he’s too inconsistent to be on your fantasy team right now. The surprising Kings are now 9-8 on the season.
Russell Westbrook returned from a six-game absence and looked good, hitting 12-of-25 shots and four 3-pointers for 29 points, 13 rebounds, seen assists and three steals. It looks like he’s good to go. Paul George had 27 points, nine boards, and four 3-pointers, and Steven Adams double-doubled. Hamidou Diallo started at shooting guard and hit 7-of-7 shots, 2-of-2 3-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws for a career-high 18 points, and also had two steals. If you’re in a really deep league, Diallo might be worth a look. Jerami Grant hit just 3-of-9 shots for eight points, one rebound and a block, and never got it going last night. He had his double-digit scoring streak stopped at 12 games last night, and has been playing well enough to be owned in all leagues. Dennis Schroder played 29 minutes and shot it 17 times in Westbrook’s return, but hit just three shots for six points, five boards, two assists and a steal. The minutes and shots were encouraging, at least.