It was a hectic night in the Association, with 11 games on the docket. Lonzo Ball bounced back in a big (baller) way. Giannis Antetokounmpo did what Giannis Antetokounmpo does. James Harden refused to slow down. Kristaps Porzingis returned to action and didn’t skip a beat.
After recapping Saturday night’s action, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a look at important players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.
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At 20 years and 15 days old, Lonzo Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double when he scored 19 points, dished out 13 assists and grabbed 12 rebounds on Saturday night. The record had been held by LeBron James, who was 20 years and 20 days old when he posted his first triple-double in 2004-05. Ball also added four blocks, three steals, and three 3-pointers in what was the most impressive all-around game of his young career. Ball is the first player in history to post a triple-dozen (at least 12 points, boards and dimes) and also register at least three steals, three blocks and three triple. Poor percentages have plagued Lonzo early on, but he was able to knock down 7-of-12 field goal attempts in this one, including 3-of-5 from downtown. He was 2-of-4 from the free-throw stripe. Inefficiency will likely be an issue all year long, but this performance highlights Ball’s upside, particularly in points leagues.
James Harden is beyond scorching hot. They use something called the Scoville scale to measure the heat/spiciness of chili peppers. Whatever the highest level is on that scale, Harden surpassed it on Saturday. The Beard poured in 38 points (on 11-of-25 shooting FGs) and added eight assists, six 3-pointers, four rebounds and a block. Over the Rockets last three games, he’s averaging a mind-boggling 43.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 11.3 assists, 6.3 treys and 2.3 steals. Harden has now made at least six triples in five straight games, which is an NBA record. Coming into last week, no player had ever knocked down six-plus treys in more than three consecutive contests. Harden and coach Mike D’Antoni have been fantasy napalm since joining forces.
Giannis Antetokounmpo totaled 33 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in Milwaukee’s win over the Lakers. Ho hum. The Greek Freak has been so statistically dominant this season that remarkable nights like this barely raise an eyebrow at this point.
Kristaps Porzingis (elbow/ankle) returned from a one-game absence and picked up right where he left off. KP scored 34 points and added five rebounds, two assists, two blocks, four 3-pointers and no turnovers. As we know, Porzingis has been incredible offensively since the start of the season; he currently third in the league in scoring. However, he has taken his fantasy game to the next level of late as a result of his contributions on the defensive end. KP has blocked 14 shots over the last four games he’s appeared in. Saturday also marked the 44th time Porzingis had at least two blocks and two steals in the same game, extending his own franchise record. Carmelo Anthony ranks second Knicks history with 22 two-block, two-trey games.
Kevin Love had a game-high 29 points (on 11-of-19 shooting) and a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with three assists, three trifectas and a blocked shot in Saturday's win at Dallas.
Devin Booker was dynamite in the Suns' surprising victory over Minnesota. Booker had 35 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five 3-pointers in 39 minutes… Teammate T.J. Warren tied D Book for game-high honors with 35 points. Warren also added six rebounds, one block, one steal and one turnover in 39 minutes… Marquese Chriss finally snapped out of a nasty slump, tallying 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, five blocks and three 3-pointers across 26 minutes. It was only his second game in double-figures this season, and the five rejections were a season-high in swats. Hopefully, Chriss can build off this momentum.
Unsurprisingly, Boogie was beasting on Saturday night. DeMarcus Cousins poured in 35 points, ripped down 15 rebounds, dished out four assists and knocked down four 3-pointers in the Pels win over the Clippers. The only blemish on Boogie’s nightly resume was his eight turnovers, including two offensive fouls. Cousins has been a rebounding machine of late. He’s averaging 15.2 boards over his last five games. Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, Cousins has 68 games with at least 30 points and ten rebounds, which is more 30/10 games than any other player in the league over that span.
No to be outdone, Cousins tag-team partner produced his own incredible line on Saturday. Anthony Davis scored 25 points with 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, two steals and one turnover. We’ve become numb to Davis’ all-around fantasy excellence, as he stuffs the stat sheet nearly every time he steps foot on the floor. Just how specials has AD been over the first few weeks of the year? Well, no player in NBA history has ever finished a season averaging more than one steal, more than one 3-pointer and more than two blocks per game. Davis is currently averaging 1.3 steals, 1.2 treys and 2.1 blocks.
On the Radar:
Taurean Prince registered 19 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes on Saturday. The four 3-pointers represents a career-high for Prince. Although his stat lines will rarely blow you away, Prince consistently does enough across the board to keep fantasy owners happy. He ranks just outside the top-100 overall in nine-category fantasy leagues.
John Wall (illness) was questionable early in the day on Saturday but was able to suit up. However, the Wiz jumped out to a massive lead in the third quarter, which allowed coach Scott Brooks to rest is starters in the fourth. Wall played only 24 minutes, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal.
The good news for Blake Griffin: He tallied 26 points, four rebounds, six assists, one block and two 3-pointers. The bad news: He needed 27 shots to score his 26 points in the Clippers loss to the Pelicans. Griffin’s poor field goal percentage is a concern for fantasy owners. BG was a career 51.8 percent shooter from the floor coming into this season but is making just 45 percent of his shots over the first 12 games of this season. Griffin's newfound reliance on perimeter jumpers and 3-pointers are adversely impacting his percentages. He had attempted a total 155 treys over his first six seasons combined. He’s already launched 67 triple tries this year.
Bobby Portis has another solid outing off the bench. He finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes on Saturday. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 10 boards over his last three contests.
Tyreke Evans remained red-hot on Saturday. He finished with 22 points (on 8-of-12 shooting), six assists, five rebounds, three steals and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes off the bench. Talent has never been a question with Evans; durability has been his bugaboo. Evans has been healthy all season, and playing inspired basketball. Over his last five games, he's averaging 24.2 points (on 59.2 percent shooting), 2.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.2 treys and 1.8 steals in 31.6 minutes. The return of Ben McLemore (foot) could theoretically eat into his playing time, but as long as he continues to produce, coach David Fizdale will make sure Evans logs plenty of minutes.
Kyle Kuzma posted another double-double on Saturday. The Lakers’ less-heralded rookie had 21 points and 11 rebounds in 42 minutes. That’s a career-high in minutes and Kuz’s fourth double-double this season.
Will Barton started in place of Gary Harris (shoulder) on Saturday and scored a season-high 26 points to go along with a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Barton continues to earn increased playing time due to his valuable production. Coach Mike Malone is even utilizing him at point guard. Barton’s versatility gives him a high fantasy floor. He should be owned in all standard leagues.
Jamal Murray scored a career-high 32 points with four rebounds, one assist and six 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Murray had scored a combined total of 25 points over the Nuggets previous four games (6.3 points per game average), so this was a very welcomed sight for those owners sticking with Jamal.
Stephen Curry took a knee to the thigh from Ben Simmons early in the Warriors win over the Sixers, but was able to play through it. Curry finished with 22 points, four boards, nine assists, three triples and a steal. Steph was closely monitored by Golden State’s training staff throughout the evening, and was riding an exercise bike to stay loose, but doesn’t seem overly concerned. "I'm sure it's going to hurt tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll be alright," Curry said after the game. The Warriors next game is Monday, and Curry is expected to suit up. However, we’ll want to make sure he confirms he’s good to go after shootaround on Monday morning.
Kevin Durant returned from a thigh injury on Saturday and was unsurprisingly efficient. KD had 29 points (on 11-of-18 shooting), five boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks… Draymond Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and five blocked shots.
Jimmy Butler entered Saturday night averaging just 9.3 points over the Wolves last three games. He snapped out his mini-slump in robust fashion, scoring a season-high 25 points, to go along with seven rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and a 3-pointer. There was never any reason to panic; Jimmy Buckets will be just fine.
Courtney Lee scored a season-high 20 points on Saturday. He was 7-of-9 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from downtown. He also chipped in two rebounds and three assists. Lee ranks inside the top-80 overall in nine-cat leagues, so scoop him up if he is still unowned.
Dennis Smith Jr. registered 21 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots across 30 minutes on Saturday evening. After struggling a bit over the first couple weeks of the season, DSJ is averaging 19.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 treys over the five games the Mavs have played in November.
Harrison Barnes ended up with 23 points and 12 rebounds in Dallas’ loss to Cleveland. Like Smith Jr., Barnes has played well this month, averaging 22.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 treys per game.
D'Angelo Russell limped to the locker room late in the Nets loss to the Jazz on Saturday. Russell, who had 26 points before departing, injured his left knee on a drive to the basket. We don’t yet have any word on the extent of the injury. Brooklyn can ill afford to lose DAR, considering Jeremy Lin (knee) is out for the season and Spencer Dinwiddie (hamstring) sat out on Saturday. Stay tuned, as we’ll pass along an update as soon as one is available. Isaiah Whitehead will be looking at heavy minutes if Russell misses time.
Rudy Gobert (knee) was unable to play Saturday night in Utah's win over Brooklyn. Gobert was injured Friday when Dion Waiters fell into his knee. It looked like it might be a significant injury when it first happened, however, Rudy was able to return to the game. He was a game-time decision on Saturday and was able to go through warmups, but the Jazz decided to sit him out. Considering he was so close to suiting up, it stands to reason he may only miss one contest. Utah’s next game Monday vs. Minnesota. We should have an update on Sunday after practice or Monday morning after shootaround… Derrick Favors stepped up in Gobert’s absence and finished with season highs of 24 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots in 36 minutes on Saturday.
Lauri Markkanen sprained his left ankle late in the first half when he stepped on Rudy Gay’s foot and was unable to return. Fortunately, Markkanen believes it’s only a minor sprain. The Bulls don’t play again until Wednesday in OKC and Lauri said that with three days of treatment, he’s “optimistic” that he’ll be able to play vs. the Thunder. Bobby Portis would see an uptick in playing time if Markkanen misses time.
Mirza Teletovic (left knee soreness) missed his second straight game on Saturday. Coach Jason Kidd told reporters that Teletovic is scheduled to resume on-court workouts on Wednesday. Thus, Mirza will also miss Monday's game vs. Memphis and is highly doubtful for Wednesday’s matchup vs. Detroit.
Jared Dudley (knee) will be sidelined for 1-2 weeks. Josh Jackson rolled onto Dudley’s leg on Friday, but fortunately, the MRI came back clean. Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender should see an uptick in minutes with Dudley on the shelf.
Jerryd Bayless (wrist) did not play Saturday vs. the Warriors. It was the third straight game Bayless has missed. He is considered out indefinitely due to swelling in his left wrist.
Nik Stauskas (ankle) was inactive on Saturday. Stauskas has appeared in only three games this season, and scored a total of four points across 19 minutes. There’s no reason he should be owned in any standard fantasy league at this point.
Gorgui Dieng (sprained right index finger) did not play against the Suns on Saturday. Even when healthy, Dieng has seen his playing time severely reduced. After averaging 32.4 minutes per game in 2016-17, Gorgui is playing less than 16 minutes a night this season. He’s averaging 6.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and little else. If you have been holding onto him in standard-sized leagues, it’s probably time to cut ties if there is a decently attractive option on the wire.
Ben McLemore (right foot surgery) made his season debut on Saturday. Coach David Fizdale said he’d limit McLemore to around 15 minutes before the game, but Ben ended up logging 18 minutes off the bench. He finished with four points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. He’ll likely eat in Dillon Brooks’ playing time significantly moving forward.
Andre Iguodala (rest) did not play Saturday vs. the Sixers. It was the second DNP-rest for the Warriors vet this season.
Juancho Hernangomez (mononucleosis) was surprisingly active on Saturday. He only played two minutes in garbage time, but it’s an important first step for Hernangomez, who was expected to miss another few weeks.
Gary Harris (right shoulder soreness) was sidelined on Saturday. Coach Mike Malone was not forthcoming with details and did not indicate if he expected Harris to miss additional games. As noted above, Will Barton replaced Harris in the starting lineup and posted another impressive line.
Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute) did not play Saturday vs. the Pelicans. It was his third consecutive contest on the shelf. The Clippers next game is Monday vs. the Sixers, and it seems unlikely Gallinari will be ready to return in time.
Elfrid Payton (rest) was sidelined on Saturday. Payton played just 17 minutes on Friday, and Coach Frank Vogel said Payton's hamstring was "still a concern." Hamstrings can be tricky, and it’s clear Payton is still not 100 percent recovered. The Magic will continue to err on the side of caution until they feel fully confident that the hamstring issues are behind him.
Derrick Rose (ankle) sat out Saturday’s game vs. the Mavs. Rose missed four games after spraining his ankle back in late October. He returned on November 1st and then played in five straight, before being held out Thursday due to "continuing discomfort in his left ankle.” Even when healthy, Rose has not been a fantasy asset this season. Due to his lack of 3-pointers and sparse defensive stats, in addition to his nasty, negative assist to turnover ratio, Rose is ranked 248th overall in nine-category fantasy leagues this season.
Chris Paul (bruised left knee) practiced with the Rockets on Friday. With Houston playing back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, Friday was more of a walk-through than a full, intense practice. Nonetheless, this serves as proof that Paul is moving in the right direction. Plugged in Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, seems confident that CP3 is on track to return next week. Houston hosts the Raptors on Tuesday, travels to Phoenix on Thursday and Memphis on Saturday. For those in weekly leagues, it’s too risky to insert Paul into starting lineups on Monday, but he should be good to go the following week.
Tony Parker (quad) is making progress and said he hopes to return by the end of the month. However, even when fully healthy last season, Parker was not roster-worthy in standard-sized leagues. There are not enough minutes to go around in the Spurs crowded backcourt, and Coach Gregg Popovich will limit Parker’s playing time anyway. Leave TP on the wire.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry spoke with reporters on Saturday and said Rajon Rondo (core muscle) is expected back within a week to 10 days. "He's close to doing it, and everything seems to be going along fine," Gentry said. "We're not trying to push the issue at all." Rondo has been chomping at the bit to get back in action, and could make his season debut as soon as next weekend. Once Rondo is up and running, E'Twaun Moore will likely get bumped to the bench. In addition, Jameer Nelson will see his playing time significantly reduced. Rondo will also eat into Jrue Holiday’s usage.
Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Steven Adams (calf) is listed as out for Sunday’s game against Dallas. This will be the second straight game Adams has missed. Dakari Johnson started in place of Adams on Friday vs. the Clippers. Johnson finished with nine points, one rebound and one assist in 23 minutes. Jerami Grant could see additional minutes on Sunday due to matchup concerns with the Mavs.
Coach Stan Van Gundy said both Stanley Johnson (hip) and Jon Leuer (ankle) should be considered "questionable at best" for Sunday's game vs. the Heat. Johnson, who is listed as doubtful in the game notes, has missed two consecutive contests after injuring his hip last week. Johnson did get shots up on Saturday, but was unable to practice with the team. Reggie Bullock has started in place of Johnson in each of the last two games, averaging 6.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes per. Bullock will likely draw another start on Sunday, but is a risky play even as an inexpensive dart throw in DFS tournaments. Johnson is averaging 8.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in the 10 games he’s played in this season. He belongs on the waiver-wire in standard-sized leagues… Leuer, who is listed as questionable in the game notes, has missed four straight games and hasn't suited up since severely spraining his ankle back on October 31st. Eric Moreland has been Andre Drummond’s primary backup with Leuer out of action.
Kyrie Irving suffered a minor facial fracture on Friday, and he is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against Toronto. The good news is that Irving appears to have avoided a concussion, which could have cost him multiple games. Shams Charania of the Vertical is reporting that Kyrie will likely miss Sunday’s, but will get fitted with a mask and then play through the injury, wearing the mask, for two weeks. Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin will see an uptick in minutes on Sunday.
Al Horford (concussion) is probable for Sunday’s matchup with the Raptors. Horford was nearly cleared on Friday and, assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks during pregame warmups, is on track to make his return vs. the Raps. Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis will see their minutes reduced with Big Al back in the mix. The Celtics have a chance to become just the second team in NBA history to reel off 12 straight victories after starting a season 0-2.