Well we’re officially back from the All-Star break and seven teams were in action on Monday. Seth Curry, Lou Williams and Dario Saric went off, Michael Beasley went down and Derrick Rose suffered a stinger, while Dennis Schroder, Avery Bradley and Kevin Durant were all back in action. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Mavericks 96, Heat 89 – While Steph Curry was struggling, his brother Seth Curry went crazy, hitting 10-of-17 shots for 29 points and five 3-pointers. Curry’s still in the starting lineup with Nerlens Noel coming off the bench, is averaging 24.3 points over his last three games and is a must-own player. Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki played well, Wesley Matthews struggled, taking just four shots and committing five turnovers, and Yogi Ferrell hit just 2-of-9 shots for six points, five boards and five assists in 29 minutes. Curry, Ferrell, Barnes, Matthews and Dirk should all be owned in most leagues. Noel came off the bench for just six points, six boards, a steal and a block in 25 minutes, but is another guy who should be owned, while the rest of the Mav's bench is a stone-cold mess.
The Heat got 24 points and a full stat line out of Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside torched the center-less Mavs for 19 points, 19 boards, a steal and a block. Dion Waiters had 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but it wasn’t Josh Richardson’s fault, as he played just eight minutes as he recovers from a foot injury. I'm done with Richardson for now. James Johnson got 31 minutes, but his slump continued with eight points, five boards, a steal and a block. He’s averaging just 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.2 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers on 37 percent shooting over his last five, but I’m still hanging onto him despite the recent lack of scoring.
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Raptors 92, Knicks 91 – DeMar DeRozan hit the game-winner with 1.9 seconds left and racked up 37 points and a solid stat line without Kyle Lowry, who will miss the next four to five weeks after wrist surgery, at least. DeRozan should be a monster the rest of the way, while Cory Joseph looks like the starting point guard for Toronto going forward. Co-Jo only had six points, four assists and two steals in 34 minutes, but he’s as must-own as they come right now. Serge Ibaka, DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas were all kind of quiet in the win, while the Raptors bench did next to nothing. That includes P.J. Tucker, who hit just 1-of-4 shots for two points in 26 minutes. I dropped Lowry on Monday, as it sounds like he'll be lucky to play again before the fantasy season ends.
The Knicks waived Brandon Jennings, supposedly to give him a chance to play more minutes for someone else, and while initial reports had him going to the Hornets, it now sounds like the Wizards are the more likely destination. And if he goes to the Wizards, his minutes aren’t going to be any better than they were in New York. Lance Thomas started for Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) and was OK with 12 points, six boards and two treys, but Porzingis is expected to play on Wednesday. Derrick Rose had a line of 16-6-4-2 in 40 minutes and suffered a shoulder stinger, but was able to play through it. Courtney Lee was great with 16 points, five steals and three 3-pointers, but is pretty unreliable. His last five scoring lines have been 9, 16, 25, 5 and 16 points. Willy Hernangomez was mildly disappointing with just eight points, nine rebounds and zero blocks in 34 minutes. He’s not on fire, but is averaging 10 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five games. Despite no Porzingis or Jennings, the Knicks’ bench was invisible, with Ron Baker topping the list with 19 minutes.
Warriors 119, Sixers 108 – Kevin Durant (hand) returned from a one-game absence, which was more likely a day of rest than his hand injury, and had 27 points. Zaza Pachulia scored a season-high 16, but the guy only plays about 15 minutes a night and he got hot, hitting all five of his shots. Stephen Curry was one of the duds of the night, hitting just 7-of-23 shots for 19 points, and he also missed all 11 of his 3-pointers and committed four turnovers. Look for him to bounce back on Tuesday against the Wizards.
Dario Saric was at it again for Philly, flirting with a triple-double, playing some center with Jahlil Okafor in foul trouble, and finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and a steal. And his line would have been even better had he hit one or more of his six 3-point attempts. He’s killing it and I’m happy for you if you're lucky enough to own him. Robert Covington hit 6-of-11 shots and two 3-pointers for 15 points, eight boards and four steals. No one is complaining about Covington these days, as he’s averaging 19 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 3.2 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five games. Wow. As I mentioned, Okafor was in some foul trouble and played just 17 minutes, but don’t be discouraged. T.J. McConnell was bad, playing just 20 minutes and finishing with four points and three assists, while Sergio Rodriguez played 28 minutes and got up 12 shots. This was a fluke as far as I’m concerned and TJM is still the guy you want to own. Richaun Holmes looks good with Nerlens Noel in Dallas and Joel Embiid (knee) possibly out for the season, and had 15 points, four boards, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes. Holmes is averaging 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.3 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers over his last three games. If you need a big man, go get him. Gerald Henderson scored 16 in another start and is playing pretty well lately, but he’s only good for points and the occasional 3-pointer. He’s far from a must-own player.
Hawks 114, Celtics 98 – Paul Millsap had 17 points and 10 boards, which is what he does, right? Wrong. This was actually Millsap’s first double-double of the month, which is kind of hard to believe. And it may have only happened because Dwight Howard got ejected (two technicals, one for hanging on the rim) and he had to play center. Maybe it’s just a slump, but it’s been a long one, as the Hawks have played 12 times in February. Dennis Schroder returned from a one-game suspension and went off for 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, Howard double-doubled before leaving, Kent Bazemore scored 15 points, and Thabo Sefolosha pushed Tim Hardaway Jr. to the bench and had 12 points, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 5-of-6 shooting. THJ had 10 points and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes, but has really cooled off. And with Sefolosha, Bazemore and Hardaway all healthy right now, the three could take turns posting solid stat lines. Add in the fact that Taurean Prince played 30 minutes and had eight points, 12 boards, two steals and a block, and things get pretty confusing at the wings for the Hawks. Ersan Ilyasova played just 17 minutes and has been on a power fade since back when Dario Saric got hot in Philly, so it might be time to move on.
Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jae Crowder combined to hit just 9-of-39 shots in the loss. Thomas was 4-of-21 on the night, but still had 19 points, seven boards and seven assists (and seven turnovers), while Horford might be in the worst slump of his career. He scored in single digits for the fourth straight game, which he hadn’t done since 2009. He’s averaging just 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 0.6 blocks over his last five games while hitting just 35 percent of his shots. Something’s got to give and I bet he breaks out of the funk soon. But he has been somewhat of a disappointment this season, even when he’s playing fairly well. And Kelly Olynyk has scored five or fewer points in his last three games. If he can’t get it done while Horford’s mired in this mess, I have little hope that he’s suddenly going to start going off and being consistent enough to own. Avery Bradley was back and in the starting lineup after missing 23 straight games with an Achilles injury, but played just 15 minutes and scored six points. Baby steps. And while Bradley’s return will eventually hurt Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, it didn’t tonight, despite Brown getting bumped back to the bench. Brown played 26 minutes and scored 15 points with two 3-pointers, while Smart had 16 points and a full line in 28 minutes. Smart’s worth hanging onto even when Bradley is back at full strength, but I have trust issues with Brown, even though he’s playing very well right now.
Cavaliers 102, Bucks 95 – LeBron James played through his illness and racked up 24 points, 10 boards and six dimes, and Kyrie Irving had 25 points, nine assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in the win. Derrick Williams scored 14 points with seven boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, and Kyle Korver (knee) had 13 points and three 3-pointers off the bench. Richard Jefferson started due to the Bucks small lineup and had 11 points and six boards, but he can be ignored. Channing Frye came off the bench and played just 14 useless minutes in this one, while Tristan Thompson was quiet with eight points and eight boards, and Iman Shumpert was useless with just three points in 31 minutes. Williams is worth a look right now, averaging 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games, but Frye should make an impact on most nights with Kevin Love out indefinitely. The Cavaliers signed Deron Williams to help back up Irving, and might also be ready to sign Andrew Bogut to help Thompson out at center, but neither should be a fantasy target in most leagues.
Michael Beasley left the game after just nine minutes with a left knee sprain and had to be carried to the locker room, so additional tests are probably coming. He also had 11 points, so it’s a tough loss for new fantasy owners and the Bucks if he’s going to miss time. And guys like Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton (rest) and Mirza Teletovic would all get a boost if he’s going to miss time. Brogdon was the star of the night for the Bucks with 20 points, three boards, five assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes off the bench, and with Beasley’s injury, it’s time to pick him up again. Giannis Antetokounmpo was bad, hitting just 4-of-13 shots for nine points, seven rebounds, eight assists and a block. He bounces back strongly from bad games so look for him to get back on track on Wednesday against the Nuggets, who give up nearly 112 points a game. The Bucks were not very good tonight and the box score, outside of Brogdon, is hard to look at. Thon Maker started at center but played just nine minutes.
Pacers 117, Rockets 108 – Jeff Teague had 25 points, eight boards, six assists and three 3-pointers, but the rest of the Pacer starters weren’t great. Thaddeus Young was particularly bad with eight points on 4-of-10 shooting, and he hasn’t played well in forever. But at least he’s getting healthy again. Paul George scored just 15 points, C.J. Miles had nine and Myles Turner added 12 points, six boards and three blocks to round out the starters. Rodney Stuckey had 17 off the bench, Monta Ellis added 12 points, seven boards and eight assists, and a guy named Rakeem Christmas had 10 points in 20 minutes. Ellis might be worth an add right now, averaging 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists over his last five games, while Thadd should be on your bench on busy nights. Lavoy Allen had four points and 11 rebounds off the bench and has been decent over his last three games, so just keep an eye on him. This was a good win for the Pacers, considering how quiet most of the starters were. And as for Stuckey, I'm not biting.
The Rockets got a combined 16 points from starters Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela and Patrick Beverley, while Ryan Anderson added 12 points and two 3-pointers in just 23 minutes. James Harden hit just 5-of-17 shots and a 3-pointer for 25 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, but it was Lou Williams who stole the show once again. He hit 8-of-15 shots and five more 3-pointers for 28 points, a steal and a block. I was wrong about his move to Houston, as I thought he’d fade away. If he’s still available, you should pick him up, as he hasn’t missed a beat for his new team. Nene somehow had 15 points and seven boards in just 19 minutes off the bench, while Eric Gordon hit just 3-of-11 shots and a 3-pointer for a disappointing nine points. And no, I’m not touching Nene.
Timberwolves 100, Kings 80 – Andrew Wiggins had 27 points, extending his streak of 25-point games to nine straight, which is the third longest such streak in the entire league this season. He also had four steals and a 3-pointer, and is basically unstoppable right now. Karl-Anthony Towns is in the same boat and had 29 points, 17 rebounds, three blocks and a 3-pointer in the win. Ricky Rubio had nine points and 11 dimes, while Gorgui Dieng fell off a cliff with two points and 10 boards on 0-of-8 shooting. Nemanja Bjelica was surprisingly good with 10 points, 12 boards, two steals and two 3-pointers, and had an amazing +/- of +27 when he was on the floor for the Wolves. He’s scored 10 in two straight, so just keep an eye on him in case this becomes a trend. Dieng had 16 points, 13 boards, four steals and a block in his previous game, so there was no way to see this coming.
The Kings got 14 points and 11 boards from Kosta Koufos, but this is really the first time he’s done anything special since the Boogie trade. Just keep an eye on him. Willie Cauley-Stein had 14 points, six boards, five assists, a steal and a block and looks like a must-own player right now, and Ben McLemore also had 14 points with four boards and two 3-pointers. He’s another guy I like the idea of owning right now for the depleted Kings. Darren Collison was disappointing with 10 points and two assists on 5-of-13 shooting, and Ty Lawson made a start over Tyreke Evans and had 11 points and nine dimes in 35 minutes. He’s coming on and is another waiver-wire possibility if the minutes stick (it looks like they will). Evans had 13 points, five boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers off the bench, and is also worth owning as long as he’s healthy enough to play.