A five-game NBA Tuesday featured one and only one 30-point scoring effort (from Blake Griffin), plus a monstrous night from Marc Gasol and a whole heap of substantial injury updates — including an injury to Gasol himself. More on all the injuries in a minute, but first — let's dive into the box scores:
Hawks 115, Heat 113
ATL: After a rough stretch that saw him hit 28.4 percent of his shots over seven games, Trae Young poured in a double-double (17-5-10, one steal, one block, two treys on 5-of-12 shooting) as the Hawks accidentally won their second straight. It’s funny when you’re watching a game and the team’s announcers are going nuts, the team itself is celebrating and fans of the team (including me) are thinking, Come on, J-Rich. You gotta knock down that open three.
The other positive news for Trae from a fantasy standpoint is that he’s finally getting some steals (1.1 in his last nine games), while the Hawks rotation continues to be a headache — with 10 guys playing 18 or more minutes and no one playing more than 32 (Taurean Prince, 18 points). Kevin Huerter started again, but had just eight points in his 19 minutes, while Kent Bazemore produced a low-end line coming off the bench (12 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block and a trey with five turnovers in 26 minutes). Omari Spellman had 14 points, four steals and two 3s, but remains too erratic to trust, while DeAndre Bembry simultaneously struggled (3-of-10, six points) while also maintaining a little bit of his recent momentum with four steals and a block. Not maintaining his recent momentum: Jeremy Lin, who had just seven points in 19 minutes, but still has the same role that vaulted him into relevance in many leagues. Give it another game or two if you’ve already put him into your lineup.
MIA: Dwyane Wade followed up his 35-point game with 18 in 27 minutes, and makes sense as a short-term deeper-league pickup while he still has fresh legs. Wayne Ellington had 15 points with five 3s and five steals. If you can live with some game-to-game inconsistency, Ellington is pretty useful right now. He’s averaging 11.9 ppg, 1.7 spg and 3.4 3s in his last 11 games. Bam Adebayo, who has been hot, played just 14 minutes (with 12 points, four rebounds and two steals — picking up five fouls), while Josh Richardson posted a 22-8-4 line with five steals and two treys on 6-of-17 shooting, with one of those misses being that wide-open 3-pointer that cost the Hawks the loss.
Pistons 115, Knicks 108
DET: Hey, remember when Andre Drummond had kind of figured things out at the free throw line? The Drummer went 0-of-4 in this game and is now 9-of-29 in his last four games (and at 49.0 percent on the season after hitting 60.5 percent last year). Reggie Jackson played fairly well (21 points, four assists on 6-of-12 shooting) and is now averaging 16.6 ppg, 4.9 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.9 3s in his last 10 games (shooting 41.7 percent from the field after shooting just 33.9 percent his first eight games).
Another notable stat line for Detroit came from Stanley Johnson (21 points, a steal, three blocks and two treys in 28 minutes). However, his inconsistent playing time (14, 26, 15, 25, 28 minutes his last five games) makes him tough to rely on in standard-sized leagues. Speaking of which, Reggie Bullock played 30 minutes but only got five shot attempts, and is averaging just 7.4 attempts his last five games. Also for Detroit, Blake Griffin had his sixth game of 30 or more points this season, though he has no steals or blocks his last four games.
NYK: As for the Knicks, Allonzo Trier went off (24-10-7), though he doesn’t have a steal in his last seven games, and his playing time and production have been all over the place lately (which is how you know for sure that he’s on the Knicks). If nothing else, he’s got some intrigue as a deeper league option. Meanwhile, Noah Vonleh got into foul trouble and cooled off after his recent run of glory (six points, seven boards, three blocks in 19 minutes). Fantasy owners are likely going to have to navigate turbulence with Vonleh, but at this point I think he’s been playing too well to drop. That’s probably not the case for Emmanuel Mudiay (9-2-2 on 4-of-13 shooting), though I think he’s still potentially worth holding in deeper formats. Trey Burke shot just 1-of-8 and is now 6-of-31 in his last three games, so it’s time to bench or drop him until the next hot streak. Mitchell Robinson (two points, five rebounds, one block) fouled out in the third quarter, and I understand if you don’t have the patience to wait for him to figure it out. The most “2018 Knicks” aspect of this particular game was that Damyean Dotson scored 17 points in 23 minutes after getting four consecutive DNP-CDs.
Editor’s Note: If you love Fantasy Basketball, you have to be playing on DRAFT. It's daily fantasy basketball snake drafts instead of salary caps. They take minutes to complete, and there's even auction drafts! No more setting lineups or constantly worrying about pros, just draft and win! Right now DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers an exclusive FREE entry into a real money draft when you make your first deposit! Here's the link!
Raptors 122, Grizzlies 114
TOR: The Raptors really are in many ways the opposite of the Knicks when it comes to the rotation. All five starters hit double-digit points, ranging from Pascal Siakam’s 10-6-4 to Kyle Lowry’s 24 points and five treys. The notable happenings with Toronto’s bench included an off night for Jonas Valanciunas (nine points in 14 minutes), which is going to happen when you play less than 20 minutes this often. Plus, we saw the continued resurgence of Fred VanVleet: 18 points, three 3s and three steals on 6-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes. His last six games: 12.3 ppg, 4.8 apg, 1.0 spg and 2.0 3s in 26 minutes a game.
MEM: Jaren Jackson Jr. got into foul trouble and had an off game (four points in 19 minutes), which is going to happen sometimes for the youngest player in the NBA. Marc Gasol had a huge line (27-4-4 with two steals, two blocks and four 3s), continuing to play through an ankle issue after appearing to step on Kawhi Leonard’s foot. At the moment, it doesn’t sound like any major cause for concern, and the Grizzlies are off until Friday.
Also for Memphis: Mike Conley (20-5-6 with three steals, two blocks and two 3s) has really found his scoring groove, averaging 23.9 ppg in his last 10 games. His backup, Shelvin Mack, had a decent game after struggling recently (10 points, five assists, two steals), while Kyle Anderson and JaMychal Green both posted very boring 13-point stat lines.
Nuggets 117, Lakers 85
DEN: Total blowout here. Four of the Nuggets starters hit double digits, from Juancho Hernangomez (12 points, one trey, one block) to 20 points for Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap (20 and 11 with a steal and two blocks). Millsap’s all-around production has ben tremendous lately, with 15.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.4 bpg and 1.2 3s in his last nine games. The blowout-fueled fluke stat line of the night for Denver was Malik Beasley, who scored a season-high 20 points in 36 minutes after playing 13 minutes with five points in his last game. Gary Harris (ankle) missed his second straight.
LAL: LeBron James scored a season-low 14 points, which pretty much sums up what a brutal and forgettable night this was for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma led the way with 21 while Brandon Ingram had 14, and no other player for L.A. hit double digits. Lonzo Ball had just seven points in 18 minutes and returned to the game after a left ankle sprain.
Pacers 109, Suns 104
PHX: No big surprises for the Suns on Tuesday. T.J. Warren led the way with 25 points and Deandre Ayton had 18 and 12, while Devin Booker had a 20-4-8 line with three 3s and three steals, but shot badly (7-of-21, 3-of-6). Mikal Bridges got another start, but did very little in his 23 minutes (two points, two steals on 1-of-6 shooting). He needs to be benched if you have the patience to keep him on your roster.
IND: Myles Turner put up 16 points with a season-high 13 rebounds and five blocks -- just his second game with double-digit boards this season. Domantas Sabonis posted a big double-double (23 points and 16 rebounds) in just 23 minutes, while Darren Collison had 11 assists for a second straight game, and Doug McDermott scored 21 for a second consecutive game. However, both are getting a boost from the absence of Victor Oladipo (knee). Which brings us to…
The Big Ticket Injury Updates:
*Steph Curry (groin) “might” be able to return on Thursday, according to an update in The Athletic. The same report says that Curry is actually “ahead of” Draymond Green (toe) in terms of recovery. Green is expected to miss at least Thursday and Saturday’s games, with the earliest he could return being on Monday against the Hawks.
*Lauri Markkanen (elbow) went through a full practice on Tuesday and is getting closer to his season debut. It appears that the Dec. 4 game against the Pacers is still being circled as a potential return date, according to the Chicago Tribune.
*The bad news: Mike D’Antoni said on Tuesday that Chris Paul is dealing with a hamstring injury. The good news: D’Antoni said he’s “real close” to returning. Personally, I’ll be surprised if CP3 is out there, but fantasy owners should stay close to the Rotoworld player news page leading up to tipoff.
*Also expected to play on Wednesday: Donovan Mitchell (rib), who has missed the last two games.
(Note: If we’re talking about someone who plays on Wednesday, make sure to check back prior to tipoff before you finalize your lineup in a daily league.)
Editor's Note: Looking for an edge when it comes to fantasy hoops? Our new NBA DFS Toolkit has a Lineup Optimizer, Customizable Projections, Next Man Up tool and more for FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo! And for season-long, the NBA Season Pass provides weekly projections, rankings, Pickups of the Day and more.
Other Injury Updates: Pau Gasol (foot) is not expected to play on Wednesday. … DeMarre Carroll (foot) is listed as questionable. … Dwight Howard (back) is listed as out for Wednesday. … Aaron Gordon (back) is questionable. … When asked whether Dion Waiters (ankle) would play before the start of 2019, Erik Spoelstra offered a somewhat ominous-sounding “We don’t have an update.” … Luka Doncic (illness), Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) and Dwight Powell (knee) are all questionable for Wednesday, with Rick Carlisle “encouraged” that Smith is headed in the right direction. … Gerald Green (ankle) is questionable for Wednesday. … Seth Curry (knee) is probable. … Lonnie Walker (knee) is hoping to make his debut “very soon.” … George Hill (shoulder) reportedly could return on Wednesday. I discussed how this could impact Collin Sexton and much more with Jared Johnson on today’s edition of the Rotoworld Fantasy Basketball Podcast.