Knicks 98, Heat 90 – Carmelo Anthony’s shot got back on track last night as he hit 9-of-12 shots for 25 points, five boards, four assists and two steals. He had been struggling from the floor over his last several games, so this was nice to see. Robin Lopez stayed hot with one his best games, hitting 9-of-12 shots for 19 points, four boards and two blocks. He’s been trending up and it’s time to grab him. Kristaps Porzingis hit just 3-of-10 shots for 12 points, four boards and two blocks in 31 minutes, Jose Calderon hit 4-of-5 shots for nine points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and Arron Afflalo fell back to earth after two monster games with nine points and one 3-pointer on 4-of-10 shooting. He played a team-high 40 minutes, but didn’t do much with them, making him a DFS killer. Derrick Williams scored 13 points in 18 minutes, and looks like a much better deep play than Lance Thomas right now. Thomas had just two points in 18 minutes.
Chris Bosh stayed hot with 28 points, five boards, a block and a 3-pointer, Goran Dragic had 10 points, but just one assist, and Dwyane Wade added 18 points, six boards and six assists in the loss. Perhaps the story of the game was that Hassan Whiteside played. He was quiet with eight points, eight rebounds and a block in 28 minutes, but the good news is that his knee problem is simply tendinitis, and not something serious. Crisis avoided. The bench was useless again, while Gerald Green and Justise Winslow are both worth keeping an eye on.
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Pacers 95, Magic 86 – Paul George cooled off on 5-of-13 shooting and 20 points, George Hill returned from an illness and had 16 points and a nice stat line that included three 3-pointers, and Monta Ellis added 19 points, seven assists, four steals and a 3-pointer. Ian Mahinmi is heating up again and had eight points, 12 boards and a block, and Jordan Hill played just 12 minutes off the bench for six points, three boards and a block. Mahinmi looks like he’s worth owning in most leagues, while Hill has gotten more minutes than this on most nights. C.J. Miles came off the bench, but hit just 1-of-10 shots for three points. It’s all or nothing with Miles.
Tobias Harris hit just 3-of-12 shots for the Magic in one of his worst games of the season, Evan Fournier played through a toe injury, but hit just 5-of-14 shots for 13 points, while Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points, but didn’t do much else. Victor Oladipo started again and had 20 points and a very nice line, and he looks like he’s good to go, with or without Elfrid Payton, who was out again with a bum ankle. It sounds like Oladipo is permanently back in the starting lineup either way and he played 41 minutes. The Magic bench played a lot of minutes, but none of them scored more than eight points. I’m keen on Andrew Nicholson, but not unless he overtakes a useless Channing Frye in the starting five.
Cavaliers 121, Wizards 115 – LeBron James had a fun double-double, Kyrie Irving looked like his old self with 32 points and a full line, and J.R. Smith hit 10-of-16 shots and five 3-pointers for 25 points and three steals. Smith has been a bullseye in two straight games, so ride him while he’s hot, and Irving should be good to go from here on in. Kevin Love was eerily quiet with eight points and nine boards on 4-of-10 shooting, and Tristan Thompson had just three rebounds to go along with 12 points. The rise and return of Irving isn’t going to do Love any favors, but he’s struggling too much to offer much trade value right now. Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert played heavy minutes off the bench, but didn’t do much at all.
All five Wiz starters scored in double figures, led by Garrett Temple (21) and not John Wall (20). Wall double-doubled with 12 assists, but also had seven turnovers, while Temple hit three 3-pointers and 7-of-10 shots. Temple’s been quiet, so don’t get overly excited. Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter and Jared Dudley each scored 12, but all of them filled the stat sheet a bit. Gary Neal had 13 off the bench and the strong play of Neal and Temple limited Ramon Sessions to just 16 minutes, but he still had nine points, six dimes and a 3-pointer. I still trust Sessions more than the other two while Bradley Beal is out, but the pendulum could be swinging away from him.
Pistons 99, Celtics 94 – Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did what they were supposed to, but Ersan Ilyasova (5 points), Marcus Morris (8 points) and Andre Drummond (13 points, 5 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks) were all disappointing. With Morris and Ilyasova struggling, Stanley Johnson played 23 minutes and double-doubled with 11 points and 10 boards. Just keep an eye on him in case this trend continues.
Kelly Olynyk started over Jared Sullinger again and had 10 points, five boards and two 3-pointers, while Sully played just 15 minutes for eight points and a block. Sully had five fouls, or would have likely played more. Amir Johnson was nice with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and is worth using in deep leagues, Jae Crowder cooled off with 16 points, four boards, two steals and two 3-pointers, but also played 36 minutes. Isaiah Thomas played through a thumb injury and had 22 points and 10 dimes, and Evan Turner did a nice job of filling in for Avery Bradley (hip) with 17 points and six boards in another start. Bradley is hoping to play on Sunday, so don’t fall in love with Turner just yet. David Lee was a DNP-CD, which contributed to Amir’s nice line.
Raptors 91, Nets 74 – Jonas Valanciunas was nice with 22 points, 11 boards and two blocks, and he should be ready to roll. Kyle Lowry had 17 points, eight boards, six assists and five steals for one of the lines of the night, and DeMar DeRozan added 15 points and a full line. Luis Scola has cooled off with the return of JV, and Bismack Biyombo played just 17 useless minutes. With JV healthy and rolling, Biyombo can now be dumped, and Scola is shaky, at best. James Johnson started for DeMarre Carroll (knee surgery) and had eight points, five boards and two blocks, and Terrence Ross played just 19 minutes, hitting 1-of-5 shots for three points. Ross is going to struggle if Johnson continues to get the starts for Carroll. The Raps you want to own are the four solid starters. The jury is still out on Ross and Johnson.
Brook Lopez posted a monster line, but he was the only Net to show up. Thaddeus Young cooled off, Joe Johnson may have been bothered by his quad injury and scored just five points, and Bojan Bogdanovic cooled off with 12 points and two 3-pointers on 4-of-10 shooting. I’m still high on him. Shane Larkin played much better in another start at point guard, hitting 4-of-8 shots and a 3-pointer for nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in 30 minutes. If you picked him up recently, this line is a good reason to hang onto him. The Nets’ bench was dreadful.
Nuggets 78, Wolves 74 – Kenneth Faried avoided disaster with his neck injury, but hit just 1-of-8 shots and played just 18 minutes. Yes, he’s playing, but it may take him a minute to get back on track. Danilo Gallinari was the only starter to do anything with 20 points and a nice line, while Nikola Jokic, Jameer Nelson and Gary Harris were all pretty bad. Nelson is also going to take a hit soon, as Emmanuel Mudiay is expected back on Friday. Jusuf Nurkic went off for 15 points, 10 boards and five blocks in 22 minutes off the bench, and he should be owned in all leagues. Darrell Arthur, Will Barton and Randy Foye all played heavy bench minutes, but none of them did anything. Barton, who was playing like an All-Star, scored just seven points and has been terrible in two straight. Hopefully it’s just a slump.
As expected, Karl-Anthony Towns bounced back with 14 points, 14 boards and two blocks, but was the only Wolf to play well. Ricky Rubio had nine points and seven assists, and Andrew Wiggins hit just 4-of-14 shots for 11 points. Nikola Pekovic came off the bench for 12 points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. Yes, he’s back, but I’m not touching him. And despite his return to action, Gorgui Dieng played 27 minutes, but missed all four of his shots to finish with zero points, eight boards, a steal and a block. If Pekovic keeps playing, I’m worried about Dieng going forward. Kevin Martin played for the first time in forever, but had just nine points in 16 empty minutes. Dieng was the only one to play decent minutes off the bench last night, but wasn’t good.
Mavericks 100, Pelicans 91 – Chandler Parsons played through a hip injury and had 21 points, eight boards and six assists in 31 minutes. Great news. Charlie Villanueva, JaVale McGee, Raymond Felton and J.J. Barea were all starters last night, as Zaza Pachulia, Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams were given the night off. CV was 1-of-10, Felton had a big game with 22 points, six assists and three 3-pointers, and Barea was decent with 11 points and a few goodies. McGee was also nice with eight points, six boards and four blocks, and is worth keeping an eye on. But I’m not excited about any of the fill-ins, as the starters should all be back for the next one. Dwight Powell had 13 & 10 with a couple blocks off the bench, but will take a hit when the starters are back, and Devin Harris had a nice line in 26 minutes. Deron Williams’ return should foil Harris (and Barea) going forward.
Anthony Davis was a beastly Pelican with 26 points, 12 boards, seven assists, two steals and three blocks, Eric Gordon scored 14 points with four 3-pointers, and Tyreke Evans played through a sore knee for 16 points and a fun line. Jrue Holiday played 29 minutes off the bench and had 11 points, six boards and six assists, but would be more fun to own if he were starting. Norris Cole played 28 minutes, but hit just 1-of-6 shots for four points. As long as Jrue and Tyreke are healthy, it’s hard to see Cole being consistent. Ryan Anderson was a dud with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting. He’s been playing better than that, but is still never a guarantee for success while coming off the bench.
Spurs 123, Jazz 98 – LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) and Tony Parker (hip) were out, so David West and Patty Mills started. Mills was awful with zero points in 23 minutes (DFS killer) and West came through with 14 points and 13 boards on 7-of-8 shooting. Tim Duncan led the way with 18 points, eight boards and six assists, and would be a better player to own if Aldridge didn’t exist. Kawhi Leonard did a little bit of everything, but scored just 15 points, and Danny Green was terrible again with six points in 11 minutes. I’m so glad I cut him. Kyle Anderson, Boban Marjanovic, Ray McCallum and Jonathon Simmons all made some bench noise, but can be ignored for now. Manu Ginobili had 14 off the bench, but is a bit risky to rely on.
Trey Burke led the Jazz with 21 points and four assists on 10-of-17 shooting in a blowout loss, and Gordon Hayward added 18 points and a nice line. Jeff Withey continues to play well without Derrick Favors (back) and Rudy Gobert (knee) around, but the clock is ticking on his value. If you picked him up for five games this week, he’s already paid off. Rodney Hood was quiet in 21 minutes, thanks to Kawhi’s defense. If Burke and Hood are available in your league, you should pick them up.
Suns 111, Hornets 102 – Starters Jon Leuer and Brandon Knight played well for the Suns, while Mirza Teletovic (19 points, 5 3-pointers), T.J. Warren (17 points, 3 3-pointers, 2 steals), and Devin Booker (17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 3-pointers) all played well off the bench. Centers Tyson Chandler and Alex Len were both useless, Ronnie Price started over Booker, but was clearly outplayed by the kid, and P.J. Tucker was pedestrian with 10 points, but did have four steals and two 3-pointers. If Teletovic could ever find some consistency he’d be a must-add, but I’d much rather own Booker, or even Warren at this point. Not surprisingly, Markieff Morris didn’t even play.
Starters Marvin Williams, P.J. Hairston, Cody Zeller (double-double), Jeremy Lin and Kemba Walker all played well for the Hornets, scoring in double figures. Hairston should be ignored and Lin was only starting because Nicolas Batum was out again with a toe injury. Lin is still worth owning despite his bench role. Jeremy Lamb played just seven minutes and may be bothered by a wrist injury, and Troy Daniels had 13 points in 23 minutes with three 3-pointers. Ignore him. Frank Kaminsky played 23 bench minutes but hit just 1-of-8 shots. He’ll get hot again soon, but he’s very tough to use right now.
Thunder 112, Grizzlies 94 – Kevin Durant (toe) went from ‘out’ to starting, and then went off for 26 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and a full stat line in 33 minutes of a blowout. His playing status would have been nice to know before lineup deadlines hit. Russell Westbrook added 20 points and a nice line, Serge Ibaka cooled off after one of his better games of the season, and Steven Adams was quiet, except for his three blocks. Anthony Morrow and Dion Waiters combined for 29 points off the bench, but can be ignored as long as Durant is healthy enough to play.
Mario Chalmers started for Mike Conley (Achilles) and led the way with 23 points, eight boards, nine assists and four 3-pointers, and is going to be the guy to grab if Conley’s going to miss time. Courtney Lee left with a hip injury, which also works in Chalmers’ favor. Marc Gasol and Jeff Green combined to hit just 5-of-23 shots, which was a big reason the Grizzlies were blown out. Matt Barnes scored 13, but his line was a bit shallow. He should get back on track soon.
Clippers 109, Blazers 98 – Paul Pierce was one of the surprises of the night with 17 points and five 3-pointers in a start for the Clippers, while DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul each posted monster double-doubles, and J.J. Redick added 20 points and two 3-pointes. Austin Rivers played well off the bench, hitting 7-of-10 shots for two nice games in a row. He’s not quite an add yet, but keep a close eye on him. Especially if he has permanently replaced Lance Stephenson (DNP-CD) in the rotation.
In the story of the night, C.J. McCollum, the Rotoworld love child, was reportedly inadvertently placed on the Inactive List by coach Terry Stotts, and therefore wasn’t allowed to play. Everyone, including us, thought he was playing and by the time the mistake was relayed to the Twitter universe, it was too late to do anything about it. Weird and disappointing. Allen Crabbe started in his place and had 11 points, while Damian Lillard and Mason Plumlee had monster games for the Blazers. Al-Farouq Aminu cooled off, Meyers Leonard had 10 points, five boards and two 3-pointers to remain on the radar despite a sore shoulder, and Ed Davis double-doubled with 12 & 12. Davis had been terrible coming in, so ignore this for now. McCollum will hopefully be coming back with a vengeance on Friday against the Dubs.