Unfortunately, for some of us, New Year’s Eve featured six NBA games, some of them starting late enough that we were actually working when the ball dropped. It’s a part of the job, so I’m not really complaining, but it would be nice if the NBA would adopt afternoon start times for these games. I’m sure the players, coaches and family would appreciate it too, but then again, I can certainly think of worse ways to spend NYE than watching NBA hoops. Khris Middleton is becoming a beast before our eyes and C.J. McCollum continues to make us look smart. Anthony Davis? Not so much. Let’s Dose!
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Bucks 120, Pacers 116 – Jabari Parker actually showed signs of life tonight with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 30 minutes, but he didn’t do much else. I’m not a huge fan of him in Milwaukee right now, but last night was much better. Khris Middleton went off for 33 points, five boards, four dimes, two steals, a block and four more 3-pointers on 12-of-18 shooting. Wow! He’s averaging 25.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.4 3-pointers on 59 percent shooting over his last five games, and carried my DFS teams last night. Giannis Antetokounmpo hit just 4-of-11 shots but had 14 points, six boards, three steals and four blocks for a big night, Greg Monroe bounced back to hit 10-of-12 shots for 23 points, three boards, a steal and a block, and Michael Carter-Williams started again and flirted with another triple-double. He finished with 11 points, seven boards, eight assists, three steals and three blocks in 38 minutes. That’s right! Jerryd Bayless played 25 minutes and had 14 points, one assist and two 3-pointers, but MCW is the man at point guard right now, and as long as he keeps playing like this, he’s not going to give up the job any time soon. Both are worth owning, but a timeshare is going to make it a rough ride for both of them at times. But for now, MCW is the guy I want to be starting.
Lavoy Allen started for the Pacers with Ian Mahinmi and Jordan Hill out, and hit 7-of-8 shots for 14 points, four boards, three assists, a steal and a block in 26 minutes. He might be worth adding, but will take a big hit when Mahinmi and Hill are playing. Paul George finally bounced back with 31 points and five 3-pointers on 8-of-13 shooting, and also had six boards, five assists and two steals before fouling out. Much better. C.J. Miles was back from a back injury and had 19 points, five 3-pointers, five boards and a steal in 30 minutes, and maybe he’s ready to finally start being consistent. A permanent starting job would help. Monta Ellis was decent with 13 points and seven assists, and George Hill played well again with 15 points, six boards, three assists and three 3-pointers. Myles Turner came through with eight points and nine boards off the bench, but played just 17 minutes. He’s not worth using once Hill and Mahinmi are playing, and the same probably goes for Allen.
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Pistons 115, Timberwolves 90 – Andre Drummond was back to his old self with 23 & 18, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 22 points, two 3-pointers and three steals in a nice game, and Reggie Jackson added 19 points and nine dimes in the win. Marcus Morris wasn’t feeling it, hitting just 1-of-5 shots for eight points and mediocre stats. He had been running hot over his last three games, so just consider this an off night for the twin. Anthony Tolliver had 15 points and five boards off the bench, but it looks like a fluke to me, due to Morris’ struggles. Stanley Johnson is trying to be relevant and played 22 minutes, but is not worth using right now. Ersan Ilyasova cooled off with 10 points and five boards, but also had a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers to remain relevant. He’ll have some stud and dud lines from night to night, but is worth owning as long as he’s healthy.
The Wolves started Gorgui Dieng with Kevin Garnett resting, but he was quiet with six points, three boards, a steal and two blocks. Opportunity wasted. Karl-Anthony Towns went off with 22 points, nine boards and a block, Ricky Rubio had nine points, six boards, eight assists and two steals, but hit just 3-of-11 shots, and Andrew Wiggins had 21 points, three steals and a 3-pointer. Shabazz Muhammad added 15 points, a steal and a 3-pointer off the bench, while Zach LaVine was quiet again with four points on 1-of-8 shooting. He played 25 minutes, but has been slumping mightily over his last two games. Just hang in there with him, as Kevin Martin got another DNP-CD. He’s done in Minnesota, apparently.
Warriors 114, Rockets 110 – The Warriors were actually underdogs in this one without Stephen Curry, but Draymond Green didn’t care. Green racked up a monster triple-double at point forward, finishing with 10 points, 11 boards, a career-high 16 assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer. And he only took seven shots! Beast. Klay Thompson was big with 38 points, seven boards and six 3-pointers after a bad game, and Shaun Livingston came through in a start at point guard with 13 points, four boards, seven assists and two steals. Props to you if you had all three in a Daily lineup last night. Andre Iguodala had 20 points, three boards, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers off the bench, but his hot run will come to an end when Harrison Barnes is back (soon). Ian Clark was relevant again with 12 points, two assists and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes, and has played well in three straight games. The return of Curry will eventually send him back to obscurity, so there’s no reason to grab him.
Dwight Howard stayed hot for the Rockets with 21 points, 13 boards, five dimes, two steals and three blocks, hitting 8-of-9 shots and 5-of-6 free throws. The minutes restriction is over and he looks like he should be good to go after his last two monster lines. James Harden hit just 8-of-19 shots, but scored 30 points with a great line. It’s hard to miss with Harden, even though his shooting is still suspect. Patrick Beverley was solid with 15 points, four boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 5-of-10 shooting, and is currently a serviceable point guard option. Clint Capela was quiet in a start, Trevor Ariza continues to underwhelm, Terrence Jones was useless in his return with 15 minutes and two points, and Marcus Thornton was back in the rotation with 10 points and two 3-pointers. He’s completely unreliable, while Ty Lawson had just five points in 18 minutes. He needs a trade, badly.
Clippers 95, Pelicans 89 – The Clippers started Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute, but they were both worthless in fantasy, which isn’t surprising. DeAndre Jordan racked up 11 points, 20 boards, a steal and three blocks, and has been playing very well without Blake Griffin around, and Chris Paul inexplicably hit just 3-of-18 shots to finish with nine points and 12 assists, so look for him to bounce back in his next one. J.J. Redick stayed hot with 26 points and four 3-pointers, while Jamal Crawford was relevant off the bench with 15 points, three assists and a 3-pointer. JC’s a tough pill to swallow with Redick playing so well, but can still be serviceable at times. He also hit a couple big shots down the stretch in the close win.
The Pelicans are just 10-22 after the loss and I have to admit, I’m getting a little worried about Anthony Davis taking some time off late in the season with the Pelicans playing so poorly. Davis had 14 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, which would be fine if he wouldn’t have been taken in front of Stephen Curry in so many leagues. Sigh. Tyreke Evans was solid with 14 points, six boards, nine assists, three steals and a 3-pointer, while starters Alonzo Gee (zero points), Omer Asik and Eric Gordon (10 points and two 3-pointers on 3-of-10 shooting) were pretty useless in this one. Ryan Anderson bounced back from an off night with 17 points, four boards and a 3-pointer on 7-of-11 shooting, Norris Cole had 15 points, five boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes off the bench, while Jrue Holiday added 11 points and six dimes in just 28 minutes off the pine. Cole has played very well in two straight games, but is far from trustworthy on nights when Holiday is playing.
Thunder 110, Suns 106 – According to Vegas, the Thunder were supposed to destroy the Suns, but it didn’t go down that way. Serge Ibaka was disappointing with just nine points, five boards, two blocks and a 3-pointer, Kevin Durant scored 23 points, but didn’t exactly stuff the stat sheet, and Russell Westbrook went off with 36 points, 12 assists, five steals and a 3-pointer on 12-of-19 shooting. He also hit 11-of-11 free throws, and was easily the best Thunder player last night. And as usual, those three were the only fantasy-relevant members of the Thunder.
The Suns got a monster line from T.J. Warren, who hit 11-of-17 shots and three 3-pointers for a career-high 29 points to go along with seven boards, three assists and four steals. He was a DFS monster and now looks like he might be the biggest beneficiary in the absence of Eric Bledsoe. He’s averaging 21 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three games. If you picked him up for the five-game week, congratulations are in order. P.J. Tucker was also nice with 22 points, seven boards, three steals and two 3-pointers, and even hit 10-of-14 shots, while Devin Booker played 39 minutes, but finished with just 12 points, three boards, five assists and zero 3-pointers on 4-of-11 shooting. I was initially ranking them Booker, Warren, Tucker, but am now thinking it’s Warren, Tucker, Booker. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if the three rotated big lines from night to night. Mirza Teletovic was hot with 15 points, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 6-of-11 shooting in 23 minutes, but he was pretty awful in his previous four games. He’s lightning in a bottle on nights when he’s on, but they only happen about once every eight days or so. Tyson Chandler started and had 13 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes, while Alex Len failed to score in just 17 minutes. The return of Chandler has been disastrous for Len, and I just hope he’s not in your lineup. I am dropping Len and will try to pick him up if/when Chandler gets hurt again.
Jazz 109, Blazers 96 – The Jazz got a nice bounce-back game from Rodney Hood, who had hit just 5-of-28 shots in his previous two games, but hit 7-of-16 shots and four 3-pointers for 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block with zero turnovers on Thursday night. Gordon Hayward was nice with 23 points, 10 boards, a steal and four 3-pointers, and Trey Burke went off from the bench for a season-high 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting in 29 minutes. He also hit a couple 3-pointers, but only had three assists and one steal. He didn’t have a turnover and is now averaging 16.4 points, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting in 27 minutes per game over his last five. With Alec Burks out for the foreseeable future, both Hood and Burke look like must-own players. Jeff Withey had 10 points, three boards, a steal and four blocks in 35 minutes, but Derrick Favors should be back soon from his back injury. Only use Withey if Favors is out. And outside of Burke, the Jazz bench was garbage, as usual. Trevor Booker played 26 minutes with Favors and Rudy Gobert out, but had just three points and four boards. He’s been hugely disappointing since Gobert went down.
C.J. McCollum, the Rotoworld poster boy this season, went off again for 32 points, seven boards, six assists and six 3-pointers on 13-of-26 shooting. He did most of that in the second half and is showing no signs of slowing down, although things could change when Damian Lillard is back from his foot injury. Lillard nearly played on Thursday, so his return should be coming sooner than later, but CJM is locked in and a must-start player every night. He’s averaging 26.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 3-pointers on 48 percent shooting in 37 minutes over his last five games. We knew he’d be good, but this is crazy! Allen Crabbe was nice again with 15 points, three boards, two assists and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes, but he’s another guy who should take a bit of a hit once Lillard is back. Meyers Leonard had 17 points, three boards and five 3-pointers on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench, and appears to be ready to take off. Mason Plumlee struggled on 1-of-5 shooting, but did have nine rebounds. Both Plumlee and Leonard should be owned right now. Outside of Leonard, the Blazers’ bench was pretty bad, and only Lillard, McCollum, Crabbe, Plumlee and Leonard should fully be trusted right now.
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Happy New Year!!