A blizzard turned a six-game night into a four-game night on Monday (Blazers @ Nets & Kings @ Knicks were postponed), leaving owners in weekly leagues with some tough decisions, and some owners in daily leagues scrambling to make lineup adjustments. In any case, it was a pretty strange night across the board in fantasy, as Russell Westbrook, Dante Exum and Mike Conley were all disappointing. Here’s how it all went down on Monday. Follow me on Twitter!
Grizzlies 103, Magic 94
The Grizzlies handled the Magic, as expected, but Mike Conley didn’t have much to say about it. He was 2-of-8 for five points and zero assists in 22 minutes, while Beno Udrih came off the bench and racked up 15 points, five assists, four steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-8 shooting in 26 minutes. Conley said after the game his left wrist is bothering him and he’s now questionable for Tuesday. If he’s out, Udrih is going to be a popular DFS play. This was a particularly frustrating night for Conley’s owners, as the Magic constantly give it up to opposing point guards (further explaining what Udrih did). Courtney Lee also struggled by hitting just 2-of-6 shots, and he’s just not a reliable fantasy option right now. In another interesting twist, Jeff Green started in place of Tony Allen, as Allen was out with a sprained ankle. It will be interesting to see what happens once Allen is back, and Green had 12 points, six boards, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 4-of-6 shooting in the start. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol both double-doubled, and the Grizzlies improved to 32-12 on the season.
The Magic got 18 points, 12 boards, two steals and a block on 6-of-13 shooting from Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo took advantage of Allen’s absence and had another strong line of 18 points, seven boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, and Elfrid Payton stayed relevant with 12 points, six assists and two steals, but hit just 5-of-14 shots. Aaron Gordon started over Tobias Harris, but you have to think Harris will be back in the starting lineup sooner than later. That makes two straight starts for Gordon, while Harris isn’t happy with his new bench role. Channing Frye also started, but was benched for the start of the second half, so hopefully Harris will be starting again soon. Harris had just eight points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, and his buy-low window is as wide open as it can be right now. Gordon had seven points and two rebounds in 21 minutes, and Dewayne Dedmon, who started the third quarter in place of Frye, had one of the best games of his career with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a block in 30 minutes. I’m ignoring him for now, Kyle O’Quinn appears to be a forgotten man (13 minutes), and Harris’ talents are being wasted on the bench. I think I speak for most fantasy owners when I say “C’mon, Jacque Vaughn.”
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Pelicans 99, Sixers 74
Anthony Davis went all Anthony Davis on the Sixers, racking up 32 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and four blocks on 12-of-19 shooting in 31 minutes, but he was really the only Pelican to have a big night. Omer Asik had 10 points and seven boards, Eric Gordon had 13 points, five dimes and two 3-pointers, and Tyreke Evans handed out 12 assists, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for six points and a 3-pointer. Ryan Anderson actually played well for the second straight game, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, three steals and four 3-pointers after going for 18 & 5 on Sunday. Maybe he’s finally ready to get hot for the Pelicans, because he’s been pretty frustrating to own lately. Dante Cunningham started with Evans sliding over to point guard and had eight points, six rebounds, a steal and a block, and owners in deep leagues should put him on the radar, as he could start for the next month or so.
K.J. McDaniels actually led the Sixers in scoring with 16 points, four rebounds, three steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer off the bench. He played 28 minutes and if he could just start doing this on a regular basis, all would be forgiven. However, he’ll have to prove himself before I tell you to put him in your lineup. Michael Carter-Williams sat this one out with an illness and Larry Drew II made his first career start at point guard. He hit just 2-of-9 shots for four points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal, and isn’t a high priority waiver-wire target with MCW due back soon. Starters Luc Mbah a Moute and Henry Sims each scored 14, but neither player did much outside of the points. Jerami Grant had 10 points, a 3-pointer and four more blocks, and if you need blocks, he’s worth a look right now. He had eight blocks last Wednesday and is now averaging 9.2 points, 1.2 3-pointers and 2.4 blocks over his last five games, but also just 2.6 rebounds. As usual, the Sixers are a mess, you never know who will start or who will play well, and MCW is really the only one I trust (when he’s actually playing). Robert Covington hit just 2-of-11 shots for six points, six boards and five assists, and Nerlens Noel hit just 1-of-9 shots for two points, six rebounds and two blocks. Both players are worth owning, but neither is necessarily a must-start player depending on your options. Having said that, I do trust Covington more than most other Sixers, but he’s hit just 4-of-17 shots over his last two games, leaving me a little concerned that he’s going to become mired in a slump.
Thunder 92, Timberwolves 84
Kevin Durant was out with a sprained big left toe and is day-to-day, and his three-game week just turned into a two-game week, at best. Perry Jones started for Durant, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for six points and three rebounds, but also had two blocks. Russell Westbrook was underwhelming, hitting just 7-of-22 shots for 18 points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal, but we were all expecting a lot more with KD watching in street clothes. Serge Ibaka actually stepped up with 13 points, 19 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and if you’ve been annoyed with owning him this season, this is probably a nice ‘sell-high’ moment for you. Reggie Jackson had 14 points, two assists, three steals and a 3-pointer, Anthony Morrow also had 14 points, a steal, a block and a three, and Dion Waiters hit just 4-of-12 shots and a 3-pointer for 10 points, five assists and a steal. In other words, the Thunder were pretty fortunate they were playing the T-Wolves, who have won just seven games this season.
Minnesota was led by Andrew Wiggins’ 23 points, two steals and a block, and it looks like a race between him and Elfrid Payton for Rookie of the Year. Thaddeus Young stayed hot with 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, and has finally played like the player you thought you drafted over the last 10 days or so. Nikola Pekovic started again, but hit just 3-of-12 shots for eight points, seven rebounds and zero blocks, while Gorgui Dieng started alongside him and went off for six points, a career-high 18 rebounds, a steal and three blocks. Just imagine what might happen if Pekovic wasn’t getting 30 minutes a game. Mo Williams was awful with four points, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, hitting just 1-of-10 shots. He suffered a hip injury and is very iffy for Wednesday’s game, so Zach LaVine (11 points, 5 assists) could be a nice play in that one. Ricky Rubio remains out with his lingering injury, so hanging onto Williams is probably a good idea. Kevin Martin was out again with his wrist issue, and it’s anyone’s guess when he might play.
Celtics 99, Jazz 90
You have to be a real basketball fan to have trudged through this telecast, as both teams have now won just 16 games on the season. The Celtics were led, as usual, by Tayshaun Prince’s 19 points, five assists and two 3-pointers on 7-of-10 shooting. Wait, what? Maybe they’re trying to increase his trade stock, or maybe Brad Stevens isn’t quite as smart as we thought he was. But the Celtics won and Prince actually looked kind of good, so we’ll see. Prince scored two and four points in his previous two games, and last night’s effort should end up being his best game of the season. Pick him up if you want, but I have no interest in messing with Prince. Another bench player, Tyler Zeller, hit 6-of-8 shots for 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and has actually been playing very well since being demoted. He’s averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and a block over his last five games, while scoring in double figures in three straight games. He’ll be hard to rely on coming off the bench, but he’s playing well. Jared Sullinger was solid with 12 points, nine boards, a steal and a 3-pointer, Brandon Bass cooled off with eight points, seven boards, a steal and a block, and Evan Turner struggled with nine points, three boards, four assists and a steal on 2-of-7 shooting. Turner suffered a thumb injury and is having X-rays, and if he’s going to miss time, it could finally be time for Marcus Smart. Smart returned from a personal absence and had nine points, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 29 minutes off the bench. He’ll likely need to be promoted into the starting lineup if he’s going to become a fantasy starter this season, but that’s a real possibility if Turner’s injury is serious.
The Jazz got one of the lines of the nights from Gordon Hayward, as he racked up 26 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers, and Enes Kanter came through again with 20 points and six rebounds. He didn’t block a shot and fouled out, but he’s hot right now. Derrick Favors had 13 points, eight boards, four dimes, a steal and four blocks in his second game back from a personal leave, and Trey Burke went off for 18 points and four 3-pointers off the bench. The problem is that he didn’t do anything else, and hit just 7-of-20 shots. The biggest story for the Jazz last night was Dante Exum, who started again, but missed both his shots and finished without a point and just two assists in 25 minutes. Yuck. I’m going to give him to the end of the week to get hot again before letting go. Joe Ingles started again and had a sneaky line with four rebounds, five assists and four steals, but hit just 1-of-6 shots for two points before fouling out. Rudy Gobert was quietly effective with eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, which could be a standard line for him the rest of the way, despite his bench role.
Clippers 102, Nuggets 98
Blake Griffin just missed a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, a steal and a block, and Jamal Crawford, after failing to score a point in the first half, went off for 21 points in the fourth quarter to propel the Clippers to a surprisingly tough win over Denver. Matt Barnes got loose for 18 points and a very full stat line, DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds, three steals and four blocks, and Chris Paul had a solid 15 points, five rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. J.J. Redick was the one Clippers’ disappointment, hitting just 2-of-10 shots for six points and no 3-pointers.
The Nuggets could have had a bunch of double-doubles, but finished with just two of them. Wilson Chandler, of all people, scored the first 10 points of the game and finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three 3-pointers, and Ty Lawson added 18 points and 11 dimes in the tough loss. Kenneth Faried had a solid 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, but added just two rebounds and no blocks, Jusuf Nurkic had 10 rebounds, a steal and three blocks, but scored just six points, and Arron Afflalo came through with 18 points, six assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers. All five of these players should be owned in most leagues, but only Lawson is truly reliable. I still will argue that Faried is going to finish up strong, but he simply doesn’t know how to play for Brian Shaw. And frankly, I’m not sure anyone does. Jameer Nelson disappeared with two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes. Danilo Gallinari is back, but had just eight points and an empty stat line in 18 minutes.
News & Notes
Brian Roberts should start at point guard for the Hornets for the foreseeable future, as Kemba Walker will miss a couple months due to knee surgery. Pick. Him. Up. Marvin Williams (concussion) and Bismack Biyombo (knee) are going to miss time with their injuries, making Cody Zeller very relevant. Give him a look.
Isaiah Thomas had his left wrist drained recently, but is playing through it.
Wednesday’s OKC at New York game is in jeopardy due to weather, but Tuesday night should be clear across the league.