It was a bad day for injuries to some high-minute players. Jimmy Butler (knee) is going to miss the next 3-4 weeks due to a knee strain, and Marc Gasol (foot) is likely out for the season with a mid-foot fracture. Obviously both teams are in a pickle. Let’s look at the Grizzlies first.
No center played more minutes per game than Gasol and he also is tops for centers in assists per game. That means the Grizzlies will be looking a heck of a lot different. He also owns a 23.9 usage rate in all that playing time, so the shots will also be available with the minutes and play-making.
So what happens now? A lot. Simply put, it’s going to be a team effort. The Grizzlies are playing Zach Randolph at the five a lot, which is definitely going to continue. Via NBA Wowy, here are the lineup combos this season with Z-Bo and Mike Conley on the court and Gasol off (min of five minutes):
That’s a good amount of small ball. Basically, we’ll be seeing a lot of Jeff Green at the four. That also opens up some wing minutes for Matt Barnes, Courtney Lee and Tony Allen. If you’re in a shallow league, that’s the order I’d look to make an add (Green, Barnes, Lee and Allen).
Besides that, this should help Mike Conley’s output overall as he runs the offense. The other big takeaway is that Brandan Wright (knee) could be effective once he’s healthy. If you have an IR spot, he is worth a grab while we don’t get any games over the break. Maybe be comes back this month because he is doing some pre-game work.
As for the Grizzlies as a franchise, they might be in a tight spot and the Grit-N-Grind era could be over. If you have Gasol, you can probably cut him in most leagues.
The Jimmy Butler news also could make the Bulls sellers at the deadline. The Bulls are only 1.5 games up on the No. 9 seeded Charlotte Hornets and their schedule is not great while Butler will be out.
Like Marc Gasol, it’ll be a team effort to replace Butler’s output. Butler leads the NBA in minutes per game and he emerged as the focal point of the offense. Derrick Rose (soreness) did not play on Monday, but he put up a 34.9 usage rate on Saturday. Rose is going to be very busy and it might actually force him to miss games because of the high usage and involvement in the offense. Pau Gasol will also be active in the low post and should see more chances to run halfcourt sets.
After those two, E’Twaun Moore figures to be the next man up. He’s played well in his last four games and should get minutes around 30. Mike Dunleavy will likely be the second-best pickup in fantasy after him. Dunleavy will have a minutes cap for another week or so, but he does have a nice upside. Doug McDermott should play more, but his upside is way too low to grab in fantasy.
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Jazz (We Got): Jazz 121 at Mavs 119
What a game in Dallas. The Jazz did not allow 100 points in any of the previous seven games since Derrick Favors returned, but their D wasn't up to their high standards. Luckily for them, they have Rodney Hood. The second-year stud dropped 29 points with five rebounds, five assists, two 3-pointers and no turnovers. He's going to be really good and he should flirt with top-50 value going forward. He also hit this with one second left to get the game to OT:
Not to be outdone, Gordon Hayward ended his 20-point scoring game in style to get the win at the buzzer in OT:
The Jazz went without a point guard for a whopping 26 minutes, which is a testament to how good Hood and Hayward are. Raul Neto was in foul trouble with just eight points, two assists, one steal and six fouls -- he just can't put up numbers. Derrick Favors (16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and one steal) and Rudy Gobert (14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks) were also very good. The Jazz are on a seven-game winning streak and at this rate it would be a surprise to see them not get a top-five seed in the Western Conference.
The Mavs first half of the season is officially over and don't play again until Feb. 19. That's a big reason why Dirk Nowitzki played a whopping 40 minutes on Tuesday, scoring 17 points with nine rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer. He'll be getting some rest days going forward.
Chandler Parsons was also busy and did play down the stretch. Coach Rick Carlisle hasn't played Parsons down the stretch all the time, but Parsons was great and had a huge block in OT. He finished with 24 points, one rebound, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. Wes Matthews also showed some signs of life with 16 points, two rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers. He's been really bad, but the break should help him load up some arrows. Deron Williams also closed out his first half with 23 points, two rebounds, five assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. He has been dinged up a lot, so the break should help him, too.
Almost Famous (Rockets 110 at Warriors 123)
They almost had it. The Rockets were hanging tough for three quarters, but the Warriors ran away with it to close the game. Golden State outscored the Rockets 30-17 in the fourth to move to 24-0 at home this season and 47-4.
It was Harry B to the rescue with Harrison Barnes scoring 17 points in the fourth, which was his best quarter ever. Barnes finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two treys. He's starting to play a lot better. Besides Barnes, the wings didn't provide much help. Marreese Speights (15 points and four boards) and Andrew Bogut (13 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and six blocks) were very good at center. Speights looks like he'll get some extra run with Festus Ezeli (knee) out for the season. Klay Thompson was pretty bad with 13 points and no treys while Draymond Green didn't have a great game with eight points, nine rebounds and five assists. They're fine.
There's obviously Stephen Curry. The MVP scored 35 points with five boards, nine assists, one steal and seven 3-pointers on 12-of-24 from the field. He's up to a whopping 240 treys on the season, a 67.6 true shooting percentage and a 31.7 usage rate. He's too good.
As for the Rockets, they got a great game out of James Harden. The Beard scored 37 points with five rebounds, five assists, three steals, one block and six 3-pointers. He showed up and only turned the ball over once, too. Harden is obviously going to finish well going forward.
Trevor Ariza continues to play well at power forward, posting a line of 19 points, seven rebounds, two steals and four 3-pointers. For the second year in a row, he looks like an early-round guy to close the year after a horrible start. Marcus Thornton was OK with 15 points while Dwight Howard scored 16 points and 15 boards. Dwight didn't get ejected!
The Moose is loose: Celtics 111 at Bucks 112
Jason Kidd was at it again on Tuesday. He started O.J. Mayo and Miles Plumlee over Michael Carter-Williams and Greg Monroe, but he pulled out the win. Mayo picked up two quick fouls, so MCW got in the game with nine minutes left in the first quarter and it didn't really matter. Monroe also got in the game with seven minutes left in the first.
Kidd said he wanted something different before the game. It was actually the first time Mayo, Plumlee, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker were on the court together. We'll see if it continues.
As for the game action, Monroe was terrific off the bench, scoring 29 points with 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks and three turnovers in 30 minutes. He killed Boston with an ability to get low on the block, which was his bread and butter in his Detroit days. Obviously it doesn't really matter where he gets his minutes and maybe this is a wake-up call for him. He was only putting up mid-round value in his previous 10 games for owners in standard leagues. Of course, this productive game means it doesn't have to do with potential trades at the NBA deadline.
MCW wasn't as effective as Monroe, but he still had a very nice line of 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal and two turnovers in 26 minutes. A move to the bench does make some sense to stagger his minutes from Giannis Antetokounmpo (14 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks) and Jabari Parker (10 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal). All three of those guys have no range as shooters, so maybe this lineup sticks. Khris Middleton was very good with 20 points, five boards and five assists. He has been sub-par since Kidd returned, so maybe this change helps, too. There is no reason to add Mayo (no points and six assists in 18 minutes) or Miles Plumlee (six points and five boards in 18 minutes). Jerryd Bayless was solid with 14 points, two assists and four 3-pointers. He's a decent stash if the Bucks make some deals.
The Celtics were down 19 points in the third quarter, but they managed to tie the game with one second left. Sadly, Avery Bradley fouled Khris Middleton with 0.6 seconds left to give the Bucks the win. Tyler Zeller was back down to 10 minutes with four points and two boards. Basically, you don't want any part of the Boston frontcourt rotation in shallower leagues.
Jae Crowder was very good despite a high-ankle sprain, scoring 18 points with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers. Marcus Smart is losing some minutes to Evan Turner right now and it happened again. Smart still had a decent game with 21 minutes, 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. He's still a hold while Evan Turner (six points, six boards and 10 assists) is becoming a 14-team guy.
Delete your account: Spurs 119 at Heat 101
LaMarcus Aldridge has been awesome since he deleted his Twitter. His 28-point game on Tuesday helped him post averages over his last five of 26.4 points, 6.6 boards, 1.8 assists, 2.2 blocks and 0.6 steals. If you can sell high for top-30 value, do it. Kawhi Leonard was his usual amazing self with 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals, one block and one 3-pointer on 11-of-17 from the field. He's actually cooled off slightly because of LMA. Danny Green is also coming on, scoring 15 points with seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers. The loss of Manu Ginobili should help him. It'll also help Jonathon Simmons, who scored 10 points with four rebounds, one assist and two turnovers. He's only a deep-league target. Boban Marjanovic played in the first quarter for just his 11th game, playing 13 minutes with 11 points, six rebounds and one steal. Can you imagine if he plays 25 minutes per game?
Not much of interest with the Heat. Dwyane Wade (20 points and five dimes) did suffer a lower back injury and something with his leg, so keep an eye on that. Hassan Whiteside also came off the bench again, scoring 14 points with six rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes. He was ejected for an elbow to Boban's head, so he might be suspended for that one.
The Great Wall: Wizards 111 at Knicks 108
The Wizards pulled out their Chinese New Year jerseys at MSG and earned a close win. John Wall almost blew it when he didn't foul and left Langston Galloway open, but Galloway missed it. Before that goof, Wall was tremendous with 28 points, five rebounds, 17 assists, one steal, three 3-pointers and just one turnover. The Wizards are going back to their smaller lineups, which is great for Wall's value.
Bradley Beal was expected to have a 30-minute cap, but he went slightly above it with 32. He continues to look great and was so on Tuesday, scoring 26 points with three rebounds, two assists, four steals, one block and five 3-pointers. You have to like his aggressive style and he should be a top-50 player or so going forward.
As mentioned, the Wizards will go small with Otto Porter at the four. The third-year forward was very efficient on Tuesday, making 5-of-6 from the field for 13 points with two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. Expect him to get hot again. Marcin Gortat was OK with 14 points, 10 boards and two blocks. The Wizards going small actually helps him because he'll have more room to roll to the hoop.
The Knicks actually played well in the first game with coach Kurt Rambis. He has been talking up defense, so you'd think that means less run for Jose Calderon, who played 28 minutes on Tuesday and did not score. Langston Galloway played 29 minutes and looked comfortable in the offense with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. Galloway is worth owning right now with the coaching change.
This should also be good news for Robin Lopez. Rambis works with the bigs a lot more in practice, so he may be less inclined to go small. Ro-Lo played 27 minutes with 14 points, eight boards, one assist and one block. He should be a top 75-100 guy with a high floor and decent upside.
It goes without saying, but there should still be plenty to like from Kristaps Porzingis (20 points, five boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals) and Carmelo Anthony (33 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers). Melo did have a minor leg issue, so keep an eye on that. Plus, there is more shut-down risk.
News and notes from Tuesday
The Kangz went full Kangz with their announcement of George Karl staying on this season. Kangz.
Noah Vonleh (ankle) is going to play on Wednesday. Meyers Leonard missed his chance while Vonleh was out, so maybe Vonleh gets more run. He’s only an option in deep leagues.
Blake Griffin (hand) will be suspended for four games. That makes him more likely to miss key games in the fantasy playoffs.
Tiago Splitter (hip) could have surgery. Mike Scott, Mike Muscala and maybe even Edy Tavares play more.
The Hawks could make some moves with Al Horford and Jeff Teague. If you want to stash Dennis Schroder over the break, it makes sense. Maybe even Mike Muscala or Edy, too.
Frank Isola also reported the Hawks and Magic are talking about a deal with Victor Oladipo and Teague. That would be crazy.
Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Roy Hibbert (ankle) will play on Wednesday.
In case you missed it, Steve Alexander and I did a fantasy mailbag podcast.