Cavaliers 115, Suns 93 – Kevin Love and LeBron James (sat out fourth quarter) both scored 21 points in the easy win, as Love also pumped up 11 boards, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. The Raptors are staying in touch with the Cavs in the race in the East, which might work in the favor of Cavs’ owners, if they have to keep playing well to finish with home court through the East. Tristan Thompson started over Timofey Mozgov, but neither player is a favorable fantasy play right now. Kyrie Irving still has yet to dazzle us and had just eight points and three assists on 4-of-11 shooting. I’d like to think the Cavs would like to get him rolling before the playoffs, but it hasn’t happened yet. J.R. Smith scored 18 with four treys and has now hit double figures in four straight games with 14 3-pointers. As long as he’s hot, he’s worth playing. And yes, new coach Ty Lue will coach the Eastern All Stars.
The Suns are a mess, struggling with staying competitive while playing the young guys. Devin Booker led the way with 16 points, five assists and a 3-pointer, and looks like a strong play in all formats, and Archie Goodwin 12 points, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, hitting just 3-of-10 shots. Goodwin was on fire coming in and Brandon Knight is a shutdown candidate, meaning both Booker and Goodwin look like strong adds in any format. P.J. Tucker had 13 points, seven rebounds, one steals and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes, and T.J. Warren added 11 points in 26 minutes. We’ve been kind of hard on Tucker, but he keeps getting minutes and keeps playing well. Think about adding him if you’re holding a dud. Tyson Chandler played 34 minutes but had just six points, seven rebounds and a block, and Alex Len hit just 2-of-9 shots for four points, four boards and zero blocks in 27 minutes. Both Chandler and Len were hot coming in, so don’t be too discouraged after tonight’s bad game against the Cavs. They both played solid minutes and should continue to do so. Markieff Morris had 13 points, five boards, three assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, but is helped by the fact Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer (could play Friday) have been sidelined lately. But the Suns are shopping Morris and showcasing him, so now is a good time to roll him out there if you’re in a deeper league with a bare wire.
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Celtics 111, Nuggets 103 – Avery Bradley is getting back to form after injury and tied his season high with 27 points and five 3-pointers, hitting 11-of-20 shots. Isaiah Thomas took a backseat to Bradley tonight, hitting just 5-of-13 shots and a 3-pointer for 16 points and five dimes. He’s fine. Jared Sullinger played just 18 minutes and hit 2-of-8 shots for six points, but also had 11 boards, a steal and a block. He’s still being outshined by Kelly Olynyk, who had 17 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers in just 17 minutes off the bench. Both players are worth holding until we see how this is going to shake down. Amir Johnson threw a wrench in things last night with nine points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in 30 minutes. Johnson was pretty awful in his previous five games, so I’m not getting too excited by this explosion. Jae Crowder was decent with 13 points and a very full stat line, but hit just 4-of-13 shots, while Evan Turner played 30 minutes and hit 7-of-11 shots for 14 points, six assists and two steals. He’s still worth a fringe look in 12-team leagues. Marcus Smart cooled off with just four points after missing all five of his shots, but came in hot and played 28 minutes. Hang in there with him. The Celtics have won four straight games.
Danilo Gallinari had 23 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer, and Kenneth Faried came through with 15 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block in 28 minutes. Nikola Jokic disappointed with just three points, seven boards, a steal and a block on 1-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes, leaving with a tibia (knee) injury. Jusuf Nurkic had two points, five boards and a block in 12 bench minutes, but could be forced into more action if Jokic is going to miss time. Jokic was cooking, so owners have to hope that the injury isn’t serious. Gary Harris had 15 points, seven boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, as he continues to garner attention as a fantasy shooting guard, and Emmanuel Mudiay had 13 points and four assists in 26 minutes. He’s the only point guard available in Denver right now, which should mean decent things for him going forward. Will Barton had 23 points, five boards, four assists, a block and three 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting, and he’s still hanging in there after a slump.
Pistons 110, Sixers 97 – Reggie Jackson had 27 points and four 3-pointers, but just three assists, and Andre Drummond came through with 25 points, 18 rebounds, two steals and a block on 9-of-16 shooting in the Pistons’ win. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 points and didn’t hit a 3-pointer, and Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris were both disappointing. They combined for just 13 points, but also had 15 rebounds between them. Both players should bounce back in the next one. With Ilyasova hitting just 1-of-6 shots, Stanley Johnson got 32 minutes and hit 8-of-16 shots and a 3-pointer for 18 points, three boards, three assists and a steal. He’ll need an injury to really break loose, but the potential is certainly there.
Jerami Grant, who wasn’t feeling all that well, made another start for Jahlil Okafor and hit 8-of-13 shots and a 3-pointer for 21 points, eight boards, two assists, three steals and a block. Unfortunately, Okafor is expected back for the next one, so I hope you played Grant last night. Nerlens Noel came through with 20 points, seven boards, a steal and a block on 9-of-11 shooting, and Ish Smith hit just 6-of-18 shots for 13 points, six assists and a 3-pointer. Robert Covington cooled off by hitting just 2-of-6 shots for eight points and eight rebounds, but still led the team with 36 minutes. He’ll bounce back.
Thunder 126, Wolves 123 – Serge Ibaka backed up one of his best games of the season with a dud, finishing with just six points, four boards and zero blocks on 2-of-7 shooting. Maybe he was tired. Kevin Durant had 27-9-5 and Russell Westbrook added 24-8-15 in the win. Dion Waiters started at SG again and hit 6-of-14 shots and four 3-pointers for 16 points, and looks like an interesting pickup with the injury to Andre Roberson. Steven Adams was quiet and in some early foul trouble, which freed Enes Kanter up to get loose for 23 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. He scored a total of 10 points in his previous two games, so this looks fluky, at best.
The Wolves started Gorgui Dieng alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and Dieng hit 10-of-13 shots for 21 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block. If Dieng finally moves into the starting lineup over Kevin Garnett (knee) for good, look out, but we don’t know if that’s going to happen. If you want to add him, do it and see what happens. KAT went off for 19 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks, and Andrew Wiggins scored an empty 20 points in the loss. Ricky Rubio wasn’t happening, hitting just 1-of-6 shots for four points and 10 assists, which allowed Zach LaVine to bust out for a season-high 35 points and five 3-pointers off the bench. He scored 21 on Monday, and Sam Mitchell might finally be ready to turn him loose. However, I’m not convinced that’s the case, so don’t cut a sure bet to take a flier on LaVine just yet. LaVine had scored a total of 13 points in his previous three games before the mini-breakout, but set a Wolves record for the most points in team history for a reserve. He hit 14-of-17 shots and was, as they say, feelin’ it. Kevin Martin sat out with a sore wrist, so it’s possible LaVine is about to go on a run.
Spurs 130, Rockets 99 – The Spurs obliterated the Rockets behind 25 points, 10 boards and five dimes from LaMarcus Aldridge, 18 points and three 3-pointers from Kawhi Leonard, and 15 points and seven assists from Tony Parker. The news of the night may have been an 18-point explosion from Danny Green, who added six rebounds, three assists, three steals, a block and six 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Believe it or not, the 18 points tied a season high, but he had scored eight or fewer points in nine of his previous 10 games. Yes, Green looked good tonight, in a massive blowout, but I’ll need to see it at least a couple more times before getting anywhere close to excited. If you have dead weight you want to cut to take a flier on Green, go for it. With Tim Duncan (knee) sitting again, Boban Marjanovic had 13 points and 10 rebounds in just 17 minutes. Any time Duncan’s not playing, Marjanovic is worth a look. But he’s just as likely to score two points as he is 13. And even with the 31-point win, Marjanovic was the only bench player to hit double digits in scoring for the Spurs. Gregg Popovich will be coaching the Western All-Stars. And by the way, the Spurs are 25-0 at home!
James Harden was quiet for once, hitting 5-of-10 shots for 20 points, three boards, two assists and a 3-pointer. He was on the bench for the fourth quarter in the blowout. Trevor Ariza also cooled off with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting. He was on fire coming in, so look for him to bounce back soon. Dwight Howard returned from a three-game rest due to an ankle injury and had 13 points, eight boards and two blocks, while Corey Brewer and Patrick Beverley were both very quiet in the starting lineup. Josh Smith had 11 points, seven boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 4-of-11 shooting off the bench, and still got 25 minutes. Terrence Jones played just 17 minutes, hitting 3-of-10 shots for 11 points and three boards. Yes, I’d rather own Smith than Jones right now.
Clippers 85, Hawks 83 – DeAndre Jordan went off for 13 points, 19 rebounds and a block, Chris Paul double-doubled with 11 points and 10 assists, and J.J. Redick had 12 points and two 3-pointers for the Clippers. Jamal Crawford went off for 21 points from the bench, but only had one 3-pointer. Wes Johnson played 28 bench minutes, but hit just 3-of-12 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers for seven points, but also had six rebounds and six steals. He looks like the winner in the Blake Griffin injury sweepstakes, making him a fringe pickup in 12-team leagues.
Paul Millsap had 14 points, 12 rebounds, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in the loss, Kent Bazemore had 12 points and a decent line, and all five Hawks starters scored in double digits. Al Horford was in triple-double territory with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Jeff Teague had 16 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 7-of-10 shooting. Maybe he decided to play better as trade rumors ramp up. Dennis Schroder played just 17 minutes and had seven points and three assists on 3-of-9 shooting, and Teague is still the player to own here. Kyle Korver hit 4-of-5 shots and four 3-pointers for 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, and it’s nice to know that he can still play well when he wants to. He’s certainly not a must-own player though, despite last night’s line.
Jazz 102, Hornets 73 – The Jazz destroyed the Hornets behind 24 points and four 3-pointers from Rodney Hood, and 22 points and a full stat line from Gordon Hayward. Rudy Gobert scored just six points, but also had 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Trey Lyles started and failed to score a point in 19 minutes. Derrick Favors is back and hit 6-of-9 shots for 12 points, three rebounds and a steal, and you have to wonder if he’ll replace Lyles in the starting lineup for their next game. Yes, it’s probably time to dump Lyles. Trey Burke was quiet with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes, but should bounce back soon. He’s in a funk after going scoreless in his previous game, but had scored in double figures in 11 straight games before Monday’s dud.
The Hornets were led by Kemba Walker’s 15 points, but he had just one assist in 30 minutes, and sat on the bench in the fourth quarter in a blowout. He’s fine. Nicolas Batum hit just 2-of-9 shots for six points, but had 10 rebounds, and is working his way back from his toe injury. Marvin Williams, Spencer Hawes and P.J. Hairston all failed to reach double digits, and none are really worth starting for fantasy teams right now. Brian Roberts was the only bench player to do anything for the Hornets, but his 13 points came in just 12 minutes. Walker and Batum are the only reliable Hornets while Cody Zeller, Jeremy Lamb and Al Jefferson are out. Jeremy Lin is having a nice season, but suffered a painful sprained ankle last night, and could miss time. If he’s out, Batum should get better in a hurry.
Warriors, Mavericks – Klay Thompson went off for a season–high 45 points on 14-of-20 shooting. He was 7-of-12 from downtown and 10-of-10 from the line, and added five rebounds and two blocks. Wow. Stephen Curry was never really into this one and scored just three first-half points, finishing with 14 points, nine assists and three 3-pointers. Draymond Green was also quiet with 10 points, three boards, four assists and two 3-pointers, and hit all four of his field goal attempts. Thompson was the story tonight and the Warriors got another win. Green, Harrison Barnes, Curry and Klay were the only Dubs to hit double figures tonight. And the Dubs, like the Spurs, are undefeated at home (22-0).
Dirk Nowitzki was rested on Wednesday and Zaza Pachulia was out again with an Achilles injury. Raymond Felton and Salah Mejri started in their place on a night that Stephen Curry and Draymond Green struggled to get going. Chandler Parsons had 23 points, seven rebounds and four 3-pointers, and Felton (12) Deron Williams (12 points, 3 assists, 2 3-pointers), Dwight Powell (11) and J.J. Barea (14) were the only other Mavericks to score in double figures. Mejri played just 14 minutes for two points and three rebounds. Williams and Wesley Matthews are worth owning for the Mavs, but combined to hit just 9-of-25 shots last night. JaVale McGee played just two minutes, so he’s obviously not medicine to take if you are hurting from the loss of Pachulia. Hopefully Pachulia is back on Friday against the Nets.