Oh what a night! Anthony Davis and James Harden went nuclear, Myles Turner and Jusuf Nurkic lived up to the hype, and the Lakers and Kings both have better records than the Warriors. Dose breaks down a big Wednesday, when the best news might have been that there were no major injuries to speak of.
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Nuggets 107, Pelicans 102 – Jusuf Nurkic lived up to the hype with 23 points, nine boards and a block on 9-of-13 shooting, and Will Barton came through with 22 points and a couple threes. Barton could be one of the steals in fantasy again this season. Nikola Jokic struggled again with just five points, seven boards and zero blocks, but I still think he’ll eventually turn it around. But it could take a few minutes. Danilo Gallinari was quiet and Emmanuel Mudiay hit just 2-of-8 shots for 11 points, seven boards and three assists. Gallo will be better on most nights, but I don’t trust Mudiay. Kenneth Faried came off the bench for nine points, 14 boards and two steals, and Wilson Chandler had 12 points and seven boards in 30 minutes. He’s officially a sleeper pick, but keep in mind Gary Harris was out with a groin injury.
Here we go! Healthy Anthony Davis went off for 50 points, 16 rebounds, five dimes, seven steals and four blocks in 41 minutes. Holy smokes. He’s a must-start in DFS from now until whenever he sprains an ankle. What a show he put on. Tim Frazier came through with 15 points and 11 assists, and is a must-start until Jrue Holiday returns (personal), and E’Twaun Moore is worth a waiver-wire look, starting and scoring 10 points with four assists and two 3-pointers. With Davis going bonkers, only Frazier and Moore joined him in double-digit scoring. Keep an eye on Lance Stephenson, who had eight points, three assists and a steal in 26 minutes.
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Thunder 103, Sixers 97 – Russell Westbrook nearly triple-doubled with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists and should do this almost every time out. Victor Oladipo hit just 4-of-16 shots for a disappointing 10 points, without many other fantasy goodies. He’ll be better next time out. Steven Adams came through with 16 points, five boards and three steals, while Domantas Sabonis and Andre Roberson were quiet in starts. Enes Kanter racked up 17 points, 12 boards, a steal and a block off the bench, and Ersan Ilyasova added 10 points, five boards, a steal and two 3-pointers. He’s worth a waiver-wire look if you have someone to cut.
Joel Embiid was solid in his debut with 20 points, seven boards and two blocks, while Dario Saric struggled to the tune of 2-of-12 shooting. He comes in with a lot of hype, but may have struggled with some debut jitters last night. Hang in there with him, as he simply has to get better soon. Sergio Rodriguez started at PG and had 12 points, nine dimes and two 3-pointers, and is worth a waiver-wire pickup now that we know he’s going to start. Robert Covington had 10 points, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes, and should score more points that this on most nights. Jerami Grant is worth keeping an eye on and had 10 points, four boards and two blocks off the bench, while Nik Stauskas scored 13 points with no 3-pointers off the bench. Jahlil Okafor had eight points in 16 minutes and is going to struggle while recovering from a knee injury, and playing behind Embiid. He might be droppable if this trend continues.
Kings 113, Suns 94 – DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and six boards in 25 minutes, but didn’t really look like a monster. He will soon enough. Rudy Gay hit 9-of-15 shots for 22 points, while starters Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo combined for a total of just 19 points. Lawson’s got seven more start in him, but I think he’s a cut candidate if you need to make room for a hot free agent. He did have seven assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 3-of-9 shooting, so he should at least be a solid fill in for two more weeks (Darren Collison is suspended for the first eight games of the season). Matt Barnes added 14 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, and Garrett Temple had 12 points and three assists in 18 minutes while backing up Lawson.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 18 points, but didn’t do much more, as expected. He’s a blast to watch, but is too one dimensional to be a fantasy stud right now. Eric Bledsoe had 16-6-5 with a steal and a 3-pointer, and T.J. Warren added 14 points and five boards. Jared Dudley started, but scored just four points in 26 minutes. Tyson Chandler started at center and had eight points, 10 boards and zero blocks. Eh. Brandon Knight played 26 bench minutes but had just seven points and five assists, and there’s just not a lot to love about the Suns.
Lakers 120, Rockets 114 – The Lakers got 20 points and four 3-pointers from my man D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle added 18 points, seven boards and six assists on 9-of-11 shooting, and Timofey Mozgov came through with 12 points, eight boards and zero blocks. If you’re desperate for a C, Mozzy might be worth a look. Luol Deng and Nick Young started, but didn’t do much, while Jordan Clarkson overcame a slow start off the bench for 25 points, three steals and two 3-pointers. Off the bench or starting, Clarkson is going to have a fun season.
James Harden and Mike D’Antoni are a match made in heaven and Harden racked up 34 points, eight rebounds, 17 assists, one 3-pointers and seven turnovers. He’s probably going to lead the league in assists, while flirting with the leading scorer title. Eric Gordon started and had 19 points, Clint Capela added 16 points, nine boards and one block, and only shot one free throw (a miss), and Ryan Anderson added 14 points, six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers. Trevor Ariza was quiet all night and finished with just five points in 33 minutes, and might struggle to score with so many offensive weapons surrounding him.
Heat 108, Magic 96 – The Heat got the win behind a double-double from Hassan Whiteside, who also had four blocks, and a 16-6-6 line from Goran Dragic. Justise Winslow quietly added 15 points, eight boards and a couple blocks, while the bench got a nice boost from Willie Reed, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson. If you’re looking for a Heat player to pick up, Ty Johnson might be the one. Unless Winslow was undrafted in your league.
The Magic didn’t really have any standout performances, but Nikola Vucevic took advantage of a one-game suspension to Bismack Biyombo (flagrant foul against Kevin Love last season) with 17 points, 14 boards, two steals and no blocks, Serge Ibaka had 14 points, seven rebounds, two 3-pointers and one block, and Evan Fournier led the way with 20 points and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 7-of-19 shots. Aaron Gordon got the start at SF and was fine with 12 points, eight boards, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. If you reached for him and were a little worried about it coming in, you should feel better after this. Elfrid Payton shot it poorly, but had 16 points and a decent stat line in the loss.
Pacers 130, Mavericks 121 OT – Mike Gallagher spent much of his summer hyping Myles Turner, while I spent most of the summer hyping the Pacers as possibly the best team in the East. We were both happy on Wednesday, as Turner went into ridiculous mode with 30 points, 16 rebounds, two steals, four blocks and a 3-pointers, all while hitting 13-of-19 shots. If you didn’t believe the hype on draft night, you probably believe it now. Paul George chipped in 25 points, eight boards, six dimes and four 3-pointers, Jeff Teague was solid with 20 & 8 (Hawks are going to miss him), and Monta Ellis had 19 points, seven boards, seven dimes, three steals and a 3-pointer for one of the more surprising lines of the night. Make sure he’s not available. Thaddeus Young was quiet with 11 points and a reasonable stat line, while Al Jefferson played 11 quiet minutes off the bench. Thadd’s going to be in the backseat watching George and Turner go off in the front seat all season.
Deron Williams turned back the clock with 25 points, seven dimes, five 3-pointers and six turnovers in 40 minutes, and Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points, eight boards, two steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Go pick up Williams and get him in your lineup before he gets hurt again. Harrison Barnes had 19 points, nine boards and three 3-pointers in his Mavs’ debut, Wesley Matthews was quiet with 13 points and three steals on dismal 3-of-16 shooting, and Andrew Bogut was quiet, racking up six points, six boards and a block in just 20 minutes. There were a lot of zeroes coming from the Dallas bench, but J.J. Barea went off for 22 points and six dimes on 7-of-17 shooting in 39 minutes. This absolutely crushed owners of Seth Curry, as Curry got just 16 minutes, giving way to the hot hand. Barea won’t be this good on most nights, so there’s still hope for Curry’s season. But if Barea is sitting out there on the wire, feel free to go get him.
Celtics 122, Nets 117 – There were no dominant performances for the Celtics, but Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley all came through for Boston. Al Horford got off to a slow start with only 11 points, but also had five boards, six assists, a 3-pointers and four blocks! Gallagher was all about Terry Rozier in our podcast yesterday, and he came through with a quiet five points, three boards, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes, which was enough for his $3,500 FanDuel salary.
Bojan Bogdanovic started and lived up to the hype with 21 points and three 3-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting, but didn’t exactly fill up the box score. Jeremy Lin scored 18 points with three dimes and a couple threes, while starters Trevor Booker, Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson combined for just 20 points. Much to the chagrin of owners, Bro-Lo was actually benched at halftime and hit just 1-of-7 shots. He’ll bounce back, so don’t panic. As for RHJ, it could be a long year for his owners, but let’s see how the rest of the week goes before pulling the plug. With Bro-Lo in the doghouse, Justin Hamilton had a 19& 10 double-double, while Joe Harris scored 16 off the bench with four 3-pointers, and Sean Kilpatrick added 13 points. If you own Lopez, it might be wise to handcuff Hamilton to him in case this wasn’t a fluke. And if Kilpatrick continues to outplay RHJ, a move might be in order soon.
Raptors 109, Pistons 91 – Jonas Valanciunas racked up 32 points, 11 boards and zero blocks on 10-of-15 shooting and might be the most underrated big man in the league. DeMar DeRozan went off for 40 points, but didn’t hit a three, had just one steal and committed six turnovers. Kyle Lowry got off to a slow start, hitting just 3-of-13 shots for 10 points and eight dimes, but he’ll be fine. DeMarre Carroll was quiet in a start and there were no other notable Toronto performances.
Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 22 points, Marcus Morris had 17 points and nine boards, and Andre Drummond added 16 points with just six boards and no blocks. Starters Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both struggled. Jon Leuer was the only notable bench player with nine points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, and the Pistons are going to need more help from Drummond, Smith and KCP going forward. And I still like Ish.
Hornets 107, Bucks 96 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was one of the surprises of the night with 23 points and 14 rebounds with a steal and a block, so go ahead and see if he’s available on your waiver wire. Marvin Williams had a 13 & 10 double-double, Kemba Walker had 17 points, eight dimes, two steals and three 3-pointers, Roy Hibbert somehow had 15 points, nine boards and five blocks in a start, and Nicolas Batum was quiet with nine points on 2-of-9 shooting, but still filled the stat sheet. If Hibbert went undrafted and you need a C, go get him and hope that this wasn’t a fluke. Cody Zeller racked up 15 points in 14 minutes with two blocks, while Marco Belinelli was quiet, despite playing 26 minutes off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo lived up to the hype with 31 points, nine boards, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, but no other Buck scored more than 14 points. And that was Greg Monroe off the bench with 14 points, 10 boards, a steal and two blocks. Mirza Teletovic started, but gave way to Rashad Vaughn in the second half. Neither player did much with their minutes and Vaughn only played eight of them. Jabari Parker was disappointing with 11 13 points and six boards, but I still think he’s going to have a big year. Matthew Dellavedova was equally disappointing with 11 points and three dimes, but will do more with his 29 minutes next time out. Miles Plumlee played just eight meaningless minutes in a start, and could give way to Monroe at any time.
Grizzlies 102, Timberwolves 98 – The Grizzlies got 24 from Mike Conley, but he added just two assists, while Marc Gasol, James Ennis and JaMychal Green were all serviceable in starts. Ennis, who had 15 points, six boards and two 3-pointers, is currently worth a look in all leagues, as long as Chandler Parsons (knee) and Tony Allen (knee) are out. Green should also be owned. Zach Randolph went off with 19 points and 11 boards in 25 minutes off the bench, easing the worries of his owners. Rookie Wade Baldwin racked up seven points, five boards, six assists, three steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer in 25 minutes, and will be another hot waiver-wire guy in the next few days.
The Wolves got 25 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer from Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points, four boards, five dimes, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. Nothing too fancy, but KAT is going to have a monster year. Gorgui Dieng had a 12 & 14 double-double with two steals and a block, and Zach LaVine added 19 points and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Ricky Rubio hit just 1-of-5 shots for four points and eight assists, and scoring will always be an issue for him. The Wolves bench was really quiet and Shabazz Muhammad only played 14 minutes.