A 10-game MLK day slate provided all-day action, some overtime thrillers, monster nights from Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick and Kemba Walker, and only a handful of injuries. Here we go. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Knicks 119, Sixers 116 2 OT – The Knicks held on in a double-overtime thriller, getting 25 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers from Arron Afflalo, double-doubles from Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez, and a fat line from Carmelo Anthony, who returned from a sprained ankle for 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Porzingis hurt his foot during the game and left early, so watch for updates on his status. Jose Calderon had just eight points, but also filled the stat sheet, while Derrick Williams returned to no-man’s land with the return of Melo.
The Sixers got a monster line from Ish Smith with 16 points, seven boards and 16 assists, but he hit just 8-of-28 shots in his 44 minutes. Nerlens Noel double-doubled with two steals and three blocks, and Jahlil Okafor scored 20 with seven boards, two steals and two blocks. Robert Covington stayed relevant by playing 46 minutes, but struggled for much of the game, finishing with 11 points, five boards, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers. Pick him up. Jerami Grant returned from his calf injury, but played just 15 minutes, while Isaiah Canaan exploded for 16 points, five boards and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes. The absence of Nik Stauskas (shoulder) helped Canaan, so I’m not running out to pick him up.
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Hornets 124, Jazz 119 2 OT – Kemba Walker went bananas, scoring a franchise-record 52 points with nine boards, eight assists, two steals and six 3-pointers. Marvin Williams scored 19 with seven rebounds and three 3-pointers, and looks much better now than he did 10 days ago, Cody Zeller had 14 points, six boards and a block, and Nicolas Batum added 10 points, nine boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers as he gets back into form after missing time with an elbow injury. Frank Kaminsky is really coming on and had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Jeremy Lin had a nice line with nine points, six rebounds, five dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer. Every player mentioned above is worth owning in most leagues, although things could get a shake up once Al Jefferson is back from his knee injury.
Gordon Hayward went off for 36 points and a stacked line, Rudy Gobert is finally rolling after 14 points, 14 boards, a steal and two blocks, and Trey Burke scored 25 points off the bench. Trey Lyles cooled off with five points, but did have eight boards, two blocks and a 3-pointer. He should disappear if we ever see Derrick Favors play basketball again. Rodney Hood and Trevor Booker also played well for the Jazz, but Hood is the guy worth owning there. Favors has been out for 14 straight, but the Jazz keep saying he's close. He's been killing anyone who owns him for weeks now.
Blazers 108, Wizards 98 – C.J. McCollum hit 9-of-16 shots and six 3-pointers for 25 points (and not much else), and Damian Lillard added 16 points and six assists in the win. Mason Plumlee double-doubled and was just three assists shy of a triple-double, while Meyers Leonard (four 3-pointers) and Allan Crabbe both came through off the bench. Plumlee’s seven dimes were a career high.
Garrett Temple stayed hot and led the Wizards with 18 points and three 3-pointers, but with Bradley Beal back in action, it feels like the clock is ticking on Temple’s value. John Wall hit just 4-of-17 shots to finish with nine points and 10 assists, and Marcin Gortat was solid with 16 points, 13 boards and two blocks. Beal had 16 off the bench in 24 minutes, and you have to think he’s very close to returning to the starting lineup. Otto Porter sat out with a sore hip and is day-to-day, but Kelly Oubre was scoreless in the start on Monday.
Grizzlies 101, Pelicans 99 – We nearly got another overtime game, but the Grizzlies held on behind 16 points from Marc Gasol, Courtney Lee, Matt Barnes and Jeff Green, while Mike Conley finally returned and scored 15 points, 10 assists and three 3-pointers. Buh-bye, Mario Chalmers. Chalmers still played 21 minutes in Conley’s return, but missed his only shot and finished with three points and five dimes. Barnes came off the bench again and it remains to be seen whether Zach Randolph (8 & 8) or Barnes is going to start going forward. Gasol had a big line with 10 boards, six dimes, two steals and a block in the win.
The Pelicans got 21 points, eight boards, three steals and three blocks from Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday hit 9-of-13 shots for 23 points and nine assists off the bench, and Tyreke Evans sat with his sore right knee. Norris Cole started and had 10 points and four assists, and is still worth a stash in case they Pelicans shut Evans down. Ryan Anderson scored 14 with a couple treys and Eric Gordon had 10 points and two 3-pointers on 2-of-7 shooting. This team is a disaster.
Bulls 111, Pistons 101 – Pau Gasol went nuts with a season-high 31 points, 12 boards, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 13-of-18 shooting, and is going to be fun without Joakim Noah around. Derrick Rose had 20 points and four dimes on 9-of-17 shooting and has played well in two straight since returning from his knee injury. Let’s see if he can keep playing. Jimmy Butler was disappointing with 16 points, but also had nine assists, and Taj Gibson had eight points, 10 boards and two blocks in a start. That’s what I’d guess he’ll do on most nights when he’s starting. Nikola Mirotic had 10 points and two 3-pointers in 21 minutes off the bench, Doug McDermott played 25 minutes and had 11 points and three 3-pointers, and Aaron Brooks got 21 minutes, six points and 10 assists off the bench. Bobby Portis is still not ready for fantasy after playing just three minutes yesterday.
Ersan Ilyasova and Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 19 points, Marcus Morris scored 18, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 before being ejected with a pair of technicals, and Andre Drummond had 13 points, 16 rebounds, a steal and a block. The bench did nothing, but Stanley Johnson did play 22 minutes and had eight points and four rebounds on 2-of-7 shooting. The five starters are the only five guys worth using in fantasy for this team right now.
Hawks 98, Magic 81 – The Hawks blew out the Magic with solid efforts from starters Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Teague still isn’t performing at a high level but did have 14 points, two assists and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Kyle Korver and Kent Bazemore were awful, and I could see Korver being dropped by frustrated owners soon. Mike Scott, Thabo Sefolosha and Tiago Splitter all barely hit double digits off the bench, while Dennis Schroder cooled off with six points and eight dimes in 18 minutes. However, Schroder may be worth holding after playing so well over the past 10 days.
Elfrid Payton started with Victor Oladipo out with a knee injury and had 16 points, five dimes, a steal, five turnovers and two 3-pointers on 7-of-14 shooting. Dipo is day-to-day and Payton looks like a good play as long as he’s out. Tobias Harris was awful, but will bounce back, Nikola Vucevic double-doubled and Evan Fournier hit just 2-of-11 shots for six points in 24 minutes. He’s been playing better, but had nothing for the Hawks. Aaron Gordon led the team with 18 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes and is a player to stash, despite the fact he failed to score in his previous game.
Raptors 112, Nets 100 – Kyle Lowry hit 10-of-13 shots and seven triples for 31 points, eight assists and three steals, and DeMar DeRozan hit 12-of-25 shots for 30 points and a nice line. Jonas Valanciunas struggled with his shot, hitting just 3-of-11 of them but still finished with six points, 12 boards, a steal and a block, while starters James Johnson and Luis Scola were quiet. Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross both scored 12 points off the bench, but are not guys you want to target right now.
Brook Lopez had 29 points, 10 boards and two blocks in the loss, Joe Johnson scored 22 and is playing well, and Thaddeus Young had 11 points and nine boards in 35 minutes. Donald Sloan started at point guard again and had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Shane Larkin had eight points and three dimes off the bench, and it’s time to flip Larkin for Sloan if you can.
Warriors 132, Cavaliers 98 – The Warriors absolutely decimated the Cavs and the game wasn’t even as close as the blowout score indicates. In fact this was the worst home loss in LeBron James history. Stephen Curry had 35 points, seven 3-pointers and hit 12-of-18 shots, Draymond Green flirted with another triple-double with 16 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, Klay Thompson had 15 and Harrison Barnes had 12 and two 3-pointers in a start for the Dubs. Andre Iguodala hit 7-of-8 shots for 20 points, four 3-pointers and five dimes off the bench, but didn’t even score in his previous two games.
Kevin Love hurt his left hand and played just 21 awful minutes on Monday, finishing with three points, six boards and a 3-pointer. The injury doesn’t sound serious and the Cavs were absolutely blown out of their own gym tonight, but owners might want to keep an eye on this situation. J.R. Smith scored 14 points before being ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul against Barnes. And the weirdest story of the night is that Smith showed up less than an hour before tip off, yet coach David Blatt had no idea until he was told after the game, I assume by the media. I doubt he’s suspended for the foul, as it wasn’t that big a deal, but the tardiness could cause a problem with team management. Stay tuned. LeBron James had 16 points to lead the Cavs, Kyrie Irving struggled on 3-of-11 shooting and just eight points, and Timofey Mozgov didn’t do much with a start, finishing with just six points and three boards. Tristan Thompson came off the bench and got into foul trouble, finishing with two points in 12 minutes.
Mavericks 118, Celtics 113 OT – Deron Williams had 20 points, five rebounds, six assists and a couple 3-pointers, but also was looked at by doctors after a collision with Jae Crowder. Just check in to make sure he’s good to go on Wednesday. Dirk Nowitzki double-doubled with 31 points and 11 boards, Chandler Parsons bounced back with 16 points and four 3-pointers, Zaza Pachulia had a season-high 19 rebounds, and Wesley Matthews scored 15 with three 3-pointers in the win. Raymond Felton had 14 points off the bench, but loses some appeal with Williams, Matthews and Parsons all healthy.
The Celtics got four points and eight assists from Evan Turner, who was not expected to play due to a sore knee. He’s also hurt by the return of Avery Bradley, who finally came through with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and four 3-pointers in 43 minutes, so it might be time to think about cutting Turner. Jae Crowder and Jared Sullinger combined to make just 6-of-25 shots and each scored 12, although Sullinger had 11 boards and a block, and Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and seven assists in 38 minutes. Amir Johnson cooled off big time, playing just 14 minutes and scoring three points. Sullinger starting at center might hurt him, but this may have also been a fluke, as Johnson had been playing very well prior to this disaster. Marcus Smart played a whopping 39 minutes off the bench and had 20 points, eight boards, two steals and two 3-pointers, and it’s time to pick him up. Kelly Olynyk played 26 minutes off the bench and had 17 points, five boards and five 3-pointers, and is a big reason for the disappearance of Johnson. The Celtics frontcourt is dicey, as it’s hard to tell who’s going to step up from night to night.
Clippers 140, Rockets 132 OT – J.J. Redick went crazy with a career-high 40 points on 11-of-19 shooting, and hit nine 3-pointers. He was also 9-of-9 from the line and might be heating up after scoring 22 in his previous game. Chris Paul had 28 points, 12 assists, six steals and five 3-pointers, DeAndre Jordan returned from an illness and hit 6-of-7 shots for 16 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, and Paul Pierce scored 12 points with three 3-pointers in another start. Jamal Crawford managed to score 17 points, despite Redick’s bonanza.
Patrick Beverley aggravated his left ankle injury and did not return to the game. Marcus Thornton, Jason Terry and Ty Lawson are the winners if Beverley is going to miss more time. Dwight Howard stayed red-hot with a season-high 36 points, season-high 26 rebounds, a steal and a block, hitting 11-of-16 shots and 14-of-18 free throws. It’s safe to say this was Howard’s best game since his heyday. He’s played in six straight games and is as must-start as they come right now. Trevor Ariza scored 18 with two 3-pointers and James Harden had 20 points, eight assists and two 3-pointers, but took just 12 shots in 40 minutes. Weird. Marcus Thornton stepped up with Beverley out, hitting 9-of-15 shots and five 3-pointers, and is worth a look if Beverley’s going to miss time. Terrence Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes, but I still don’t trust him.