It was a busy 10-game night in the NBA on Wednesday. Headlines include an Austin Rivers concussion, another win for the Rockets and Chris Paul, a big OKC win (despite the struggles of Russell Westbrook and Paul George), the return of John Wall, and some big nights from some unlikely heroes. Welcome to an injury edition of the Daily Dose. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Wednesday's Injury Report
Clippers - Austin Rivers suffered a concussion and will be in the protocol, meaning he’s likely to miss at least a game or two. I’m as big of a Rivers fan as anyone, but I think this injury gives you permission to drop him, as Milos Teodosic is coming on and Lou Williams is still on fire. Teodosic had eight points, six rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block with two 3-pointers, but hit just 2-of-9 shots, and Sweet Lou hit 11-of-22 shots and three 3-pointers for 31 points, three rebounds, eight assists and a steal in 33 minutes off the bench. Teodosic is trending way up while working his way back from a foot injury, and Williams has quietly been on fire since Nov. 1. Those are the Clippers guards you want to own, meaning a down turn for Rivers, even when he’s healthy. Danilo Gallinari was out again with his glute injury and lasted just two games before going back on the shelf with the same injury that cost him the previous 13 games. Consider him questionable for the rest of the week.
Hawks - Big man John Collins is due back from his shoulder injury tonight, so make sure he’s not available in your league if you have someone to cut.
Celtics - Al Horford sat out last night, but he was just resting. This was a good call, as they outlasted the Nuggets 124-118. Marcus Morris, however, is expected to miss extended time with a knee injury, which helps guys like Jayson Tatum and Aron Baynes. Baynes went off for 17 points and six boards last night, but I don’t trust him, while Kyrie Irving scored 33, Jaylen Brown had 26, and Jayson Tatum added 15 points in the win. Marcus Smart started again with Horford out, but had just four points. He played well though, adding nine assists, two steals and two blocks.
Bulls - Lauri Markkanen sat out with a sore back and Nikola Mirotic started in his place again, going off for 29 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers. With or without Markkanen, Mirotic is on fire, averaging 24 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 3-pointers while hitting 26-of-42 shots over his last three. Pick him up. David Nwaba was disappointing with three points, eight boards and one assist on 1-of-3 shooting, but still played 28 minutes off the bench. I think if he gets moved into the starting five over Denzel Valentine he’ll become a must-own player.
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Nuggets - Will Barton, who struggled on Tuesday, sat out on Wednesday with a sore back and is day-to-day. With Barton out, our man Jamal Murray went crazy with 28 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and four 3-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting. Gary Harris lit up the Celtics for a career-high 36 points, six dimes and three 3-pointers. See kids, that’s why you don’t cut Jamal Murray (George Bluth voice). And yes, I know that he had a two-point dud on Friday, but Murray’s played very well in three straight, and has scored 28 points in three of his seven December games. Nikola Jokic was also held out as he recovers from an ankle injury, but it sounds like he could have played last night if he wanted to. “Is his head ready? I didn’t think he was ready to play tonight so I made that decision,” coach Mike Malone said after the game. I think Jokic will play on Friday against the Pelicans. Trey Lyles is worth a close look in all leagues right now and had nine points, six boards, a steal and a 3-pointer, and Wilson Chandler is quietly coming on with 14 points, five boards and two steals last night. Kenneth Faried had one point, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes, while Mason Plumlee started at center and had 15 points, six boards and two blocks. Plumlee and Faried (and Lyles) take a hit once Jokic is back.
Warriors - Draymond Green missed practice on Wednesday and sounds unlikely to play tonight against the Mavericks, making Jordan Bell an intriguing DFS play. Green’s shoulder injury is lingering and they probably don’t need him against the Mavericks anyway.
Grizzlies - Tyreke Evans sat out with a hip injury, clearing the way for Andrew Harrison to go off for a season-high 20 points, seven assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Harrison had 16 points and four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on Monday and should officially be on your fantasy radar with Mike Conley still without a return date, not to mention Evans’ hip, which we’re calling day-to-day. Speaking of the Grizzlies, one day after I’d pretty much given up on JaMychal Green, he went off for 15 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and three 3-pointers on 6-of-13 shooting. I’m still very intrigued by him, but if you pick him up, just know that he’s been disappointing on almost every night of the season except Wednesday.
Heat - Justise Winslow suffered a knee injury last night and Tyler Johnson (migraine) sat out for the Heat. They’re both day-to-day, while Hassan Whiteside should be nearing a return from his knee problem, although we still don’t have a firm timetable. James Johnson had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, Dion Waiters scored 17, Josh Richardson had 11 points and three 3-pointers, and Wayne Ellington, of all people, hit 8-of-11 shots and seven 3-pointers for a season-high 24 points with four boards, two steals and a block. Ellington has scored at least 20 points in four games this season, and has backed them up with zero points, nine points, 19 points and whatever he does in the next one. He’s only worth a look if you need 3-pointers, as he’s dropped 21 of them over his last six games.
Magic - Aaron Gordon was out again with his concussion, but might be ready to go on Friday against the Blazers after taking contact in shootaround. Jonathon Simmons went off for 20 points, six rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and should be owned in all leagues until further notice. Mario Hezonja went off for a season-high 17 points, two 3-pointers, nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal in 35 minutes and has made a couple starts in a row. With Gordon possibly back on Friday, Hezonja’s window isn’t open very wide, but he could continue to get solid minutes if Aaron Afflalo (back) and Evan Fournier (ankle) remain out. Mario’s worth a DSF or streaming look if he starts again on Friday, as most of the Orlando wings are banged up.
Suns - Tyson Chandler sat as their insane center rest-rotation thing continues. Greg Monroe started and had 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Alex Len had nine points, six boards and five blocks in 18 minutes off the bench. One of them will likely sit in the next one, with Chandler likely to be back in the starting lineup. But trying to figure out which Suns’ center to play each night is next to impossible. As for the rest of the Suns, Tyler Ulis had 16 points, five rebounds and eight assists, Josh Jackson and Marquese Chriss were terrible again, Mike James had seven points, four boards and six assists in just 19 minutes, and Troy Daniels broke through for a career-high 32 points and seven 3-pointers on 11-of-16 shooting. With Jackson playing so poorly, Daniels is worth a look in most leagues. He won’t be this good again this season, but he’s getting minutes and can play. Devin Booker is hoping to return on Dec. 29, so stash him if he was dropped, and keep in mind that his return will hurt Daniels (and Jackson, if he could be any worse).
Blazers – Meyers Leonard (illness) and Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) were both out last night, so Zach Collins started at center and had nine points, three boards and a block, and Ed Davis came off the bench for 11 points, five boards and a steal. Al-Farouq Aminu was probably the winner here, as he double-doubled, while Damian Lillard, Evan Turner and C.J. McCollum all scored in double figures. It sounds like there’s a decent chance that Nurkic is back on Friday, which would send Collins and Davis back into obscurity.
Wizards – Markieff Morris was out with a hip injury, giving Mike Scott a rare start. Scott had 10 points, five boards and two 3-pointers, while Kelly Oubre came off the bench for 11 points, four boards, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. There’s not much to love about the Wizards’ power-forward crew these days. John Wall made his return from a knee injury and had 13 points and four assists in 28 minutes, while Bradley Beal had 18 points, four boards, seven assists and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
The Rest of the League
Rockets – Chris Paul had 31 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and five 3-pointers, and James Harden added 21 points, four boards, eight assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in a win over Charlotte. I have a feeling that’s what Russell Westbrook and Paul George would be doing if Carmelo Anthony weren’t in OKC, and the Rockets are now 11-0 since CP3 made his season debut. They’ve also won 17 of their last 18 and are 22-4 on the season. Giving Mike D’Antoni both CP3 and Harden is a real-life bad nightmare for the rest of the league.
Hornets - Dwight Howard’s rebirth in Charlotte continued against his former team as he racked up 26 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks, and even hit 8-of-11 free throws. Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky both disappeared while Howard did work. Nicolas Batum was back in the lineup for the Hornets and had nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 34 minutes. Maybe his elbow injury is finally behind him and he might have been dropped in daily lineup leagues, so take a peek at the waiver wire to make sure he’s not there. Jeremy Lamb has really cooled off, scoring nine or fewer points in three of his last four, and the return of Batum doesn’t help.
Thunder – Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony shot a combined 10-of-45 from the floor, but the Thunder still managed to beat the Pacers in Indy for PG-13’s homecoming game. I don’t know how they pulled that off, but Steven Adams went off for 23 points, 13 rebounds and a block on 11-of-16 shooting, while Westbrook came through with 17 rebounds and 12 assists, saving his fantasy line. If you ask me, Melo is the problem here, and I think the Thunder will continue to underwhelm as long as he’s in the mix. Alex Abrines started again and had 14 points and four 3-pointers, so give him a look as long as Andre Roberson (ankle) is out. Also, if you throw out shooting percentages, blocks and turnovers, Westbrook’s the No. 2 player in fantasy, behind James Harden. Just throwing that out there.
Pacers – Victor Oladipo may have been pressing against his former mates and hit just 9-of-26 shots for 19 points, five rebounds and six assists, so look for him to get back on track on Friday against the Pistons. Thaddeus Young double-doubled, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 points with a nice line, and Darren Collison added 14 points, three assists and a couple 3-pointers in the loss. Myles Turner was disappointing, hitting just 3-of-11 shots for nine points, four boards and three blocks. He’s been frustrating to own this season and believe me when I say I feel your pain.
Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo had a monstrous 32-9-4-5-1-1 line and Khris Middleton had a 15 & 10 double-double in a loss to the Pelicans. John Henson also played well with 14 points, six boards, two steals and two blocks and Eric Bledsoe added 14 points and a fun stat line. Gary Payton started for Tony Snell (ankle) and had six points in 17 minutes.
Pelicans – DeMarcus Cousins went off for 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists with nine turnovers and two 3-pointers, Anthony Davis returned from his adductor injury and had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, and E’Twaun Moore stayed hot with 21 points, five boards, four assists and four more 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting. It’s time to pick the guy I boldly predicted might be the waiver-wire pickup of the year a month ago, as he’s averaging 19.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.6 3-pointers on an incredible 63 percent shooting in his eight December games. I started a red-hot Rajon Rondo in DFS last night, so he went ahead and laid an egg, finishing with five points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 18 minutes. Of course he did.
Jazz – Donovan Mitchell hit 15-of-26 shots and a 3-pointer for 32 points, three rebounds, six dimes, two steals and a block. I don’t know how you don’t love this kid. Ricky Rubio showed signs of life with 14 points, six boards, four assists and five turnovers, and I still think he’ll turn it around in the second half. Rudy Gobert is making progress and had six points, 11 boards and five blocks, while Derrick Favors and Joe Ingles were disappointing. Alec Burks had 13 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer in Rodney Hood’s return from injury, while Hood added 15 points, four assists and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Hood’s return is bad news for Burks, but Burks might still be worth holding after how well he played in Hood’s absence.
Raptors – Serge Ibaka’s rebirth continued as he racked up 21 points, 13 boards, a block and three 3-pointers, while Jonas Valanciunas’ comeback continued with 20 points, 11 boards and a 3-pointer. He played 30 minutes and has looked like a different guy in his last two games. DeMar DeRozan also stepped up with a season-high 37 points against the lowly Suns.