Well, I’m back in McDonald’s again and it sounds like it could be my new Internet home for the next few days. Thursday night was fun, as Kevin Durant went berserk, Derrick Rose said ‘not so fast,” Dwyane Wade came through despite his migraine issues, and Derrick Favors finally succumbed to the flu. It was only a five-game night and the surprise returns of Marc Gasol and Meyers Leonard may have ruined some of our plans.
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Bulls hand Thunder third straight loss, 104-98
The Bulls got 29 points, five boards and seven assists on 12-of-25 shooting from Derrick Rose, who may have been making a personal statement to writer Brian Windhorst and the Bulls. Windhorst reported earlier on Thursday that the Bulls and Rose are in the process of breaking up, which might have caused Rose to go bananas. He had scored a total of just 33 points in his previous four games combined, and hadn’t scored more than eight in three straight. He didn’t have a steal, block or 3-pointer on Thursday, but he certainly opened some eyes against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Hopefully this was the jumpstart he needed to start performing for his various owners. This is the ultimate sell-high moment on D-Rose.
Jimmy Butler, as usual, went off for 26 points, four 3-pointers and a full stat line, while Pau Gasol was the only other Bull in double digits with 11 points, 10 boards, a steal and a block. The Nikola Mirotic hot streak is definitely over, as he played just 16 minutes and scored two points. After scoring 18, 22 and 16 points in his first three games, he’s scored just seven on 3-of-16 shooting over his last two. He’ll get it worked out sooner than later. Doug McDermott came back to earth and the bench didn’t do much of anything. That includes Joakim Noah, who was quiet again with 2-of-5 shooting, four points, seven rebounds and a block in 26 minutes. He’s scored zero or two points in three of his five games and his season highs are eight points, nine rebounds and one block. I still have a difficult time just dropping such a talented player, but something’s got to give here, and soon.
The Thunder got a stellar 33 points, six boards, five dimes, two blocks and three 3-pointers from Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook went for 20 points, eight boards and 10 assists in the loss. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only other player in NBA history with at least 160 points, 60 assists and 40 rebounds in his team's first six games of a season, per Elias. Wow. Serge Ibaka was effective with 17 points, six boards, two blocks and a 3-pointer, while Enes Kanter chipped in with 11 points, eight boards and a block off the bench. Unfortunately, those are the only four relevant OKCers in fantasy right now.
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Heat tame Timberwolves 96-84
All five Heat starters scored in double figures and Miami shot 49 percent from the floor as a team in a highly efficient game. Dwyane Wade led the way with 25 points, five boards, two assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 11-of-19 shooting. There was a chance he might not play due to his migraines, but he really came through. Enjoy it while it lasts and consider trying to deal him if you are scared of him going at some point in the future. Goran Dragic scored 18 but had just two assists (five total in last two games), Chris Bosh was nice with 16 points, 12 boards, a steal and a 3-pointer, Hassan Whiteside added 12 points, nine boards and four blocks, and old man Luol Deng had 10 points, a steal and a block on 4-of-12 shooting. Whiteside is playing much better now, but also committed a wild seven turnovers to ruin an otherwise stellar night. Rookie Justise Winslow played 36 minutes off the bench and should be on your radar, even though he managed just seven points to go along with three boards, two assists, a steal and a block. Tyler Johnson also deserves a deep-league eye with his 25 minutes, eight points, four boards, three assists and a 3-pointer.
The Wolves starters were dreadful last night, scoring a grand total of 29 points, led by Andrew Wiggins’ 12 points and four boards on 5-of-18 shooting. Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince combined for two points (as usual), Karl-Anthony Towns had just six points and four boards on 3-of-13 shooting, but did have three blocks, and Ricky Rubio was 2-of-6 for nine points, five assists and three steals. Shabazz Muhammad and Kevin Martin each scored 14 points off the bench, and if someone can tell me why Sam Mitchell insists on starting Prince and KG, I’m all ears. I get that he’s an old-school coach, but this is ridiculous. The most interesting line of the night was probably Nemanja Bjelica’s 24 minutes for five points, seven rebounds, three assists and a 3-pointer on 2-of-7 shooting. If he ever ends up in the starting lineup, look out. I’ve answered a ton of Gorgui Dieng questions lately and he played a season-high 26 minutes for 10 points, six boards and two blocks. Eventually Mitchell is going to have to put Bjelica and Dieng in the starting lineup, in my opinion. I’d try to hang onto Dieng for as long as you can, and you should also consider stashing Bjelica if you have room.
Hornets down Dallas 108-94
Marvin Williams kept it rolling with 17 points, 12 boards, a block and three more 3-pointers, and I don’t even think he’s a sell-high player, as long as they keep starting him. Nicolas Batum filled the stat sheet across the board, but hit just 3-of-10 shots for eight points and didn’t hit a 3-pointer. Al Jefferson exploded to hit 15-of-18 shots for a season-high 31 points, nine boards and a block. Well done, Zaza Pachulia and company. Jeremy Lamb is a sneaky grab right now. He hit 7-of-11 shots and two more 3-pointers for 16 points and four boards in 24 minutes off the bench. After sitting out the opener, he’s scored in double figures in three of his last four games, logging highs of 20 points, four boards, three assists, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers. He’s an excellent deep-league pick up right now, and worth a look in all leagues. Just keep in mind that he’s on fire right now, hitting 16-of-21 shots over his last two games, which he obviously can’t sustain. Jeremy Lin only got 17 minutes and didn’t do much, but his hair is spectacular and he should be better than this on most nights.
The Mavs were led by Deron Williams’ 15 points and five assists, while starters Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza, and bench player Dwight Powell, all scored 14 in the loss. Powell had nine boards, a steal and a block, and had 10 & 10, and 8 & 8 in his previous two games. If you need a big man in a deep league, give him a look. Wesley Matthews played 26 minutes, but hit just 2-of-9 shots for 11 points, two threes and not much else. He makes me nervous coming off of a serious injury (Achilles) and playing such heavy minutes.
Jazz juke Nuggets 96-84
Derrick Favors started again despite the flu, but didn’t return for the second half, allowing Trevor Booker to get loose for 13 points, nine boards, a steal and a block on 6-of-9 shooting. If you somehow started him on Thursday (like I did on Wednesday – oops), you probably won some money. Gordon Hayward broke out of his funk with 20 points, three boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 7-of-13 shooting, so hopefully the questions from worried owners will cease for a minute. Rudy Gobert was fun with eight points, 16 boards and three more blocks, while Raul Neto and Rodney Hood struggled in their still surprising starting roles. Alec Burks played 15 minutes at point guard on Thursday and finished with 12 points and eight assists in 31 minutes, signaling a possible end to Neto’s role with the starters. Trey Burke had 12 points in 20 minutes, but is still probably not worth holding in most leagues at this point.
The Nuggets were led by Danilo Gallinari’s 18 points, five boards and two blocks, and he still feels like a bit of a ticking time bomb to me, given his injury history. He was the only starter in double digits, although Kenneth Faried had nine points and 10 boards in 30 minutes. J.J. Hickson started at center and had eight points, seven boards and a block, while Nikola Jokic played 18 minutes with five points, three boards and a block off the bench. We’re all still awaiting the returns of Joffrey Lauvergne and Jusuf Nurkic, the injured Denver centers, so Hickson is the only one of the bunch I’d consider using right now. Emmanuel Mudiay hit just 2-of-8 shots for eight points, seven rebounds and three assists, and only turned it over three times, and Will Barton stayed relevant off the bench with 12 points, four boards, a steal and a block in 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on him. Things are pretty ugly when looking over the Nuggets’ box score from the loss.
Blazers blast Grizzlies 115-96
To my surprise, Meyers Leonard returned from his ankle injury and played well, hitting 5-of-7 shots, a 3-pointer and all three free throws for 14 points, five rebounds and two assists. This was easily his best game since the opener and he’ll probably be picked up in leagues where he was dropped, although I’m not racing out to get him. Damian Lillard was nails again with 27 points, five assists, seven 3-pointers and zero turnovers, while C.J. McCollum came through yet again with 20 points, four boards, five assists and four 3-pointers, hitting 7-of-18 shots. Mason Plumlee was solid with eight points and 12 boards, but he would have been more exciting if Leonard was still hurt. Al-Farouq Aminu stayed hot with 11 points, 10 boards, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. Despite Leonard’s return, Moe Harkless kept it going with 10 points, three boards and four assists in 25 minutes, but he is a much safer fantasy play when Leonard’s in street clothes. Ed Davis came off the bench for nine points and eight boards, but I’m a little more intrigued by Harkless at this point.
The Grizzlies got 15 points, five boards and two blocks from Marc Gasol, who somewhat surprisingly played through his neck injury. Coach Dave Joerger said he was surprised Gasol was able to go, making his 4-of-13 shooting line easier to swallow. Zach Randolph hit 8-of-12 shots for 16 points and 10 boards, Mike Conley was off with seven points and three dimes on just 2-of-8 shooting, while Courtney Lee got hot and hit 6-of-10 shots and three 3-pointers for 18 points and a steal in 30 minutes. The Memphis bench was useless in this one and Tony Allen didn’t do much in his start. While Conley hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire, this was his first game in single digits since the opener.
After Thursday’s quiet five-game slate, we’re back in full force on Friday night with 10 games, highlighted by the 5-1 Hawks @ the 0-4 Pelicans, a pair of winless teams featuring the Lakers @ Nets, and Stephen Curry should go bonkers against rookie Mudiay when the Nuggets visit the Warriors.