It was a relatively injury-free night, but there was one big one – Ricky Rubio went down with a hamstring injury and will have an MRI. Hello, Raul Neto? Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden all did their thing, while the Nuggets started off their five-game week with some good lines and some duds. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Bucks 114, Jazz 102 – Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 30-10-2-1-2 line, Malcolm Brogdon had 21 points, five boards, five assists and a 3-pointer, Brook Lopez had 15 points, eight boards, three blocks and three 3-pointers, and Khris Middleton added a 14-7-5-1 line with two triples in the win. Eric Bledsoe was disappointing with six points, six assists, three steals and six turnovers on 3-of-11 shooting in this one, but all five Bucks starters are generally worth owning in fantasy. Thon Maker had a season-high 15 points, five boards, two steals and two 3-pointers, but played just 18 minutes, making him impossible to trust.
The Jazz got a nice game from Donovan Mitchell (26 points, six 3-pointers), Rudy Gobert came through with 14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and a block, and Derrick Favors added 12 points, seven rebounds, a steal and three blocks in the loss. Joe Ingles hit 1-of-6 shots for two points (with four rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocks), and Ricky Rubio went down early with a hamstring injury, and will have an MRI. Uh oh. Dante Exum (ankle) is out for a couple weeks, so that puts Raul Neto into play. Neto had 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes, and is a speculative pickup if Rubio’s going to miss time. And based on the fact it’s a hamstring and the pending MRI, it’s a good bet that Rubio is going to miss multiple games. Sadly, Rubio was off to a hot start (4-of-5, 9 points) before leaving, or it could have been a big night. Jae Crowder had 12 points, five boards, three assists and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes, and the timeshare between him and Favors is nothing short of annoying. Jingles has been all over the place lately, but had played pretty well in his previous couple games. He should be fine.
Spurs 119, Pistons 107 – DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way and DeRozan flirted with another triple-double (26-7-9), while Derrick White and Bryn Forbes also came through for the Spurs. This was their fifth straight win and Gregg Popovich is now tied with Jerry Sloan for third place on the win list with 1,221. He now only trails Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens. Rudy Gay sat this one out with a wrist injury, putting Jakob Poeltl into the starting five, where he had just seven points, six rebounds and a block. White kept it rolling with 17 points, five rebounds and two assists, and Forbes added 15 points, four rebounds, a steal and three 3-pointers in the win. White should be owned everywhere, in my opinion, and Forbes is also worth a look in most leagues. Gay has already been ruled out for Wednesday with his wrist injury, but I don’t trust any of his fill-ins to come through in that one.
Blake Griffin had 35 points and eight assists, as he continues to roll and defy the odds this season, and Andre Drummond double-doubled with 19 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and a block. But the rest of the Pistons didn’t light the world on fire. Reggie Jackson (one assist), Reggie Bullock (3-of-12 3-pointers), Jon Leuer and Luke Kennard all hit double digits, but outside of Griffin and Drummond, the Pistons were a bit of a fantasy black hole last night.
Celtics 116, Nets 95 – The Celtics got Kyrie Irving (eyes) back from a two-game absence and he led the way with 17 points, six dimes and three steals, as all five Celtics starters scored in double figures. Marcus Morris was back from a sore neck and had 12 points, a couple steals and three 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum had a solid 16-4-4-2 line with a couple 3-pointers, Al Horford had a 12-9-5-1-1 line, and Marcus Smart came through with 12 points, four boards, seven assists, two steals and four 3-pointers. Smart had 17 points, four boards, three assists, a steal and five 3-pointers on Friday, and appears to be trending up. He’s also probably available in your league. Daniel Theis, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown were all decent in this one, but Hayward cooled off for 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers after a couple huge games. I’m still luke-warm on him, at best.
The Nets are banged up and were missing Joe Harris (ankle), Allen Crabbe (knee) DeMarre Carroll (knee) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (adductor) last night. Rodions Kurucs took advantage of the opportunity and went off for 24 points and five triples, but didn’t do much else in the start. Kurucs came in cold to this game and the Nets should get healthier on Wednesday, so he’ll be tough to trust going forward. Shabazz Napier started and hit 4-of-12 shots and 2-of-9 3-pointers for 10 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and two blocks in 33 minutes. Napier’s been playing well of late, but the likely return of Harris and Carroll won’t do him any favors on Wednesday, either. D’Angelo Russell came in red-hot, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for five points, five assists and six turnovers, getting his three-game week off to a terrible start. I almost started Alec Burks over him in a weekly league, and now I wish I would have. But DAR should bounce back in the next one. Ed Davis came through with 11 points, nine boards and two steals off the bench, and Kenneth Faried had 13 points, 12 boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in 29 minutes. Faried was the big injury winner here. Again, Carroll is due back on Wednesday, and Faried had three straight DNPs prior to this explosion. No thanks.
Rockets 125, Nuggets 113 – James Harden hit 7-of-18 shots for a 32-5-14-1-1 line, hitting six triples with six turnovers. Clint Capela had a career-high 31 points, nine boards and two steals, and P.J. Tucker got loose for a season-high 21 points, a career-high seven 3-pointers and four steals. This came out of nowhere, as he hadn’t scored more than five points in his previous five games, despite getting heavy minutes. Maybe he’s ready to start rolling, but I need to see him do it again before getting excited. Danuel House and Austin Rivers both started, but were both disappointing, but Gerald Green got loose for 21 points, five boards and six 3-pointers off the bench, continuing to flourish in the absence of Chris Paul (hamstring) and Eric Gordon (knee). Green, Tucker, Rivers and House should all continue to play a big role as long as those two guards are out for Houston.
The Nuggets play four more times this week and Nikola Jokic (24-13-4-2-1-1) came through, but also had eight turnovers, Gary Harris scored 14 with a couple 3-pointers in a return to the starting lineup, and Jamal Murray had 13 points and four assists. Make sure Harris isn’t floating around on your waiver wire. Starters Paul Millsap and Torrey Craig were disappointing. Monte Morris, who was really fading, went off for 21 points, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 9-of-13 shooting, so props to you if you rolled him out there this week. Maybe he can keep it going, but I have my doubts with Harris healthy. Malik Beasley also stayed relevant with 14 points, a steal and a couple 3-pointers, while Juancho Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee and Trey Lyles were all disappointing in Game 1 of the week. I put a lot of stock into Plumlee, but his move to the bench for Millsap hurt. Hopefully, it’s not permanent. If you want to pick up Morris and Beasley (or any other Nuggets), it makes sense, but I only feel like Jokic, Murray and Harris are truly reliable. The Nuggets had their five-game winning streak snapped.
Pelicans 114, Grizzlies 95 – The Pels got a much-needed win, but winning at home hasn’t been the problem this season. They’re 14-6 at home, but just 5-16 on the road. The good news is that they’re just 3.0 games out of the playoffs. The bad news is that after getting the Cavs at home on Wednesday, they have five straight road games, and then alternate road and home games for their next 10, meaning 15 of their next 21 are on the road. Anthony Davis (who tweaked his shoulder) went crazy with a 36-13-3-2-3 line, Julius Randle had 15 points and nine boards, Jrue Holiday added 13 points, four boards, six assists, four steals and two 3-pointers, and Elfrid Payton had 11 points, three boards, four assists and three steals in the win. Frank Jackson had a career-high 17 points and three 3-pointers off the bench, and saw a boost with E’Twaun Moore out with his left thigh bruise. It sounds like Nikola Mirotic (ankle) is nearing a return, which should hurt Randle some when it happens.
The Grizzlies got 22 points, 10 assists, two steals and four 3-pointers from Mike Conley, and JaMychal Green had 16 points, five boards and two 3-pointers off the bench. But starters Jaren Jackson Jr. (12 points, 1 rebound), Kyle Anderson (5 points, 5 boards, 5 assists), and Marc Gasol (7 points, 5 boards, 4 assists) were all disappointing, as was the rest of their bench. Justin Holiday hit four free throws for four points off the bench – yuck. They’re a mess, have now lost six straight games, and Gasol has been quiet of late. I still think he’ll bounce back.
Lakers 107, Mavericks 97 – Brandon Ingram hit 12-of-21 shots for a season-high 29 points, three boards, six assists and two steals, Lonzo Ball added 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and four 3-pointers, and Josh Hart continues to fill in nicely for LeBron James (groin) and had 14 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, five steals and a 3-pointer in the win. Ball has really come a long way in my eyes, and Hart has been pretty fun to own ever since Bron went down. JaVale McGee had eight points and 10 boards, and Kyle Kuzma returned from a two-game absence from a sore back and had 13 points, but hit just 4-of-20 shots and 2-of-10 3-pointers. Hopefully, Kuzma’s back doesn’t cause him to miss any games this week. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit 1-of-5 shots in 21 minutes, finishing with just three points. KCP was on a tear, but has really fizzled in his last two games (after everyone ran out and picked him up). He’s just in a slump.
Luka Doncic had 27 points, eight boards, two assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 10-of-27 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan added 10 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and three blocks, but the rest of the Mavericks were pretty underwhelming. Dennis Smith Jr. had 11 points, three assists and two 3-pointers on 4-of-8 shooting, and I’m just not sure when, or if, he’s ever going to get it going this season.
Blazers 111, Knicks 101 – Jusuf Nurkic (20 points in four straight), Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum all played well in the win, Al-Farouq Aminu nearly double-doubled, and reserve Jake Layman did double-double with 10 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer. Layman started the second half for Moe Harkless (knee), so keep an eye on him in case he ends up starting games for the Blazers. Evan Turner is also a candidate, and he and Seth Curry both scored in double figures, making them also worth keeping an eye on. But I really don’t trust any of the Blazers bench players, unless they become injury fill-in starters.
The Knicks were their weird, eclectic selves, as Noah Vonleh got loose for 16 points, 14 rebounds and three 3-pointers, and Emmanuel Mudiay came through with 17 points, seven assists and three steals in the loss. They both should be owned. Luke Kornet, Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to hit 5-of-22 shots and score 19 points on the night. However, over on the Knicks bench, Mario Hezonja got loose for 14 points, seven boards and three steals, Enes Kanter had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Trey Burke scored 10 points with four assists and a 3-pointer. That’s three straight double-doubles for the disgruntled Kanter, but I’m still not ready to trust Hezonja or Burke. I’m also not ready to give up on Knox, Kornet or THJ, but Kornet is fading after Kanter’s last three games off the bench.
Kings 111, Magic 95 – The Kings blew this one open in the second quarter and never looked back. Willie Cauley-Stein double-doubled, De’Aaron Fox score 20 with two assists, five steals and 9-of-14 shooting, and Bogdan Bogdanovic started and had 15 points, eight boards, seven assists, a steal and three 3-pointers. Iman Shumpert is out with a finger injury, forcing Bogey into the starting unit, but I really don’t see why he’s not the full-time starter. Either way, he should be owned if he’s available in your league. Nemanja Bjelica had just four points, four boards and two assists in 22 minutes after scoring in double figures in his previous three games. He clearly took a hit with the return of Marvin Bagley (8 points, 6 boards), who played 20 minutes off the bench. I’m planning on dropping Bjelica in a few leagues now that Bagley is back. If you can drop him for Derrick Jones Jr., I think you should do it.
The Magic got a solid game from Nikola Vucevic (18-13-3-1-1-1), a near double-double from Aaron Gordon (10 & 9) and 15 points and four treys from Evan Fournier, but Jonathan Isaac and D.J. Augustin didn’t do much of anything in this one. I know the company line is to hang onto Isaac at all costs, but if he’s hurting your team and you need a warm body in his place, you have to do what you have to do. Terrence Ross had 20 with two steals and five treys, and is hot again, averaging 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.8 3-pointers over his last five.