Paul Millsap went down with an ankle injury, Otto Porter left with a hip injury, Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch, and studs like Rudy Gay, Lou Williams and Carmelo Anthony didn’t play due to injury and illness. There were only six games, but plenty of headlines, as Ryan Anderson went nuts and Myles Turner has a new gig. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Pacers 111, Hawks 92 – Paul George was quiet last night, getting into early foul trouble and never really getting into a groove. He finished with just 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting, but the Pacers were still able to get the home win. One of the news stories of the night was Myles Turner getting his first NBA start at power forward over Lavoy Allen. Turner came through with 20 points, six boards and a block in 26 minutes, and if he’s going to start at PF the rest of the way, is simply a must-own player. Ian Mahinmi also started and had eight points, six boards and two blocks, but Turner is the guy I’d rather own if he’s going to start. Monta Ellis torched the Hawks for 25, five 3-pointers, five steals and a full stat line, and George Hill was solid with 18 points, eight boards, three assists and three 3-pointers. The Pacers bench, including C.J. Miles, was pretty quiet, and Miles can probably be dropped for a hot free agent.
The Hawks got some bad news when Paul Millsap left with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Consider him day-to-day for now, and hope this doesn’t keep him out for too long. If he misses time, Mike Scott is probably your best bet for success. Jeff Teague led the way with 20 points, five dimes and two 3-pointers and played pretty well, Al Horford had 14 points, four boards, four assists, a steal and three blocks, and Kent Bazemore had 11 points, nine boards, a steal and a 3-pointer in the loss. Kyle Korver cooled off again, hitting just 2-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for six points. He’s simply not a must-own player and dropping him for Danny Green might work out in your favor, if Green is finally ready to get his season going. Thabo Sefolosha had 13 points and a full line off the bench, but isn’t trustworthy, while Dennis Schroder played just 14 minutes and hit 2-of-8 shots for five points and two assists. Again, as long as Teague is healthy and on the Hawks, Schroder’s just not reliable enough to put in fantasy lineups.
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Nuggets 117, Wizards 113 – Danilo Gallinari went off for 26 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and four 3-pointers, Nikola Jokic bounced back with 15 points, 10 boards, a steal and a block, and Emmanuel Mudiay added 20 points, four boards, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-14 shooting. Jameer Nelson was back for the Nuggets, but had just six points and four assists in 17 minutes. Gary Harris started and played 29 minutes, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for five points, snapping a three-game streak of scoring at least 13 points. Will Barton was better, but not by a lot, hitting 5-of-11 shots for 15 points, three rebounds, two steals and a block in 26 minutes. He’s worth starting, but hasn’t been the dominant force he was early in the season. Jusuf Nurkic played 16 minutes off the bench for eight points, five rebounds and a block, and it looks like Jokic is the guy to own for now.
Otto Porter left this one with hip tightness and his owners will be watching the Rotoworld news feed for more information on Friday. I’m hopeful that it’s nothing serious, but given his injury history, owners should be concerned. Garrett Temple went off for a team-high 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and five 3-pointers in his absence, and would be a replacement candidate if Porter’s going to miss more time. John Wall had 17 points, seven rebounds, nine dimes, four steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 5-of-17 shots in 41 minutes. Nene had 15 points, seven boards and two blocks in 29 minutes, but I doubt he can stay healthy for long. Marcin Gortat added 12 points, 10 boards and two blocks in 29 minutes, but was noticeably absent down the stretch in a close game. I’m assuming he’s fine, but it was a little weird. Bradley Beal had 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 26 minutes, and should be close to moving back into the starting lineup, especially if Porter’s going to miss time. Jared Dudley was solid with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals and a 3-pointer, and is also a starting candidate if Porter’s out.
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Raptors 103, Knicks 93 – Kyle Lowry’s fantasy owners got great news around 7:20 last night when it was announced that he would start despite a wrist injury. He was great with 26 points and 10 dimes in 41 minutes, so props to you if you manned up and started him under the uncertainty of his status. DeMar DeRozan also had 26 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points, 18 rebounds and a block in 28 minutes, but hit just 4-of-16 shots. James Johnson and Luis Scola both struggled in this one, allowing Patrick Patterson to get 10 points, five boards and two 3-pointers off the bench. Cory Joseph had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes off the bench and he’s now played well in three straight games. But not well enough to be a must-own fantasy player in most leagues. Terrence Ross came in on a hot streak, scoring at least 12 points in his last five games, but hit just 2-of-9 shots for six points, five boards, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer. He’ll bounce back soon.
Carmelo Anthony was out with his sore knee, which he doesn’t think is serious, and Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch with an illness. That was a DFS killer, especially since it wasn’t made public until after 7 p.m. lineup deadlines. Jose Calderon was also out with a groin injury, so Kyle O’Quinn, Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway were all in the starting lineup for the Knicks. O’Quinn had eight points, six rebounds, a steal and two blocks, Thomas had just seven points in 25 minutes, and Galloway had 12 points, four boards, two assists and two blocks in 31 minutes. Galloway looks like the best bet for future success here, but will need Calderon to keep missing games for it to happen. He also had 21 points and five boards on Tuesday. Arron Afflalo hit 7-of-17 shots and three 3-pointers for a team-high 20 points and four assists, and his fantasy value swings wildly from night to night, depending on if his shot is falling or not. Derrick Williams played 28 minutes off the bench but hit just 3-of-12 shots for a disappointing six points, while Jerian Grant (13 points, 6 assists, 2, steals, 1 3-pointer) and Sasha Vujacic (13 points, 2 steals, 3 3-pointers) played pretty well off the bench. I like Galloway over Grant if Calderon’s going to miss more time. Melo and Porzingis will hopefully play Friday, while Calderon’s status is more of a mystery.
Grizzlies 103, Bucks 83 – Jeff Green led the Grizzlies off the bench with 21 points, five rebounds and three 3-pointers, and scored 30 in his last game. He might be available in your league if you want to grab him. Matt Barnes also came through with 13 points, four boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes off the bench, possibly restoring some faith in his nervous owners. Marc Gasol had 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals, and starters Tony Allen (7 rebounds) and Courtney Lee (2 3-pointers) each scored 13 points. Mike Conley had an off night, hitting just 1-of-8 shots (0-for-5 from downtown) to finish with five points, nine dimes and a steal. Zach Randolph started again, but had just eight points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. This turned into a blowout and Randolph had 18 points and 13 rebounds on Monday. But he’s been up and down for some time now, and isn’t reliable enough to use in daily leagues.
Giannis Antetokounmpo never got it rolling last night and was ejected after picking up a technical foul and shouting some choice words at the official. I doubt a suspension is coming and he ended up with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists on 2-of-10 shooting. He came in hot and should bounce back on Friday against the Heat. Greg Monroe stayed hot with 21 points and seven boards, and has scored either 21 or 22 points in his last four games. Khris Middleton had his seven-game streak of scoring 20 points stopped, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-18 shooting. Any complaints? I didn’t think so. Michael Carter-Williams was disappointing with 10 points, six rebounds and one assist in 27 minutes, while Jerryd Bayless had nine points, three boards, three assists, a steal and a block in 20 minutes. The timeshare is on and MCW has been struggling. As long as he’s starting, he’s worth using in standard leagues, but I wouldn’t touch him in DFS right now. Jabari Parker had seven points and eight rebounds. This was just the second time in January that he didn’t score in double figures. John Henson has a sore back and is iffy for Friday, not that you care.
Pelicans 114, Kings 105 – The Pelicans got a big win without Anthony Davis (concussion) and Tyreke Evans (knee) and are now just three games out of the No. 8 seed in the West. They’re not done just yet. Ryan Anderson had one of the lines of the night, scoring 30 points in the first half and finishing with a career-high tying 36 points, nine rebounds and five 3-pointers. I was hoping for more after the hot start, but am not complaining. Norris Cole (my guy!) had 17 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and I’m glad I’ve been on his bandwagon in these parts for 10 days or so now. Omer Asik had eight points, 13 boards and four blocks, and also gets a boost when Davis is out, and Bryce Dejean-Jones started and played 35 minutes, finishing with 14 points and a really full stat line. But unless you’re in a 30-team league, I have a hard time recommending him. Cole, on the other hand, is a must-own player at this point. Alonzo Gee started and had 10 points and five steals, but is another ho-hum fantasy option. Jrue Holiday stayed hot and the Pels like him coming off the bench. He had 25 points, five rebounds, eight assists and a 3-pointer, but hit just 8-of-24 shots. Start him with confidence right now.
DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t very aggressive for most of the night, but still finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, a steal and five blocks, hitting 11-of-24 shots. Rajon Rondo stayed hot with 17 points, six rebounds, 15 assists and a steal, hitting a 3-pointer and 7-of-10 shots, and Ben McLemore blew up for a season-high 26 points and five 3-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting. This was McLemore’s first 20-point game of the season and he had scored five or fewer points in his previous three games. Congratulations are in order if you somehow had the foresight to put him in your lineup. The losers were Willie Cauley-Stein, who played just 15 minutes and had six points, one rebound and one block. It appeared he was being blamed for the Ryan Anderson assault, but that’s not fair. Hang in there with him. Omri Casspi was also disappointing with Rudy Gay out again with an eye injury. Casspi hit just 3-of-9 shots for eight points, six rebounds, a steal and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. McLemore stole his thunder last night. The Kings’ bench was useless last night, as it is on most nights.
Bulls 111, Lakers 88 – The Bulls got 24 points, five rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a 3-pointer from Jimmy Butler, who hit 10-of-16 shots, and Pau Gasol was equally as impressive with 21 points, 12 boards, six assists, a steal and a block on 9-of-17 shooting in an easy win over the Lakers. Taj Gibson started and had seven points, 11 boards, two steals and two blocks on 3-of-9 shooting. I wish he had a better offensive game, but given the absence of Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic, Gibson’s a must-own player. Derrick Rose had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists on 7-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes, and E’Twaun Moore started at shooting guard, but hit just 1-of-7 shots for four points. Rose looked pretty good after going for just four points and one assist on Monday. Bobby Portis made some noise off the bench with four points, seven rebounds and two steals on 1-of-4 shooting in 22 minutes, and is worth keeping a close eye on with Mirotic out indefinitely. But he’s still not a must-own player.
Kobe Bryant hit just 4-of-13 shots for 10 points, and there’s a reason you see him showing up on waiver wires right now. He’s simply wrapping up his career and saying goodbye. Jordan Clarkson led the way with 16 points, five boards, four assists and two 3-pointers, and Julius Randle had 14 points, eight boards, a steal and a block in another start. Larry Nance was back and had seven points and five rebounds off the bench, but I still think Randle is going to start going forward. The Lakers are in tank mode and Anthony Brown started with Lou Williams out with an illness tonight. He had seven points despite some garbage time, but the Lakers you want to own right now are Randle, Clarkson and Williams, with a sprinkle of Kobe, Nance and Roy Hibbert thrown in. Hibbert had just six points, one rebound and a block in 19 minutes of a blowout.
Friday's News & Notes
Brandon Knight has been ruled out for the Suns, meaning more goodies from Archie Goodwin, while Mirza Teletovic (ankle) T.J. Warren (ankle) are iffy. Jon Leuer is expected to return from a sore back, but will have to battle with Markieff Morris.