It was another entertaining Saturday evening in the Association, which was highlighted by Tristan Thompson dominating the paint, John Collins posting a new career-high, and LeBron James just missing a triple-double. Unfortunately, there were also a number of injuries that served as a buzzkill.
After recapping the important storylines from yesterday, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.
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Tristan Thompson had arguably the best all-around game of his career in Saturday’s victory over the Wizards. He scored 23 points (11-of-18 FGs) grabbed 19 rebounds, dished out five assists, and blocked two shots in 42 minutes. Thompson is just the second player in Cavs franchise history with at least 23/19/5/2 in a single game. LeBron James is the other Cavalier to accomplish this feat. Over the Cavs last six games, TT is averaging a monstrous 15.2 points (on 59.7 percent shooting), 14.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Collin Sexton also shined in the Cavs win. Sexton tied his season-high by pouring in 29 points (13-of-23 FGs), set a season-high with six assists and also tacked on three rebounds, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes… Larry Nance stuffed the stat sheet as well, finishing with scored 13 points (4-of-7 FGs), seven rebounds, seven assists, one block, one steal, and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes.
Nikola Jokic was one of the few players to produce for the shorthanded Nuggets on Saturday. The Joker shot 9-of-17 from the floor en route to 24 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one turnover in 33 minutes. With Paul Millsap (toe) and Gary Harris (hip) sidelined, Jokic will see his usage rate spike going forward.
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Luka Doncic’s numbers (21 points, seven boards, one assist, three steals and three 3-pointers) don’t jump off the page, but he deserves “Saturday Standout” recognition for the way in which he compiled those 21 points. Luka put on a show late in the Mavs comeback victory. The Mavs were down 102-94 with three minutes left. Then Doncic scored 11 straight points, by himself, with four buckets on four consecutive possessions to give Dallas a lead they would never relinquish. The kid is only 19 years old and already so, so good. I’m still baffled by the fact the Suns, Kings and Hawks all had a shot at Doncic and passed.
James Harden tallied 35 points, four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block, six turnovers and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He was 11-of-22 from the floor and 6-of-16 from downtown but made all seven of his free throws. The Beard only had 15 points in the Rockets previous game, so it was good to see him get back above the 30-point plateau. Houston is struggling mightily this season, but Harden keeps firing away and stockpiling plenty of fantasy goodies.
John Collins exploded for a career-high 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds, five assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes on Saturday. Per Basketball-Reference, Collins is just the fifth player in NBA history, age 21 or younger, with at least 30/12/5 and three treys in a single game. As recently as November 25th, Collins had never scored more than 21 points in an NBA game. Since then, he has scored 23, 24, 26 and now 30. Yeah, safe to say that Collins fantasy value is spiking. Plenty of big nights in this youngster’s future.
LeBron James just missed recording a triple-double in the Lakers’ easy win over the Grizzlies on Saturday. King James totaled scored 20 points (on 9-of-18 shooting), nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes. On the season, LeBron is now averaging fewer than 35 minutes a night. That’s a step in the right direction for James, who has led the league in minutes per game in each of the last two seasons.
Daniel Theis posted a monster line in the Celtics historic 56-point blowout victory over Chicago, setting career-highs across the board. Theis racked up 22 points, ten rebounds, five assists, four blocks, one steal, and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. With both Al Horford (knee) and Aron Baynes (ankle) out, DT led the charge for Boston, as they beat the brakes off the Bulls by a final score of 133-77.
Damian Lillard did Damian Lillard things on Saturday. He scored 28 points (8-of-16 FGs, 8-of-9 FTs) with eight rebounds, six assists, and four treys. Dame put the Blazers on his back late in this contest, scoring 10 points in the final four minutes to push Portland past Minnesota… Jusuf Nurkic stuff the stat sheet to the tune of 22 points (7-of-10 FGs, 8-of-9 FTs), 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals in 29 minutes.
With Goran Dragic (knee) and Josh Richardson (shoulder) unavailable and Tyler Johnson (hip) leaving Saturday's game in the first quarter, the Heat had just eight healthy players for most of the game. Fortunately, they got impressive performances from those in uniform. Justise Winslow scored 21 points with nine assists, six rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer in 39 minutes. Kelly Olynyk tallied 15 points, ten rebounds, four assists in 30 minutes. Dwyane Wade had 25/6/6. Bam Adebayo registered 14 points (7-of-10 FGs), eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 29 minutes. James Johnson, who is finally showing signs of life, had 18 points (7-of-11 FG, 3-of-3 FT), eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, one blocked shot and one three-pointer in 29 minutes.
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On The Radar:
Jalen Brunson replaced Dorian Finney-Smith, who was filling in for Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist), in the starting lineup on Saturday. The rookie played well, scoring a career-high 14 points with three assists and three steals in 30 minutes… Wes Matthews scored 21 points with three rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes… DeAndre Jordan dominated the glass all night, hauling in 20 boards and adding 12 points with two assists, one block and two steals in 32 minutes.
Chris Paul came into Saturday’s contest struggling but bounced back with a solid game. He scored 23 points with two rebounds, eight assists, one steal, two turnovers and three 3-pointers in 38 minutes… Clint Capela (12 points and 13 rebounds) racked up another double-double. It’s his 10th dub-dub in Houston’s last 12 games.
Buddy Hield scored a team-high 20 points during Saturday’s loss to the Pacers and tacked on four rebounds and four 3-pointers in 32 minutes. That's three straight games with 20-plus points for Buddy. Unfortunately, he needed 20 shots to score those 20 points (8-of-20 from the field, 4-of-12 from 3-point range) and didn’t register a single assist… Bogdan Bogdanovic made a start in place of Iman Shumpert (rest) and finished with 11 points, three rebounds, six assists, one block, three steals and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes… De'Aaron Fox (18/1/6) came back down to earth a bit… Marvin Bagley fouled out in just 10 minutes. He scored four points with two rebounds, one assist, one block before getting bounced.
Myles Turner had another solid game on Saturday. He blocked four more shots in the win over the Kings and tacked on nine points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 31 minutes. Turner has blocked at least one shot in every game this season and has blocked at least four in three of the Pacers last six contests… Thaddeus Young paced the Pacers, scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. His previous season-high was 16 points… Domantas Sabonis (illness) returned from a one-game absence and totaled 14 points, six rebounds, one assist, one block and one 3-pointer in 24 minutes. Sabo was sidelined on Friday due to some bad shrimp that game him food poisoning but looked spry on Saturday.
John Wall (illness) had the worst game of his career on Saturday night. He did not play Wednesday to be with his family for the birth of his first child. Wall did end up flying to Cleveland for Saturday’s game but missed shootaround because he was under the weather. He looked more than a step slow vs. Cleveland, missed all five of his FG attempts, and scored just one point with four rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes. It was the first time he didn't make at least one field goal in a game… Bradley Beal tried to pick up the scoring slack (27 points, four rebounds, five assists) but it wasn’t enough… Otto Porter tallied 15 points (6-of-10 FGs), seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Otto has scored 15-plus points in three straight contests, and his stock is rising.
Juancho Hernangomez scored 17 points with ten rebounds, one assist, one block and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes on Saturday. With Paul Millsap (toe) out, Hernagomez should see all the playing time he can handle going forward… Trey Lyles started at PF on Saturday and missed 11 of his 13 FG attempts, finishing with nine points with ten rebounds and two assists. However, it is important to note that he logged 38 minutes. Lyles is worth a short-term add if you need immediate help.
Mike Conley (finger) struggled again on Saturday, tallying 12 points, one rebound, three assists and four steals in 30 minutes. Conley was just 4-of-12 from the floor, after shooting 2-of-12 from the field on Friday. Coley was listed as probable due to a finger injury, so it appears that injury may be impacting his efficiency… Marc Gasol (11 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks, one steal) was quiet in his 28 minutes in Memphis’ lopsided loss to the Lakers.
Kyle Kuzma had another terrific all-around game for L.A. finishing with 20 points (8-of-16 FG), nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks, one steal and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Over his last five games, Kuz is now averaging 21.4 points, 9.2 boards, 4.4 dimes and 3.0 treys… Josh Hart drew another start and had16 points (5-of-10 FGs), four rebounds, three steals, two assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 32 minutes.
Enes Kanter logged just 26 minutes but still racked up 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, one steal and no turnovers on Saturday. Kanter has now posted a double-double in seven of the Knicks last nine games… Tim Hardaway Jr. shot just 2-of-12 from the field for seven points with one rebound and one assist in 23 minutes against the Nets on Saturday. Remarkably, THJ has shot below 50 percent from the floor in 12 straight games. Over the Knicks last eight games, he is shooting a putrid 30.4%, averaging 15.4 points on 15.6 FG attempts per contest… Believe it or not, Frank Ntilikina actually played on Saturday night! He checked in late in the third quarter and remained on the floor the final 16 minutes of the game, finishing with seven points, one rebound, three assists and one 3-pointer. His plus/minus of +7 led the team.
Spencer Dinwiddie torched the Knicks for 25 points in the Nets victory at MSG on Saturday night. He also tacked on three rebounds, six assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. Spence has now scored at least 15 in 10 of the Nets last 11 games… Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 20 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. That’s back-to-back solid games for RHJ, who is trying to re-establish some fantasy value… D'Angelo Russell was just 4-of-14 from the floor for nine points, but did hand out 11 helpers.
Jaylen Brown efficiently scored a season-high 23 points. He was 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He also added five rebounds three assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes off the bench… Jayson Tatum played just 21 minutes because the game was a blowout, but did score 18 points (7-of-9 FGs) with three rebounds, two assists, and four 3-pointers.
Derrick Rose started in place of Robert Covington (knee) on Saturday and scored 18 points with nine assists, three rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot in 37 minutes. The only downside was he needed 25 shots to score 18 points… Andrew Wiggins reached the 20-point plateau for the second straight game, finishing with 20 points (8-of-18 FG, 4-of-6 FT), six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot in 33 minutes… Karl-Anthony Towns was a bit underwhelming: 19 points (6-of-16 FG, 5-of-6 FT) with ten rebounds and two assists.
Josh Richardson (right shoulder impingement) was ruled out for Saturday's game against the Trail Blazers. J-Rich has been struggling with his shot of late, shooting below 30 percent from the floor over his last six appearances. The shoulder issue may be partly to blame. We should have an update on his status moving forward by Sunday evening, as the Heat’s next game is Monday night.
Jamal Murray was kicked in the shin in the second quarter on Saturday. He was able to start the third quarter but took himself out after the period began. He finished with four points, six rebounds, three assists and two turnovers in 24 minutes. The Nuggets next game is Monday, and it will be interesting how Murray is listed on the injury report set to be released on Sunday. If Murray misses any time, Monte Morris will start jumping off waiver wires. Morris has 10 points, seven dimes and five steals in 30 minutes on Saturday.
Gary Harris (right hip strain), who initially injured his hip last Monday vs. the Raptors, is expected to need three-to-four weeks to rehab his injury, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nuggets announced on Saturday morning that Harris would be evaluated "week by week going forward," but Woj later tweeted a more definitive timetable. Harris is too valuable to be waived in standard leagues, which means most owners will have to grit their teeth and hope he returns within a month. Obviously, stash him on the IR in leagues that have that option available.
Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle) sat out again on Saturday. The Lakers announced that the MRI on Ingram's left ankle confirmed a sprain and that he will be re-evaluated in one week.
Michael Beasley (personal) did not play Friday vs. the Grizzlies. The Beas was excused from the team to tend to his family health matter.
Robert Covington (right knee soreness) was a late scratch against the Blazers on Saturday. RoCo had surgery on this same knee last year, so this is a bit disconcerting. However, we’ll wait until we have additional details from the Wolves before getting worked up. Hopefully, it’s only a short absence for Covington. Check back later today for an update on his status for Monday’s game.
Tyler Johnson (hip) was injured in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over the Clippers and was unable to return. The good news for Johnson and the Heat is that X-rays on his hip were negative. Miami’s next game is Monday vs. the Lakers.
Hassan Whiteside (personal) missed another game on Saturday. He also missed Friday’s contest to be with his family for the birth of his first child.
Wayne Ellington (personal) did not play Saturday against the Clippers. Ellington is away from the team to attend his grandmother's funeral.
Al Horford (left knee soreness) was unable to play Saturday vs. the Bulls. He looked good on Thursday (19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in 28 minutes), but had previously missed two games this season due to soreness in his left knee. However, coach Brad Stevens didn’t sound overly concerned when speaking with reporters prior to the game. The Celtics next game is Monday vs. New Orleans, so we should have an update on his status for that contest by Sunday afternoon.
Rodney Hood (right toe sprain) was ruled out of Saturday’s matchup against the Wizards. Hood hurt his toe in Friday's loss to Sacramento and was unable to return to the contest. This is the first contest he has missed this season.
David Nwaba (sore right knee) sat out on Saturday. It was Nwaba's eighth straight game on the shelf. He should be left on waivers in all fantasy formats.
Kris Dunn (sprained left MCL) was ruled out of Saturday's game vs. Boston. Dunn is making substantial progress and is clearly headed in the right direction but has not yet been cleared to play. It's possible, if not probable, that he returns to game action sometime next week. Ryan Arcidiacono will continue to start at point guard as long as Dunn is sidelined.
Bobby Portis (knee) also sat out Saturday. Bobby P has been sidelined since the week before Halloween, but he was listed as questionable on the initial injury report for this game, so it looks like he will be activated early next week.
Sam Dekker was not available to make his Wizards debut Saturday vs. Cleveland. If Dekker and all the other players involved in Friday’s three-team trade pass their physicals, Dekker should join his new team in Indiana for Monday's game.
Iman Shumpert was rested Saturday vs. the Pacers. The Kings have given Shump sporadic days off this season to lighten his workload and keep him fresh.
Aron Baynes (left ankle sprain) was sidelined for Saturday's game vs. Chicago. Baynes injured the ankle in Thursday's victory over the Knicks. He landed on Kevin Knox's foot and fell to the floor in pain.
Dirk Nowitzki (ankle) did not play Saturday vs. the Rockets. There were some rumors that Dirk would make his season debut this weekend, but although the 40-year legend is making steady progress in his rehab work, he is not yet in game shape. "The conditioning is not quite there where I want it, so we’ll be working on it in the next couple of days," said Nowitzki. "We didn’t really set a date [for his first game of the season]." It sounds like Dirk could be back by early next week.
Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Blake Griffin (left knee contusion) is probable for Sunday’s game against the Pelicans. Griffin was dinged up a bit on Friday vs. the Sixers but is fully expected to suit up on Sunday.
Dante Cunningham (abdominal soreness) is questionable for Sunday vs. the Jazz. He has yet to miss a game this season but is not a fantasy factor, as he’s averaging just 4.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 22.6 minutes.
E'Twaun Moore (lower leg strain) is probable for Sunday’s game vs. the Pistons. Moore struggled on Friday night against the Grizzlies, finishing with just four points on 1-of-6 shooting. The leg issue may have hampered him. He’ll look to bounce back Sunday.
Reggie Bullock (left ankle sprain) is listed as out on the injury report for Sunday's game against the Pelicans. Bullock initially injured his ankle in Monday's game and has been sidelined since. This will be his third straight game on the shelf. The Pistons next game is Monday against the Sixers. Langston Galloway and Bruce Brown will see an uptick in minutes in his absence.
Stanley Johnson (left knee contusion) is questionable for Sunday's game vs. New Orleans. If Johnson can play, he will likely draw the start in place of Reggie Bullock. Langston Galloway, Luke Kennard, and Bruce Brown will see extending playing time if both Johnson and Bullock are sidelined.
Pat Connaughton (minor left MCL sprain) is listed probable for Sunday game vs. the Raptors. It’s a new injury for Connaughton but is not expected to cost him any time.
George Hill and Jason Smith are both listed questionable for Sunday’s matchup with Toronto. The Bucks acquired both players via a three-team trade on Friday. All players involved in the deal took their physicals on Saturday.
Marvin Williams (shoulder) said he was "pretty sore" after Friday's win, but was confident his shoulder wouldn’t cause him to miss more games. Williams returned from a one-game absence on Friday and finished with 14 points, ten rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. Williams was able to practice with the team on Saturday and is expected to suit up Sunday in New York.
Rajon Rondo (right hand fracture) is still dealing with some swelling in his hand and won't play until it subsides, according to coach Luke Walton. It sounds like Rondo should return before Christmas.