Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid all went nuts on Thursday, while Luke Kornet had a coming out party for the Knicks. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Bucks 112, Knicks 96 – Giannis Antetokounmpo went nuts with 31 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, a steal, four blocks and a 3-pointer for another monster night for the Bucks. Khris Middleton (25 points), Brook Lopez (17) and Malcolm Brogdon (15) were all big in the win, while D.J. Wilson came out of nowhere for 10 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and a 3-pointer off the bench. That was easily the best game of his career, setting highs in points, boards and blocks in the win. He’s been rebounding the ball pretty well of late, but this has fluke written all over it. Just keep an eye on him, and look for him to fade away with Ersan Ilyasova (nose) due back soon. Eric Bledsoe was quiet in this one, but I’m not worried about him. The Bucks have won eight of their last 10 games and have a 24-10 record, good for second best in the league, behind only the Raptors.
For the Knicks, Luke Kornet started at center over Enes Kanter and absolutely went bonkers with 23 points, three rebounds, five assists, a block and seven 3-pointers in 34 minutes. He tied his career high in scoring and set career highs in 3-pointers and assists, and Kanter, who suffered a cut near his eye, was also ejected after picking up a pair of technicals. He’s not happy about losing his job, either, posting a face-palm emoji on Twitter after the move was announced, and has also been upset at other times this season when he’s been bumped out of the starting unit, probably because he’s playing for a contract. I don’t know if Kornet will be a must-own player or not, but if you’ve got room to pick him up and take a flier on him until we see how his next few games play out, do it. Kanter’s still a hold, at least for now.
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Noah Vonleh was nice again with 15 points, 13 boards, three blocks and two 3-pointers, and has double-doubled in three straight games. Kevin Knox hit just 4-of-15 shots and 1-of-6 3-pointers, but still had 12 points, six boards and a steal, and has now hit double digits in scoring in nine straight games. I think both players are must-own the rest of the way. Emmanuel Mudiay made another start at point guard and hit 6-of-15 shots for 13 points, three boards, six assists and a block, and is still averaging nearly 20 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five. He should also be owned in most leagues, but we were expecting more with Tim Hardaway Jr. out with an illness. Courtney Lee started for THJ, but had just nine points in 23 minutes. Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson combined to hit just 3-of-19 shots and the Knicks have lost six straight games, and 11 of their last 12, and have just nine wins on the season.
Rockets 127, Celtics 113 – The Rockets got 45 points, six assists and nine 3-pointers out of James Harden, who also hit 14-of-17 free throws. Harden’s averaging 39 points and monster stats over his last five games, despite shooting just 40 percent over that stretch. The absence of Chris Paul (hamstring) helps him, and if he starts making more shots, look out. Paul’s going to be out for a couple weeks, so Harden should continue to eat massive amounts of stats for the foreseeable future. Harden looks like the MVP right now. Clint Capela was a beast with 24 points, 18 boards and a block, and Eric Gordon scored 20 points with four boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. He’s also going to thrive for as long as CP3 is out. P.J. Tucker and Danuel House started, but neither player did much in this one. Tucker’s probably worth owning, averaging 9.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five.
Kyrie Irving stayed hot with 23 points, five boards, 11 assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, Marcus Morris had 19 points, six boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, Al Horford had 15 points and four boards, and Marcus Smart had 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in another start. Jayson Tatum cooled off, hitting 2-of-7 shots for just four points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 29 minutes. Tatum was hot coming in, but never got it going in this one. Smart got lit up by Harden, and probably isn’t worth owning in most leagues at this point. Jaylen Brown had 18 points, five boards and a 3-pointer off the bench after a couple of very quiet games. He’s a borderline own in fantasy right now.
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Kings 117, Lakers 116 – Bogdan Bogdanovic hit an amazing 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win and finished with 23 points, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers on 9-of-16 shooting. I wish he was starting, but he’s coming on, averaging 18.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last four games. He’s worth an add if he’s available. Nemanja Bjelica (18-6-3), Willie Cauley-Stein (19-8-5, 1 block), De’Aaron Fox (15-9-12-2) and Iman Shumpert (18-6-3-4-1 with six triples) all played well and helped the Kings win their third game in four tries. I think everyone listed above is worth owning, with the exception of Shumpert. But then again, he’s playing well, averaging 12.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.0 3-pointers over his last four. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues. Buddy Hield hit just 2-of-8 shots for six points, five boards, three steals and a block, and scored in single digits for the first time since October 23. He’ll bounce back in the next one, and was just overshadowed by a red-hot Bogdanovic last night.
The Lakers got 33 points, nine boards, four assists and two 3-pointers from Kyle Kuzma, but he also had six turnovers in the loss. Brandon Ingram was nice with 22 points and a full stat line, but hit just 8-of-19 shots, and Ivica Zubac started again and had six points, five boards and a block in 20 minutes, which was disappointing. I’m still intrigued as long as JaVale McGee is out with pneumonia. Lonzo Ball had one of his best games a pro, hitting 8-of-13 shots and finishing with 20 points, nine boards, 12 assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, just missing a triple-double. Rajon Rondo was out with a finger injury, which helped Ball, and it was nice to see him return to the game after suffering a calf injury in the third quarter. Owners should plan on checking on his status on Friday. Josh Hart got the start for LeBron James (groin), and had 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers. He’s got two games left this week and is worth using as long as he’s starting for Bron. Tyson Chandler had an 11 & 10 double-double, but I trust Zubac more. Lance Stephenson had 10 points, three assists, two rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer, but played just 19 minutes. He’s worth watching for as long as Bron is out, but I trust Hart more.
Blazers 110, Warriors 109 OT – Damian Lillard hit the game-winning 3-pointer, C.J. McCollum hit a long jumper and a 3-pointer in the clutch, and Kevin Durant left a short jump shot, that would have won the game at the buzzer, a little short. Jusuf Nurkic was a beast with a season-high 27 points, 12 rebounds and four dimes on 10-of-18 shooting, and GSW’s lack of a center worked in his favor in this one. This was a nice bounce-back game for Nurk, who had scored 10 or fewer points in his previous four games. Lillard and McCollum didn’t shoot it well, but scored 21 and 24 points respectively, Moe Harkless had 11 points, eight boards, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and Al-Farouq Aminu hit just 3-of-13 shots for seven points, 12 boards, three assists and a 3-pointer. Aminu’s struggling with his shot and scoring lately, and Harkless has been underwhelming, as well. This was a huge win for the Blazers, who had lost their last 11 games at Oracle, and now sit at 20-15 on the season.
The Dubs got big games from the usual suspects, and it was nice to see Draymond Green come through with a 15-11-7-1-1-1 line after struggling with four points on Tuesday. Kevin Durant triple-doubled with 26-10-11 and added a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, but missed the game-winner, Stephen Curry had 29 points, five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, two blocks and six 3-pointers, and Klay Thompson had 15 points, eight boards, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers in the loss. Kevon Looney started at center and had eight points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but hasn’t been worth owning in most leagues. The Warriors bench was invisible in this one.
Sixers 114, Jazz 97 – Ben Simmons had a 13-14-12-3-1 triple-double (with seven turnovers) for his fifth trip-dub of the season, Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and two 3-pointers before fouling out, and J.J. Redick added a team-high 24 points with six triples in the easy win on Thursday. Jimmy Butler added 19 points, three steals and a 3-pointer in the win, while starter Wilson Chandler hit just 1-of-6 shots for two points in 19 minutes. He’s been dealing with a quad injury, which might have affected him last night. T.J. McConnell had 10 points and seven assists in 23 minutes off the bench, but is tough to trust as long as Simmons is playing so well at the point. Furkan Korkmaz played just 16 minutes, and isn’t worth holding with Jimmy Butler healthy.
For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 15 boards, five assists, two blocks and zero steals, and Donovan Mitchell had 23 points, four boards, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers in the loss. Ricky Rubio was bad, hitting just 1-of-10 shots and finishing with five points, five boards and four assists, and this looks like a nice buy-low opportunity on Rubio. He should be getting ready to get hot for the Jazz, just like he does every year at this time. Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder all struggled in this one, but don’t get cute and cut Jingles. He should be owned everywhere. Favors has played 19 minutes in two straight, and I’m not a big fan, while Crowder hasn’t been doing much lately, either. But Crowder left with a sprained thumb and didn’t return, which could work in Favors’, um, favor in the next few games. Dante Exum (season-high 20 points) is suddenly hot, averaging 17.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 3-pointers over his last two games. He’s going to be awful tough to trust as long as Rubio is healthy, but helped pick up his slack in this one.