Monday featured seven NBA games and we saw injuries to Gary Harris and Taurean Prince, a breakout from Kevon Looney, and big games from Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, James Harden and Jordan Clarkson. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Warriors 128, Hawks 111 – Stephen Curry is already back to mid-season form in his two games since returning from a groin injury and torched the Hawks for 30 points, six 3-pointers, a steal and a block on 10-of-17 shooting on Monday night, while Kevin Durant scored 28 with a fun line, and Klay Thompson added 27 points, eight boards and three 3-pointers. The fantasy news here was Kevon Looney’s start with 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks on 7-of-9 shooting in 29 minutes. Yes, it was against the Hawks, but Draymond Green is still out with his toe injury and Damian Jones’ season is likely over due to a pectoral injury. Looney is the pickup, with a side of Jordan Bell, who played 19 minutes and had six points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. Jonas Jerebko is also worth a look here, and he had 12 points, five boards, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers on 4-of-4 shooting. But if there’s one Warrior I’m looking to pick up right now, it’s Looney.
For the Hawks, Trae Young had seven turnovers, three assists, missed all five of his 3-point attempts and hit just 8-of-20 shots, but made headlines with his 20 points. He may be a great fantasy player one day, but it’s not happening for him right now, unless you’re solely interested in points and dimes. John Collins was great with 24 points, 11 boards, two assists and a block on 11-of-14 shooting, and Jeremy Lin filled the stat sheet off the bench with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 24 minutes. The big news for the Hawks is that Taurean Prince went down with a badly sprained left ankle. He had to be helped to the locker room and the Hawks have already said he’s going to miss time. DeAndre’ Bembry and Kent Bazemore are the likely beneficiaries of Prince’s injury, and if you want to take a flier on Bembry right now, I’m on board. Kevin Huerter started again and had 10 points, five boards, four assists, a steal and a block, and is officially worth keeping an eye on going forward. Dewayne Dedmon is also on the radar after his six points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a block in 31 minutes. Alex Len played just four minutes, so Dedmon is definitely in the driver’s seat at center right now.
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Thunder 110, Pistons 83 – The Thunder got the win with solid games from Paul George, Jerami Grant, Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook, and all four of them should be owned in most leagues. Nerlens Noel had 12 points, eight boards, two steals and two blocks in 20 minutes, and that makes back-to-back solid outings for Noel. In those two games, he’s averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks, so it’s time to put him on your radar, if nothing else. But he’s a garbage-time specialist, which means he shouldn’t be much of a factor in close games. The Thunder are 15-3 since losing their first four games.
The Pistons were awful last night, and even with the garbage-time factor in a blowout loss, no one really did much of anything outside of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson (who was very disappointing in this revenge game). Reggie Bullock left early with a sprained ankle and could miss some time, but no one stepped up in his place. Langston Galloway is probably the winner if Bullock misses time, but Galloway didn’t score on Monday, despite playing 25 minutes. Bruce Brown’s another guy to keep an eye on in Detroit if Bullock’s going to miss time. The Pistons were held to a season-low 83 points in this one.
Cavaliers 99, Nets 97 – Tristan Thompson came through with 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks on 8-of-11 shooting, Collin Sexton scored 15 points, and Jordan Clarkson came through with 20 points, a season-high 11 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes off the bench. Cedi Osman played 28 minutes, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for eight points, seven boards and a block, but I’m still into him. The Cavs play three more games this week, and four in each of the following two stanzas, and I’m pretty happy I’m playing Thompson, Sexton, Osman and Clarkson in several leagues right now. Rodney Hood was disappointing, but Alec Burks had the game-winning dunk and had 13 points, seven rebounds and a 3-pointer in 29 minutes. I’m not a huge Burks guy, but he’s getting almost 30 minutes a night and has scored at least 13 points in all three of his games for the Cavaliers since being traded. He’s at least worth a look and is probably a better option than Hood. George Hill started alongside Sexton, but hit just 2-of-5 shots in 35 minutes. I can’t imagine his minutes stay that high, but you never know. I’d much rather own Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or even Elie Okobo. Larry Nance had nine points, eight boards, a steal and a block, but played just 16 minutes, making him a borderline fantasy target right now. Kevin Love is talking about returning in mid-January, but I just don’t see why the Cavaliers play him heavy minutes when he’s back. But if you have room to stash him, he’s probably worth it.
The Nets got 30 points and a fun line from D’Angelo Russell, and Spencer Dinwiddie started again and had an 18-3-4-1 line with four 3-pointers, but the rest of the Nets were dicey in fantasy. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was particularly bad, while starters Jarrett Allen and Allen Crabbe were disappointing. In short, the only Nets I trust right now are Russell, Dinwiddie and Allen, while RHJ and Crabbe offer some intrigue. They just didn’t have it tonight and Joe Harris missed his third straight game with a hip injury.
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Nuggets 106, Raptors 103 – Nikola Jokic had a big 12-11-15 triple-double, Jamal Murray added a 21-7-8 line with two 3-pointers (and seven turnovers), and Juancho Hernangomez added 15 points, five boards, two steals and three 3-pointers in the win. The big story here is that Gary Harris suffered a groin injury and will have an MRI on Tuesday. Malik Beasley came through with 15 points and three 3-pointers on 6-of-8 shooting, but I prefer to roll the dice on Monte Morris if Harris is going to miss time. Morris played 22 minutes and hit just 3-of-10 shots, but I think he’s the guy who would benefit most if Harris is out. And Murray should go nuts if Harris is out for long.
Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and eight boards, but no steals or blocks for the Raptors, Kyle Lowry had 11 assists, but just five points on 1-of-7 shooting, and Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam both played well in the loss. Siakam had a career-high seven assists to go along with 14 points, six boards and two steals, as his dream season continues. Danny Green was quiet with nine points, three 3-pointers, three boards and two steals, and Jonas Valanciunas had eight points, 10 boards and a block in just 18 minutes off the bench. JV’s impossible to trust, while Green should be due for a big line sooner than later, as he continues to tease his fantasy owners every time the Raptors play.
Wizards 110, Knicks 107 – The Wizards beat the Knicks behind a 27-8-7-2-1 line from Bradley Beal, who also had a couple 3-pointers, and John Wall had an 18 & 15 double-double in the win. Markieff Morris came through with 18 points, seven boards, a steal and a 3-pointer off the bench, Otto Porter Jr. added 15 points, five boards, three steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers, and Thomas Bryant made another quiet start at center with eight points and six rebounds. Kelly Oubre moved back to the bench, but came through with 21 points, five boards, a steal, three blocks and five 3-pointers, while Tomas Satoransky started, but scored just three points. Wall, Beal, Morris, Porter and Oubre are all must-own players at this point.
I feel like I could write an entire Dose about the mess known as the Knicks, but here’s where we are. Noah Vonleh had 11 points, eight rebounds, a block, a 3-pointer and just one foul. Enes Kanter started and had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay kept it going and had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, a block and two 3-pointers. Tim Hardaway led the way with 20 points. Damyean Dotson stayed hot with 17 points, nine boards, a steal and three 3-pointers, and is now averaging 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.3 3-pointers on 63 percent shooting over his last four games. I’m just thankful that; A. I wrote about Dotson (7% owned) in the latest Waiver Wired, and B. that I picked him up and rolled with him in a few leagues given the Knicks’ four-game week. Kevin Knox hit just 3-of-11 shots off the bench, but still had eight points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal in 28 minutes. Those are the Knicks I want to roll with right now.
The Knicks play three more games this week, but the guys I’m not interested in right now include Allonzo Trier, who was quiet again and missed all four of his shots, scoring just two points. Mario Hezonja hit just 2-of-7 shots for nine points and not much else. Mitchell Robinson played just 14 minutes off the bench and had four points, one rebound and three blocks. Unless you’re just desperate for blocks, Robinson’s really tough to use right now, but that could change as the season progresses.
Clippers 129, Pelicans 126 – Tobias Harris led the way for the Clippers with 27 points, six boards, two steals and a 3-pointer, Danilo Gallinari kept it rolling with 24 points, five boards, four assists and two 3-pointers, Lou Williams had 20 points and six dimes off the bench, and Avery Bradley had 15 points, three boards, two assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in another start. Bradley has been slammed pretty badly in this column for the last two seasons, but is coming on. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three games. He’s also blocked four shots over his last four games, and he’s worth a look if he can somehow keep it going. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played 23 minutes and was quiet with seven points, two rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer on 3-of-5 shooting, and has been hurt by the emergence of Bradley. But I still love SGA until he completely comes off the rails. Montrezl Harrell was kind of quiet with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and nothing else, but I’m not concerned in the least.
The Pelicans got 32 points, 14 assists and a bunch of goodies from Jrue Holiday, and Anthony Davis chipped in with 23 points, 13 boards, five assists, three steals and three blocks in the loss. Julius Randle exploded for a career-high 37 points, and started due to the fact that Nikola Mirotic was out with an illness. Nonetheless, Randle is cooking, averaging 19.2 points and 8.8 rebounds over his last five games. He would have been even better had he not fouled out with four minutes left last night. Tim Frazier made another start, but hit 3-of-5 shots for seven points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, but is still someone worth grabbing right now with Frank Jackson and Elfrid Payton injured, not to mention Mirotic. E’Twaun Moore had just six points in 20 minutes, and has been an all-or-nothing fantasy option this season. Unfortunately, last night was of the ‘nothing’ variety. Darius Miller got loose for 15 points and three 3-pointers, but Frazier and Moore are the better fantasy options. The Pelicans, who made a nice comeback in the third quarter, only to see it fade, have now lost six of their last eight games, usually beating themselves.
Timberwolves 103, Rockets 91 - The Wolves’ starters had a great night, as Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns double-doubled, Robert Covington filled the stat sheet with 13 points, six boards, three assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points with four rebounds, a steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers, and Jeff Teague added a 14-5-7-1 line with two 3-pointers. Dario Saric added 12 points and three 3-pointers off the bench, while Derrick Rose faltered by missing all four of his shots and failing to score in 25 minutes. Rose came in on fire, scoring 26 points on Saturday, while Gibson continues to defy the odds by starting and playing well, despite the arrival of Saric. Rose should bounce back on Wednesday against the Hornets.
The Rockets got 29 points, four boards, eight assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers from James Harden, and Clint Capela added 24 points, eight boards, three assists and three blocks on 11-of-14 shooting. But that was it for the good performances for Houston. P.J. Tucker had three points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer, James Ennis had nine points, five boards, a steal and a 3-pointer, and Chris Paul was awful, hitting just 1-of-8 shots for five points, seven assists, three steals and five turnovers in the loss. Eric Gordon also struggled to the tune of 4-of-13 shooting, 10 points and two 3-pointers. Gerald Green and Nene were back from extended absences, not that it mattered. CP3’s been quiet, averaging just 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.7 3-pointers on 10-of-32 (31%) shooting over his last three games, but is primed for a big game against Ricky Rubio and the Jazz on Wednesday night.