Stephen Curry set some records, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and James Harden went off, and unknowns like Mirza Teletovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Donald Sloan, Ronnie Price and Markel Brown all played very well on Thursday. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Warriors 130, Magic 114
It was, as usual, the Stephen Curry show as he dropped 51 points, just missed a triple-double and hit 10 3-pointers. He broke Kyle Korver’s NBA record by hitting a 3-pointer in 128 straight games and scored 24 points in the decisive third quarter. He also hit a ridiculous 20-of-27 shots from the floor, made just one free throw and is sitting on 276 3-pointers on the season, which is already good for second all time. He also became the first player in NBA history with two 50-point, 10 3-pointer games. Wow. With Curry doing it all, Draymond Green (12 points, 8 assists, 5 steals), Harrison Barnes (10 points, 5 rebounds) and Andrew Bogut (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steals, 2 blocks) were all serviceable, while Klay Thompson (9 points, 1 3-pointer) struggled to get going in Curry’s wake. Bogut dinged up his leg tonight, but played through it. There wasn’t much to see off the Warriors bench, other than Marreese Speights scoring 14 points in 12 minutes, and Anderson Varejao playing 14 minutes. Andre Iguodala played 26 minutes, but hit just 1-of-2 shots for two points, four rebounds, seven assists and a steal. Iguodala has scored seven or fewer points in four of his last five games, and is very tough to use as long as Barnes is healthy.
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The Magic got strong numbers from all five starters, while Brandon Jennings appears to already be in Scott Skiles’ doghouse. Aaron Gordon stayed hot with 19 points, eight boards, a block and a 3-pointer (and a nasty dunk), Nikola Vucevic had 17 points, nine boards and two blocks, Elfrid Payton played 29 minutes and had 12 points, six assists and two 3-pointers, Evan Fournier scored 20 points with four steals and three 3-pointers, and Victor Oladipo had 14 points, six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers. All five starters should be owned. Jennings got just 12 minutes and didn’t score until the fourth quarter, and is at the mercy of Skiles. Sure, Jennings could get hot again and even end up stealing Payton’s job, but it doesn’t appear all that likely to happen anytime soon. He’s basically been benched for two straight games and if you want to cut Jennings for a hot free agent, do it. Ersan Ilyasova played just 16 minutes and is also taking a hit with the strong play of Gordon and Fournier, and is another guy that looks like a serious cut candidate. Mike Gallagher and I disagree on the value of Payton, but as long as Jennings is riding the pine, I’m good with rolling with Payton.
Pelicans 123, Thunder 119 – The Pelicans got a much-needed win as Anthony Davis poured in 30 points, six boards, a steal, four blocks and two 3-pointers. He appeared to suffer a left knee injury, but was able to play through it. As usual with AD, keep an eye on his status going forward. Norris Cole scored the Pel’s first nine points and finished with 21 points, six rebounds, eight assists and four 3-pointers. He was pretty bad in his previous two games but was also dealing with an illness. He looked perfectly healthy tonight and is worth a look if he was dropped in your league. Ryan Anderson had 26 points, six boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, and has played very well in three of his last four games, hopefully ending his recent slump. He had scored seven or fewer points in four of six games on either side of the All-Star break. Jrue Holiday had 22 points, nine dimes and two 3-pointers off the bench, And Alonzo Gee was scoreless in a start for injured Bryce Dejean-Jones, who’s out indefinitely after wrist surgery. Forget about both of them for now. Alexis Ajinca started again and had two points, seven rebounds and two blocks, but played just 19 minutes, making him a tough fantasy play despite the absence of Omer Asik (ankle). Perhaps the most interesting development of the night was Dante Cunningham, who started and played a season-high 42 minutes. He had 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. He’s not a must-own player, but is certainly worth keeping an eye on, as he’s going to get some extra run when Davis slides over to center in the absence of Asik. And with Ajinca being, well, Ajinca, look for Davis to play a lot of center over the next couple weeks.
The Thunder took a tough loss and fought until the end, as Russell Westbrook had 44 points, nine assists and three 3-pointers, and Kevin Durant added 32 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers. They’re the DFS Dynamic Duo every time they play. Serge Ibaka was solid with 15 points, five rebounds, a steal and two blocks, Steven Adams was quiet with eight points, five boards and a block, and Andre Roberson didn’t score in 22 minutes and a start. Enes Kanter was also very quiet in this one, but when Westbrook and Durant are doing everything, their teammates are going to have problems on most nights.
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Celtics 112, Bucks 107 – The Celtics starting five all played very well last night, while the bench was very quiet. Amir Johnson, who came in struggling for minutes, played 25 of them and hit 7-of-9 shots for 15 points, eight boards, a steal and a block. I’m not all that impressed, as he simply had a hot hand. Jae Crowder had 20 & 8 with two 3-pointers, Jared Sullinger double-doubled with 14 points and 10 boards, Avery Bradley scored 18 with two steals and a 3-pointer, and Isaiah Thomas led the way with 27 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers. I like Sullinger as long as he’s starting, and all of these guys should be owned except for Johnson. Marcus Smart struggled off the bench with just three points on 0-of-4 shooting in 25 minutes, and Evan Turner was quiet with eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals on 2-of-9 shooting. Turner is still a player I want to own and Smart had been playing very well before this disaster. Smart’s dealing with a thumb injury, but I’m not ready to blame the bad night on it. Turner and Smart should bounce back.
Jabari Parker stayed hot for the Bucks and led the team in scoring with 22 points and six boards. He’s averaging 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.8 blocks on 52 percent shooting over his last five games. Hopefully he keeps this up the rest of the way. Giannis Antetokounmpo flirted with a triple-double (14-7-8) and Khris Middleton added 21 points, five boards, six assists, three steals and a 3-pointer. Middleton is a candidate for the Most Improved Player Award. O.J. Mayo had just three points on 1-of-4 shooting and I’m just not into him, even though he’s starting. Michael Carter-Williams isn’t great, but had 12 points, three boards and three assists off the bench, and is always worth a look when Jerryd Bayless (knee) isn’t playing. Miles Plumlee (annoyingly) started over Greg Monroe again and had just five points, one rebound and one block in 14 minutes, while Monroe came through with 20 points, eight boards, four dimes, a steal and two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting. After a dud last Friday, Monroe is rolling again, averaging 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks over his last three games.
Nets 116, Suns 106 – Joe Johnson was bought out on Thursday (and Minnesota’s Kevin Martin is right behind him), allowing several no-name Nets to get loose in this one. All five starters played well for Brooklyn. Thaddeus Young had 18 points, eight rebounds, seven (count ‘em) steals and three blocks, Brook Lopez had 12 points, six boards, a steal and a block, Donald Sloan stayed hot with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Bojan Bogdanovic had a season-high 24 points and three 3-pointers, and Wayne Ellington had 12 points and a 3-pointer in 23 minutes. Bogdanovic is the pickup here with Johnson out of town, and started in his place last night. Additionally, Markel Brown played 25 minutes off the bench and had 16 points, a steal and two 3-pointers, and is another pickup option if Bogdanovic is already owned. Shane Larkin had 11 points, six assists and a 3-pointer, but Sloan is the PG you want to own for the Nets. Sloan’s averaging 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.0 steals on 50 percent shooting over his last five games.
The Suns were never really in this game, but Mirza Teletovic came off the bench for a season-high 30 points, 11 rebounds and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes. He started the second half and is now averaging 19.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five. Hopefully you picked him up when Markieff Morris was traded. P.J. Tucker was quiet in a start and 31 minutes, and Tyson Chandler returned and played 33 minutes to finish with 12 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a block. This is an Alex Len buzzkill for sure, but Len still had 13 points and six boards in 17 minutes off the bench. Hopefully the Suns will give the starting job to Len soon, but it may not happen. If you’re desperate at center, think about grabbing Chandler. Ronnie Price started over Archie Goodwin and played 38 minutes, finishing with 16 points, three assists, four steals and two 3-pointers. Goodwin played just 18 minutes and missed all three of his shots, and swapping him for Price or Donald Sloan makes sense. Devin Booker’s problems continued with 3-of-12 shooting and 12 points in 30 minutes, but I still think he’ll bounce back. He’s in a shooting funk, big time. Jon Leuer played just five minutes and Phil Pressey played 20 minutes for 10 points, four assists and two steals. I may have shed a tear moving Goodwin down on the depth chart last night.
Spurs 96, Jazz 78 – Kawhi Leonard racked up 29 points, three steals and three 3-pointers on 10-fo-15 shooting, Tony Parker stayed hot with 16 points and six assists, LaMarcus Aldridge overcame a slow start for 15 points, seven boards and a block, and Tim Duncan somehow played 32 points and hit 7-of-11 shots for 14 points, 11 rebounds, a steal and a block. Look for him to get a rest sooner than later. I don’t trust him enough to pick him up, but he’s certainly worth a look if you set lineups daily. And then there’s Danny Green, who ruined a stellar DFS lineup for me last night. He was 0-for-5 and failed to score a point in 28 minutes, and didn’t do anything outside of blocking a shot. I shuttled him to waivers in all my standard leagues a couple months ago, but he’s still haunting me on nights like this in DFS. He’s been playing better lately, but still has scored zero, two and four points in three of his last five games. Gross. Patty Mills had 11 points and three 3-pointers in 17 minutes, but isn’t worth a look in most leagues.
For the Jazz, Derrick Favors hit 12-of-17 shots for 25 points, six boards and two steals, and was really the only bright spot for Utah. Gordon Hayward was smothered by Leonard and finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, Rudy Gobert had just eight points, six boards and a block, Rodney Hood hit just 4-of-11 shots and two 3-pointers for 12 points and six dimes, and Shelvin Mack had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals on 4-of-12 shooting. The Spurs are no joke on defense, and that was clearly apparent last night. Mack played 28 minutes and spent time at both guard spots, while Raul Neto played 12 minutes and Trey Burke played 11 minutes. Mack’s still the guy to own here.
Rockets 119, Blazers 105 – The Rockets beat the Blazers behind 46 points, five boards, eight dimes, two steals and four 3-pointers from James Harden. He played 46 minutes and looked fantastic. Dwight Howard double-doubled with 19 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and three blocks, and hit 3-of-12 free throws on another Hack-a-Dwight night, and Patrick Beverley played well with 14 points, six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers. Trevor Ariza hit just 1-of-10 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers, but still finished with six points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals to salvage a decent line. Josh Smith started but hit just 2-of-9 shots for four points, and is still not someone I can trust in any format. Clint Capela sat out with an ankle injury, but no one stepped up in his place.
The Blazers got a quiet night from Damian Lillard (23 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 6-of-20 shooting) and C.J. McCollum (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 3-pointers, 9-of-19 shooting) played well, but didn’t do much in the fourth quarter of a tight game. Blame Lillard’s woes on Beverley’s defense. Al-Farouq Aminu was solid with 13 points, six boards and three 3-pointers in another start, and Mason Plumlee had 10 points, four boards, a steal and a block in the start. Noah Vonleh continues to start for the Blazers, but had just two points in 13 minutes. Moe Harkless had 11 points and a 3-pointer in 19 minutes off the bench, and Ed Davis had six points, 12 boards, a steal and a block in 19 minutes of the pine. I’m fine with using Harkless if he’s starting, but he’s a pretty shaky play off Portland’s bench. Allen Crabbe played 26 minutes off the bench but is a mess right now, scoring nine or fewer points in each of his last five games. He had four last night on 1-of-4 shooting. Gerald Henderson had 13 points and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes, but I have no interest in him as long as he’s also coming off the bench.