Happy 2019 everyone! We had a seven-game night on Monday, although a couple of them were more day time than evening affairs. John Collins continues to roll, Anthony Davis broke a lot of hearts with a last-minute DNP, and Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kyle Anderson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jaylen Brown came through in big ways. And on a negative note, Kyrie Irving, Myles Turner, Cody Zeller, Jeremy Lamb and Nikola Vucevic went down. And Elfrid Payton was back in action after a 22-game absence.
Pacers 116, Hawks 108 – Myles Turner went off for 20 points, eight boards, four assists, four blocks and three 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting, but played just 23 minutes before breaking his nose on the back of John Collins’ head. Hopefully they fit him for a mask and he’s good to go without missing much time. Victor Oladipo had a 22-4-7-4 line with two 3-pointers, Bojan Bogdanovic had 16 points and a nice stat line, Darren Collison had 12 points and six assists, and Domantas Sabonis came off the bench for 20 points and eight boards, getting 27 minutes in Turner’s late absence. If Turner’s going to miss time, both Bogdanovic and, especially, Sabonis should benefit. The Pacers have won five straight.
John Collins had 22 points, 16 boards, four assists and two 3-pointers, and has now double-doubled in six straight games. He’s living up to the hype and is only going to get better. He’s a relentless rebounder, and looked awesome on Monday. Kevin Huerter had a monster dunk and hit a season-high six 3-pointers for a season-high 22 points, but didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet. But he passes the eye test, and if you want to pick him up for three more games this week, I’m in. Kent Bazemore missed this one with an ankle injury and is out for a couple weeks, so it’s time to cut him in most leagues. Daniel Hamilton started in his place and had eight points and six boards in just 16 minutes, but Huerter and DeAndre Bembry (4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks) are the guys who will be the most effective at replacing Bazemore. Alex Len had 19 points, seven boards, a steal and a block, and is worth a look for as long as Dewayne Dedmon is out with his sore knee, and Trae Young had 16 points, four boards, seven dimes, three steals, four 3-pointers and eight turnovers in the loss. Despite the TOs, Young has played much better recently.
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Hornets 125, Magic 100 – Kemba Walker hit 10-of-16 shots and two 3-pointers for 24 points and seven assists, Cody Zeller came through with 14 points and six rebounds, but suffered a broken hand, and Malik Monk got hot off the bench with 21 points, three rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. Jeremy Lamb left after just nine minutes with a hamstring injury, which could mean that Monk’s about ready to go on a run. Additionally, Zeller’s injury clears the way for Willy Hernangomez to bust out, and he had 10 points, eight boards and a steal in just 14 minutes. We don’t know how long Lamb and Zeller are going to be out, but both Monk and Willy are worth a look, especially with the Hornets having three more games (Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday) this week.
Nikola Vucevic left early on Monday with a left leg injury and played just 23 minutes. If he’s going to miss time, Mo Bamba looks like the winner, and he had five points, 12 boards and two blocks in just 18 minutes. Watch for news on Vucevic on Tuesday, and think about adding Bamba, who has three more games (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) this week. D.J. Augustin sat out with an ankle injury and is day-to-day, and Jonathon Simmons was out with an ankle injury, as well. That’s good news for Jonathan Isaac (11 points, not much else) and Jerian Grant (9 points, 5 assists), if they’re going to miss time. The Magic bench was pretty vacant, outside of Bamba, and Augustin’s injury stinks, as he was playing really well coming into the week.
Rockets 113, Grizzlies 101 – James Harden is on the hottest streak of his hot career, and had a 43-10-13 triple double, and hit 21-of-27 free throws. He’s scored 35 with at least five assists in eight straight games, good for an NBA record, and is averaging more than 40 points over his last 10 games, joining Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only other players to score at least 400 points in 10 games in the last 30 seasons. He’s your MVP, if the season ended today, but also had nine turnovers last night. Do you really care, given everything else he’s doing? I don’t. Clint Capela double-doubled, Danuel House came through with 16 points and four 3-pointers, and Austin Rivers had 12 points, a couple 3-pointers, a steal and a block in 41 minutes in a start for Eric Gordon (knee). We don’t know how long Gordon will be out, but Rivers could be a decent pickup for as long as Gordon is in street clothes. P.J. Tucker was disappointing, missing all five of his shots for four points and seven boards, but he’ll be better than this going forward, especially if Gordon is out. Gerald Green is another Gordon-injury winner, and had 18 points, five boards and six 3-pointers in the win. I still like Rivers and Green over House, as long as Gordon is out, but I’ve been wrong before. James Ennis (hamstring) missed his 10th straight game, but is expected back for the next one. Ennis’ return will hurt House. The Rockets have won 10 of their last 11 to improve to 21-15 on the season.
Kyle Anderson led the way for Memphis, tying his season high with 20 points, three boards, five assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 9-of-13 shooting, and it’s time to move on him. Marc Gasol double-doubled, Mike Conley had a 19-6-5 line and JaMychal Green had 17 points, six boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 20 minutes. He stepped up in Jaren Jackson Jr.’s absence, as JJJ was saddled by foul trouble all night, and only lasted for 13 minutes. I don’t really trust JJJ or Green, but JJJ is the guy with all the upside. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.
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Spurs 120, Celtics 111 – LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 32 points, nine boards, five assists, a steal and two blocks, Derrick White started and had a career-high 22 points, three boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers, DeMar DeRozan had a 13-7-10 line, and Bryn Forbes, who also started, had 15 points, a steal and three 3-pointers in the win. Davis Bertans hit five triples off the bench for 17 points and five boards, but White and Forbes are the guys you want to think about picking up here. Rudy Gay sat out with a sprained left wrist, and White is hot, averaging 14 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.3 3-pointers over his last three games. Props to Matt Stroup for calling White’s run in our most recent podcast. The Spurs have won three of their last four games.
For the Celtics, Kyrie Irving suffered a scratched cornea and had 16 points, eight assists, three rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer before leaving the game. Consider him day-to-day, and look for both Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart to benefit if Irving is going to miss time. I suspect Irving will be wearing goggles the next time we see him. Jayson Tatum double-doubled, Marcus Morris had 18 points, four boards, a block and two 3-pointers, and starters Al Horford and Marcus Smart were quiet in the loss. Jaylen Brown went crazy off the bench with a season-high 30 points, two assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers on 10-of-15 shooting. He was feeling it last night, but I still have trust issues. But if Irving’s going to miss time, Brown would benefit.
Pelicans 123, Timberwolves 114 – Anthony Davis was a late scratch with an illness, which ruined my DFS lineups, but Julius Randle stepped up with 33 points, 11 boards and a couple 3-pointers. Jrue Holiday went off for 26 points and eight assists, E’Twaun Moore had 17 points and three 3-pointers, signaling a hot streak coming after his last two games, and Darius Miller added 21 points and five triples off the bench. I like Miller, but don’t trust him enough to pick him up. A lot of this had to do with AD not being out there, but Randle has been a beast, averaging 23.8 points and 9.4 rebounds over his last five games. As I said, Moore has scored 21 and 17 points in his last two games, after scoring two points in two straight games, so it might be time to grab him until he cools off again. Jahlil Okafor started in AD’s place, but didn’t do much, as usual. Elfrid Payton returned from a fractured finger after a 22-game absence and had nine points, six assists and a 3-pointer in 24 minutes. It’s time to pick him up.
Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague (ankles) were out again, so Tyus Jones went off for 15 points, 13 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and Karl-Anthony Towns stayed hot with 28 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and two 3-pointers in the loss. KAT has been on a tear over his last four games, averaging a ridiculous 28.3 points, 18.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 3.5 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers over that stretch. I don’t know how long Rose and Teague will be out, but Jones is worth using as long as they are. But when Rose or Teague are back, all bets are off with Jones, which makes me kind of sad.
Thunder 122, Mavericks 102 – Russell Westbrook bounced back from a terrible game and went off for a 32-11-11-4 triple-double, Steven Adams double-doubled, Paul George scored 22, Jerami Grant had 16 points, three steals and a 3-pointer, and Nerlens Noel had 15 points, five boards and a block in just 15 minutes off the bench. Dennis Schroder disappeared in this one, hitting just 3-of-14 shots for six points, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I still like Schroder. And yes, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double once again, but Harden is the favorite to win MVP at this point.
For the Mavs, DeAndre Jordan was brutalized by Steven Adams and hit just 1-of-2 shots for two points, 10 rebounds, zero blocks and six turnovers in the loss. I don’t know how that happened, and I’m not sure I want to, but he has been playing on a sore knee. Harrison Barnes had 25 points, five boards, a steal and seven 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting, and Luka Doncic, of course, was solid with 17 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 4-of-10 shooting. He had five turnovers, but I don’t care. And just like Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr. was quite disappointing, hitting just 3-of-6 shots for 10 points and three assists. The Mavs, DSJ, DAJ and the rest of them should bounce back in the next one.
Warriors 132, Suns 109 – The Warriors ran away from the Suns in the second quarter on Monday, and never looked back. Stephen Curry had 34 points, nine rebounds, four assists, a steal and five 3-pointers, Kevin Durant had 25 points and a solid line, and Klay Thompson scored 15 points with a nice stat line, despite hitting just 5-of-13 shots. Kevon Looney started again, but played just 13 minutes, and everyone on the Warriors’ bench contributed in the easy win. Life isn’t fair, if you’re playing the Warriors. Jordan Bell was nice with 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes, but I bet it was a fluke. But if the Warriors ever throw him into the starting lineup over Looney, I’ll be buying in, fully.
For the Suns, Mikal Bridges came into this one on fire, but hit just 2-of-6 shots and a 3-pointer for six points, three boards and three assists. Take my money. Deandre Ayton led the way with 25 points and 10 boards, T.J. Warren had 24 points and a fun stat line, and Devin Booker had 20 points, six assists and two 3-pointers in the loss. Kelly Oubre came to life off the bench with 15 points, three boards and a 3-pointer, while De’Anthony Melton and Josh Jackson (fouled out) joined Bridges in a lost night. I still really like Bridges, who was pretty hot in his previous two games. The good news is that he has three more games this week to right the ship. But that’s little solace for those of us who had him in DFS last night.