Talk about a Wild Wednesday! The box scores were brutal, the missed games due to injury are really mounting, and we saw some breakout performances from guys many of you have never heard of. Oh, and Dennis Smith Jr., the guy who couldn’t do anything right and was almost exiled out of Dallas, had a triple-double.
Celtics 126, Hornets 94 – Kyrie Irving was out again with his hip injury, but that just meant more goodies for Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier. Irving should be back on Friday or Sunday, and the Celtics are 6-2 without him this season. Despite coming off the bench, Brown went nuts with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Tatum had 20 points and Rozier finished with 17 points and tied his career high with 10 assists. Al Horford, who came in red hot, kept it going with a 14-7-5-2-2 line on 7-of-9 shooting, Marcus Morris added 15 points and seven boards, and Gordon Hayward had 12 points and a full stat line off the bench. Marcus Smart was the big disappointment here, has he hit just 1-of-6 shots for three points and seven assists, but did have a steal, block and 3-pointer. Smart had played well in his previous two games, but fizzled tonight, and he’s run hot and cold all season. Brown’s been a bit of a mess all season, but has now scored 21 or more in three of his last four games, has hit double digits in scoring in all four of them, and has knocked down nine 3-pointers in them. He’s pretty hard to trust, and Irving’s absence has helped in the last two games, but Brown could stay hot once Irving returns. The only thing I know about the Celtics is that if Irving’s out, Rozier is a must-play.
The Hornets got 21 points from Kemba Walker, but he only had two assists in the blowout loss, Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams barely touched double digits in scoring, and Malik Monk added 16 points and three 3-pointers off the bench. Bismack Biyombo and Jeremy Lamb both started, but posted duds on some poor shooting, and the rest of the Hornets bench was a black hole. Biyombo’s run is likely coming to an end, although he hasn’t really done anything for the last week, as Cody Zeller (hand) should be back within a week. The only Hornets I’m truly interested in owning as of right now are Kemba, Lamb and Batum, although I get a lot of questions about Marvin. Personally, I’d much rather own a young player with upside than Williams, so act accordingly if you agree.
Bulls 105, Heat 89 – The Bulls got big games out of starters Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, while new starter Wayne Selden blew up for a season-high 20 points, a career-high eight assists, a steal and four 3-pointers. I couldn’t be happier about this development, as I started him in my 30-team league this week after losing Victor Oladipo. Zach LaVine sat this one out with an ankle injury, but with Chandler Hutchinson (toe) also injured, Selden’s been getting nice run of late and has started in three straight games for the Bulls. They could gut their roster at the trade deadline, so Selden is suddenly on the deep-league radar. Bobby Portis got loose for 26 points, four rebounds, two assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. It was really starting to look like he wasn’t going to catch a break with Jabari Parker back in the rotation, Robin Lopez starting at center, and Lauri Markkanen playing out of his mind over the last few weeks. But Portis got up 14 shots tonight and made 10 of them, and if the Bulls gut their roster, he could be day-after winner at the deadline. Speaking of Parker, he played just 14 minutes and missed his only shot, finishing with zero points. The emergence of Selden hurts Jabari, and he’s also very likely to be traded soon, making him tough to trust and use right now.
For the Heat, Derrick Jones Jr. (knees) has been shut down for the next six weeks and Dwyane Wade was held out to rest. They had several mediocre performances from guys like Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo. James Johnson was useless with two points in 18 minutes, and Hassan Whiteside lasted just 15 minutes before having his plug pulled due to a combination of the blowout, Erik Spoelstra’s wacky rotation, and foul trouble, but still managed eight points, nine boards and a block before leaving. Kelly Olynyk also played 23 minutes and had six points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, finally getting back into the rotation over his last two games, while Bam Adebayo added 13 boards and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. Despite this team being an utter disaster, they still sit at the No. 7 seed in the East, which says something about their conference. I still (sort of) trust Winslow, Whiteside, Richardson and Tyler Johnson, but not any farther than I can throw them. I don’t really trust anyone on this team right now and it’s just one big fantasy mess. Winslow, Ellington, Richardson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson all shot it very poorly, and if you own Heat players, the best you can do is cross your fingers and put them in your lineup, or start hunting for hot free agents. What an embarrassing blowout loss this was, and what a frustrating fantasy situation they are to deal with.
Mavericks 114, Knicks 90 – Harrison Barnes, Luka Doncic, Wesley Matthews and Dirk Nowitzki (season-high 14 points and two 3-pointers in just 12 minutes) all played well for Dallas, while Dennis Smith Jr. somehow had 13 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists for his the second triple-double of his career. Thanks, Knicks. DSJ has been great since returning from his wrist injury and trade scare, and has scored 13-plus points in all four games since returning, and has looked like a different player. If he’s somehow still available in your league, go get him. Outside of the Nowitzki fluke, the Mavs’ bench did nothing, but all five starters (DSJ, Luka, Barnes, DeAndre Jordan and Matthews) are worth owning in almost any league. Jordan was disappointing with six points, nine boards and no blocks, snapping a streak of five games in double-digit scoring (and four double-doubles in those five).
For the Knicks, Noah Vonleh played just 14 disappointing minutes in the blowout, and Tim Hardaway scored just six points in 28 minutes on 2-of-11 shooting. On the bright side, Kevin Knox hit 6-of-16 shots for 17 points, five rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer, and might use his All-Star Weekend snub as motivation, making him worth a look. Trey Burke had 16 points, three assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in the start at point guard, and can be picked up, and Mario Hezonja and Allonzo Trier were decent off the bench. Mitchell Robinson had just four points, but also had seven rebounds, a steal and four more blocks. He’s good for blocks, but that’s about it. Enes Kanter finally got into a game and had five points in nine minutes. Woohoo! The Knicks are another team full of guys impossible to trust, but Burke and Knox are probably worth grabbing, Mitchell can be held if you need the blocks, and Hardaway should still be owned despite the stumble. Trier is intriguing, but not reliable from night to night. The Knicks are painful to write about, so I’m going to stop.
Wizards 107, Pacers 89 – Bradley Beal was the only Wizards starter to play well (25-6-6 on 9-of-15 shooting with two 3-pointers), while Jeff Green (23-5-6), Chasson Randle (13 points) and Jordan McRae (12 points) were solid off the bench. Sam Dekker had eight points and nine boards off the bench, and Trevor Ariza did some nice work, but scored just 12 points. The fact the Wizards won so easily over the Pacers is a bit surprising when looking at the box score. Otto Porter lasted just 16 minutes before leaving with a sprained big left toe that will leave him day-to-day, which is more good news for Jeff Green. Green’s worth grabbing if you’re surfing the waiver wire. Thomas Bryant had just six points, three boards and a block in 19 minutes, and Tomas Satoransky had just three points and six dimes in 23 minutes. To say Wednesday night was a weird one is an understatement, but the Wizards righted the ship after getting embarrassed by the Cavaliers on Tuesday. Bryant’s been quiet lately and I’d rather own most of the Lakers centers, Jahlil Okafor, or Ante Zizic at this point. Sato will bounce back.
The Pacers fell down early and never got up, as Thaddeus Young led them in scoring with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a block and a 3-pointer. Bojan Bogdanovic, T.J. Leaf and Doug McDermott all scored 12, Domantas Sabonis and Aaron Holiday scored 10, Myles Turner had nine points and six boards, and Darren Collison fizzled with three points and two assists on 1-of-7 shooting. Tyreke Evans was out with back injury and isn’t even traveling with the team, so I say drop him. The Pacers are starting a gentleman named Edmond Sumner at SG and he had seven points in 22 minutes. The Pacers you want to own, in order, are Turner, Collison, Young, Bogdanovic and Sabonis, while you can keep an eye on Holiday and Sumner. But without Victor Oladipo, like most of the other teams I’ve slugged through tonight, the Pacers are a mess and are 0-3 without Oladipo.
Timberwolves 99, Grizzlies 97 OT – Karl-Anthony Towns was in foul trouble and finished with just 16 points (all in the second half), 10 rebounds and zero blocks, but also hit a desperation game-winner at the buzzer in OT. Jerryd Bayless started at point guard and had 19 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 12 assists in the win, logging just the fifth double-double of his career. With Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones still banged up, Bayless is a must-own player right now. Andrew Wiggins and Taj Gibson both had solid stat lines, while starter Josh Okogie was disappointing with five points and not much more in his 20 minutes. And there wasn’t much to see on the Wolves’ bench. This was another relatively gross box score on a weird night. I have no idea when we might see Teague (foot), Rose (ankle) or Jones (ankle) again. Newcomer Isaiah Canaan is Bayless’ backup and had three points in 13 minutes.
For the Grizzlies, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Kyle Anderson all played well in the starting lineup, and Jaren Jackson Jr. powered through an illness and added nine points, five boards and a block before fouling out in 22 minutes. And then there was Justin Holiday, who missed all 10 of his shots and failed to score in 23 minutes. He’s been pretty bad and I don’t think the return of Anderson is going to do him any favors. JaMychal Green played five minutes while dealing with sore knees (I’ve dropped him), and Ivan Rabb, who had done absolutely nothing in his previous five games, had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Just keep an eye on him in case he doesn’t disappear this time.
Nuggets 105, Pelicans 99 – Jamal Murray missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle, and starters Will Barton and Gary Harris combined to hit just 6-of-23 shots, but the Nuggets still beat the Pelicans. Nikola Jokic went off for a 20-13-10 triple-double (his eighth of the season!), Monte Morris, filling in for Murray, went off for a 20-7-7-2 line, and Paul Millsap had 13 points, eight boards and two blocks in the win. Morris looks like a must-own player as long as Murray is out. Malik Beasley stayed hot off the bench with 22 points and four triples on 9-of-14 shooting. If you need to drop Harris, feel free, while Morris and Beasley should be owned right now.
For the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday had a 22-6-6 line, and unknown Kenrich Williams came off the bench for a career-high 21 points, eight boards, three assists, two blocks and five 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting. Unreal. Darius Miller, Jahlil Okafor, Frank Jackson and Tim Frazier all contributed nicely for the Pelicans, and I don’t think we’ll see Anthony Davis in uniform for them again before they move him. Holiday and Okafor are must-own players, while Jackson, Williams and Miller are all worth a look. The Pelicans are going to look like a G-League team until they trade Davis. In addition to Davis, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore (rest) were all out tonight, and most of them are going to miss more time.
Blazers 132, Jazz 105 – Jusuf Nurkic was out with a sore knee, forcing Meyers Leonard into the starting unit and he came through with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers. If Nurk-Alert misses more time, Leonard’s worth a flier in DFS and standard leagues. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both went crazy, combining for 66 points on 24-of-38 shooting with 12 3-pointers, 11 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals between them. Lillard missed his first triple-double by just two rebounds and sat out for a big chunk of the fourth quarter. Al-Farouq Aminu disappeared with two points, but isn’t hurt, and Zach Collins and Jake Layman played well off the bench.
All five Jazz starters (Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert, Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell) scored in double figures, but none of them had a standout line. The bench was also nearly invisible in this one, and Utah’s usually stout defense decided to the take the night off in this one.
Kings 135, Hawks 113 – In yet one more crazy box score, De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley Stein and Iman Shumpert failed to score in double figures, while over on the bench, Harry Giles came through with a career-high 20 points and seven boards on 10-of-12 shooting, Marvin Bagley had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Bogdan Bogdanovic had a 16-4-7 line, and Yogi Ferrell added 11 points and four assists. Nemanja Bjelica showed signs of life with 12 points, eight boards, a steal and two 3-pointers, and is somehow still starting over Bagley. And Buddy Hield had 18 points, four 3-pointers and a full stat line in the easy win. Fox, Hield, WCS, Bagley and Bogdanovic should all be owned, while Giles might be worth a deep-league grab in case he stays hot. I love Bjelica’s game, but I simply cannot trust him these days – especially with Bagley and Giles really starting to come on.
For the Hawks, Trae Young stayed hot with 23 points, eight dimes and four triples, John Collins struggled with his shot on his way to 14 points and seven boards, and starters DeAndre Bembry and Kevin Huerter each scored 11 points. Taurean Prince and Jeremy Lin had 11 off the bench and Alex Len had 13, while the Hawks welcomed Kent Bazemore back from his ankle injury. He had nine points in 19 minutes, and I’m not racing to pick him up, as there just seems to be too much competition for minutes on the wings on this team. Dewayne Dedmon started and had five points, nine boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in 24 minutes. This game was over after the second quarter, but the Hawks you have to own are Collins and Young, while Bembry, Dedmon, Huerter and Prince should be owned in most leagues. Len, Lin and Bazemore are luxury holds, in my mind.