The Warriors made history on Sunday night as they tied the NBA record for the most wins to begin a season with 15 in a row after their win over the Nuggets. With the 2-11 Lakers next on their schedule, I’m guessing that they break that record. There were some awesome games on Sunday’s schedule with only a few injuries to talk about, so let’s not waste any time and get right to it!
For NBA news and fantasy advice, click here to follow me on Twitter!
Raptors 91, Clippers 80
The Clippers have now lost three straight games and are currently just 6-7 overall, and there was a report after the game that Josh Smith got into a heated verbal exchange with an unspecified coach in the locker room. Tensions are clearly boiling in Los Angeles, but it’s a little worrying that they are panicking this much considering it’s still very early in the season. Call me crazy, but I think that there are some positives to take from all this. For starters, we all know just how competitive the Western Conference is going to be this season, and the race for playoff seeding is going to come down to the wire. Due to their slow start, the Clippers will have no choice but to play their key players heavy minutes down the stretch, so I think this really bodes well for the outlook of guys like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
As for Sunday’s game, Griffin got off to a shaky start due to some early foul trouble and wasn’t able to score in the first half, finishing with nine points, six boards, four assists, two steals and six turnovers in 29 minutes. This was just his second bad game of the season and he is still returning second-round value, so I’m not concerned and you shouldn’t be either. Jordan was great with 13 points, 15 boards and five blocks, but to nobody’s surprise he hit just 1-of-4 from the free throw line. Even I can hit 1-of-4 from the free throw line and I probably wouldn’t have made my high school JV team back in the day.
Paul double-doubled with 13 points, 11 assists, five boards, two steals, one 3-pointer and three turnovers, and it’s safe to say that his groin issue is a thing of the past. The Clippers have limited him to an average of 31.3 minutes over his last three, so expect that number to rise in the coming week. J.J. Redick scored 17 points with three treys, while Jamal Crawford scored just eight points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field.
The Raptors learned on Sunday that they would be without center Jonas Valanciunas (hand) for at least six weeks, so they predictably went with Bismack Biyombo in the starting lineup. The big man didn’t have any blocks which is what he is known for and scored just six points, but he did manage to be dominate on the glass with 14 rebounds. The encouraging thing for his value is that he logged 31 minutes instead of the Raptors choosing to go small, so I think any owner in need of a low-end center should pick him up. Keep in mind that he was averaging 0.9 blocks in 16.9 minutes per game prior to Sunday. Luis Scola also benefited with 20 points and eight boards in 31 minutes, but I have a hard time believing that the 35-year-old veteran will be anywhere near this good on a nightly basis.
Kyle Lowry has been the fifth best player in fantasy and scored 13 points with 10 assists and three steals, while DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 21 points and six boards. However, DeMarre Carroll had the most impressive line of the game with 21 points, five boards, four steals and two 3-pointers. His buy-low window is officially shut and he should be a mid-round guy going forward.
Editor's Note: Sign up for FanDuel today and receive a FREE ENTRY into a one-day fantasy basketball league for real money. Finish anywhere in the top-half to win cash. Enter now.
Nets 111, Celtics 101
The Nets got some revenge on the Celtics after they were beaten by them in their previous outing, and they were led by Brook Lopez who scored 23 points with 10 boards and one steal. His owners will probably have to live in fear because of his injury history, but he’s returning top-40 value right now and should be fine as long as things don’t get too crazy in Brooklyn. Jarrett Jack was solid as usual with 22 points, four boards and four assists, but don’t be surprised to hear his name come up in trade rumors at the deadline. Thaddeus Young double-doubled with 11 points and 12 boards, while Joe Johnson finished with 17 points and three treys in 36 minutes. I hope he enjoys his last season in Brooklyn, but I don’t even want to pay him attention in fantasy leagues. Rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was wonderful with nine points, seven boards, four assists and five steals, and he saw 31 minutes of action for the second straight game. If you want him you will probably have to act now, and I do like his outlook for the rest of the season.
With Marcus Smart (leg) out for at least a couple weeks, Avery Bradley jumped back into the starting lineup and exploded for 27 points, seven treys, four boards and two steals in 40 minutes! The guy is unconscious right now and has been flirting with top-50 value, so sell high if you can. His averages of 20.2 points, 3.2 treys, 2.0 steals and 2.0 assists over his last five games are unsustainable, but be sure to ride him while he is hot. Isaiah Thomas also had 27 points with six assists in 31 minutes, and Smart’s absence will ensure that Thomas and Bradley will have huge workloads for Boston’s upcoming four-game week.
Pelicans 122, Suns 116
Watching Anthony Davis play when he is healthy is a thing of beauty. The superstar scored 32 points with 19 rebounds, one assist, two steals and four blocks to help the Pelicans claim their second straight win. As long as the Pelicans can stay somewhat competitive in the West and Davis can stay healthy, he should be a top-3 asset the rest of the way. Ryan Anderson was coming off two straight 30-point performances and stayed hot with 29 points and four treys in 33 minutes. Even with Davis healthy, Anderson will still get his minutes and is a must-start player. He won’t stay this hot forever, though.
Eric Gordon had another great game with 20 points, four assists and five treys, but you have to wonder how much of a hit his value will take when Tyreke Evans (knee) returns next week. The same can be said for Ish Smith (11 points, nine assists, eight boards, three steals), but he’s been terrific and has even been outplaying Jrue Holiday (eight points, four assists) lately. Smith’s owners should probably be looking to sell high while they still can, but it’s possible that he could still have a nice role when Evans is back.
There was a scary moment on Sunday for the Suns when Eric Bledsoe left the game with a leg injury, but he quickly returned and finished with 29 points, six assists, seven boards, four treys and five turnovers. His leg is fine and his owners have to be thrilled that he is returning first-round value despite a high rate of turnovers. Brandon Knight was solid with 19 points, seven assists, two steals and two treys, but I’m sure Bucks’ fans are thrilled that they traded him away for Michael Carter-Williams, right? Jason Kidd has some explaining to do. Anyways, Markieff Morris got back on track with 17 points, eight boards, one steal, one block and one trey, so this will be a welcome sight for his owners after he failed to score in double digits in his last two outings.
Thunder 117, Mavericks 114
Kevin Durant (hamstring) wasn’t able to play on Sunday, but there were a lot of rumblings around the league that he could return on Monday vs. the Jazz. Russell Westbrook once again took advantage of Durant’s absence and scored 31 points in the win, adding 11 assists, five boards, five steals, one block and two treys. Westbrooks’s numbers won’t be as insane when Durant is back, but he will still be a first-round value. Enes Kanter’s (12 points, seven boards) value will also decline next week, and it’s a little worrying that he played just 23 minutes compared to the 25 minutes that Steven Adams (six points, four boards) saw. Serge Ibaka scored 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting with nine rebounds, one assist and one block, but he is a player who should actually benefit from the return of Durant. Ibaka is still a nice buy-low target.
Dirk Nowitzki was held to just 11 points in the loss, but it was encouraging to see him log 34 minutes. I still expect his minutes to decline at some point, so you may want to try and sell high since he is currently returning top-20 value. Deron Williams continued to impress with 20 points, six assists, six boards, two treys and a steal, but it’s really all about staying healthy with him. Head coach Rick Carlisle hinted on Sunday that Chandler Parsons’ playing time would gradually increase, and he played a season-high 24 minutes with 12 points, three boards and two treys. It will probably be safe to start him in a couple weeks if he approaches 30 minutes per game. Wes Matthews added 18 points and Zaza Pachulia double-doubled with 12 points, 10 boards, six assists and three blocks. Wait, what?
In other news, JaVale McGee (leg) returned to action with eight points and six boards in 11 minutes, but his role will be very limited and I know better than to rely on a seven-foot center who is made entirely out of glass. No thanks.
Warriors 118, Nuggets 105
Stephen Curry has elevated his game to an entirely new level this season, so it’s considered a mild disappointment when he scores just 19 points with seven assists, three steals and three treys in 28 minutes. Klay Thompson kept his foot on the gas pedal with 21 points, seven assists, three boards, one block and four treys, and his fantasy arrow is pointing up now that he is over his back issue. Andre Iguodala stayed hot with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with two 3-pointers, three rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block, and he is a legitimate frontrunner to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He’s adjusting to his bench role a lot better than he did last season, and he is currently returning top-75 value. Draymond Green got into some foul trouble, but he still managed to score 13 points with seven boards, four assists, one block and three treys.
Kenneth Faried sat this one out for the Nuggets due to an ankle sprain, so Darrell Arthur got the start and exploded for 21 points, eight boards and one 3-pointer. To be clear, that will probably never happen again in his life. Besides, Faried could return as soon as Tuesday’s game vs. the Clippers. Nikola Jokic started again and double-doubled with 11 points, 11 boards, two assists, two steals and one block in 27 minutes. The Nuggets have every reason to give Jokic minutes, so I love his outlook going forward. Jusuf Nurkic’s (knee) return will make things interesting, though. Emmanuel Mudiay had 17 points with eight assists, but he struggled with efficiency once again by turning the ball over three times and shooting 6-of-21 from the field. Will Barton, another candidate for the Sixth Man of the year Award, stayed hot with 19 points, six boards, three assists, one steal and one block. The Thrill is a must-start player and is has been a top a top-30 asset.
Blazers 107, Lakers 93
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 30 points and a career-high 13 assists, adding three 3-pointers, six rebounds, two steals and one block in 37 minutes. C.J. McCollum chipped in with 19 points, four boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks, and they are quickly becoming one of the most exciting backcourt combinations in the NBA. McCollum is flirting with top-50 value, and there is still plenty of room for him to grow. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 10 points with six boards, two assists, one 3-pointer and one block, while Mason Plumlee was fantastic with 17 points, 11 boards, four assists, one block and one steal.
Julius Randle was battling some toe soreness prior to Sunday’s game, but he was moving well out there and double-doubled with 13 points and 13 boards. He doesn’t have a lot of upside because he won’t get you many steals or blocks, but he is playing well enough right now to warrant a spot in standard leagues. Kobe Bryant looked sluggish with just 18 points on 6-of-22 shooting, so maybe coach Byron Scott will take a hint and realize that he shouldn’t have played the Black Mamba for 37 minutes on Friday. There are more tough times ahead for Kobe and his owners.
Roy Hibbert produced seven points, eight boards and four blocks, but I’m curious to see if he can keep it up over the course of an 82-game season like he hasn’t been able to do in recent years. D’Angelo Russell is slowly starting to figure out how to play in the NBA and had another nice outing on Sunday, scoring 13 points with nine rebounds, six assists and two treys. He did tweak his ankle in the third quarter, but he played through and it doesn’t sound serious. I’m not ready to trust Russell as a starter in standard leagues yet, but he’s making progress. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with three 3-pointers, four rebounds and one assist, while Lou Williams added 14 points and five boards off the bench.