What a night! The NBA is never boring when Stephen Curry is on the schedule, but all three of the Thursday night games were a ton of fun. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade led the Heat to an important win against the Kings, Matthew Dellavedova stole the show in a win over the Bucks and Stephen Curry and Draymond Green helped the Warriors stay unbeaten with a massive comeback win over the Clippers. Chris Paul (groin), Jabari Parker (foot) and O.J. Mayo (hamstring) all returned from their injuries, but it wasn’t all good news as Rudy Gay and Timofey Mozgov both went down with shoulder issues. Let’s get right to the action!
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Heat 116, Kings 109
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined for 47 points on Thursday as the Heat improved to 7-4 on the season. Wade added six assists, five boards and two steals while Bosh had 11 boards and two treys, but the Heat got a huge performance out of Tyler Johnson who scored 19 points with three assists and three treys in 25 minutes off the bench. Miami hasn’t been getting consistent production from Justise Winslow and Gerald Green off the bench, so with Mario Chalmers no longer around it’s certainly possible that Johnson could become the team’s sixth man. He’s one more good game away from standard-league consideration in my opinion.
Hassan Whiteside got off to a painfully slow start due to a couple of quick fouls, but he bounced back in the second half and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, two steals and four blocks in just 18 minutes. His durability scares me, but there is no reason to consider selling high because he is currently returning first-round value. Luol Deng was coming off a 20-point performance against the Wolves, but he predictably fell back to earth and had just eight points on 1-of-7 shooting. He did add a couple of steals and blocks, but he is nothing more than a low-end asset moving forward. Goran Dragic couldn’t get anything going against the Kings with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, but he did have six assists and I’m hopeful that the Heat will rely on him a lot down the stretch. He wasn’t cheap this summer, so the Heat will find a way to get him going.
The Kings had to face the Heat without DeMarcus Cousins because he thought it would be a good idea to elbow Al Horford in the jaw on Wednesday, but it was just a one-game suspension and he will be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Magic. However, things took a turn for the worse when Rudy Gay was forced the leave game with a shoulder injury, and the Kings have already announced that he will undergo an MRI. I’m not a doctor so I won’t speculate on a timetable, but Omri Casspi and Marco Belinelli would be very intriguing pickups if Gay has to miss time. Casspi finished with 16 points, six boards, one block, one steal and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes, while Belinelli scored 23 points with five 3-pointers in 26 minutes. I personally think that Belinelli has more upside, but Casspi could have the edge because he figures to see the most playing time.
Rajon Rondo nearly recorded his fifth triple-double of the season with an NBA season-high 18 assists, 12 points, nine boards, one steal and two treys in 40 minutes. The return of Darren Collison hasn’t had a negative impact on Rondo just yet, but that could change quickly if things continue to fall apart in Sacramento. Collison only scored nine points with one assist in 21 minutes, but coach George Karl is probably just easing him back into action and I still consider him to be a must-own player.
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Cavaliers 115, Bucks 100
Mo Williams was ruled out due to lower leg soreness, so Matthew Dellavedova drew the start for the Cavs and responded with seven points and handed out a career-high 13 assists. Williams is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Hawks, so give Delly a look in deeper leagues if Williams is held out again. J.R. Smith is heating up again and had 18 points with four 3-pointers, and he looks like he is poised to go on a hot streak. LeBron James scored 27 points with nine rebounds, six assists and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes, but keep in mind that his value should decline after the All-Star break and it’s possible that he could have some maintenance days coming his way. It also doesn’t help that the Cavs are off to a fast start.
Kevin Love had 22 points with 15 boards, one assist, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers, but his owners should brace themselves for a dip in production when Kyrie Irving (knee) returns. Timofey Mozgov left the game with a shoulder injury and he is expected to undergo an MRI, so it’s certainly possible that he misses time. Mozgov hasn’t been playing well and his minutes have been hovering around the low 20s, so I don’t blame you if you decide to move on. I guess the Mozgov we saw in the NBA Finals last season doesn’t exist anymore. Tristan Thompson will benefit the most if Mozgov misses time and he produced 12 points with 11 assists and one steal, so he’s worth a speculative pickup.
Jabari Parker returned from a right foot sprain and played a season-high 31 minutes, so I’m guessing his foot and knee are progressing well. He scored 14 points with three rebounds, one assist and one block, and his owners should finally be able to start him in maybe a week or two. Giannis Antetokounmpo went off for a career-high 33 points in the loss, adding five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 40 minutes. The Greek Freak hit all eight of his free throws and didn’t have any turnovers, and he is still on track to return third-round value to his owners. It also helps that Jason Kidd is letting him do his thing this season, and I can’t imagine how good this dude is going to be in five years.
Michael Carter-Williams posted a boring line of just nine points, five assists, one board and two turnovers in 27 minutes, and Kidd has shown that he won’t hesitate to pull him if he isn’t performing. His owners should be very concerned as Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez are legitimate threats to his minutes moving forward. How bad does that Brandon Knight trade look right now? Anyways, Khris Middleton scored 15 points with four assists before fouling out in 32 minutes, and it doesn’t look like he is going to live up the lofty expectations that his owners had for him. I still think he will get it going eventually, so he is a nice buy-low target. Greg Monroe scored 17 points with eight rebounds, one assist and two steals in 34 minutes, but his owners are probably expecting more considering he had 22 or more points in three out of his first four games of the season. O.J. Mayo (hamstring) made his season debut with three points in 14 minutes, but this isn’t 2012 and I have no interest in adding him in any format.
Warriors 124, Clippers 117
Despite trailing by 23 points, you just knew that the Warriors would find a way to pull out a win. Stephen Curry wasn’t even at his best, yet he still managed to pour in 40 points with 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes to help his team improve to 13-0. He was a little careless with the ball at times and had seven turnovers which has been a major problem for him lately, but he has still been the No. 1 player in fantasy and it’s not even close. I’m sure there will be some who disagree, but what Curry is doing at the moment is incredible and I truly believe that he is the best player in the NBA right now.
Draymond Green got into some early foul trouble, but he inspired the Warriors after halftime and finished with 19 points, nine assists, six boards, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. He’s returning first-round value right now and he is on pace to lead the Warriors in assists per game. He’s one of the best two-way players in the league. Klay Thomson continues to improve and scored 25 points with three treys and two assists, so I’m guessing that his buy-low window is firmly shut. Harrison Barnes really wants that new contract as evidenced by his 21-point performance with seven boards and three treys, and he is quietly returning sixth-round value to his owners. Andrew Bogut will have a big game once in a while, but going up against DeAndre Jordan didn’t do him any favors and he scored just two points with two assists in 20 minutes. Own him at your own risk.
The Clippers were happy to have Chris Paul (groin) back in their lineup after a two-game absence, and he came out firing with 18 points in the first quarter. He finished the game with 35 points, eight assists, four boards and five treys, and it certainly didn’t look his groin was bothering him at all. The Clippers do play again on Friday vs. Portland, so keep a close eye on the injury report in case they decide to hold him out. J.J. Redick missed his third straight game with a bad back, so Jamal Crawford stayed relevant with 15 points, five boards, two assists and one 3-pointer in 40 minutes.
Blake Griffin turned in an awesome 9-cat line with 27 points, six boards, five assists, one steal, one block and his first 3-pointer of the season, and he has been a top-10 play in standard leagues so far. DeAndre Jordan was quiet with nine points, 10 boards and a steal, and this was actually the first game of the season that he failed to block a shot. He will have a much easier time against the Blazers on Friday.