Historic Harden & The Return of the Manimal
James Harden extended his 30-plus-point streak to 22 on Friday, netting 35 points on 9-of-25 shooting (15-of-15 from the stripe), to go with two 3-pointers, two rebounds, seven assists, one swat and four turnovers across 40 minutes in a 121-119 win over the Raptors. The only person to ever post a longer streak goes by the name of Wilt Chamberlain (who owns the unbeatable record of 65-straight), but if Harden can do this four more times, he’ll own the second-longest 30-plus-point streak in NBA history.
James Harden's incredible scoring streak continues! 🔥
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2019
Kenneth Faried also had an excellent game with 21 points (8-of-11 FGs, 5-of-9 FTs), 14 rebounds and two swats through 38 minutes as a starter, and he should continue to churn out stat lines like these while Clint Capela (thumb) is on the sidelines. He’s a perfect fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system and it’s absurd to me that he’s still owned in under 50% of Yahoo! Leagues. The Manimal has returned.
MVP No. 2
Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 14 points in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game to power the Bucks to victory over the Hornets, finishing with 34 points (14-of-21 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs), 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals, three swats and two turnovers across 38 minutes. So, pretty much par for the course for the No. 2 man in the MVP race this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns popped off for 33 points (12-of-19 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs), 10 rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers, one steal, three blocks and three turnovers across 29 minutes in a narrow loss to the Jazz. He saw his usage rate rise to 37.3 with Jeff Teague (foot) and Derrick Rose (ankle) unavailable, and he should continue to ball out while those guys are on the sidelines.
Luka Doncic led the Mavs to a 106-101 win over the Pistons on Friday with 32 points (9-of-19 FGs, 11-of-13 FTs), eight rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, two steals, one block and four turnovers in 35 minutes. He became just the third teenager over the past 35 years to post a 32-8-8 line, joining the ranks of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. This kid is a monster, and he’ll be a stud in fantasy hoops for many years to come.
Enes Kanter picked up his second consecutive DNP-CD on Friday. He should be stashed through the deadline, but it looks like he’ll be dead roster space until Feb. 7.
On the Radar
Larry Nance Jr. (knee) went 3-of-8 from the field in his return from an eight-game absence on his way to six points, five rebounds, one steal, one block and one turnover in 21 minutes off the bench. He’s going to be eased back into things, but posting averages of 11.4 points, 9.0 boards, 3.9 dimes, 1.8 steals and 0.8 swats in 29 minutes a night across 16 games in December, he should be owned in all leagues now that he’s healthy again.
Ante Zizic wasn’t all that affected by the return of Nance, as he remained in the starting lineup and finished with 11 points (4-of-7 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover in 27 minutes of floor time. Tristan Thompson (foot) is out for at least the next few weeks, and Kevin Love (toe) is still a ways away, so Nance Jr. and Zizic should hold their value while they man the five-spot in Cleveland.
Cedi Osman busted loose for 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting (4-of-5 from the stripe) to go with three 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and one turnover in 39 minutes. I’ve been skeptical of Osman this season, but he’s been in a nice groove through the month of January with averages of 13.8 points, 3.2 boards, 2.1 assists, 1.8 triples, 1.0 steal and 1.8 turnovers per game on 48.1% shooting from the field and 81.8% from the stripe. Give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Frank Ntilikina got the start on Friday with Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) unavailable and put up four points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and one turnover in 19 minutes. Trey Burke came off the bench for 25 points (10-of-19 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), five assists, two steals, one block and one turnover; and Allonzo Trier was also effective with the second unit, finishing with 13 points (4-of-6 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), two 3-pointers, one rebound, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 24 minutes. All these guys will see more minutes over the next few weeks while Mudiay is out, and they’re all on the radar in deep leagues.
Mitchell Robinson swatted another four shots in 16 minutes off the bench to go with six points, four rebounds and just two fouls. He has immense potential as a shot blocker, and he rarely commits turnovers, so he’s an ideal shot-blocking specialist to own in 9-cat leagues. He’s looking at nothing but opportunity in New York, and if he could just figure out how to stay on the floor, I think he could be a monster down the stretch. Though an imperfect stat, Robinson’s per-36 numbers of 10.6 points, 8.1 boards and 3.9 swats per game give us a glimpse of his upside.
Speaking of shot blocking specialists with big second-half potential, Mo Bamba sent away another three shots on Friday on his way to six points, nine rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 17 minutes off the bench. If Nikola Vucevic gets dealt at the deadline, Bamba would immediately become must-own in all leagues.
Tyler Johnson played well in another start, scoring nine points on 4-of-9 shooting to go with one 3-pointer, two rebounds, six assists, two steals and two turnovers in 31 minutes. Over the past two games as a starter, Johnson has put forth averages of 12.0 points, 5.5 dimes, 1.0 triple, 1.0 steal, 0.5 swats and just 1.5 turnovers per game on 45% shooting. Goran Dragic (knee) is getting back any time soon, so the starting job is Johnson’s to lose, and he’s on the radar in deep leagues.
Shabazz Napier logged 28 minutes off the bench on his way to 18 points (3-of-13 FGs, 11-of-12 FTs), two rebounds, two assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and two turnovers. Spencer Dinwiddie is debating whether or not to undergo thumb surgery, and if he does opt for the procedure, Napier would pick up most of his minutes. The shooting percentages aren’t always great, but Napier is capable of filling it up when given the minutes, so he’s someone to consider as a speculative add in deeper settings. Dinwiddie owners should view him as a handcuff.
Jerryd Bayless logged 40 minutes as the defacto starter on Friday with Jeff Teague (sore left foot), Derrick Rose (sore right ankle) and Tyus Jones (left ankle sprain) all unavailable and finished with 11 points (4-of-14 FGs), eight rebounds, five assists, three 3-pointers, one steal, one block and three turnovers. He could again be forced into heavy minutes on Sunday if the other guys can’t play, in which case, he’d make for an attractive streamer in deep leagues.
Nemanja Bjelica (back) double-doubled in his return from a one-game absence, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting (1-of-3 from the line) to go with 11 rebounds, two assists, four 3-pointers, one steal, three blocks and one turnover through 33 minutes as a starter. With the 17-point performance, he busted an eight-game streak of being confined to single digits in the scoring department, so I’d like to see him do it again before recommending him as an add in standard settings. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues, though. Just don’t cut anyone with long-term value, as Bjelica’s been woefully inconsistent this season, and I could see him losing minutes to Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley down the stretch once the Kings fall out of the playoff hunt.
Josh Jackson went 5-of-14 from the field and 6-of-7 from the line on his way to 17 points, one 3-pointer, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two turnovers across 30 minutes as a starter. T.J. Warren (ankle) won’t be back for another 2-3 weeks, so Jackson should continue to start, and if you’re okay with some lame shooting, he’s worth a look.
Dragan Bender scored 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting (1-of-1 from the line) to go with five rebounds, two assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and two turnovers through 32 minutes as a starter. He’ll continue to start for however long Deandre Ayton (ankle) and Richaun Holmes (foot) are out, which puts him on the radar in deep leagues.
Mikal Bridges hit 2-of-6 shots on his way to four points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and zero turnovers across 35 minutes. He won’t do much for you in the points department, but Bridges’ elite potential in the defensive categories makes him worth owning in deep leagues.
Derrick Jones Jr. benefitted with Dion Waiters (migraine) on the sidelines, scoring 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting (1-of-3 from the stripe) to go with 10 rebounds, one 3-pointer and a block in 23 minutes off the bench. He’s been great when he’s received meaningful minutes this season, but Miami’s crowded backcourt and Erik Spoelstra’s fickle rotations have hurt him. He’s worth a look in deep leagues, but his role is too inconsistent for him to warrant a pickup in shallower settings.
Jeff Green had another productive outing as a starter, scoring 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go with six rebounds, six triples, three assists and two turnovers in 38 minutes. He’s been playing some great ball since the calendar switched to 2019, posting averages of 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 treys and 1.7 turnovers per game on 44.4% shooting while rocking an 18.8 usage rate. He’s locked into big minutes with Markieff Morris (neck) and Dwight Howard (back) out, and as long as he’s playing this well, he’s worth owning in most leagues.
Jabari Parker (knee) put up 15 points, four rebounds, two triples, three assists, one steal and one block in 23 minutes off the bench in his return from a one-game absence. He’ll be in the rotation with Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) is out, and he could be traded to a better situation at the deadline (maybe the Knicks), so he could be someone to think about stashing in deep leagues. Just know, he really won’t help you much outside of points, and his turnovers will hurt you in 9-cat settings. His value is dramatically better in points formats, though.
Spencer Dinwiddie is dealing with a torn ligament in his right thumb, and he’s debating whether or not to undergo surgery. Dinwiddie could try and fight through the pain in order to delay the procedure until the offseason, but if he does decide to go under the knife that would be roughly 4-6 weeks on the sidelines. Owners should hang on until an official decision is made – Shabazz Napier makes sense as a speculative add in competitive leagues.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went to the locker room after knocking noggins with Noah Vonleh and did not return, and it’s possible he suffered a concussion. The Nets are off until Monday, but if he’s put under the concussion protocol testing, there’s a chance he’ll need to miss that one. Jared Dudley (hamstring) doesn’t sound close, so if RHJ and Dudley are out on Monday, there will be ample minutes for DeMarre Carroll and Rodions Kurucs.
Emmanuel Mudiay will miss the next two weeks of action with a left shoulder strain. Frank Ntilikina got the start in his place on Friday, but knowing David Fizdale, the Knicks will likely be rotating the starting PG-spot between Ntilikina, Trey Burke and maybe even Allonzo Trier while Mudiay is out. Mudiay was having a good season, but he hasn’t been anything more than a late-round guy, so he’s a cut-candidate in leagues that don’t offer an IR-spot.
Jeff Teague (sore left foot), Derrick Rose (sore right ankle) and Tyus Jones (left ankle sprain) did not play Friday, and Gorgui Dieng exited the game with a left hip contusion and did not return, so those guys should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Jazz. Jerryd Bayless got the start as the only healthy point guard on the roster and he’s worth a look in deep leagues.
Kawhi Leonard (rest) returned from a weeklong layoff and came through with 32 points, seven boards, five dimes, three treys, two steals and six turnovers across 39 minutes. With Leonard back in action, Fred VanVleet returned to the second unit where he finished with eight points, four rebounds, four assists and two turnovers in 21 minutes off the bench. The Raptors don’t have another back-to-back until March, so maybe at that point, Leonard will be cleared to play in consecutive games.
Danny Green is scheduled to undergo an MRI (and maybe an X-ray) on his left hand on Saturday. He was great on Friday with 22 points, six trey-bombs, one rebound, one assist and a block, but was seen icing his hand after the game and said he was experiencing numbness. Hopefully, this is nothing, but if Green needs to miss time, Fred VanVleet would likely find himself back in the starting five.
OG Anunoby (personal) was also back in action on Friday, but he didn’t do anything worth writing about.
Anthony Davis (finger) and Nikola Mirotic (calf) will not play on Saturday vs. the Spurs, and Julius Randle (ankle) is questionable. If Randle is forced to join AD and Mirotic on the sidelines, I’d expect Jahlil Okafor, Darius Miller and E’Twaun Moore (back from his rest day) to start, while Jrue Holiday will see a massive spike in usage. Moore, Miller and Okafor are all the radar in deep leagues.
Kemba Walker exited Friday’s game late in the fourth quarter with a mild neck strain and did not return, but with the Hornets off until Monday, he might not need to miss any additional time.
DeMar DeRozan (knee) and Davis Bertans (personal) won’t play on Saturday while LaMarcus Aldridge (wrist) is questionable. If LMA is forced to join DeRozan and Bertans on the sidelines, Rudy Gay would likely emerge as the No. 1 option on offense, Marco Belinelli could get a start, and there will be more minutes for Pau Gasol and Jakob Poeltl.
Jimmy Butler visited with a wrist specialist in Friday and is doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Nuggets. Wilson Chandler (hamstring) and Joel Embiid (rest) have already been ruled out, so Ben Simmons figures to be extremely busy on offense while Mike Muscala and Corey Brewer are likely to start. Brewer and Muscala make sense as deep league streamers.
Kyrie Irving (flu) practiced with the team on Friday and is off the injury report for Saturday’s game against the Warriors. He’ll play, which will shift Terry Rozier back to the second unit. Al Horford will also be back from his rest day, which will shift Aron Baynes back to the second unit.
Tristan Thompson is expected to miss roughly the next two weeks of action as he rehabs his sore left foot. He reportedly came back too early the first time, so the Cavs will be extra cautious in bringing him back this time around, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see his absence extend beyond that two-week window. With no clear return date in sight, he’s not worth hanging onto in most leagues.
Danilo Gallinari (back) missed his fourth consecutive game on Friday and he should be considered questionable at best for Sunday’s matchup with Sacramento. Sunday’s game will be the first of a back-to-back set, so if he is able to get back out there, I imagine he’d skip Monday’s game vs. Atlanta, or visa-versa. Patrick Beverley has been starting in his absence while Tobias Harris and Lou Williams have been asked to do more on offense. Expect that trend to continue.
Chris Paul (hamstring) did not play Friday, but per sources of Tim MacMahon of ESPN, there’s “almost a 100%” chance that he’ll be back in action on Sunday vs. the Magic. Austin Rivers and/or Eric Gordon will return to the second unit once he’s back, and James Harden will be less likely to average 40 points per game.
Andre Drummond (concussion) returned from a three-game stint on the sidelines and produced 23 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and a turnover across 38 minutes. He should be fine moving forward.
Ish Smith (groin) missed his fourth straight game on Friday and he should be considered questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Bucks.
De’Aaron Fox (toe) put up 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, one 3-pointer, one steal and seven turnovers across 36 minutes in his return from a one-game absence. He’s fine.
Deandre Ayton (ankle), Richaun Holmes (foot), De’Anthony Melton (ankle) and T.J. Warren (ankle) did not play Friday and they (excluding Warren, who is out for 2-3 weeks) should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lakers. The Suns went with a starting five featuring Elie Okobo, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges and Dragan Bender on Friday night, and I’d expect the same starting group on Sunday if Ayton, Holmes, Melton and Warren can’t play.
Garrett Temple exited Friday’s game with left shoulder soreness and did not return, leaving his status up in the air for Saturday’s game against the Pacers. If he’s out, Shelvin Mack could enter the starting five and Justin Holiday should get all the run he can handle.
Kyle Kuzma revealed on Friday that he’s been playing through a hip strain since Jan. 19, but he’s been pushing through the pain over the past two games, and I’d expect that trend to continue on Sunday.
Kevin Huerter (sore neck) is probable to play on Saturday against the Trail Blazers. He only missed two games, so he shouldn’t be dealing with any sort of minutes limit, and his return could push DeAndre Bembry back to the second unit.
Dion Waiters (migraine) did not play Friday, but I imagine he’ll be able to get back out there for Sunday’s game in New York.
Jarred Vanderbilt (foot surgery) made his NBA debut on Friday, finishing with one points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in four minutes off the bench. He won’t be a fantasy factor this year.
Nik Stauskas (knee) is doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Hawks.
Isaiah Briscoe (ankle) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game in Houston.
Joakim Noah (personal) logged 21 minutes off the bench in his return from a three-game absence, finishing with seven points, seven rebounds, one steal and one turnover. He’s injured way too much to pay him any attention in fantasy hoops.
Tony Parker was rested on Friday, but he’ll be back out there for Monday’s game against the Knicks.