Games Played Week 19
4 Games: BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIA, NOP, PHI, PHX, SAC, TOR, UTA
3 Games: ATL, DET, IND, LAC, MIL, MIN, NYK, OKC, ORL, POR, SAN, WAS
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James Harden’s Rockets beat the Cavaliers on Sunday in overtime, as LeBron James had a meltdown shooting the ball from everywhere on the court. Harden hit 8-of-18 shots, 15-of-18 free throws and a couple 3-pointers for 33 points, eight boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks in the 105-103 win. M-V-P?
LeBron never got his shot going and missed a pair of free throws at the end of OT that cost his team the game. He hit just 15-of-35 shots, 4-of-12 3-pointers and 3-of-11 free throws, but still somehow finished with 37 points, eight boards, four assists, three steals and three blocks in the loss. James and Harden got tangled up a couple times, once when James wouldn’t let Harden get up off the floor, and another when Harden kicked James right in the batteries, earning a flagrant foul.
Terrence Jones was solid again with 19 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer for the Rockets, while Kevin Love had 21 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers in the loss. Tristan Thompson came out of nowhere for 14 points, a season-high 19 boards, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. The Rockets are currently playing without a center, so the Cavs were able to bench Timofey Mozgov and turn Thompson loose. I doubt he plays anywhere near this well again any time soon.
DeAndre Jordan kept it rolling on Sunday with nine points, 26 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and Chris Paul went off for 28 points and 12 assists on 12-of-19 shooting. Spencer Hawes finally woke up with 14 points, nine boards, a steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers. That’s the line we thought he’d start posting when Blake Griffin went down, and hopefully this is a sign he’s about to get it going. And if Jordan doesn’t win Defensive Player of the Year, I give up. J.J. Redick suffered a knee injury and had X-rays after the game on Sunday. They came back negative, so consider him iffy for play on Monday night. If he's out, Jamal Crawford becomes a nice daily option. Matt Barnes also suffered a hamstring injury, and is questionable as well.
The Bulls got a career-high 29 points along with nine rebounds, a block and two 3-pointers from Nikola Mirotic, who did most of his damage in the second half. I need to see him do it again before I’m biting. The news of the night for the Bulls was a hyperextended left elbow for Jimmy Butler. He’ll have an MRI on Monday and if he’s going to miss time, it’s Tony Snell time. Mike Dunleavy, who was great in his last game, fell back to earth with three points, four rebounds and an assist, and you just can’t trust him this season, even if Butler’s out. However, he might be worth a daily flier if that’s the case, but Snell is still the guy I’d roll the dice on if Butler is out. Snell had 13 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes.
Blazers stop Kings 110-99
LaMarcus Aldridge’s wrist is feeling good again and he had 26 points and 15 boards. Teammate Damian Lillard went off for 31 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three 3-pointers, but Nicolas Batum stunk it up last night, hitting 1-of-6 shots for two points, four boards, five assists and a steal. If your team survived that line, he should bounce back in the next one.
DeMarcus Cousins missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, while Rudy Gay had 24 points and eight boards in the loss. Ray McCallum was serviceable with 12 points and five assists, and Derrick Williams came out of nowhere for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but also didn’t do much else on the night. Carl Landry and Jason Thompson both started for the banged up Kings, but didn’t do much of anything. Hopefully, Cousins is back for Tuesday at the Knicks.
Warriors struggle, pull off big comeback win against Celtics
Stephen Curry went off for 37 points, four rebounds, five assists, a steal and five 3-pointers, while Klay Thompson added 20 points, but hit just 2-of-10 3-pointers. The Warriors overcame a 26-point deficit for the biggest comeback in the NBA season, thanks mostly ot Curry. Harrison Barnes was uncharacteristically nice with 17 points, eight boards and three 3-pointers, but I’m not convinced he’ll do it again any time soon. Draymond Green double-doubled with 14 points, 11 boards, four assists, three blocks and two 3-pointers, but hit just 4-of-13 shots. Despite the shooting, it was nice to see a fat line from him. Andrew Bogut did next to nothing and sounds like a serious ‘rest’ candidate on Monday. If you want to drop him, I’m OK with it, while Marreese Speights will be an interesting daily play if Bogut’s out.
The Celtics were weird, as usual, getting 15 & 12 from Brandon Bass, 17 points, six boards and a block from Tyler Zeller (Kelly Olynyk is still out with his ankle injury), and Marcus Smart added 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. Evan Turner filled the stat sheet again with 10 points, nine boards, six assists and a steal on 4-of-12 shooting, Jae Crowder came through with nine points and a career-high 17 rebounds, but hit just 4-of-17 shots and 1-of-7 3-pointers, and Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and five dimes off the bench. Jonas Jerebko, who had been hot for two straight games, was a dud with three points, two boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in just 12 minutes. So much for that. It’s getting really hard to figure out who to trust on this team and I doubt that’s going to change any time soon.
Pacers wax Philly, Robert Covington suffers elbow injury
Roy Hibbert enjoyed his night with the Sixers, going off for 14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and five blocks, so hopefully this game will get him kick started. George Hill was solid with 17 points, nine boards, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, and Rodney Stuckey came through with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer, but hit just 4-of-13 shots, which seemed to be a trend on Sunday. We’re still awaiting the return of Paul George, and while there’s no timetable, it could (or could not) happen any day now.
Robert Covington had 12 points and three rebounds for the Sixers before leaving the game with a right elbow contusion. He took a really hard fall near the stands and it was hard to see exactly what he did to his elbow, but he wasn’t able to return. Watch for news on him. Isaiah Canaan struggled again and had just five points and one assist on 2-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes, while Ish Smith came off the bench for11 points, four boards, five assists and a 3-pointer in 25 minutes. The news here is that Smith started over Canaan in the second half, and may have stolen his job. Either way, this is a timeshare and I really thought Canaan would be playing much better by now. I was wrong, but he still has time to get this turned around. Thomas Robinson came off the bench for nine points and nine boards in 25 minutes, and officially deserves to be on your radar. And in the night’s least surprising development, the Sixers have agreed to waive JaVale McGee and will pay him. Look for him to sign with a playoff contender, but don’t look for him to suddenly be worth owning, regardless of where he lands.
Hornets take down Magic
The Hornets got a slew of double-doubles and nice games from its starters and are very much in the playoff hunt, battling the Heat, Pacers, Nets, Celtics and Pistons for a postseason berth. Cody Zeller had 16 points and eight boards, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist double-doubled with 11 points and 13 boards, Al Jefferson had one with 16 points, 10 boards and three blocks, and Mo Williams went off again for 23 points and 11 assists in the win. Gerald Henderson also chipped in with 16 points and two 3-pointers, making all the starters in Charlotte at least worth a fantasy look.
Thunder hold off Lakers for win without Westbrook, KD
Russell Westbrook sat out after facial surgery and is questionable for Wednesday against the Sixers. I’m guessing they hold him out for that one, and then he’ll be ready to roll again. D.J. Augustin started in his place and had 18 points, nine boards, five assists, a steal and four 3-pointers, and is another good daily play on Wednesday, if Westbrook sits. Serge Ibaka stayed hot with 18 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and three blocks, and Enes Kanter returned from his thigh injury for 16 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Kanter’s return ruined Mitch McGary, who played just 10 minutes and didn’t do anything.
The Lakers are as messy as any team out there. Jeremy Lin led the way with 20 points, six rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a 3-pointer, and I’m good with picking him up right now. Jordan Clarkson started and had 12 points, two rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes, but hit just 5-of-14 shots. The minutes were nice, so I’m still a bit into him. Wayne Ellington had 12 points, six rebounds, six dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer, but hit just 5-of-15 shots, and Jordan Hill came off the bench for 14 points, 12 boards and no blocks. All these guys are worth owning, and all can either carry your team or let you down at any time.
Pelicans beat Nuggets for fifth straight win
Despite losing three studs this season, the Pelicans are ignoring the national media and refusing to go away quietly. They’ve won five straight games and four of those have come without Anthony Davis. Tyreke Evans had 22 points, seven boards, seven assists and a steal, Eric Gordon had 18 points and three 3-pointers, and Omer Asik added nine points and 16 boards in the win. Dante Cunningham had 14 points, seven boards, two steals and a block in another start, and Alexis Ajinca came off the bench for 10 points, six boards, a steal and a block to stay relevant without AD around. Quincy Pondexter came in hot, but had just eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers, but started and played 34 minutes. Pondexter, Ajinca and Cunningham are all worth a look for as long as Davis and Ryan Anderson remain sidelined. The Pelicans now sit just ½ game behind OKC for the final playoff spot in the West.
Kenneth Faried started at center for the Nuggets but was awful, hitting just 1-of-6 shots for three points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block, and I’m officially pulling the plug. Brian Shaw has simply ruined him, which I didn’t see coming. Faried’s move to center hurt Joffrey Lauvergne, as he played just 11 minutes and missed all five of his shots. Given how poorly Faried played, I still think Lauvergne has a chance to make an impact going forward. Wilson Chandler had 14 points, eight boards and two 3-pointers, and Danilo Gallinari stayed hot with 21 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers on 7-of-18 shooting. He didn’t do much else besides score, but I’m good with picking him up right now due to the minutes he’s getting and points he’s scoring. Ty Lawson struggled to hit just 2-of-6 shots for five points, but at least added 11 dimes to his line, and Randy Foye started over Gary Harris (and Will Barton) and hit five 3-pointers for 19 points. Barton came off the bench again, but was still effective, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-14 shooting. He’s hit double figures in scoring in four straight games and I like him as a pick up right now. Foye is also worth a look if you need threes.