Saturday's eight-game slate provided plenty of highlights, including Giannis dominating the Pacers in Indiana, Bam stuffing the stat sheet in South Beach, Devonte' Graham sinking the Knicks in New York, Paul George looking phenomenal in his home debut, and James Harden attempting a career-high 41 shots vs. KAT and the Wolves in Minnesota.
Find Tommy Beer on Twitter: @TommyBeer
Giannis Antetokounmpo was at it again on Saturday night. The Greek Freak powered the Bucks to another win by stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 26 points (10-of-17 FGs), 13 rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block, five turnovers and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Incredibly, it was the seventh game this season in which Giannis had more than 25 points, more than ten boards and more than five assists. Every other player in the league combined has only eight such games. Oh, and Antetokounmpo is now on pace to double his previous career-high for made 3-pointers.
Devonte' Graham did it all for the Hornets on Saturday night. Not only did he pour in a game-high 29 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and a career-high nine 3-pointers in 36 minutes, he also drilled a game-winning triple to seal the deal for Charlotte. He's been an absolute week-winner for those fantasy GM's that scooped him up off the waiver wire early on. It's still ridiculously soon, but Graham is also an early favorite to take home the 2020 Most Improved Player award. Over the 46 games he played in as a rookie last season, Devonte' scored a total of 217 points. In the 13 games he's played this season, Graham has scored 245 points.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker erupted for a career-high 27 points on Saturday, and tacked on four rebounds, three assists and six 3-pointers in 30 minutes. We had been waiting for one of these games since NAW flashed such tantalizing upside in the preseason. He had scored a total of just nine total points in the Pels previous three contests; however, with Brandon Ingram (knee), Josh Hart (ankle, knee), J.J. Redick (toe) and Lonzo Ball (groin) all unavailable, Alexander-Walker seized the opportunity to show out.
Bam Adebayo was a beast, racking up 18 points (8-of-11 FGs), 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in 34 minutes on Saturday. He's delivered on his breakout potential thus far this season, ranking inside the top-50 overall in nine-category formats. Jimmy Butler (illness) was questionable for this one earlier in the day, but ended up starting and finished 16 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds, three steals, six turnovers and one 3-pointer in 38 minutes. Butler, who had never averaged more than 5.5 dimes in any season, is now averaging 7.2 assists per game in 2019-20.
Yes, James Harden did miss 25 shots on Saturday night, including 14 from behind the arc. However, Harden still managed to pour in 49 points with five rebounds, six assists and eight 3-pointers in 39 minutes. With Russell Westbrook (rest), Eric Gordon (knee), Clint Capela (concussion) and Danuel House (back) all out of action, Harden was letting it fly. He attempted 17 shots in the first quarter alone, and his 41 total FG attempts were a career-high, as were his 22 triple tries. Harden has upped his scoring averaged to a mind-boggling 39.5. The Rockets have played 13 games this season. Harden has scored 39+ points in eight of those 13 games. He's scored fewer than 29 points just once.
Ho hum, another monster night from Karl-Anthony Towns on Saturday. With Andrew Wiggins (personal) sidelined, KAT tried to put the Wolves on his back, finishing with 27 points (9-of-15 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) 15 boards, two steals and two blocks. Towns shooting over 50% from the floor and 42.5% from downtown seems downright unfair.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Weekly Tiers, Rest-of-Season Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
Luka Doncic outside jumper wasn't working, but he still recorded massive all-around numbers: 26 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, one 3-pointer, two steals and seven turnovers in 36 minutes. Luka was 5-of-14 from the floor, but nailed 15 of his 19 FT's. The 19 attempts were a career-high. Over the Mavs last eight games, he's averaging jaw-dropping 30.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.3 assists. Incredible.
C.J. McCollum had his best all-around game of the season on Saturday, tallying 32 points (on 13-of-25 FGs), six rebounds, seven assists, one steal and six 3-pointers in 39 minutes. CJ has struggled this season (he entered the game shooting just 40%) but he still sees plenty of scoring opportunities, and he's too gifted a scorer not to start converting at a higher clip. I expect his stock to continue to tick upward. Hassan Whiteside swatted three shots and posted a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double for Portland.
Playing in front of the home crown in LA for the first time, Paul George made quite a first impression in home debut. Despite logging just 20 minutes of court time, PG-13 scored 37 points on 10-of-17, alongside six triples, four boards, three dimes, two steals, one block and three turnovers.
On the Radar:
With Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Caris LeVert (thumb) sidelined, the Nets desperately needed Spencer Dinwiddie to step in and step up Saturday night. He did just that, leading the Nets to a much-needed victory over the Bulls in Chicago. Dinwiddie scored a team-high 24 points (5-of-11 FGs, 14-of-15 FTs) to go along with one rebound, four assists, one steal and two blocks in 30 minutes. He'll again be a focal point of the offense if Kyrie is unable to play on Monday. Joe Harris also had a great all-around game for Brooklyn, finishing with 22 points, four boards, eight dimes, two steals and two treys. Dzanan Musa logged 29 minutes and tallied five points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. Iman Shumpert made his 2019-20 season debut, scoring five points with three rebounds and one 3-pointer in 12 minutes.
Zach LaVine scored a game-high 36 points and chipped in three rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes for Chicago. He was 11-of-24 from the field and 11-of-12 from the stripe. Wendell Carter Jr. looked good again, putting up 18 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. Coby White came crashing back down to earth on Saturday. He shot 3-of-13 from the field for seven points, but did tack on nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes. Lauri Markkanen remains ice cold. He was 4-of-10 from the floor for his 16 points and ten boards. Incredibly, he's shot above 40% just once in the Bulls last 12 games. During this 12-game stretch, he's averaging 12.8 points while converting less than 35% of his FG attempts and less than 30% of his 3-point tries.
Brook Lopez not only scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds on Saturday, but he also blocked five shots. BroLo continues to fly under the radar while posting consistent fantasy-friendly numbers. Donte DiVincenzo drew a rare start and made the most of the opportunity, with 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes.
Myles Turner, who had been sidelined by an ankle injury for nearly three weeks, triumphantly returned to action on Saturday. He looked fresh, logging 33 minutes and posting 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers. The "buy low" window on Turner has officially slammed shut. With Malcolm Brogdon (sore back) and T.J. McConnell (sore groin) ruled out, Aaron Holiday took 18 shots in 34 minutes on Saturday. Unfortunately, he only made five, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals and one 3-pointer. Domantas Sabonis also struggled offensively, shooting just 3-of-13 from the floor, but did hit two triples and grab 14 boards.
RJ Barrett scored a team-high 22 points, to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes, during a heartbreaking 103-102 loss to the Hornets on Saturday. He was efficient offensively, hitting 8-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the free-throw stripe. Encouragingly Barrett, over the Knicks last three games, Barrett has made seven of his last ten free throws. Mitchell Robinson was dominant on both ends of the floor and finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 27 minutes. His minutes are trending in the right direction, as he is learning how to stay out of foul trouble. Frank Ntilikina chipped in six points, three rebounds, six assists and three steals in 36 minutes. Dennis Smith Jr. picked up four fouls in his first four minutes of action, which led to coach Fizdale leaning heavily on The French Prince. Andrew Wiggins (personal) missed his second straight game on Saturday, as he remains away from the team to be with his family following the death of his grandmother. Shabazz Napier (right hamstring) and Josh Okogie (left knee soreness) were also unable to play. Okogie was a late scratch, burning those of who slotted him into a DFS lineup or two. Jake Layman scored a season-high 21 points (9-of-14 FGs) with five rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes for the Wolves. Jarrett Culver had 13 points (5-of-11 FGs, 1-of-4 FTs), two rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes.
Kawhi Leonard (knee contusion) did not play Saturday against the Hawks. Ruh-roh. It's always possible that the Clips were giving Kawhi a little extra rest, but this was part of a back-to-back. LA's next game is Monday at home vs. OKC, so we should have an update on Kawhi's status by Sunday afternoon. Patrick Beverley (left calf soreness) was also ruled out of Saturday's contest.