Sunday’s six-game slate was capped by a matchup between a young team in the midst of a rebuild, and a veteran team that’s expected to contend for a championship. Add in the fact that the young team in question, Atlanta, was one night removed from getting blown out by the Clippers, and what happened at Staples Center came as no surprise to anyone. The Lakers won by a 122-101 final score, with one of the game’s all-time greats putting on a show with another all-time great watching from the front row.
LeBron James played 33 minutes, scoring 33 points (13-of-21 FGs) with 12 assists, seven rebounds, one steal, one blocked shot and six 3-pointers (on ten attempts). It's also worth noting that he didn't commit a single turnover. James, who has yet to miss a game this season, did all of this with Kobe Bryant in attendance and his teammates weren’t bad either. In total seven Lakers scored in double figures, a list that included Kyle Kuzma (17 points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and three 3-pointers), Rajon Rondo (15/2/3/1 with two 3-pointers) and Danny Green (11/7/2/2/2 with three 3-pointers).
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Rondo will be interesting to watch as the season progresses, with regards to how much he’ll have the ball in his hands with the second unit. In his 18.8 minutes per game, the veteran point guard has played alongside James in just over 11 of those minutes. Rondo’s averaging 2.7 assists per game with James and 2.0 assists per without, and overall he’s provided greater value when paired with LeBron. But will that ultimately limit Rondo’s fantasy value, given how much LeBron has the ball in his hands? An argument can be made either way, but thus far Rondo’s been good in this scenario.
Currently rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues, the biggest deterrent to grabbing him off the waiver wire may be questions about how much he’ll play. If he isn’t limited, Rondo would be worth considering especially in deeper leagues. Also his return has cut into the minutes available to Quinn Cook, who played just five minutes Sunday night. Alex Caruso is in a better spot rotation-wise, as he played 21 minutes and scored 11 points with one rebound, one assist and one three-pointer.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points with one rebound, one assist and one steal, and Anthony Davis added 14 with five assists, five blocks and one rebound. Davis has been banged up of late with rib and shoulder issues, but he continues to play through the pain.
Moving to the Hawks, they’ll be happy that the five-game road trip has finally come to an end. Trae Young put up good numbers, scoring 31 points with seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers, but the eight turnovers were a negative. With Young being a risk-taker at times with the basketball, higher turnover counts are going to be an issue. And that’s what has kept him in the third-round range in nine-cat formats, while he’s a second-rounder in eight-cat leagues. Not only will the turnovers be key with regards to Young’s fantasy value in the years to come, they’ll also be key when it comes to the success of this rebuild.
Four other Hawks scored in double figures, with Cam Reddish scoring 13 points and Jabari Parker (eight rebounds, four steals, one assist and one blocked shot), De'Andre Hunter (three assists, two rebounds and two 3-pointers) and Allen Crabbe (one rebound and two 3-pointers) adding 11 apiece. Reddish’s point total is a bit deceiving, as he shot 5-of-13 from the field (1-of-7 3-pointers). Shooting remains an issue for the rookie guard, who’s making just 27.0% of his shots from the field and 18.8% of his three-point attempts. Simply put, with numbers like those Reddish can’t be rostered in most leagues at this point.
Chandler Parsons played his first minutes of the season, playing the final two minutes but failing to accumulate any statistics. He isn’t a fantasy option, and that will in all likelihood remain the case all season long. Centers Damian Jones (four points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocks) and Alex Len (three points, four rebounds) both struggled, while power forward Bruno Fernando tallied four points and five rebounds in his 13 minutes on the court. The good news for Atlanta is that not only is the road trip over, but they’re also off until Wednesday.
Below is a look at the other five games on Sunday’s schedule, beginning with Philadelphia’s blowout win in Cleveland.
76ers 114, Cavaliers 95 — Philadelphia took control of this game early and removed any doubt by halftime, taking a 24-point lead into the break and going on to win by 19. After a two-game stretch in which he shot a combined 8-of-30 from the field, Tobias Harris has been far more accurate over the 76ers’ last two. After shooting 8-of-16 in Friday’s loss at Oklahoma City, he made 12-of-14 from the field and scored 27 points with five rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocked shots and one three-pointer. Even with the two-game slump mentioned above, Harris has remained a top-50 player in both eight- and nine-category formats.
He was the only Philadelphia player to play more than 30 minutes, with Josh Richardson (eight points, four rebounds, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers) next in line at 29. Richardson had a rough afternoon shooting the basketball, as he finished 2-of-12 from the field overall and 0-of-7 inside the three-point line. Just outside of the top-100 in nine-cat, Richardson has been a top-100 player in eight-cat with the turnover category being dropped. Averaging 2.7 turnovers per game on the season, he didn’t turn the ball over at all on Sunday. A couple more low (or no) turnover efforts and Richardson should be a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats.
Al Horford (11/6/7/2/2 with one three-pointer) also played 29 minutes, followed by Ben Simmons (10/4/11/1/2) at 26 and Joel Embiid (14/4/2/1/1) at 23. Among the reserves Mike Scott played 21 minutes, but the afternoons of James Ennis III and Furkan Korkmaz are worth noting for fantasy reasons.
Ennis shot 3-of-4 from three, scoring 14 points with four rebounds and one blocked shot in 16 minutes. He’s still well outside of the top-200 in both eight- and nine-cat formats, so it’s better to take the “wait and see” approach here. As good as those three 3-pointers looked, it’s important to remember that he’s averaging 0.5 made threes per game on the season. As for Korkmaz, in 18 minutes he tallied 13 points, four rebounds, one blocked shot and one three-pointer. He’s also outside of the top-200, but for the month of November he’s averaging 11.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.4 three-pointers (on 43.2% shooting) per game. For those looking for three-point options to stream, Korkmaz is worth looking into in deeper leagues.
For the Cavaliers, none of their players saw more than 28 minutes of action with Tristan Thompson (12/9/3/1/3), Collin Sexton (17/4/1/1) and Cedi Osman (5/4/1/1 with one three-pointer) tied for the team lead in minutes. Kevin Love played 25, scoring 12 points with six rebounds and two 3-pointers, and sixth man Jordan Clarkson tallied 15 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer in 23 minutes off the bench.
The aforementioned Sexton had a tough day, shooting 7-of-17 from the field and dishing out just one assist. How can a player who’s averaging 18.4 points per game be well outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats? But not providing much else on a consistent basis. Fellow guard Darius Garland played 25 minutes, scoring 11 points with two assists, two steals and one three-pointer. The learning curve has been steep for both players, and neither is the kind of guard that can be relied on as key options in standard leagues.
Kings 100, Celtics 99 — After shooting a combined 13-of-36 from the field in the two games prior, Buddy Hield went off in Sacramento’s one-point win over the Celtics. In 38 minutes he shot 14-of-24 from the field, scoring 35 points with six rebounds, two assists, four steals, one blocked shot and seven 3-pointers (on 12 attempts). This was Hield’s first 30-point game of the season, and in the six games prior he was shooting 45.5% from the field and 37.5% from three. He led four double-digit scorers, with Harrison Barnes (13/3/3/1 with three 3-pointers), Nemanja Bjelica (12/14/4 with one block and one three-pointer) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (12/3/10/2 with two 3-pointers) being the others.
Bjelica, who was outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-category leagues last season, has been a top-100 player in both formats this season. Yet even with that being the case, he was rostered in only 33% of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday night. That percentage should increase in the coming days, especially with Bjelica playing better basketball in November than he did in Sacramento’s first five games.
In his last seven appearances the 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.5 three-pointers per game. By comparison, Bjelica accounted for 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 three-pointers per in his first five games of the season. Bogdanovic, who’s just inside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-category formats, is currently owned in 78% of Yahoo leagues so he isn’t anywhere near the “secret” that Bjelica apparently is.
Richaun Holmes is another King who may be a bit undervalued, as he has been claimed in just 56% of Yahoo leagues. Holmes, who tallied nine points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots Sunday, is currently a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-category leagues. Lastly Harry Giles played a season-high 11 minutes, scoring eight points (4-of-9 FGs) with two rebounds and one blocked shot. He isn’t worth considering at this point, with the Kings expected to take things slowly with regards to his workload. But that could change in time, especially if Dewayne Dedmon continues to struggle coming off the bench.
Boston nearly extended its win streak to 11 games, but Marcus Smart’s floater as time expired rolled off the rim. That was the end to a tough afternoon for Smart, who scored five points on 2-of-16 shooting while also tallying five rebounds, nine assists, one steal and one three-pointer (on eight attempts). After shooting 17-of-33 from beyond the arc in the four games prior, he came back to earth in a sense…or did he?
For the month of November, Smart is shooting 45.7% from three with an average of 3.0 made three-pointers per game. Did he suddenly turn into the next Ray Allen? Of course not, but there’s no denying the fact that Smart has been an improved perimeter shooter. And even if he doesn’t continue to make three-pointers at a near 46% clip, he does so many other things on the court that Smart will still have value in most leagues. Even with Sunday’s showing he remains a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats.
Six Celtics scored in double figures led by Jaylen Brown, who scored 18 with eight rebounds, two steals and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Kemba Walker (15/1/9/1), Jayson Tatum (14/6/2 with one block and one three-pointer) and Daniel Theis (14/10/1) were the other starters that scored at least ten points, with reserves Semi Ojeleye (11/2/1/2 with three 3-pointers) and Enes Kanter (10 & 7 with one blocked shot) joining that quartet.
Fantasy favorite Robert Williams played just seven minutes Sunday, scoring one point and grabbing three rebounds, with the play of both Theis and Kanter keeping him on the bench for most of the game. The “Time Lord” is certainly capable of having his moments on the court, but he’s hit a rough spot of late. Over the last three games, he’s averaged 2.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.3 blocks per. He’s only owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues, and while that is understandable given Williams’ recent play this could be a time to get in while the price is low.
Magic 125, Wizards 121 — Nikola Vucevic (30 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, one block and three 3-pointers) did Nikola Vucevic things, and Evan Fournier added 25 points with nine assists, one rebound, one steal and five 3-pointers as the Magic held off the Wizards. But the story of this one was Markelle Fultz, who had the best game of his NBA career Sunday night. Shooting 8-of-10 from the field, he scored 19 points with three rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers (on three attempts). Fultz, who last made multiple three-pointers in the same game back on October 26 in a loss to Atlanta, was a combined 1-of-11 from three in his last eight appearances.
Over his last four, Fultz is averaging 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, and caution should definitely be exercised here, it will be interesting to see if he can build on Sunday’s performance. If so Fultz, who is rostered in just 24% of Yahoo leagues, could wind up being a steal in leagues where he’s still available.
Terrence Ross shot just 1-of-7 from three, but he scored 15 points while also tallying four rebounds, two steals and an assist in 25 minutes off the bench. D.J. Augustin added 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes, returning to the game after dislocating the fifth metacarpal in his left hand. With Michael Carter-Williams suffering a strained left hip, Wesley Iwundu is a name to keep in mind should MCW have to miss any time. Iwundu played 12 minutes Sunday, scoring two points with two rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.
With Jonathan Isaac out with an ankle injury Al-Farouq Aminu (six points, six rebounds and two assists) made another start, but he was unable to have the impact that he did in Friday’s win over San Antonio (13/13/1 with two steals and one three-pointer).
As usual Bradley Beal led the Wizards, scoring a game-high 34 points (12-of-26 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) with six rebounds, eight assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes. He was one of six double-digit scorers for Washington, a list that includes C.J. Miles (21 points while shooting 6-of-7 from three), Davis Bertans (15/8/1/2 with five 3-pointers) and rookie Moritz Wagner (12/3/3 with two 3-pointers). Wagner and Bertans have both been top-100 players in nine-cat formats thus far, with the former also being top-100 in eight-cat.
Wagner is rostered in just 26% of Yahoo leagues, and with the Wizards’ lack of consistent firepower after Beal he’s in a spot where he won’t lack for opportunities. If he’s available, especially after he went off for 30 & 15 in Friday’s win over Minnesota, don’t hesitate to pick up the rookie forward.
Starters Thomas Bryant (14/6/4 with one block and one three-pointer) and Isaiah Thomas (13 points, five assists and two steals) also scored in double figures, with Thomas doing so despite missing all five of his three-point attempts.
Nuggets 131, Grizzlies 114 — Coming off of his worst game of the season to date, Jamal Murray simply needed to see the ball go through the basket Sunday night in Memphis. And once he got a couple to fall he couldn’t be stopped, lighting up Memphis for 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting to go along with eight assists, four rebounds, three steals, one blocked shot and seven 3-pointers (on 12 attempts) in 31 minutes. He was one of just two starters to score in double figures, as Paul Millsap added 23 points, three rebounds, one assist, five steals and two 3-pointers in just 20 minutes.
Nikola Jokic scored just nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, while also accounting for eight assists, five rebounds and one three-pointer, with Gary Harris (8/1/1 with one block) and Will Barton (6/5/3 with one three-pointer; is dealing with left adductor tightness) also failing to score in double figures. But this didn’t give Denver too much trouble, as it received some welcome contributions from the bench.
While the lines posted by Jerami Grant (12/4/5 with one blocks and two 3-pointers), Mason Plumlee (9/7/1/1/3) and Monte Morris (8/2/4/1 with one three-pointer) aren’t much of a surprise, the same can’t be said for Juancho Hernangomez.
Hernangomez, who played a total of 39 minutes this season entering Sunday, played 29 and posted a line of 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and four 3-pointers (on five attempts). Denver’s depth is such that Mike Malone can ride the hot hand, whether the player is scoring or doing other positive things on the court (Michael Porter Jr. didn’t score but accounted for three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 13 minutes). That’s what happened with Hernangomez in Memphis. Fantasy owner would be well-served to hold off on rushing to the waiver wire for him, even with Sunday’s effort, because as noted he hasn’t played much this season.
Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 22 points, shooting 5-of-7 from three, while also grabbing five rebounds. While he didn’t accrue any defensive stats, the good news is that the second-year forward avoided foul trouble. After fouling out of Friday’s win over the Jazz, Jackson Jr. committed just two fouls on Sunday, just the second time this season that he’s finished a game with two or fewer. While fouls aren’t a fantasy stat, his inability to stay on the floor has limited Jackson Jr.’s fantasy value and kept him out of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats. He played 24 minutes Sunday, but that number likely increases had the game been competitive.
Brandon Clarke finished with 19 points, five rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the field. The rookie out of Gonzaga has done a good job of taking the shots that he’s comfortable with, resulting in Clarke being both efficient and productive on that end of the floor. Add in the defensive numbers that be brings to the table on most nights, and the end product is a player who’s a top-100 option in both eight- and nine-cat leagues. Jonas Valanciunas (16 & 10 with two 3-pointers), Ja Morant (13/2/6 with one three-pointer) and De’Anthony Melton (10/4/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) also finished in double figures, with Melton seeing his first action in more than a week (11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals vs. Dallas on November 9).
Pelicans 108, Warriors 100 — Golden State had the game’s high scorer in rookie forward Eric Paschall, who scored 30 points (10-of-17 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs) with seven rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. But New Orleans was the more balanced team, with six players scoring in double figures in the Pelicans’ eight-point victory. J.J. Redick shot 6-of-11 from three, scoring 26 points with three rebounds and three assists, while Jrue Holiday added a line of 22 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
Fellow starters Jaxson Hayes and E’Twaun Moore (seven rebounds, two 3-pointers) added ten points apiece, with Hayes also accounting for ten rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Hayes is well outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat leagues, but given how banged up the Pelicans front court is he may be worth picking up for the time being. Jahlil Okafor (left ankle) and Derrick Favors (lower back) both sat out Sunday’s game, and with those two down Hayes and fellow rookie Nicolo Melli aren’t going to lack for playing time. While Hayes played 32 minutes against the Warriors Melli played 27, scoring 16 points with five rebounds, three assists and five 3-pointers.
Another rookie, guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, chipped in with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 35 minutes off the bench. He isn’t going to do much for teams when it comes to field goal percentage, as Alexander-Walker has been a “feels like leather” kind of player at times. But he shows no fear and is capable of producing in non-scoring areas as well. With Lonzo Ball (right adductor), Josh Hart (right knee, right ankle) and Frank Jackson (neck) all sitting out Alexander-Walker was able to get up 18 shots, making seven.
Also impacted by those absences is Kenrich Williams, who played 36 minutes and finished with five points, ten rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot. Williams is averaging nearly 24 minutes per game on the season, and he was part of the rotation even when the Pelicans were healthy (comparatively speaking). Both he and Alexander-Walker merit waiver wire consideration, especially with New Orleans at less that full strength on the perimeter.
Bouncing back to the Warriors, the lack of consistent scoring (for obvious reasons) makes for some interesting choices from a fantasy standpoint. Someone has to score, right? Paschall, who had a big night as noted above, is an obvious pickup if he hasn’t been signed by now. And with the rookie out of Villanova owned in 61% of Yahoo leagues, there are still some who haven’t made the obvious move. Alec Burks, even though he struggled Sunday night, is another player worth picking up. While he shot 2-of-13 from the field against the Pelicans, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and five assists, Burks is averaging 14.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game and is a top-150 player in both eight- and nine-category leagues.
Rookie Ky Bowman scored 19 points off the bench, shooting 8-of-16 from the field, to go along with four assists, two rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers. This was his first double-digit scoring effort since a November 4 game against Portland, which was also Golden State’s most recent victory. A little more consistency would be welcome but once again, someone has to score for this team.
Marquese Chriss added ten points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot, with starting center Willie Cauley-Stein tallying nine points, four rebounds, one assist, three steals and one blocked shot. And Draymond Green, the only healthy holdover from those championship teams, shot just 2-of-10 from the field and finished with seven points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one blocked shot and one three-pointer.
Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern)
Cleveland at New York, 7 PM
Indiana at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM
Charlotte at Toronto, 7:30 PM
Portland at Houston, 8 PM
Milwaukee at Chicago, 8 PM
San Antonio at Dallas, 8:30 PM
Boston at Phoenix, 9 PM
Minnesota at Utah, 9 PM
Oklahoma City at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM