Season and career highs were the trend of the night, Dwight Powell got hurt, Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica stepped up for the Kings, and the Lakers and Mavericks kept it rolling with another win.
Blazers 127, Kings 116 – C.J. McCollum (33, 5 triples), Damian Lillard (24 & 10), Hassan Whiteside (22-16-7 with 3 blocks) and Carmelo Anthony (20 points, 5 boards, 2 3-pointers) all went off and Kent Bazemore had 15 points, six boards, a steal and three 3-pointers off the bench. You can’t really trust Bazemore, but you should keep an eye on him, while you can pick up Melo if he’s still sitting out there, despite his somewhat empty stat lines. Whiteside’s seven dimes were a career high and the Blazers got a much-needed win.
For the Kings, my man Richaun Holmes hit 11-of-14 shots for a career-high 28 points, 10 boards and a steal, Buddy Hield had a 23-7-7-2 line with three 3-pointers on 8-of-24 shooting, and my other guy, Nemanja Bjelica, came through 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers. While I’m really happy that Marvin Bagley is nearing a return, I’m pretty sad that he’s probably going to wreck Bjelica. Cory Joseph had 11 points and seven dimes in another start for De’Aaron Fox (I’m holding him) and Trevor Ariza (11 points with a full stat line) and Yogi Ferrell (13 points) played well off the bench. Holmes should be owned everywhere, and I don’t think Bagley’s going to hurt him as much as some other people do. Bjelica is a hold until Bagley ruins him, and Ariza might be worth a deep-league look. Harrison Barnes was quiet with eight points in 35 minutes but has been playing very well. He’s a hold.
Nets 130, Hawks 118 – Taurean Prince got some revenge by hitting 9-of-15 shots and five 3-pointers for a 23-4-6-2 line against his former team. That was the most points he’d scored since Nov. 1 and the most 3-pointers he’d made in a game since Nov. 2. Jarrett Allen was awesome with 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, Spencer Dinwiddie kept his foot on the gas with a 24-6-5-2 line but did commit seven turnovers, and Garrett Temple stayed very relevant with a season-high 27 points and six 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting. Temple’s getting big run in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert, but I just don’t trust the guy. He had seven points on 3-of-12 shooting in 34 minutes on Sunday but has posted a bunch of double-digits scoring nights over the last month. He’s probably worth consideration in most leagues but expect plenty of scoring inconsistency along with some 3-pointers and steals along the way. And just imagine what Allen would be doing if DeAndre Jordan wasn’t around for 20 minutes a night. The Nets don’t have a four-game week until Jan. 6 and go 3-3-2-3 until then.
The Hawks, as usual, got 39 points, 10 assists, five 3-pointers and six turnovers from Trae Young, and, per usual, lost. He shot it well and continues to look fantastic, even as the Hawks continue to tank away. Cam Reddish started with De’Andre Hunter (finger) out and with Kevin Huerter on a 15-minute time limit, and simply went off for a career-high 25 points with four 3-pointers, six boards, three steals, a block and zero turnovers. I thought about grabbing him and still might, but he takes a hit when Hunter can play through his dislocated finger and I’d like to see him do something similar in his next one before diving in. He’d been shooting it terribly this season so the fact he hit 10-of-17 shots was a big step in the right direction. Damian Jones, the starting center for your Atlanta Hawks, hit 8-of-8 shots and 4-of-9 free throws for 20 points, eight boards and a block and is averaging 12 points and 5.6 rebounds over his last five games, but had his first block in four games in this one. Additionally, Alex Len got loose for 18 points, seven boards, two steals and a block off the bench. I don’t really trust either of them. As for Huerter, he failed to score in his 15 minutes, and he might have a tough time living up to last year’s hype with so many other young Hawks playing well. There are a lot of other players on waiver wires I'd rather own than Huerter. Atlanta goes 4-3-3-3 for games played per week over the next month.
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Hornets 106, Warriors 91 – Devonte’ Graham went nuts with 33 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a career-high 10 3-pointers, while Terry Rozier added a 25-7-7-3 line with five triples of his own. Both of them should be owned in all leagues. P.J. Washington quietly filled the stat sheet in 33 minutes, but Bismack Biyombo fizzled in just 18 minutes, and Miles Bridges played just 19 minutes in the win. I’m not sure why Bridges’ minutes were so limited, but it was definitely a disappointment. The Hornets play four times in each of their two upcoming weeks so the aforementioned players along with Malik Monk, Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams are all worth a look right now. Hopefully Bridges bounces back in the next one, as he fouled out Monday.
D’Angelo Russell (thumb) was back for the Warriors and had 18 points, two assists and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes after missing the last nine games. The Warriors are 4-19 and I have no idea how much Russell is going to play going forward, but at least he’s out there right now. He’s also a candidate to be traded out of GSW at some point. Draymond Green graced us with 25 minutes, five points, three rebounds, six assists and three steals on 2-of-6 shooting, and we just don’t know how much, or if he’s going to play from night to night. Maybe you can bait a fellow owner into taking Green off your hands after the decent night. Eric Paschall, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks were all pretty solid, while Glenn Robinson had a disappointing night with eight points and two rebounds. The Warriors go 4-2-4 over the next three weeks but then play three times per week in five of their next six scoring periods. I might be about ready to move on from Robinson, especially after next week’s four-game slate.
Bucks 127, Pistons 103 – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points, nine boards, two blocks and four 3-pointers and even hit 7-of-9 free throws, which was nice to see. Khris Middleton was nice with a 17-8-5-1 line with a couple triples, and Eric Bledsoe added a 13-6-6 line with a block and a 3-pointer. Brook Lopez (back) returned with five points, six rebounds, a steal, three blocks and a 3-pointer in just 18 minutes, so he should be fine to get back in your lineup. Donte DiVincenzo was quiet with six points, six boards and three assists, and you might be able to find a better player on your wire. Then again, the Bucks play four times in each of the next two weeks, so he’s still worth a close look if the number of games played each week matter to you.
For the Pistons, Andre Drummond kept it going with another monster 23-14-5-2-3 line and Blake Griffin double-doubled, but the rest of the Pistons starters (Tony Snell, Svi Mykhailiuk and Bruce Brown) did next to nothing. Langston Galloway scored 20 off the bench with four 3-pointers and Derrick Rose had 14 points and five assists, as Luke Kennard sat out with a knee injury. I don’t trust Griffin or Rose at all, and this is probably your sell-high alert, while Galloway benefits from Kennard’s injury. Kennard is questionable for Friday so just keep an eye on Mykhailiuk, who had been playing fairly well until tonight.
Magic 128, Suns 114 – Aaron Gordon had a season-high 32 and a great stat line with five 3-pointers and 13-of-15 shooting, so maybe he’s finally ready to get it going. Jonathan Isaac was quiet, but still contributed across the board, Evan Fournier had 21 points and three 3-pointers, and Markelle Fultz kept it going with a 13-4-5 line with a block. I like the idea of owning Fultz, while this might be a buy-low opportunity on Isaac, as well as a sell-high shot for Gordon. Khem Birch started at center and had seven points and nine boards, while Mo Bamba came off the bench for 10 points, 11 boards and four blocks. They’re both going to continue to get big run as long as Nikola Vucevic (ankle) is out but Bamba’s the guy I want to own in his absence. Terrence Ross had 22 points and three 3-pointers off the bench and has scored in double digits in all three of his December games.
The Suns got a season-high 23 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers from Frank Kaminsky, who hit 10-of-12 shots. I picked him up for the four-game week and he’s paying dividends thus far. Dario Saric, Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker were all quiet in this one, but all have a chance of bouncing back in the next one. Cheick Diallo, Cameron Johnson and Malik Bridges all scored in double digits and hit some threes, but I don’t really trust any of them. Aron Baynes was out again with his calf injury and I’ve decided to move on, as he’s just missed too many games over the past two weeks. Additionally, Deandre Ayton is due back on Dec. 17, which is going to possibly bury Baynes. The Suns go 3-4-3-4 over the next month.
Celtics 112, Heat 93 – The Celtics got a season-high 31 points from Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker added 28, seven dimes and six 3-pointers, and Jayson Tatum scored 19 with a fun stat line, outside of some poor shooting (6-of-20). Daniel Theis had eight points, nine boards and three blocks, keeping him relevant, while Grant Williams had two points in a start. Boston’s schedule has the Celtics playing just three times in each of the next four weeks after their current two-game week, which is not good.
Jimmy Butler had a season-high 37 points, but every other Heat player’s stat line was disappointing. Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk and Justise Winslow are all worth a look if they’re on your wire, while Bam Adebayo remains a must-own player despite last night’s eight points, nine rebounds and one block. Nunn’s hot run feels like it’s over and I’m fine with moving on for a hot free agent. The Heat go 3-3-3 over the next three weeks.
Bulls 106, Grizzlies 99 – Zach LaVine did a little bit of everything on his 25-point night and Wendell Carter Jr. went off with 16 points, 13 boards and four blocks. Lauri Markkanen had 15 points, five boards, two blocks and four 3-pointers, which is a huge step in the right direction, Tomas Satoransky hit just 3-of-10 shots but still managed a 13-6-8-3 line, and Kris Dunn had 10 points, four boards, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in another start.
Jonas Valanciunas scored a season-high 32 with a monster line, while Jae Crowder and Jaren Jackson Jr. were both solid. Tyus Jones struggled with six points and three assists, and Dillon Brooks hit just 2-of-11 shots for five points on an off night. De’Anthony Melton played 30 minutes with eight points, five boards, seven assists and three steals, and has played well in three straight. He looks like the guy to own over Jones, but then again, you have to think Ja Morant (back) will be back sooner than later. The Grizzlies go 4-4-4 over their next three weeks making Crowder, Brooks, Melton and maybe Jones all worth a serious look, while Valanciunas and Jackson should obviously be owned.
Pacers 107, Thunder 100 – T.J. Warren led the way with 24 points and an empty stat line, Domantas Sabonis double-doubled, and Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott all hit double figures in scoring in the win. Turner’s been struggling but I think he’ll figure it out, while all of the Pacers’ starters are worth owning for now. The Pacers go four times next week but then go 3-3-3-3 after that and I’m not messing with Holiday or McDermott in fantasy.
For the Thunder, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams (20 & 9 with two blocks), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder all played well, and Chris Paul had 10 assists on a four-point night. Those are the guys you want to own for the Thunder and it’s safe to say Adams is back after a rough patch a couple weeks ago.
Mavericks 121, Timberwolves 114 – The Mavs won the fourth quarter 41-30 in the comeback win and Dwight Powell led the way with a season-high 24 points, five boards, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 9-of-9 shooting. Unfortunately, he hurt his left arm late in the game and is now day-to-day going forward, but at least X-rays were negative. He’s certainly trending in the right direction. Luka Doncic had a 22-7-6 line on a night he struggled but is now just one more 20-5-5 game away from tying Michael Jordan’s streak of 18 straight. He’ll look to tie Mike on Saturday and then pass him on Sunday. The kid is making history before our eyes. Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points, six boards, a block and two 3-pointers and it was incredible to see him play in a back-to-back set after the preseason company line was that he would miss a lot of time due to load management. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Tim Hardaway Jr. fizzled with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting but I’m going to hang in there with him, while Jalen Brunson caught fire in the fourth quarter and hit 7-of-8 shots and two 3-pointers for 16 points, four boards and three dimes in just 18 minutes. Luka and Brunson have made it really difficult for Delon Wright to contribute and he was nearly invisible last night. I’m about ready to drop Wright – again. Brace yourselves, Luka owners, as he has just two games next week.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins scored 26 with fun stat lines and Robert Covington got loose for 22 points, six boards and six triples in the loss. Wiggins out-blocked KAT 3-1, which is kind of funny. Jarrett Culver had a fun 11-8-6-1-2-1 line and hit 4-of-10 shots, Josh Okogie had seven points and seven boards in the start, and Keita Bates-Diop had eight points and two triples off the bench. I’d rather own Culver out of those last three guys and it’s not close.
Lakers 121, Jazz 96 – Anthony Davis, whose middle name should be ‘Day-to-day’, hit 9-of-11 shots for 26 points, six boards and three blocks and LeBron James had 20 points and 12 assists in the win, extending the Lakers’ record to a ridiculous 19-3. Kyle Kuzma had four steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers to go with his 13 points, and Rajon Rondo just missed a triple-double with his 14-9-12 line. Rondo’s minutes have been on the rise and it’s probably time to add him.
Donovan Mitchell scored 29 and Bojan Bogdanovic had 23 points and six triples, but the rest of the Jazz were quiet. Mike Conley, who is being dropped like a prom dress right now, was out with a sore hamstring and Joe Ingles got the start in his place. Ingles, just like for most of the season, was awful, hitting just 1-of-5 shots for four points, five assists, a 3-pointer and five turnovers. I don’t get it. Rudy Gobert had a 13 & 10 double-double with no blocks and the bench was dreadful in terms of the box score. I’m not telling you to automatically drop Conley, but it has to at least be considered right now.