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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
AP
Basketball Daily Dose

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander goes off in Toronto

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: December 30, 2019, 2:00 am ET

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was back in his native country on Sunday, and thanks in large part to his performance Oklahoma City managed to escape Toronto with the win. In addition to SGA and teammate Chris Paul, standouts on Sunday included Michael Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica and Brandon Ingram. Lastly, Luka Doncic took a hard fall (he turned out to be fine) during what was largely a forgettable night for the Mavericks in Los Angeles. 

Thunder 98, Raptors 97 — Oklahoma City was down a key bench contributor, as Dennis Schroder was held out due to right ankle soreness. That put even more on the shoulders of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul scoring-wise, and they were up to the challenge. Gilgeous-Alexander played 39 minutes, scoring 32 points (12-of-21 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) with seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and three 3-pointers. Over the last two weeks he’s been a top-30 player in both eight- and nine-category formats per Basketball Monster, and he continues to develop into an indispensable fantasy option.  

Paul shot 9-of-18 from the field, finishing with 25 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Over the last two weeks CP3 is just outside of the top-15 in both eight- and nine-cat formats, and for the season he’s right in that top-25 range. The only question mark for Paul in recent years has been his health, as he has played 61 games or fewer in each of the last three seasons. For that reason he could qualify for “sell high” status given how well he’s played.

Darius Bazley shot 4-of-7 from three, scoring 12 points with five rebounds and two blocked shots in 30 minutes. The rookie’s effort helped make up for Terrance Ferguson’s off night, as he shot 0-of-5 from three and accounted for three rebounds and one assist in 36 minutes. Neither should be rostered in standard leagues, and that argument can also be made for deeper leagues. The same can be said for Abdel Nader (four points, four rebounds and one assist) and Luguentz Dort (three points, one rebound), who played 22 and 17 minutes, respectively. 

Steven Adams started and played 29 minutes, accounting for nine points (2-of-7 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), six rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot, while Nerlens Noel chipped in with 13 points (5-of-5 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), four rebounds, one assist, three steals and three blocks in 19 minutes off the bench. Noel has been a top-75 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats over the last two weeks, and with his being rostered in just 43 percent of Yahoo leagues he’d be a value pickup at this point in the season. 

Toronto was once again without Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and Marc Gasol, with Patrick McCaw and Chris Boucher being two of the players who have received more opportunities to produce as a result. McCaw, who the Raptors have needed to be more aggressive offensively, started alongside Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet and finished with 13 points (5-of-9 FGs), two rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. Over the last two weeks he’s provided late-round value in both eight- and nine-cat formats, and given the state of the Raptors’ rotation he’s a must-have even with the limited (on most nights) scoring. 

Boucher played 19 minutes off the bench, scoring nine points (3-of-7 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs) with five rebounds and one three-pointer. He’s provided 11th-round value in nine-cat over the last two weeks backing up Serge Ibaka, who finished Sunday’s game with 12 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Boucher’s currently rostered in just 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, and it is past time for that number to increase. 

OG Anunoby, who’s had more opportunities to score with Siakam out, shot 3-of-12 from the field and finished with six points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal while also going 0-of-7 from three. While he’s just outside of the top-100 for the entire season, Anunoby’s value has decreased in recent weeks with the Raptors at less than full strength. More opportunities don’t always mean more production. Terence Davis, who’s worth a look in deeper leagues, accounted for 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench. 

Lowry and VanVleet scored 20 points apiece, with the former also accounting for three rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. But Lowry tallied six turnovers as well, and that area is what has limited his value in nine-cat formats over the last two weeks. While he’s a second-round player in eight-cat, Lowry’s a fourth-rounder in nine-cat during that stretch. VanVleet supplemented his 20 points with three rebounds, eight assists, one block and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. 

Nuggets 120, Kings 115 — Denver was without both Gary Harris (left shin contusion) and Paul Millsap (left knee contusion), which meant starts for Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr. And both took advantage of the opportunity, with Grant posting a line of 18 points, two rebounds, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes and Porter accounting for 19 points, six rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer in 26 minutes. 

Over the last month both Grant and Porter have provided late-round value in deeper leagues and the same can be said for Mason Plumlee, who was replaced by Grant in the starting lineup. Plumlee played 22 minutes off the bench, shooting 3-of-4 from the field and 9-of-10 from the foul line and finishing with 15 points, six rebounds and two assists. For the season he’s a 58.0 percent shooter from the charity stripe, so that 9-of-10 night was a bonus for those who have Plumlee rostered. 

With Millsap having missed Denver’s last two games, both Plumlee and Grant represent decent streaming options should the veteran be held out of Tuesday’s game vs. Houston as well. The same goes for Porter if Harris has to miss additional time with his shin contusion. Malik Beasley played 24 minutes and shot 5-of-12, tallying 11 points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer. Beasley hasn’t done enough in recent weeks to justify claiming him off the waiver wire, but at the very least he’s managed to remain in the rotation. 

Juancho Hernangomez has found himself back in the rotation these last two games due to Millsap’s injury, and he’s scored a total of one point. He did account for five rebounds and an assist against the Kings, but Hernangomez should be left on the waiver wire. Will Barton (19 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal and one three-pointer), Nikola Jokic (17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal) and Jamal Murray (13 points, four rebounds, seven assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers) all scored in double figures, with Jokic continuing to play at the first-round level that was expected of him when the season began. 

De'Aaron Fox (back) was able to start this one for the Kings, playing 33 minutes and finishing with 18 points (7-of-12 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), two rebounds and 13 assists. Over the last two weeks he’s been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats, an improvement on his production for the entire season in nine-cat. With Marvin Bagley (foot) sidelined Nemanja Bjelica made another start, and in 33 minutes he tallied 27 points (10-of-13 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), six rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and five 3-pointers. 

Bjelica is currently rostered in just 43 percent of Yahoo leagues, despite his being a top-100 player. That percentage should be much higher, whether Bagley’s healthy or not. 

Richaun Holmes shot 9-of-13, scoring 18 points with six rebounds, two assists and one steal as he continues to perform at a top-50 level regardless of league format. In nine-cat he’s threatening top-25 status, and should hover around that level for the remainder of the season. Interestingly enough Harry Giles played 17 minutes off the bench, the most action he’s seen in a game this season, and he tallied 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Giles isn’t worth rostering at this stage, since Sunday’s appearance was his first since November 27, but his playing time merits watching moving forward. Should Giles receive consistent minutes then he could be worth picking up, especially if that occurs while Bagley is inactive. 

Buddy Hield posted a line of 20 points, five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes, while the struggles of fellow starter Harrison Barnes continued. In 29 minutes he shot 2-of-5 from the field, scoring six points with three rebounds and one three-pointer. While Barnes has 12th round value in nine-cat formats for the season as a whole, his recent play relegates him to waiver wire status in standard leagues. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic had an uneventful night, shooting 2-of-8 and finishing with seven points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. And with Fox back in the lineup it’s safe to release Cory Joseph, who played 18 minutes and finished with two points, one rebound and one assist. 

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Grizzlies 117, Hornets 104Kyle Anderson (right heel soreness) was available to play for the Grizzlies, but the team was down a starter as Jae Crowder was sidelined with a sore left ankle. Anderson received the starting nod, and in 22 minutes he shot 3-of-10 from the field and finished with six points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal. Anderson isn’t worth rostering at this time, even if Crowder were to be sidelined for an extended period of time. 

A Memphis forward who should be: rookie Brandon Clarke, who finished Sunday’s game with 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, three blocks and one three-pointer in 25 minutes. He’s been a top-100 player all season long in both eight- and nine-category formats, and he’s proven to be a much better shooter than many expected him to be coming out of the draft. Fellow rookie Ja Morant shot 2-of-8 from the field, tallying six points, three rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes. Morant’s the favorite to win Rookie of the Year at this point in the season, and Sunday’s effort wasn’t the norm for him. 

Jaren Jackson Jr. accounted for 14 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes, while fellow starters Jonas Valanciunas (16/9/5) and Dillon Brooks (20 points, two assists and two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures. Brooks shot 8-of-13 from the field, getting back on track after scoring a total of 15 points on 4-of-18 shooting in his last two games. When he isn’t scoring and making threes Brooks hasn’t provided a great deal fantasy-wise, with De'Anthony Melton being the more valuable player over the last two weeks. 

Melton, who’s been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-cat formats during that stretch, played 23 minutes and accounted for seven points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one three-pointer. Tyus Jones added six points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals in 20 minutes, with Grayson Allen matching his season-high with 15 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes. 

For Charlotte, this wasn’t the best night for one of the team’s key contributors. Devonte' Graham finished with 16 points, four rebounds, ten assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, but he did so on 5-of-18 shooting from the field. Over the last two weeks he’s just outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats, and his shooting struggles are the reason why. During that stretch of games Graham’s shooting just 28.4 percent from the field, substantially worse than his percentage for the season (37.4). Graham should still be rostered in most leagues, but to do so at present time would come at the risk of punting field goal percentage. 

Malik Monk played 26 minutes off the bench, scoring 18 points (8-of-18 FGs) with five rebounds, one steal, one block and one three-pointer. Monk’s inconsistency has made it difficult to justify rostering him in most leagues, and at best he would merit brief consideration in deeper leagues. P.J. Washington shot 4-of-6 from three, scoring 16 points while also tallying four rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot. For the season, the rookie has been just outside of the top-100 in both eight- and nine-cat formats. Washington’s still rostered in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues, and those who held onto him as he recovered from a broken finger are set to reap the rewards. 

Cody Zeller (14 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 19 minutes) and Bismack Biyombo (ten points, six rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes) were both solid, with the former being the more valuable of the two in most leagues over the last month. In fact, Zeller has been a 12th-round player in nine-cat formats and an 11th-round player in eight-cat over that period of time while Biyombo has been a 20th-round player in both formats. Miles Bridges (eight points, seven rebounds and one assist) and Terry Rozier (nine points, two rebounds, eight assists and one steal) were quiet scoring-wise, but both were productive in non-scoring statistical categories. 

Pelicans 127, Rockets 112 — Houston was down three starters for this one, as Russell Westbrook (rest) joined James Harden (right toe sprain) and Clint Capela (right heel contusion) on the sideline. And with Tyson Chandler being a DNP-CD, Isaiah Hartenstein had a heavy workload at center. Hartenstein played 34 minutes, shooting 9-of-11 from the field and scoring 19 points with nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. When the Rockets’ rotation is whole he isn’t worth rostering, but Hartenstein should be kept in mind as a streaming option given Capela’s injury and the desire to manage Chandler’s minutes. 

It wasn’t all bad news for the Rockets on the injury front, as Eric Gordon (knee) made his return to the lineup after missing more than a month of action. He started and played 22 minutes, shooting 6-of-12 from the field and finishing with 20 points, one rebound, three assists, one steal and four 3-pointers. Gordon’s certainly worth rostering, because even with Harden and Westbrook available his three-point shooting makes him a key member of the Rockets rotation. 

Also in the starting lineup was Austin Rivers, who shot just 2-of-7 and finished with nine points, three rebounds, five assists, two steals and one three-pointer. He also committed a team-worst five turnovers on what was not a particularly good night for a player whose fantasy value was already limited. The absences of Harden and Westbrook meant more shots for Danuel House, who was 10-of-18 from the field and posted a line of 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. 

Chris Clemons (34 minutes) and Ben McLemore (30) both scored in double figures, with Clemons posting a line of 16 points, two rebounds, nine assists, one steal and four 3-pointers and McLemore going for 12 points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers. When Houston’s perimeter rotation is whole McLemore is of far greater value, while Clemons stands to fall completely out of the rotation when that time comes. Gary Clark, who shouldn’t be rostered unless the Rockets are decimated by frontcourt injuries, played 25 minutes and finished with six points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers. 

The victorious Pelicans had four players score at least 25 points on the night, beginning with Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball as they scored 27 apiece. Ingram shot 10-of-17 from the field, and to go along with his 27 points he accounted for six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one blocks and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Ball shot 7-of-12 from three, and he also tallied ten rebounds, eight assists and two steals in 40 minutes. Ingram’s been outstanding this season, providing top-20 value in both eight- and nine-cat formats. His name should be on the short list of candidates for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. 

Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore added 25 points apiece, with the latter scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. While Holiday has been a top-50 player this season Moore has been well off that pace, but over the last two weeks he’s provided 12th-round value in nine-cat formats. Derrick Favors continues to see his minutes increase since his return, and in Sunday’s win he played 35 minutes and accounted for 12 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and one steal. Jaxson Hayes’ value has plummeted as a result, and he only played three minutes against the Rockets. 

J.J. Redick (two assists) and Josh Hart (four rebounds, seven assists and two steals) had frustrating nights offensively, as both failed to score and combined to shoot 0-of-11 from the field. For the season both are just outside of the top-100, with Redick having greater value in most leagues.  

Lakers 108, Mavericks 95 — Despite recent injuries suffered by Anthony Davis (right shoulder) and LeBron James (groin), and Kyle Kuzma just recently having returned from a sprained left ankle, the Lakers were are full strength Sunday night. Davis played 36 minutes, scoring a team-high 23 points (8-of-12 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs) with nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot. James played two fewer minutes, posting a line of 13 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers as he focused more on distributing than scoring for the majority of the game. 

As for Kuzma, one night after dropping 24 points on the Blazers he went scoreless against the Mavericks. Kuzma shot 0-of-7 from the field, contributing just five rebounds and one steal in his 26 minutes on the court. While this performance was disappointing he should be fine moving forward, especially with the Lakers off until New Year’s Day when they host the Suns. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped the Lakers withstand Kuzma’s scoreless night, as he shot 5-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line, finishing with 19 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes. 

Often criticized at the start of the season, Caldwell-Pope has been a top-100 player in both eight- and nine-category formats over the last two weeks. With KCP rostered in just 11 percent of Yahoo leagues, now would be a good time to pick him up as he has a clearly defined role within the Lakers rotation and has played well. Danny Green added ten points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, and the team’s center tandem of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard combined to shoot 11-of-13 from the field. McGee started and played 16 minutes, accounting for 11 points, five rebounds, one assist and three blocks, while Howard tallied 15 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 19 minutes off the bench. 

McGee has been the more valuable of the two, but both merit being rostered especially in deeper leagues. Avery Bradley accounted for five points, two steals and one three-pointer in 23 minutes, while Alex Caruso finished with six points, one rebound, two assists and one steal in 16 minutes. Given the lack of production from both in recent weeks, both should be left on the waiver wire regardless of league format. 

Dallas left Sunday’s meeting the more banged-up team, as one starter (Tim Hardaway Jr.) left the game for good in the first quarter and another (Luka Doncic) took a hard fall in the second but was able to return. Hardaway Jr.’s exit after just seven minutes meant that veteran point guard J.J. Barea was called upon to start the second half, and in 13 minutes he tallied 12 points (4-of-7 FGs) and two 3-pointers. He should be left on the waiver wire, even if Hardaway were to miss time due to the hamstring injury (as is likely to be the case). 

Another reserve who had a good night was Delon Wright, who played 19 minutes and finished with 14 points (5-of-9 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), four rebounds, three assists, three steals and one three-pointer. In addition to Hardaway’s injury freeing up minutes, the struggles of Jalen Brunson (zero points, one rebound and one assist in six minutes) also impacted the opportunities available to the likes of Wright and Barea. Seth Curry tallied seven points, one rebound, one steal and one three-pointer in 23 minutes, shooting 3-of-11 from the field, while Ryan Broekhoff shot 2-of-4 from three and finished with six points, two rebounds and one blocked shot. 

While a case can be made for rostering Curry in deeper leagues, the same can’t be said for Broekhoff. He played just right minutes Sunday night, and he’s reached double figures in minutes just three times this season. 

Going back to the aforementioned Doncic, one night after going off for 31 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists and five 3-pointers in a win over the Warriors he found the going a bit tougher in Los Angeles. Despite that hard fall he played 30 minutes but was not particularly effective, scoring 19 points (5-of-15 FGs, 9-of-9 FTs) with four rebounds, seven assists, two steals and six turnovers. Doncic was also 0-of-6 from three, and he’ll have one day to rest up for Tuesday’s matchup with the Thunder. He’s still a first-round player in both eight- and nine-category formats, so there’s no reason whatsoever to panic over Sunday’s effort. If anything, it says more about the Lakers and how locked in they were defensively than it does Doncic. 

Dorian Finney-Smith, who has value in deeper leagues, posted a line of 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes, while Kristaps Porzingis shot 4-of-10 from the field and finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Dwight Powell filled the stat sheet in his 32 minutes, scoring seven points with 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot. Porzingis is hovering around that top-50 mark in eight- and nine-cat formats this season, sitting just inside of his in nine-cat and just outside of the top-50 in eight-cat. 

Powell and Maxi Kleber (three points, three rebounds and one three-pointer in 15 minutes) have value in deeper leagues but that’s about it at this point. Justin Jackson played 21 minutes and shot 1-of-6 from the field (the same as Kleber), finishing with two points, three rebounds and one assist. 

Monday’s Schedule (all times Eastern) 

Miami at Washington, 7 PM 

Atlanta at Orlando, 7 PM 

Brooklyn at Minnesota, 8 PM 

Milwaukee at Chicago, 8 PM 

Detroit at Utah, 9 PM 

Phoenix at Portland, 10 PM 

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.