There were 14 games on the slate Saturday night, which means 28 of the league's 30 teams were in action. Thus, we had plenty of highlights, including a pair of 30-point triple-doubles from Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic.
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Julius Randle was at it again down in DC on Saturday night, racking up 30 points (11-of-21 FGs, 6-of-7 FTs) 16 rebounds, six assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. According to Basketball-Reference, Randle is the first Knick ever with at least 30 points, 15 boards, five dimes and two made treys in a single game. Furthermore, that's three straight games with at 30+ points, 5+ boards and 2+ made trifectas, which is tied for the longest such streak in Knicks franchise history.
Nikola Jokic remained red-hot on Saturday, recording yet another triple-double in the Nuggets victory over the Grizz. The Joker scored a season-high 31 points (on 12-of-19 shooting), ripped down ten rebounds, and dished out ten dimes. After struggling out of the gates this season, Jokic has provided first-round production in December. Over the Nuggets last eight games, he is averaging 23.4 points, 10.1 boards, 8.5 dimes, 1.0 steals and 2.3 treys, while shooting 55% from the floor, 49% from downtown and 86% from the charity stripe.
Luka Doncic needed just 30 minutes to register a monster triple-double on Saturday: 31 points, 12 rebounds, and 15 assists, to go along with two steals, three turnovers and five 3-pointers. He shot 8-of-16 from the field and was a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Doncic became the first player in league history with at least 30 points, 12 boards and 15 dimes in under 31 minutes of action. I mean, what is there left to say at this point. We are running out superlatives for this kid, who, by the way, still isn't enough to buy a drink (he turns 21 after the All-Star break.
D'Angelo Russell was on fire in the first half but crumbled to the floor after colliding with Doncic in what was a scary-looking fall in the third quarter of Saturday's loss to the Mavs. After laying on the court for a few minutes, trainers brought out a stretcher. However, DLo rose to his feet at that point and walked off under his own power. Even better, he was able to return to the contest in the final frame. He finished with a whopping 35 points, four rebounds, six assists and nine 3-pointers in 30 minutes.
John Collins scored a season-high 34 points and added eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. With Trae Young (ankle) sidelined, the Hawks offense flowed through JC, and he delivered, shooting 14-of-26 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the stripe. No other Atlanta starter had more than six points.
Jimmy Butler just missed joining the triple-double club on Saturday night as he finished with 25 points (7-of-21 FGs, 11-of-14 FTs) nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block in 42 minutes in an overtime victory over the Sixers. Jimmy Buckets has been a fantasy monster all season and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Joel Embiid efficiently scored 35 points on Saturday, shooting 11-of-16 from the floor and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. He also added 11 rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers. Ben Simmons had 15 points (6-of-12 FGs, 3-of-6 FTs) seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and one block in 43 minutes. If only Big Ben could knock down his free throws.
James Harden outscored the Nets by himself in the first quarter (he had 23 points in the first ten minutes) and finished with 44 points on just 27 FG attempts (17-of-27 shooting) 10 boards, six assists, six trifectas, three blocks and one steal. The only blemish on his resume was shooting just 4-of-9 from the stripe. I think we'll let him slide this one time. Russell Westbrook had 23/9/7 but was just 11-of-28 from the floor and committed four turnovers.
Not only did Jonathan Isaac set a career-high with seven steals on Saturday, but he also added 19 points (on 8-of-13 shooting), nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. It might not be this year, but Isaac will win Defensive Player of the Year at some point in his career. He's that dominant on the defensive end. Nikola Vucevic had 21/8/4 to go along with five triples, three steals and two blocks.
Devin Booker helped the Suns snap an eight-game losing streak Saturday night by pouring in a game-high 32 points (14-of-23 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs) with ten assists and three rebounds. Not to be outdone, Kelly Oubre (right groin) scored 20 points, ripped down a career-high 16 rebounds and handed out five helpers, to go along with two steals and two 3-pointers in 41 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points and tacked on five rebounds and eight assists in 32 minutes Saturday. DeRozan has been making fantasy GM's smile of late with an incredible surge of offensive efficiency. He hit 13-of-16 FGAs in this one and is shooting above 70% from the floor over his last four games. LaMarcus Aldridge pumped in a career-high five 3-pointers on Saturday (on just six attempts) en route to 25 points (9-of-19 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs) with 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots. Fantasy owners would love to see LMA start taking and making more triples.
Andre Drummond erupted for 21 points (7-of-16 FGs, 7-of-12 FTs), 18 rebounds, three dimes, one steal and four blocks for the short-handed Pistons. We have come to expect this type of dominant fantasy production from Drummond, but it doesn't make it any less impressive.
LeBron James (groin) scored 21 points (7-of-15 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs) grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out a game-high 16 assists with two steals, one blocked shot and one three-pointer in 37 minutes on Saturday. King James is now averaging 10.8 assists per game this season, which leads the league. Also, it was good to hear LeBron tell reporters after Saturday's game that he plans to play in Sunday's home matchup with the Mavericks. Kyle Kuzma scored a team-high 24 points (9-of-17 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs) with four rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes off the bench.
Hassan Whiteside bounced back from a down game in Utah to tally 19 points (7-of-11 FGs, 5-of-7 FTs), 16 rebounds and four blocks in 34 minutes on Saturday night vs. the Lakers. Whiteside has been a stud all season and is currently leading the league in blocks (2.7). Damian Lillard had 31 points, two rebounds, nine assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
Donovan Mitchell was awesome on Saturday, racking up 30 points, seven boards, nine dimes, and four triples, leading the Jazz to an impressive victory over the Clippers. Joe Ingles stayed hot in this one as well, tallying 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five 3-pointers.
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On the Radar:
Ja Morant scored 16 points (on 6-of-11 shooting) with three rebounds, eight assists, one block and one 3-pointer on Saturday. Morant has cooled of late after a phenomenal start to his rookie campaign. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 20 points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Brandon Clarke dished out a career-high five assists and tacked on 15 points, two rebounds and one block in 23 minutes.
Kyle Lowry powered the Raps to a comfortable victory over Boston by pouring 30 points (10-of-17 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) to go along with four boards, seven assists, five 3-pointers and two steals. Fred VanVleet was just 5-of-19 en route to his 18 points but did register five dimes and five steals. Serge Ibaka had another strong double-double, scoring 20 points with ten boards. He continues to post stellar numbers with Marc Gasol (hamstring) sidelined. Patrick McCaw had his best game of the year, scoring a season-high 18 points, handing out a career-high-tying eight assists and adding seven boards, two 3-pointers, one steal and one block in 43 minutes.
Marcus Smart (eye infections) finally returned to action on Saturday and finished with seven points, three rebounds, three steals, two assists and one 3-pointer in 23 minutes. Kemba Walker had 30 points on 11-of-23 shooting, but little else. Jaylen Brown (17/5/1) and Jayson Tatum (12/3/4) came back down to earth.
Domantas Sabonis bounced back from a rough outing Friday night by tallying 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 31 minutes against the Pelicans on Saturday. Myles Turner (9/6/2) was disappointingly quiet.