It was a busy nine-game night and most of the fantasy studs were in play and lived up to the hype. There were plenty of big stat lines to go around, but Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis were the two to own. I’ll try to focus more on the guys that might be available in your league. Follow me on Twitter!
Thunder 120, Clippers 108 – Russell Westbrook went crazy with 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 20 assists on 9-of-15 shooting for his 11th triple-double of the year. He’s triple-doubled in three of his last five, is tied with Draymond Green for the league lead in them, and joined Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson as the only players with at least 25 points, 20 assists and 10 rebounds in a game. Remember when he was so “selfish?” Wow. Kevin Durant added 30-12-7, Serge Ibaka had an empty 15 points, and Steven Adams had nine points and nine rebounds in the win. Andre Roberson scored 13, but had to hit 6-of-7 shots to do it. Forget about him, especially since Dion Waiters wasn’t with the team after his brother was tragically killed in Philadelphia. Enes Kanter had 14 points, seven boards and two steals, and is the only other Thunder player to worry about.
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Jeff Green finally got hot for the Clippers and hit 10-of-13 shots and three 3-pointers for 23 points, Chris Paul had 12 points and 16 dimes, J.J. Redick scored 22 with five 3-pointers and two steals, and DeAndre Jordan hit 7-of-7 shots for 18 points and seven boards. If Green was dropped in your league, now’s the time to pick him up.
Hornets 122, Pelicans 113 – Anthony Davis showed up and went off for 40 & 13, and Jrue Holiday torched the Hornets for a season-high 38 points, six assists and five 3-pointers. The other starters combined for just 10 points and are not worth talking about, and Ryan Anderson was 0-for-8 for three points off the bench. Anderson is funky right now, so tread carefully before putting him into your lineup. Toney Douglas scored 16 off the bench, but you can ignore him for now. Norris Cole was out with a sore back, or this might have been a different outcome.
All five Hornets starters scored in double figures, but it was Kemba Walker’s hot start and 35 points, seven assists and five 3-pointers that crushed the Pelicans. That makes four straight 30-point games for Walker. Nicolas Batum was a bit disappointing with 15 points and some other goodies, but I was expecting more. Cody Zeller showed up with 13 points, eight boards and a block, while Al Jefferson didn’t do much in 18 minutes. The starters are whom you want to use in Charlotte, although Courtney Lee (16 points) and Zeller aren’t reliable enough to count on. This was Lee’s first double-digit game as a Hornet.
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Rockets 118, Sixers 104 – James Harden flirted with a triple-double, but hit just 8-of-26 shots, Patrick Beverley was great with a full stat line, Dwight Howard went for 21 & 18 on a great night, and Trevor Ariza overcame 4-of-14 shooting for 15 points and four 3-pointers. Donatas Motiejunas started, but played just seven minutes, and Corey Brewer finally cooled off for just two points in 16 minutes. Brewer had scored 23 and 12 points in his previous two games with seven 3-pointers. The Rockets are super thin at PF right now, so fire up their opponents early and often.
The Sixers got double-digit scoring from all five starters and Nerlens Noel (who returned from a knee injury), Robert Covington and Ish Smith all played particularly well. Hollis Thompson started and played 34 minutes for 10 points, but I actually trust Isaiah Canaan (14 points, four 3-pointers) more off the bench. Jerami Grant started at PF and was disappointing with 13 points and three boards, but he also had a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. He’s worth grabbing since we don’t know when Jahlil Okafor will be back.
Celtics 116, Grizzlies 96 – Amir Johnson struggled, but starters Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas all scored well, although their collective stat lines weren’t exactly mind blowing. Brad Stevens played Jonas Jerebko, Tyler Zeller, Marcus Smart and Evan Turner heavy minutes off the bench, and Turner came through with 16 points and eight assists. He hit a rough patch but has played well in his last three, so don’t forget about him. Discounting Johnson, the other four starters and Turner are the guys you want to play every night, while Jerebko, Smart and Zeller are worth keeping an eye on. Jerebko had 11 points, five boards and three 3-pointers in 23 minutes, but hadn’t done much at all before this one.
The Grizzlies got 17 points, 13 boards and two blocks from JaMychal Green, who looks like a must-own player right now. Matt Barnes returned from a hamstring injury and had 12 points and a full line, but hit just 4-of-16 shots. Zach Randolph was out, which helped both of them. But Green should be picked up as their center of choice with Marc Gasol down and out. Mario Chalmers left with a serious-looking foot/Achilles injury and I’m guessing he’s done for the season. Unfortunately, that’s good news for Lance Stephenson as long as Mike Conley is out with his foot injury, while Vince Carter might be relevant after his 17 points and four 3-pointers off the bench. With Z-Bo out, PF Jarell Martin got loose for a career night with 16 points, six boards and a block on 7-of-10 shooting in 23 minutes. But he’s only worth a look in deeper leagues, if at all. When Randolph returns, he’ll disappear, unlike Green. D-league point guard Briante Weber is expected to be signed to a 10-day deal, and is another deep-league player worth keeping an eye on as long as Conley is out.
Bucks 114, Heat 108 – Jabari Parker scored 23 but had just three rebounds, Giannis Antetokounmpo had another fun stat line, and Khris Middleton stayed hot with 22 points, seven boards, eight assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. These guys are all on fire right now. Greg Monroe finally moved back into the starting lineup and had 10 points and eight boards. The fact the Bucks won the game works in his favor going forward. Jerryd Bayless started at point guard with O.J. Mayo (flu) and Michael Carter-Williams (season-ending hip surgery) out, but hit just 2-of-7 shots in 40 minutes. Bayless is a must-won player, despite last night’s woes. Miles Plumlee had his best game in recent memory with a season-high 18 points and four rebounds, and maybe the move to the bench will serve him well. Monroe will get hot soon, especially if he hangs onto the job.
The Heat got just six points and one rebound (and three blocks) from starter Amare Stoudemire, and Joe Johnson struggled for 11 points in 34 minutes. Luol Deng double-doubled with 20 & 11 and had a nice line, Goran Dragic was quiet with 10 points and six dimes, and Dwyane Wade scored 18 in the loss. Hassan Whiteside is playing like a starter off the bench and went off for 23 points, 13 boards and three blocks in 29 minutes. He hit 9-of-13 shots, despite being iffy with an illness. Play him the rest of the way. SG Josh Richardson had 14 points and three 3-pointers off the bench, but is simply worth keeping an eye on unless you’re in a real deep league. He could become relevant if Wade goes down. Justise Winslow played 26 minutes, but struggled again. He’s been invisible for a couple weeks.
Pistons 102, Mavericks 96 – The Pistons got another big night from Andre Drummond (25 & 17), Marcus Morris had 20 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers, and Tobias Harris had 19 points and a full stat line in the win. Morris has played well in two straight and appears to be heating up. Reggie Jackson hit just 4-of-13 shots for 11 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 on 5-of-16 shooting. The bench did nothing for Detroit, so Drummond, Jackson, Morris and Harris are the guys you want in your lineup every night, with a hint of KCP.
Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia double-doubled for the Mavs, and Zaza’s owners were happy to see him bounce out of a funk. Chandler Parsons was solid, Deron Williams hit just 3-of-13 shots for eight points and nine dimes, and Wesley Matthews was quiet for the second straight game with 10 points, two 3-pointers and not much else. The Mavs’ bench was useless, so just stick with the starters for now, and hope Matthews gets it going again soon.
Knicks 128, Suns 97 – All five Knicks’ starters hit double figures, but Kristaps Porzingis struggled again by hitting 2-of-10 shots for 13 points, five boards and a 3-pointer. The good news is that he’s playing through his sore leg. Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, Robin Lopez bounced back with 13 points, eight boards and five blocks, and Jose Calderon somehow double-doubled with 10 points and a season-high 12 dimes, which tells you how bad the Suns’ guards are defensively. Sasha Vujacic started and hit six 3-pointers for 23 points, but I don’t expect him to play like that on most nights. He was on fire, hitting 7-of-8 shots and 6-of-7 from downtown. Vujacic is worth keeping a close eye on going forward, but he started because Arron Afflalo was out with a strained ab, which will also help Langston Galloway if Afflalo continues to miss games. Derrick Williams was strong off the bench, hitting 8-of-10 shots for 18 points and a couple threes, despite playing just 18 minutes. He’s helped by the fact that Lance Thomas (knee) is out indefinitely, and could be even better if Melo or Porzingis gets a night off. Despite Calderon’s heroics against a team that stinks against point guards, Jerian Grant had 14 points and four assists, and Galloway had eight points, six boards and four assists. I’d recommend staying away from Knick point guards.
For the Suns, Devin Booker stayed hot with 32 points and three 3-pointers, and is worth owning in all leagues (still). Alex Len double-doubled with 14 points and 10 boards, but was a bit disappointing after his last two monster nights. Starters P.J. Tucker and Tyson Chandler didn’t do much, but Ronnie Price started and had 11 points, six assists and three 3-pointers. I still don’t believe it, but he’s worth a look right now as long as he’s starting. Just keep in mind that Brandon Knight appears to be healthy enough to play, but didn’t get off the bench last night. Mirza Teletovic’s cold streak continued with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting off the bench and John Jenkins scored 11 points in 15 minutes. Get ready for Teletovic to get hot again soon, but ignore the Suns’ reserves, outside of keeping an eye on Teletovic.
Cavaliers 120, Kings 111 – Kevin Love (who left briefly with a leg injury), LeBron James and Tristan Thompson all double-doubled, as Thompson had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Grab him if you need a big man, as he was very active last night. Just keep in mind that Timofey Mozgov was out with an illness, which certainly helped TT. Kyrie Irving got hot late and finished with 30 points and three 3-pointers, and even J.R. Smith came through with 15 points and three 3-pointers. I still don’t trust him. The Cavs’ bench was very quiet in this one and none of them deserve a look.
The Kings got 29 points and 11 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins, but he hit just 8-of-22 shots, 12-of-18 free throws, picked up his 15th technical foul, and might be looking at a suspension if the league reviews his shoulder to the face of LeBron James. He’s one technical foul away from a one-game suspension and even got into it with coach George Karl, as icing on the cake. Rudy Gay scored 19 with a nice line, and Darren Collison played 39 minutes as the only healthy shooting guard, and finished with 15 points, five boards, eight assists and two 3-pointers. With all the SGs hurting, Collison should be picked up ASAP. Ben McLemore is out with a finger injury and Marco Belinelli sat this one out with back spasms. Rajon Rondo was quiet with 11 points and six assists on 5-of-14 shooting, and Omri Casspi had 13 points and a 3-pointer on 6-of-9 shooting off the bench, but didn’t do much more.
Warriors 115, Jazz 94 – Stephen Curry, for once, was quiet, finishing with 12 points, 10 assists and three 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from way behind the line. And the fact he double-doubled in one of his worst games of the year speaks volumes. Draymond Green filled the stat sheet after a bout with strep throat and Klay Thompson came through with 23 points and five 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut were quiet, which isn’t a surprise given how much the other three starters touch the ball.
For the Jazz, Derrick Favors struggled on the second night of a back-to-back with 11 points and four boards, while Gordon Hayward was bottled up by Dray Green, finishing with 16 points, six boards and two 3-pointers. He hit just 5-of-15 shots. Rudy Gobert had nine points and 15 rebounds, but didn’t block a shot, while Shelvin Mack was stifled by Curry, finishing with seven points and eight assists on 3-of-9 shooting. He’s struggled in his last couple games, but is still the starting point guard for the Jazz and probably worth owning. Trey Burke got hot with 18 points and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes after not even playing in his last two games. Just put him on your radar, as he benefitted greatly by the absence of Rodney Hood, who was out with a sore lower back.