With the new, more evenly distributed NBA game schedule, we don’t see 11-, 12-, 13-, and 14-game nights as much as we did in the past. But we had an 11-gamer on Wednesday night, so I’m going to try to cram a bunch of information onto a relatively small canvas. Giannis Antetokounmpo did it again, Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Nikola Jokic, James Harden, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby went off, and Isaiah Thomas made his season debut for the Nuggets. Follow me on Twitter!
Bucks 106, Pacers 97 – Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up his fifth triple-double of the year with a 33-19-11-2-1 line, hitting 12-of-22 shots and 9-of-10 free throws in the win. He also brought the Bucks back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and there’s not much left to say about how great he is. Eric Bledsoe played just 21 minutes and had one of his most disappointing lines of the season, but he’s not hurt and just lost some minutes when the Bucks went big against the Pacers. He should be fine. Nikola Mirotic was out with his calf injury – again. The Pacers got nice games out of Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner, Darren Collison and Domantas Sabonis, while starter Wesley Matthews hit just 2-of-7 shots in his 31 minutes. I’m very intrigued by Matthews right now, as it appears the Pacers want him to be Victor Oladipo, but as you can probably imagine, that’s easier said than done.
Raptors 129, Wizards 120 – Kawhi Leonard (knee) sat this one out, Pascal Siakam went nuts with a career-high 44 points, 10 boards, three blocks and four 3-pointers, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry double-doubled, and Norman Powell, starting for Kawhi, had an 11-4-4 line in 31 minutes. OG Anunoby also got loose for a career-high 22 points and four 3-pointers off the bench in the win. I’m leaving OGA on waivers, and Marc Gasol played just 19 minutes in this one. He’s taken a big minutes hit in Toronto, but it’s still early. Jeremy Lin debuted with an 8-5-5-1-1 line in 25 minutes, and could be busy after the break with Fred VanVleet out for three weeks. The Raps have rattled off six straight wins and Siakam probably should have been an All-Star.
For the Wiz, starters Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Bradley Beal (double-double) all played very well, Thomas Bryant (13 & 5 with a block) was serviceable, and Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis played well off the bench. It was great to see Parker bounce back with 22 points, nine boards and a nice line after disappearing on Monday. Hopefully, you held onto him. Green, Parker and Portis are all worth owning. Tomas Satoransky was out for personal reasons.
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Nets 148, Cavs 139 3 OT – D’Angelo Russell scored just two points in the first half and it was looking like my DFS (and real teams) were going to take a beating. But he then exploded for 34 points over the rest of the game, including 14 in the third OT after DeMarre Carroll hit a desperation 3-pointer to tie the game at the end of the second OT. Both teams’ numbers were inflated with the three extra sessions, but Joe Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Carroll, Shabazz Napier and Allen Crabbe all played well for Brooklyn.
For the Cavaliers, Cedi Osman (ankle) returned from his four-game absence with 13-5-3 line in 24 minutes, and Ante Zizic had six points, six boards, one assist and one steal before fouling out in 30 minutes. The Cavs are acting like they’re going to play Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson down the stretch, so it remains to be seen what role Zizic will have. Osman is a solid pickup right now. Jordan Clarkson stayed hot and scored a career-high 42 points and seven 3-pointers with eight boards, five assists, a steal and a block, Collin Sexton (who you should also pick up) had a 24-6-5 line with two 3-pointers, Larry Nance had eight points, 14 rebounds and a block, and should also be owned, and Marquese Chriss had his best game in forever with 23 points, seven boards, two steals and three 3-pointers. He’s hit double figures in three of his last four, and while we’ve seen this before, it usually ends in a dumpster fire. Maybe this time will be different, but many of us are still gun shy on Chriss.
Celtics 118, Pistons 110 – The Celtics won again without Kyrie Irving (9-2), and you have to wonder how Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, and the Celtics feel about that. All five starters (Marcus Morris, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Marcus Smart) scored in double digits, and Jaylen Brown had 17 points off the bench. Hayward has now played great in four of his last five games, Horford is hot, and Irving (knee) and Terry Rozier (illness) should be back after the break. Hayward should come off the bench once Irving/Rozier is back, but is hot.
The Pistons had their four-game winning streak snapped, Blake Griffin stayed red-hot with 32 points and a fun line, Andre Drummond had a 21 & 17 double-double with four steals, Reggie Jackson scored 18, and Luke Kennard started, and had an 11-3-5-1 line with two 3-pointers. I’m into Kennard, especially now that he’s starting, and could see him really getting hot after the break.
Sixers 126, Knicks 111 – All five regular Sixers starters went off, as Tobias Harris bounced back for a fun 25-point, 6-rebound night with three 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting. Maybe he’ll come close to holding his value from the Clippers, but I still don’t buy it. Top 75? Boban Marjanovic somehow had 10 points, eight boards and a block in 14 minutes and is etching a role as Embiid’s backup. But he’s still only worth a look in deep leagues, and might be intriguing the next time Embiid sits.
For the Knicks, the starters were a disaster, as Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox, DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr. all played limited minutes with the game getting out of hand by half time. Mitchell Robinson had a great line of 14 & 13 with two steals and four blocks off the bench, Allonzo Trier scored 19, Damyean Dotson had 16 and Kadeem Allen stayed relevant with 13 points and a solid stat line. The Knicks, who have lost 18 straight games, are a fantasy disaster and, just like Forrest Gump, ‘you never know what you’re gonna get.’ I don’t know what to say, other than it was great to see Robinson break out, and I’m going to hold Allen in a deep league until we see where this goes.
Bulls 122, Grizzlies 110 – Otto Porter (career-high 37 & 10), Lauri Markkanen (21-10-6) and Robin Lopez (season-high 25 & 5 & 2 blocks) all went off, Ryan Arcidiacono had 11 dimes in a start for Kris Dunn (back), and Zach LaVine had a 15-6-7 line. Dunn should be back after the break. The Bulls bench was quiet in the win. For the Grizzlies, Ivan Rabb started, but played just nine minutes, and it’s time to move on. Avery Bradley led the way with 15 points, and I still don’t trust him, and Jaren Jackson Jr., Mike Conley, C.J. Miles, Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright all scored 12 points. Outside of Conley, Jackson Jr., and Valanciunas, it’s tough to trust any Grizzlies, although Wright remains an intriguing option. Bradley’s an intriguing revenge-game option on Feb. 22, when the Grizz host the Clips after the break.
Wolves 121, Rockets 111 – Starters Dario Saric (15 & 8, 2 threes), Luol Deng (started for ill Andrew Wiggins - 13-8-4 with 2 blocks, a 3-pointer), Karl-Anthony Towns (25-9-5), Jeff Teague (27 & 12), and Josh Okogie (16 points) all played well for the Wolves, and Saric is now a must-own player. I’m not touching Deng with Wiggins due back after the break, and Teague should be owned everywhere.
For the Rockets, James Harden had 42 points and eight triples, extending his 30-point scoring streak to 31 games. Kenneth Faried double-doubled, Chris Paul had a 16-5-8 line, Eric Gordon added 13 points, six assists and three 3-pointers, and Gerald Green stayed relevant with 13 points and three 3-pointers. Maybe Faried can hold some value when Clint Capela (thumb) is back, but I have my doubts.
Heat 112, Mavericks 101 – Dwyane Wade played through an illness and led the Heat with 22 points, Justise Winslow double-doubled, and Hassan Whiteside played just 22 minutes, finishing with six points and eight boards. I wish he’d been traded. Dion Waiters scored 20 with three 3-pointers, Josh Richardson had a decent line, and Kelly Olynyk stayed relevant with 10 points, a block and two 3-pointers. James Johnson, Bam Adebayo and Wade all played well off the bench, but the Heat are a crapshoot right now. Waiters, Olynyk and Adebayo are all interesting waiver wire options right now.
For Dallas, Luka Doncic hit just 5-of-17 shots, but finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, three 3-pointers and six turnovers in the loss. Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith both struggled in starts, and Tim Hardaway led the team with 20 points. I’m super intrigued by Kleber, DFS and Dwight Powell (6 points, 4 boards), but they were all disappointing, while the Mavs bench was a disaster.
Nuggets 120, Kings 118 – Nikola Jokic had his 28th career triple-double with 20-18-11 and tipped in the game-winning shot, Paul Millsap had a big 25 & 13 double-double, and Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Malik Beasley all scored in double figures. Beasley was awesome with 21 points, should be owned everywhere, and would have been better had he not been ejected. Murray and Barton are basically limping into the All-Star break. Murray hit just 3-of-8 shots for 10 points and four dimes, and Barton scored 13 on 4-of-12 shooting. Monte Morris played 25 minutes off the bench for 10 points and two assists, while Isaiah Thomas (hip) finally made his season debut with eight points and two dimes in 13 minutes. Morris might take a hit if Thomas can stay healthy, while Mason Plumlee had eight points and seven boards in 22 minutes off the bench. He loses some luster with Millsap back and playing well. Gary Harris’ lost season continues as he missed his seventh straight game due to a strained adductor, but Beasley has filled in nicely, and may continue to do so. The Nuggets are 24-4 when Jokic trip-dubs, and 16-0 at home.
For the Kings, Buddy Hield led the way with 25 points, De’Aaron Fox had a 15 & 10 double-double, Harrison Barnes had a 19 & 11 double-double, Willie Cauley-Stein filled the stat sheet with eight points, seven boards, three assists and five steals, and Nemanja Bjelica added 13 points, three boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers to round out the starters. I wish we could trust Bjelica, but we can’t. Marvin Bagley was quiet off the bench with 11 points and three boards in 23 minutes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 16 points off the bench. Harry Giles only played 12 minutes, also off the bench. Don’t panic on Bagley – he’ll be fine.
Blazers 129, Warriors 107 – All five starters scored in double figures, led by Damian Lillard’s 29 points and eight assists, and Jusuf Nurkic had 11 points and 11 rebounds on 5-of-14 shooting. He might be ready to take a small hit with news that the Blazers signed Enes Kanter, but my guess is Kanter hurts Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins more than Nurkic. Jake Layman kept it going off the bench with 17 points, two steals and three 3-pointers, and I like the idea of picking him up right now. Rodney Hood, Layman’s main competition, scored eight points in 25 minutes.
The Warriors got 32 points from both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson hit just 2-of-16 shots, dealing with a dislocated ring finger on his non-shooting hand. You have to think it bothered him, even though his right hand is fine. DeMarcus Cousins rested in this one, but starter Kevon Looney hit just 1-of-5 shots for two points, eight boards and two blocks, and Jonas Jerebko got some extra run, finishing with six points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. His late rebound gave me a tough DFS win over Ryan Knaus, so thank you for that, Jonas. Jordan Bell had six points, nine boards and a block in 16 minutes, but it’s looking like there are no clear-cut winners when Boogie is sitting.
Clippers 134, Suns 107 – The Clippers blew this one open in the first half and got nice lines from starters Danilo Gallinari (20-6-3) and Ivica Zubac (16 & 7 with a block), and reserves Montrezl Harrell (19-5-4-1-1) and Lou Williams (30 points, 10 assists, two 3-pointers in just 22 minutes!). Williams is feeling it since Avery Bradley was sent packing, averaging 37.5 points over his last two games, and became the first player in NBA history with at least 30 points and 10 assists in fewer than 23 minutes. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a fun line with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, while Patrick Beverley fizzled with two points, four rebounds, one assist and three steals in 21 minutes. That’s two duds in a row for Beverley, but he was playing very well prior to that stretch. Hopefully he bounces back after the break. Landry Shamet started and had eight points, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and is worth keeping an eye on going forward.
For the Suns, Deandre Ayton had 20 points, eight boards and zero blocks, and Kelly Oubre had a career-high 28 points, five boards, two assists and three 3-pointers off the bench, but the good news ends there. Jamal Crawford somehow had a 17-3-6-2-1 line with three 3-pointers in just 16 minutes off the bench, while starters Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson (5 fouls in 15 minutes), Tyler Johnson (1-of-6 shooting), and Devin Booker (2-of-10 shooting) were all pretty terrible in this one. Maybe Johnson will get it going after the break, but he’s off to a really tough start. I’m still into owning Bridges and Jackson, but I’m not touching Crawford with a 10-foot pole. The Suns have lost 15 straight games, but T.J. Warren (ankle) is due back after the break after missing 10 games. It will be interesting to see what that does to Oubre, Jackson and Bridges. If you’ve been thinking about picking TJW up, now’s the time.
Enjoy the All-Star break, which starts after tonight’s three games.