It was a busy 10-game night in the NBA and Tyreke Evans went down, the Hawks and Pacers were no-shows, and the Warriors actually lost a game, thanks to sitting Draymond Green. There is a ton of injury news out there right now, so be sure to scour the Rotoworld Player News pages, as well as the Injury Report, to find out the status of your guys – especially if you own Bulls. Follow me on Twitter here.
Hornets 107, Hawks 84 – The Hawks didn’t show up on Wednesday night and got blown out at Charlotte. The Hornets got 23 points and a full line from Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller had his best game in recent memory with 19 points, 10 boards, a steal and three blocks in 27 minutes, and Jeremy Lin came through with 19 points, five boards and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes off the bench. Nicolas Batum was back for his second straight game and had just six points, but also had 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. This is a good buy-low opportunity on Batum. The rest of the Hornets’ box score is a mess, although Frank Kaminsky played 29 minutes and had six points, eight boards, two steals and a block. I like him, but he won’t fully be worth owning/starting unless he replaces Marvin Williams as a starter. It’s time. Jeremy Lamb (14 minutes) suffered a toe injury and didn’t return, leaving him day-to-day.
Paul Millsap had 20 points, five boards, a block and a 3-pointer, and the rest of the Hawks’ box score was a disaster. Kent Bazemore and Jeff Teague were the two next leading scorers with nine points, meaning Millsap was the only Hawk to score in double figures. There’s nothing to see here, including Al Horford’s terrible two-point game on 1-of-4 shooting in 28 minutes. Maybe there’s an incredible strip club in Charlotte that kept the boys out all night, but this was simply an off night for the Hawks. A really, really off night.
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Wizards 106, Bucks 101 – Bradley Beal came off the bench for 11 points in 23 minutes after sitting out the last 15 games and owners can only hope that he’ll be a safe play by Monday, when weekly lineups are due. Marcin Gortat was out with his knee infection so Nene started again, and had 12 points, two rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in 25 minutes. I’d say he’s worth a short-term look, but he’s too injury prone for that. Garrett Temple and Ramon Sessions both played well, but will both take a hit once Beal is back in the starting lineup, and Drew Gooden didn’t do much with his 27 minutes, finishing with five points and five boards in Gortat’s absence.
The Bucks got a big line from Giannis Antetokounmpo with 19 points, 11 boards, six assists, two steals and a block, and it would have been even better if he didn’t commit six turnovers. Jabari Parker stayed hot with a career-high 22 points and six boards on 9-of-13 shooting, but still doesn’t do enough to get my blood pumping. However, he’s playing well enough to be picked up in most leagues. Greg Monroe was nice with 21 & 12, despite no blocks, and Khris Middleton came through with 25 points, five boards, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer as his dream season continues. Michael Carter-Williams played 26 minutes, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for four points, five boards, six dimes and three steals. This is a bit concerning with no other point guard available, but the Bucks’ bench scored a total of 10 points. This just wasn’t MCW’s night, which cost me in some DFS leagues.
Nets 110, Knicks 104 – The Nets saw Thaddeus Young bounce back with a nice double-double, Joe Johnson (buyout candidate) get loose for 14 points, seven rebounds, six dimes, a steal and two 3-pointers, Brook Lopez drop 20 & 8, and Shane Larkin (off the bench) for a career game with 17 points, five assists and a 3-pointer. Donald Sloan started, but Larkin is still the guy you want to own here, and he may have been dropped in your league prior to this game (guilty). Maybe it was a revenge game for Larkin, but he should be able to play like this more often. Shooting guard is a black hole in Brooklyn, as Wayne Ellington had 10 points, and Bojan Bogdanovic finally bounced back with 14 points and four 3-pointers on 4-of-5 shooting. That’s the same guy who was 0-for-16 in his previous three games, and I don’t trust either of them. Larkin is the pickup here, but this might end up being his best game of the season, maybe.
“I also like Derrick Williams if Melo is out.” That’s me on Twitter, at 5:21 pm yesterday. Sometimes I look smart, as Williams came off the bench to hit 11-of-17 shots and 9-of-11 free throws for 31 points, seven boards and two steals in 32 minutes. Carmelo Anthony was sitting out with his ankle injury, and Lance Thomas fizzled in a start by hitting just 2-of-10 shots in 28 minutes. Kristaps Porzingis was nice with 12 points, 10 boards, three steals and two blocks, but hit just 5-of-17 shots, Robin Lopez had nine points, 12 boards and a block, and Jose Calderon bounced back with 16 points, seven boards, four assists, two steals and four 3-pointers for one of his best games of the year. Calderon was probably dropped in your league last night after failing to score, but he’s not dead yet. And Tuesday’s hero, Jerian Grant, had just six points and three assists in 21 minutes. Arron Afflalo stayed hot with 18 points and two 3-pointers, but the Knicks couldn’t get the win. I doubt Melo’s out for long, but Williams was already playing well before Melo went down, making him an interesting waiver-wire selection. And if you want to pick up Calderon, do it.
Celtics 103, Pacers 94 – Amir Johnson had 14 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, along with six assists and two steals in another start. Jae Crowder had 25 points and three 3-pointers, and Isaiah Thomas stayed super hot with 28 points and four 3-pointers. Jared Sullinger was quiet in a start at center (4 points, 3 rebounds, 20 minutes), but should be better if he keeps the job. Avery Bradley is still working his way back from a hip injury and had 11 points and six assists on 5-of-17 shooting in a whopping 41 minutes. He’s must-own again, based on the minutes in his last two games alone. The Celtics bench, despite Sullinger’s woes, was very quiet, with only Marcus Smart playing big minutes (29), although he didn’t do much with them. Dropping Kelly Olynyk (15 minutes, 11 points, 4 boards) for Sullinger makes sense, as long as Sully keeps the starting gig going forward. Evan Turner played 20 minutes, but was 0-for-5 in 20 minutes, and takes a big hit with Bradley back.
The Pacers got solid efforts from Paul George, Ian Mahinmi (10 & 10), George Hill and Monta Ellis, but none of them posted mind-blowing stats. The Pacers just didn’t have it tonight. C.J. Miles, who had 19 points, eight boards and four 3-pointers on Tuesday, continued his crazy inconsistency by hitting just 4-of-14 shots for eight points. He was 0-for-9 from downtown, and as I’ve been saying, it’s all or nothing with Miles. Unfortunately, it was ‘nothing’ last night. And much like the Hawks, the Pacers just didn’t have it in this one.
Rockets 107, Wolves 104 – James Harden had 27 points, but hit just 8-of-22 shots and 2-of-10 3-pointers, as his season of disappointing shooting continues. Trevor Ariza stayed relatively hot with 10 points and six boards, Dwight Howard fared well after a slow start with 15 points, 10 boards, a steal and a block, and Jason Terry started for Patrick Beverley (personal) and had 10 points and two 3-pointers. Beverley will be back soon, so don’t worry about grabbing Terry. Terrence Jones stayed hot off the bench with 16 points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, and finally looks like he’s ready to help fantasy owners. Finally! Ty Lawson returned from a suspension and played 22 minutes with Beverley out, but hit just 2-of-6 shots for six points and three assists, as he remains stuck in no-man’s land in Houston.
Nikola Pekovic returned from a rest game with eight points and five boards in 16 minutes, while Karl-Anthony Towns (12 & 16), Ricky Rubio (9 & 12) and Andrew Wiggins (28 points) all played well. Shabazz Muhammad quickly fell to earth with two points on 1-of-5 shooting in just 16 minutes, and Zach LaVine was back to his old self with two points on 1-of-6 shooting in just 15 minutes. Sam Mitchell is in LaVine’s head and he simply can’t be trusted right now. Gorgui Dieng was 3-of-10 for nine points, five boards, three steals and zero blocks, and would be a lot more attractive if Pekovic would go back on the shelf. Kevin Martin is out of the doghouse and had 22 points and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Maybe they’re showcasing him for a trade, but he’s far from trustworthy at this point. He scored a total of 17 points in his previous three games, but at least he’s playing again.
Thunder 108, Mavs 89 – Serge Ibaka bounced back from a quiet night with 20-11-3, Kevin Durant scored 29 with 10 rebounds and four 3-pointers, and Russell Westbrook failed to score for the second time in his career before two technical fouls got him ejected. He may or may not have thrown a punch in a scrum with J.J. Barea, so stay tuned to see if he’s suspended. My guess is he’s not. Dion Waiters scored 18 off the bench, but I doubt that would have happened with Westbrook.
The Mavs benched their starters, as in all of them, for this one, as the Spurs’ recipe for rest is being copied league wide. J.J. Barea led the way with 18 points, a guy named Salah Mejri (center) scored 17 with nine boards and a block in 25 minutes off the bench, and Raymond Felton had 14 points and four assists on 3-of-11 shooting. JaVale McGee had 10 points, six boards and a block in a rare start, but isn’t worth your attention as long as Zaza Pachulia is healthy (he is). There was nothing to learn from this Mavs’ game, and the starters should return for the next one. Devin Harris hurt his foot, not that it matters.
Nuggets 112, Warriors 110 – Kenneth Faried finally returned for a quiet five points and four boards in 20 minutes, Danilo Gallinari went off for 28 points, saved by one 3-pointer and 17-of-19 free throws, and Darrell Arthur added 18 points and 11 boards off the bench. Forget about him with Faried back in the mix. Will Barton finally bounced back with 21 points, six boards and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes, and we can only hope he keeps it going. Jusuf Nurkic played just 15 minutes and never looked comfortable, finishing with eight points, four boards and a block before leaving with an ankle injury. Check onto his status and hang onto him. Jameer Nelson played 32 minutes, but hit just 1-of-10 shots, while Emmanuel Mudiay played 17 minutes. If you’re still holding Nelson, continue to.
The Dubs sat Draymond Green and paid for it, suffering their third loss of the season. Stephen Curry was a monster with 38 points and nine assists, but committed eight turnovers, including having the ball stolen by Gallinari with the game on the line. Hopefully this game makes the Warriors think twice before sitting their starters going forward, as they would have won had Green played.
Blazers 99, Jazz 85 – Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum led the way for the Blazers, as usual, but none of the Blazers really went off. In fact, there was very little to learn from this game, although Al-Farouq Aminu had 10 points, seven boards and four blocks, Meyers Leonard scored 12 before fouling out, and Allen Crabbe stayed relevant with 11 points, a 3-pointer, three steals and two blocks in 21 minutes.
Derrick Favors sat out his 11th straight game with a back injury, and we can only hope that this was his last missed game. Especially after he missed a potential bonanza in five games last week. Trey Lyles started again and scored a career-high 16 points, but will fade as soon as Favors plays, Gordon Hayward scored 19 points with a great line, and Rodney Hood chipped in with 19 points and three 3-pointers. Trey Burke had 15 off the bench, while Rudy Gobert missed all five of his shots and finished with three points, eight boards, a steal and three blocks, despite playing 24 minutes. Gobert will get it going, but it’s been a slow roll since his return.
Pelicans 109, Kings 97 – Well looky there, the Pelicans finally got their 12th win on the same night the Warriors got their third loss. Tyreke Evans left this game with a sore left knee, which is the same one he had surgery on. He could miss time, as the Pelicans are playing for ping pong balls, barring a crazy run over their next 10 games. Anthony Davis, whose middle name might be ‘Softy,’ returned for 24 points and 10 boards on 8-of-23 shooting, and the talk of a shutdown is going to be rampant going forward. After the Pelicans officially fall out of the hunt, why would the Pels even play him? Yes, I’m afraid it’s time to start thinking about selling Davis while you still can. Omer Asik went off for eight points and 13 boards, but I’m not buying yet, and Eric Gordon came through with 24 points, six 3-pointers and a great stat line. Maybe he was dropped in your league? Norris Cole played 26 minutes and had 18 points and two 3-pointers on 8-of-16 shots, and I think he’s a great pickup with Evans’ season possibly hanging in the balance. The Pelicans seemed to love Cole, even before Evans started feeling sharp pains in his knee.
DeMarcus Cousins went nuts with 32 points, 12 boards, three 3-pointers and no blocks, Rudy Gay failed, with just 12 points and six boards, and Rajon Rondo had a solid double-double. Omri Casspi was back with seven points, six boards, three assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and Marco Belinelli disappeared with just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes. Give him one more game before dumping.
Clippers 104, Heat 90 – The Clippers starters sat most of the fourth quarter in an easy win, but that didn’t stop Chris Paul from going off for 15 points, 12 assists, six boards, four steals, a block and two 3-pointers. Oh, what could have been had he played in the fourth quarter. DeAndre Jordan was out with pneumonia, so Cole Aldrich started and went off for 19 points and seven rebounds. Paul Pierce was nice with 15 points, nine boards and three 3-pointers, but I don’t trust him while Blake Griffin is out, and J.J. Redick had 12 points and two 3-pointers on a quiet stat night. Jamal Crawford was better with 15 points, four boards and two 3-pointers, but hit just 4-of-15 shots. We actually had a Josh Smith sighting with Jordan out, but he hit just 4-of-11 shots for nine points, and is not a guy you want to target right now. The Clips have now won 10 straight games.
The Heat got a pleasant surprise when Hassan Whiteside (knee) played, but he feels like a ticking time bomb. He came off the bench for 10 points, 11 boards, a steal and three blocks, but you might want to think about selling him, as his knee may be a problem all season. Chris Bosh flirted with a triple-double, Beno Udrih started for Goran Dragic (out next two games with a calf injury) and had eight points and three assists in 28 minutes, and Dwyane Wade hit 6-of-10 shots for 16 points, a decent line and seven turnovers. Finally, Gerald Green stayed hot with 19 points and four 3-pointers, and is worth a flier in most leagues.