Cavs 114, Hornets 103 – LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both scored 23 and had nice stat lines, and J.R. Smith got hot for 16 points, a couple 3-pointers and three steals for the Cavs. Tristan Thompson had six points and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Love disappeared with just eight points, two rebounds and zero 3-pointers on 4-of-11 shooting in 26 minutes. He’s not hurt, but this was disappointing, at best. Channing Frye played just 18 minutes off the bench, but came through with 15 points, six rebounds and four 3-pointers, which is why the Cavs went after him. I still don’t like Frye for fantasy use, but a few more games like this could change my mind.
The Hornets got 20 points, six assists and three 3-pointers from Kemba Walker, but starters Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, Nicolas Batum and Courtney Lee all failed to score more than nine points. Williams and Batum still put up solid numbers and are both worth using in most fantasy leagues. Frank Kaminsky had 16 points, four rebounds and three 3-pointers in 23 minutes off the bench, Al Jefferson had 12 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes off the pine, and Jeremy Lin had 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes as a reserve. This is pretty ugly all the way around, as Williams, Cody Zeller, Kaminsky and Jefferson will all hurt each other, and Lee and Lin will also be in a timeshare at shooting guard. The only trustworthy players here in the short term are Walker and Batum, as far as I’m concerned. The Hornets had their five-game winning streak stopped by the East’s best team last night.
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Pacers 108, Knicks 105 – The Pacers overcame a slow start from Paul George and won by three, as PG-13 finished with 27 points, seven boards and six dimes. He hit just 10-of-23 shots and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts, or his line would have been better. Myles Turner went off for 24 points and six boards, and George Hill wrapped up the double-digit scoring with 10 points and two steals. Monta Ellis continues to struggle and Ian Mahinmi had just eight points and seven boards, but the Pacers still won. You don’t want to mess with any of the Pacers’ bench players, and only George and Turner, and maybe Ellis, are must-starts right now. Ellis has scored just seven or eight points in his last two, but should heat up again soon.
The Knicks got 22 points, two 3-pointers, two steals and a block from Kristaps Porzingis and Jose Calderon had 20 points, four boards, four assists and four 3-pointers on 6-of-10 shooting in another start. I have no idea how Calderon did it, but he looked like a player last night. And no, I don’t expect him to do this again anytime soon, and prefer to own Langston Galloway. Carmelo Anthony scored 14 points, but hit just 5-of-20 shots as the Knicks took another playoff hit tonight. He has ‘shutdown’ written all over his face. Starters Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo were virtually invisible last night, while Kyle O’Quinn went off for 19 points and six rebounds. Ignore him as long as Ro-Lo is healthy. Galloway came through with 17 points, six boards, four assists and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes, and is still the guard you want to own in New York.
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Pistons 111, Sixers 91 – The Pistons killed the Sixers and all five starters hit double figures in scoring. Andre Drummond had 18 rebounds to go along with his 12 points and a block, and Reggie Jackson had three rebounds and five assists to go with his 17 points. Tobias Harris was the starter of the night for the Pistons, hitting 9-of-12 shots for 22 points, eight boards and a 3-pointer. He’s locked and loaded in Detroit, especially with Stanley Johnson hurt, so get him into your lineup. Marcus Morris had 13 points, a career-high eight assists, three steals and two 3-pointers. Reggie Bullock came off the bench for 16 points and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes, but played just two minutes over his previous four games. Forget about him for now.
The Sixers were simply a mess. Jahlil Okafor had 13 points and just two rebounds, and was the only starter to score in double figures. Off the bench, Hollis Thompson had 19 points and three 3-pointers, Kendall Marshall had 12 points, four assists and a 3-pointer, and Carl Landry scored 10 points in just 10 minutes. Jerami Grant played 24 minutes, but had just nine points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench. Starters Robert Covington (8 points, 2-of-9 shooting), Ish Smith (4 points, 4 assists, 2-of-9 shooting), and Nik Stauskas (1-of-7, 3 points) were all bad last night. I’m not sure what else to say here, other than that Nerlens Noel (1-of-6, 3 points), Covington, Okafor and Smith should be better than this on most nights.
Warriors 118, Heat 112 – The Warriors didn’t make things easy on themselves in this one, but pulled off the come-from-behind win on a Stephen Curry 3-pointer over Hassan Whiteside, the league’s leading shot blocker, with 38 seconds left. Curry finished with 42 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, six 3-pointers and seven turnovers, Klay Thompson had 33 points, four threes and four steals, and Draymond Green added 10 points and 11 rebounds (just three assists). The only other thing worth noting for the Dubs was that Anderson Varejao made his debut and scored one point in 10 minutes. A great grab for the Warriors, but he’s unlikely to become a fantasy factor any time soon. Oh, and Curry tied Kyle Korver’s record of a 3-pointer in 127 consecutive games. Barring a miracle, expect to see him break it on Thursday.
Dwyane Wade had 32 points and seven assists, Luol Deng came through with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Justise Winslow stayed hot with eight points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, as did Hassan Whiteside with 21 points, 13 boards, a steal and two blocks. This ‘bringing him off the bench’ nonsense should be coming to an end soon for Whiteside, who started the second half. Goran Dragic came in red-hot but was due for a letdown and had just 13 points and seven dimes on 5-of-17 shooting. Amare Stoudemire “started” but played just six minutes in the loss. He’s healthy, but running with the Warriors is not something Amare can do these days. With Winslow and Whiteside rolling, Stoudemire is useless in fantasy. Gerald Green didn’t take a single shot in 25 minutes, which I don’t understand, and Josh McRoberts played 14 minutes and scored seven points. Josh Richardson, who didn’t score a point in nine minutes on Monday, played 29 minutes and had 15 points and three 3-pointers on 5-of-6 shooting. Forget about him and Green for now.
Raptors 114, Wolves 105 – DeMar DeRozan had 31 points, Kyle Lowry had 21 and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 in Wednesday’s win. No Raptors player did anything too impressive, but DD had the best line for Toronto. Starters Luis Scola and James Johnson didn’t do much of anything and neither player saw more than 19 minutes, while Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross were both disappointing off the bench. Cory Joseph got loose for 18 points and six assists in 22 minutes, and is averaging 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five games, but I still have trust issues with him.
The Wolves started Tayshaun Prince over Zach LaVine with the “alternating starts” plan still in place, and let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t own the Wolves. It reminds me a little of the “pass four times” strategy enforced by coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers – complete nonsense. Anyway, Andrew Wiggins scored 26 with a couple treys, Gorgui Dieng came through with 21 points and eight boards, and Karl-Anthony Towns cooled off with 16 points, six boards and zero blocks. Ricky Rubio was fun with a 12-12 double-double and added two steals and two 3-pointers, while LaVine hit just 3-of-10 shots for seven points, two rebounds, four assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 3-of-10 shooting. Gee, I wonder if he would have shot it better if he were starting instead of alternating games off the bench? At least we know he’ll be starting in the next one, right? Pardon me, as I step away to order my “Free LaVine” shirt now.
Bulls 109, Wizards 104 – Pau Gasol ended up playing through his illness, but news didn’t hit until after lineup deadlines passed, while Derrick Rose says he pulled himself into a DNP due to a sore hamstring. That news also didn’t hit until after 7 p.m., frustrating fantasy owners worldwide. Rose’s missed game was especially disappointing after he declared himself finally back and healthy a day earlier. The Bulls started Taj Gibson (17 & 7), Tony Snell (16 points, 4 3-pointers), Gasol (10-15-9), Mike Dunleavy (14 points, 2 3-pointers) and E’Twaun Moore (17 points, 2 steals, 1 3-pointer) and still managed a win without Rose. Doug McDermott got hot late and had 14 points and five boards off the bench, but didn’t hit a 3-pointer. And despite Rose’s absence, Aaron Brooks played just 20 minutes and missed 10-of-15 shots for 11 points and two assists. Moore has been playing well for three straight games now and looks like a must-own player, with or without Rose - at least until Jimmy Butler is back. Bobby Portis fell back to earth with five points, seven rebounds and nothing else on 2-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes. He was rolling coming in, so give him another game or two before acting. The Bulls are still fighting for their playoff lives and have won three straight. I don’t trust Snell, but Dunleavy, Gibson, McDermott and Portis are all guys who might be available in your league, and might be able to help your team.
For the Wizards, Jared Dudley cooled off, Otto Porter stayed cold, and Marcin Gortat had just eight points and eight rebounds in the loss. John Wall hit just 6-of-15 shots for 16 points and seven assists, and Garrett Temple nearly led the team in scoring with 18 points and four 3-pointers in another start. Despite starting, he’s been outplayed by Ramon Sessions lately and Sessions had 16 points, three assists and a 3-pointer off the bench. And neither is really trustworthy. Bradley Beal came off the bench again and led the team with 19 points, but missed all six of his 3-point attempts and didn’t do much outside of scoring. The struggles of Markieff Morris are real, as he came off the bench again, played 28 minutes, and hit just 1-of-7 shots for five points. The Wizards are trying to make him relevant, but he’s just not cooperating.
Grizzlies 128, Lakers 119 – All five Memphis starters scored at least 12 points. Matt Barnes got hot and bounced back from an 0-for-6 night with a season-high 25 points, eight boards, a steal, a block and five 3-pointers. Grab him if he was dropped in your league, but keep in mind he doesn't get to play the Lakers every night. JaMychal Green stayed relevant with 12 points and nine boards, and has really stymied Brandan Wright, although Wright hit 7-of-10 shots for 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks off the bench. The reality is that both big men can help fantasy owners right now. Mike Conley was great (again – Lakers) and Zach Randolph nearly double-doubled against Julius Randle. P.J. Hairston started and had 17 points and four 3-pointers, but he had scored a total of four points in his previous two games. Lance Stephenson played 23 minutes and added eight points and four boards, while Mario Chalmers and Vince Carter both struggled despite the absence of Tony Allen (sore knee). Keep an eye on Stephenson here.
Jordan Clarkson stayed hot for the Lakers with 28 points, six boards, three assists and six 3-pointers on 10-of-18 shooting. D’Angelo Russell is coming on as a starter and added 22 points, eight assists and three 3-pointers, and both guards are must-owns at this point. Kobe Bryant, as usual, hit just 5-of-14 shots and Randle double-doubled with 11 points and 14 boards. Lou Williams got hot off the bench with 22 points and four 3-pointers, but has become a bit unreliable since being benched for Russell. He’s still getting run and scoring, but has hit just 8-of-25 shots in his last two games.
Thunder 116, Mavericks 103 – Russell Westbrook scored 24 and flirted with a triple-double, Kevin Durant did the same, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points, eight boards and a block in the win. Steven Adams had 15 points, seven boards and two blocks in the start, and Enes Kanter racked up 14 points, nine boards and two steals in just 17 minutes. Andre Roberson (4 points, 1-of-5 shooting) fizzled in a start and Dion Waiters hit 5-of-8 shots and four 3-pointers for 14 points off the bench. Outside of the Big 3 and the two centers, the rest of the Thunder probably belong on waivers.
Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points with two 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting and Chandler Parsons disappeared with six points on 3-of-10 shooting. Parsons will bounce back on Friday against the Nuggets. Zaza Pachulia, Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews were all decent, and Raymond Felton had 10 points, six boards and nine dimes off the bench. Those are the only players you need to worry about in Big D.
Spurs 108, Kings 92 – Tony Parker had 23 points and six assists to lead the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, eight boards, four steals and two 3-pointers in his return from a calf injury. Danny Green bounced back with 16 points, seven boards, three steals, a block and four 3-pointers on 6-of-9 shooting. He’s playing much better over the last month, but also had back-to-back games last Thursday and Friday when he scored a total of six points on 3-of-13 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge was off, hitting just 2-of-11 shots for seven points, but also had nine boards and five blocks to salvage his line. Tim Duncan played just 12 minutes and failed to score a point. He’s only done that twice, and they’ve both come over the last two months. Cutting Duncan is probably a smart move, as the Spurs are going to baby him the rest of the way. And if you’re looking for a name for your band, Cutting Duncan makes perfect sense.
Rajon Rondo (who the Kings constantly list as day-to-day) had seven points, eight boards, 18 assists and three steals against his former team, DeMarcus Cousins double-doubled with 22 & 10, and Quincy Acy blew up for 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Acy failed to score in his previous two games and even though he’s starting, he’s not someone you should be adding. Ben McLemore played just 17 minutes for five points and can be forgotten about. Willie Cauley-Stein and Darren Collison both scored 15 off the bench, and are both worth a look in most leagues. Especially with Acy and McLemore starting over them.
Nuggets 87, Clippers 81 – Kenneth Faried is finally healthy and back, and had 21 points and 11 boards on 10-of-15 shooting. Danilo Gallinari was solid with 16 points and eight boards, Nikola Jokic had seven points, 11 boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, and is rolling again. Emmanuel Mudiay hit 1-of-12 shots for four points and six assists, and simply isn’t a good shooter. Maybe he should stop doing it. Gary Harris bounced back with 17 points, three steals and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes, as he continues to hurt Will Barton. Barton played 26 minutes, but hit just 1-of-6 shots for three points in one of his worst games of the season. Barton is still worth holding, while Harris is worth a look in most leagues. Joffrey Lauvergne had 12 points and six boards in 22 minutes, as it appears that Mike Malone is going to keep Jusuf Nurkic (knee) benched until he sees him practice again.