The Warriors improved to 60-6, the Cavaliers suffered a setback, Jimmy Butler is back, Shelvin Mack, Doug McDermott, P.J. Tucker and Zach LaVine came through, Gordon Hayward and Lance Stephenson were out, and Russell Westbrook bounced back with another monster triple-double on Monday night. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Warriors 125, Pelicans 107 – Stephen Curry dropped 27 points and a nice line on 10-of-16 shooting, Draymond Green came through with 14 points and 12 boards, and Klay Thompson added 18 points and a couple 3-pointers as the Warriors improved to 60-6 in their dream season. The Spurs are in the midst of their best season ever, but you wouldn’t know it given the way the Warriors are ripping up the rest of the league. My man Marreese Speights came through with 14 & 7 off the bench in just 18 minutes, and I like him as a deep-league add down the stretch, as the Warriors may give Andrew Bogut plenty of rest in preparation for the playoffs. Bogut played just 15 minutes last night.
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The Pelicans got 22 points, 12 boards, a steal and two blocks from Anthony Davis, which was a bit disappointing considering his big DFS salary. It could have been worse. Toney Douglas started again with Norris Cole (back) sitting out and had 22 points, five boards and eight dimes. As long as Cole is out, Douglas is worth a look. Jrue holiday was quiet, hitting just 5-of-16 shots for 13 points, Alonzo Gee had a mere 10 points, and starter Dante Cunningham only scored two. Ryan Anderson had 19 off the bench, but didn’t hit a 3-pointer, and Luke Babbitt had 12 points, five boards, two steals and a 3-pointer. Anderson is the only bench player you can trust here, while Davis and Holiday are the only trustworthy starters right now. The Pelicans are now 9.5 games out of the playoffs, so I think we can turn the page on this season. Let’s just hope Davis and Holiday continue to play down the stretch in a lost season.
Thunder 128, Blazers 94 – Russell Westbrook bounced back from a mini-slump, if you want to call it that, with a 17-10-16 triple-double on a night the Thunder absolutely walloped the Blazers. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter or his stat line would have been absurd. He had most of his trip-dub in the first half and would have become the only player to accomplish a first-half triple-double since the NBA started keeping track of them in the 2002-03 season, had he come up with one more rebound. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka both had nice lines, and even Steven Adams came through with 13 points, two steals and a block. Enes Kanter enjoyed the blowout with a season-high 26 points, seven boards and two steals off the bench. He hasn’t been ripping it up, but he has been highly efficient, and makes for a solid punt play at center on most nights. He’s the only Thunder bench player worth consideration on a nightly basis.
The Blazers got 21 points, four assists and three 3-pointers from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum added 15 points and not much else in the blowout. Meyers Leonard came in hot, but played just 19 minutes off the bench to finish with three points, six boards and two blocks on 1-of-7 shooting. He will bounce back in the next one and is worth a look in most leagues. Outside of Lillard and McCollum, the Blazers were befuddled by the Thunder and this box score isn’t even worth the paper it wasn’t printed on.
Mavericks 107, Hornets 96 – Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Raymond Felton and Deron Williams all played well, if not spectacularly, and Wesley Matthews curled up under a tree to hit 1-of-8 shots for five points on an off night as the Mavericks cruised to a win over the Hornets. David Lee was solid with 12 & 7 off the bench, but this is one of the most boring box scores you’ll ever see for a winning NBA team.
Marvin Williams’ carriage still hasn’t turned into a pumpkin and he had 19 points, seven rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer, while Kemba Walker (25 & 9) and Nicolas Batum (20 points, full stat line) both went off for the Hornets. Cody Zeller was disappointing with one point on 0-for-3 shooting, while bench players Frank Kaminsky, Al Jefferson and Jeremy Lin all struggled last night. In short, it was not a great night to have players from this game in fantasy, unless it was Parsons, Walker, Batum or Marvin.
Heat 124, Nuggets 119 – There wasn’t much to see here, either. Dwyane Wade played through his thigh injury and had 19 points, Goran Dragic cooled off with just 11 points and eight assists, Joe Johnson stayed hot with 18 points, five assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and Luol Deng added 18 points, eight boards and two steals. If Joe is sitting out there in your league, grab him. He’s been on fire since moving to the Heat and even looks good on nights when Wade is out there. The Heat bench was all-world last night as Hassan Whiteside dropped an 18 & 10 double-double with a block, Justise Winslow broke out with 20 points in 33 minutes, and Josh Richardson came through with 17 points, four 3-pointers, two steals and three blocks. Richardson is officially on the radar, averaging 13.6 points, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s Wade insurance for the Heat and should be able to take advantage of his new opportunity, especially as the Heat monitor Wade’s minutes prior to the playoffs. Winslow has hit double digits in two straight games and played 30-plus minutes in four of his last five. I still don’t really trust him, but he’s been pretty solid over his last two, and the minutes are there. And as you know, Whiteside should be owned and starting in all leagues.
Kenneth Faried finally got back on track with 24 points, 11 boards and a block, and things like that will happen when you make 11-of-11 field goals. Faried’s big night helped quiet Darrell Arthur off the bench, but he still played 37 minutes. Nikola Jokic bounced back with 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block, Emmanuel Mudiay dropped a 23 & 10 double-double, and Gary Harris racked up 18 points and a nice line to stay hot. D.J. Augustin stayed relevant off the bench with 13 points, a 3-pointer and a couple steals, and Joffrey Lauvergne added 10 points in just 12 minutes. A couple of the bigger stories here are that Jusuf Nurkic sat out with a sore knee and Will Barton missed all six of his shots and failed to score a single point for the first time all season. He’s still worth owning, but is far from the player we all grew to love over the first half.
Bulls 109, Raptors 107 – There’s plenty of news to go around from this one. Taj Gibson started and had 13 points and 10 rebounds, recording his second double-double in four games. He’s coming on and now has just six double-doubles on the season. Pau Gasol’s knee injury already has him ruled out for Wednesday’s game, so Gibson’s worth a DFS look tomorrow night. Nikola Mirotic started (with Gasol out) and racked up 17 points, five boards, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, and this week might make up for all the time you held onto him when he was useless this season. Jimmy Butler made a valiant return from his swollen knee, and I’ll happily take the 13 points, five boards, six dimes and two blocks, even with the 5-of-18 shooting. Now let’s just hope the knee doesn’t swell again. E’Twaun Moore was solid with Derrick Rose nursing a groin injury, and I simply don’t know how long Rose will sit. If it’s more than a couple games, you’ll be glad you own Moore. Justin Holiday started again and had five points in 14 minutes. He was great in his previous two games, but the return of Jimmy B hurts him. And with Mike Dunleavy out with an illness, Doug McDermott went off with 29 points and four 3-pointers. His career-high is 30, but last night was an ideal spot to play McBuckets in DFS. I had him queued up, but chickened out late, much to my chagrin. He’ll take a bit of a hit when Dunleavy is back, so don’t get overly excited about the explosion. The ‘Free Bobby Portis Campaign’ is still hurting, as he had just six points and seven boards in 23 minutes. Even the absence of Pau Gasol can’t get him cooking.
The Raptors got big lines from Kyle Lowry (33-11-7-3) and DeMar DeRozan (27 points), but starters James Johnson (zero points) and Luis Scola (4 & 2) did you know what to the bed. Jonas Valanciunas' poor night was due to a left hand contusion, but he's in a slump and I don’t know when he’ll break out of his funk. Patrick Patterson was the only notable player off the bench with 13 points, six boards and three 3-pointers, while Bismack Biyombo intrigued with six points, six boards and six blocks for a demonic 666 line. With JV struggling, Biyombo is worth a look, but I don’t really trust him or Pat-Pat.
Wizards 124, Pistons 81 – The Wizards blew out the Pistons and got double-digit scoring from all five starters. However, none of them had a big stat line except John Wall, who posted a 15 & 12 double-double. Bradley Beal started in his return from a hip injury and had 12 points and a nice line in 25 minutes, Markieff Morris scored 14 points with a couple threes, a steal and a block, Otto Porter added 11 points and a full stat line, and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and six boards in the blowout. If Porter was dropped in your league he could be ready to finally get hot. Nene had 20 points and three boards in just 15 minutes, hitting 8-of-9 shots, and Ramon Sessions added 14 points and four assists in 24 minutes off the bench. But as long as Wall, Beal and Gortat are healthy, those two can be ignored in most leagues.
The Pistons were down 34-15 after the first quarter and never got on track. Reggie Jackson was a disaster with eight points and one assist and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the only starter to hit double figures with 18 points, and he didn’t even hit a 3-pointer. Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond should all be much better than they were last night in their next game. I just hope you didn’t use any Pistons in DFS, or on your playoff team, for that matter.
Rockets 130, Grizzlies 81 – The Rockets absolutely destroyed the makeshift Grizzlies, as Donatas Motiejunas got hot and racked up 18 points, six boards and a 3-pointer in the starting lineup. He was doing nothing coming in, so don’t get too excited about his nice line. Trevor Ariza scored 16, Dwight Howard had just seven points, but added 13 boards and five blocks, and James Harden took just eight shots to finish with 15 points, seven boards and eight dimes. Blowouts aren’t much fun in fantasy. Patrick Beverley came through with 10 points, five boards, six assists, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers, and is playing well enough to be starting in any league right now. Corey Brewer’s hot streak is officially toast and he had just two points in 15 minutes off the bench, while Michael Beasley looks like the Rocket to own off the bench right now. Easy had 11 points, nine boards, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes, so look at picking him up if you have some dead weight on your roster. He’s the backup power forward of choice in Houston these days, and is playing well over his last three games.
The JaMychal Green party has come to a disturbing halt as he had just nine points, four rebounds and zero blocks on 4-of-17 shooting. He had just four points and eight boards in his previous game, but was on fire prior to these two duds. The minutes are there and I think you have to give him a couple more games before throwing in the towel. Matt Barnes remains a must-own player and had 14 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers, while starters Ryan Hollins, Briante Weber and Tony Allen were all pretty terrible. Allen had five rebounds and three steals, but hit just 2-of-10 shots in 26 minutes. He should bounce back, but Weber can be forgotten about with the arrival of Ray McCallum. McCallum was just as bad as Weber and two bad point guards in a timeshare is not what the fantasy doctor ordered. With Zach Randolph out again, Jarell Martin came through with 17 points and eight rebounds, making him worth a look as long as Z-Bo’s not playing. And a guy named Alex Stephenson hit 5-of-17 shots for 12 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out in 25 minutes. This was a garbage-time special and the players from Memphis you want to be looking at are Green, Barnes, Allen and Martin. Lance Stephenson joined Randolph and Mike Conley in street clothes with a wrist injury, which makes Allen’s bad night even more painful. Stephenson should be back sooner than later, but Randolph could miss more time with his sore knee. McCallum hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points and four assists, and the Grizzlies are really going to be missing Conley, Randolph and Gasol down the stretch.
Suns 107, Timberwolves 104 – The Suns actually won a game! P.J. Tucker went nuts with 23 points, 12 boards and a fun stat line, Tyson Chandler double-doubled, Alex Len had 9 & 11, and starting guards Brandon Knight and Devin Booker each contributed. Knight hit just 3-of-18 shots and is struggling to regain his form after an extended absence. Booker had 16 points, six dimes and a 3-pointer and remains a must-start the rest of the way, along with Len. Mirza Teletovic blew up off the bench with 21 points, eight boards and five 3-pointers. He’s as streaky as they come and now might be the right time to pounce on him, in case this is the start of another hot streak.
The Wolves got big stat lines from starters Zach LaVine (10-of-15 shooting) and Andrew Wiggins (9-of-14) against the horrible Suns’ D, while Ricky Rubio (13 points, 17 assists), Gorgui Dieng (12 & 9, three steals, two blocks) and Karl-Anthony Towns (17 & 10) all played very well. It’s a shame the Wolves lost this game, especially when you look at the box score and see how well the starters all played. Start anyone playing the Suns on a nightly basis. And plan on starting Wolves’ starters on a nightly basis.
Jazz 94, Cavaliers 85 – The Jazz rolled the Cavs without Gordon Hayward (plantar fasciitis) as Rodney Hood caught fire for 28 points and four 3-pointers on 9-of-16 shooting. Derrick Favors added 19 points, five boards, a steal and three blocks, and Shelvin Mack was great with 17 points, seven boards, 10 assists and three 3-pointers. He’s hot right now, so make sure he’s not available in your league. Rudy Gobert was quiet with five points, 11 boards and zero blocks, and I’m not really sure what his problem is right now. Joe Ingles started for Hayward, but had just six points, five boards and four assists in 37 minutes. He did hit a couple 3-pointers and could be sneaky DFS play as long as Hayward is out. And no, I don’t know how long that will be.
The Cavaliers just didn’t have it last night. LeBron James had a 23 & 12 double-double, Kyrie Irving scored 15 points, but added just three assists and hit 7-of-23 shots. Yes, he was pretty much dominated by Shelvin Mack. Kevin Love had 12 & 9, and Timofey Mozgov barely stayed alive as a starter with seven points and three boards in 16 minutes. And no, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye didn’t do much off the bench, despite the poor play of Mozgov and the other starters. Add in J.R. Smith’s 2-of-12 shooting line and it’s pretty clear the Cavs just weren’t ready to play last night.