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Bulls trio combines for 89 points in high-scoring affair with Hawks

Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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Week 11, here we are. The holidays have mostly come to an end, but we got Greg Monroe playing basketball again as a late present.

Scary Terry nets 27 points in easy win

The Hornets handed the Rockets their fourth straight loss on Monday evening, and they took care of things rather easily in a well-balanced effort that saw six guys hit double digits in the scoring column. Terry Rozier was the only one to score at least 20 and went for 27 points (10-of-17 FGs) four rebounds, five assists, one steal, one turnover and seven 3-pointers, and when he’s on, he’s both really fun to roster and to watch. Kelly Oubre Jr. was next up with 18 points off the bench with a pair of steals, and Miles Bridges went to Twitter mid-game and said that he deserves some Sixth Man of the Year recognition, and Oubre may not win but Bridges is absolutely correct. LaMelo Ball was “quiet” with an efficient 16/5/7 line with two steals and four triples, and Mason Plumlee looked like a DFS lineup winner (if anyone actually used him) with a 15/9/3/2/3 showing on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting (1-of-2 FTs though, so close), but Plumlee hasn’t done much at all and I’m not buying it since small-ball center P.J. Washington (protocols) wasn’t active. Gordon Hayward (10/3/4 with three steals and two treys) and Jalen McDaniels (16/3/3 with two treys as well) were both fine and Hayward’s steals salvaged his pretty boring night, and Hayward managers should tamper their expectations whenever Ball and Rozier play. This team is also starting to get healthy too, so you can start looking to move on from guys like Cody Martin (returned to the lineup, just one point) and Ish Smith (3/6/3).

If you had Trevelin Queen leading the Rockets in scoring in this one on your Bingo card, you’re awesome. He had only played a handful of minutes in a couple games before Monday, but he looked really good against Charlotte with 17 points, six rebounds, three steals and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes, and it’s tempting to scoop him up, but the Hornets won by 24 and they had no reason not to play Queen so I’m just monitoring. Christian Wood and Eric Gordon scored 16 points apiece, but besides Wood’s nine rebounds and Gordon’s three makes from range, their stat lines were lacking a bit. Daishen Nix had played two NBA minutes before Monday and had a career night with 11 points and three steals, but this was also a garbage time special, and Armoni Brooks matched Nix’s point total but needed 15 shots to get there, and that’s really about it for the once-again-struggling Rockets.

Bulls main trio goes nuts in fun win over Hawks

Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan combined for 89 points in a 130-118 win over the Hawks, and this team looked amazing in this one without both Lonzo Ball’s (protocols) and Alex Caruso’s (hamstring) tenacious defensive abilities. Vuc may have had the 9-cat line of the night with 24 points (9-of-19 FGs), 17 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and four treys in 34 minutes. He missed one of his free throws and didn’t have a steal (one got taken away) but those were the only “issues”, as he did all of this without a single turnover against Clint Capela. Also, Vuc’s shooting has been so much better over his last four games (50%) and will be the sole reason he eventually improves upon his barely top-50 value coming in. DeMar DeRozan did it all and just won’t slow down as exemplified by his massive 35/5/10 line with two triples and three turnovers on 70% shooting, while Zach LaVine scored 30 himself (11-of-21 FGs) along with four rebounds, nine assists, one steal, five 3-pointers and two giveaways in 37 minutes. If you targeted these guys for your DFS lineups, or really just loaded up on guys from this game, you’re likely walking away a winner. Coby White scored 13 with four rebounds, two swipes and three triples in a start, but he was getting burned on defense and it was Ayo Dosunmu (eight points in 25 minutes) who flipped the script early and often despite being quieter on the box score. This looks like it could be one heck of a potential playoff matchup, so I’m hoping for that even though it’s really hard to tell what’ll end up happening.

Cam Reddish’s big night was ruined by the result of the game, but he went off for 33 points and a career-high eight 3-pointers in 40 minutes of a start, and keep in mind his career high of 34 came just five nights prior, so he needs to be rostered while he’s hot. Trae Young also made his return from a three-game absence spent in protocols and may cause Reddish to take a hit, but not tonight, as they both looked great. Young ended with 29 points and nine assists in 40 minutes, and the lack of defensive stats (0 stocks) and shooting (8-of-23) were probably just due to a bit of rust, but he made all 12 of his freebies to really help your team there. I’m not sure this game would have been as competitive as it was if one of these two guys didn’t end up playing, and I cannot emphasize enough just how entertaining this ultra-high-scoring affair truly was. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points of his own in a 20/4/3 line with four triples and a block, while Clint Capela was his usual with eight points, 16 boards, one block and a 0-of-2 mark from the line, and Vuc basically turned him invisible in the second half. Chaundee Brown Jr. was just signed and got 30 minutes in a start but had just four points but at least grabbed nine rebounds with two steals, and he could have a tiny bit of value with a dozen Hawks in protocols but it’ll likely just be the main guys posting big lines like we saw tonight. Gorgui Dieng posted a 12/5/3 line in 22 minutes and only played four less minutes than Capela, and with Onyeka Okongwu in protocols, Dieng could be a low-end streaming option especially if Capela doesn’t hit minutes in the 30s.

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Greg Monroe

The weirdness of this season continues in ways never thought possible, with Greg Monroe playing 23 minutes in a Wolves win on Monday evening being the latest reason. The team just signed him to a 10-day contract and he was really solid with 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block, and I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but he could be worth a look for a couple more games with Karl-Anthony Towns, Naz Reid and Jarred Vanderbilt all in protocols. Also, fun fact time, Monroe is the 541st player to appear in an NBA game this season, marking the most ever in NBA history, and by the time you read this it’ll probably be December 28. Just wild. Monroe got the headline just because I had to do it, but the game ball deserved to be split between Nathan Knight and Jaylen Nowell. Knight had a career high in his first career start and balled out via a 20/11/4/1/1 line (8-of-11 FGs) with two triples and two turnovers. Jaylen Nowell came off the bench and notched a career high in points as well, hitting 10 of his 18 shots for 29 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, six 3-pointers and just one turnover in 35 minutes. The importance of having a roster spot strictly for streamers is of utmost important right now, and there will never be any shortage of options on any given night, so I like either of these guys as streaming options next time out if the roster looks like it did on Monday. Jaden McDaniels also took advantage of a nine-man rotation with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 36 minutes of a start, and Jordan McLaughlin shot 1-of-9 but chipped in with a 5/6/10 line with a steal but four turnovers, but Knight has sparked my interest most with Nowell being a close second. Malik Beasley has been red hot but took a backseat in this one in a return to planet earth, shooting just 6-of-18 from the floor for 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three treys in 39 minutes, and his fantasy window will close as soon as the team gets healthy, as can be sadly said about most of these guys.

The Celtics have now lost seven of their last 10 games, and they also had some strange stuff going on with a Wolves-like nine-guy rotation. Jaylen Brown was in a prime spot and posted a 26/10/4 line with a swat, but he struggled shooting everywhere as shown by his 8-of-24 clip from the field and 8-of-13 mark from the line, with the six turnovers not helping matters either. Payton Pritchard shot 8-of-22 himself for a 23/8/6 line with a steal and five triples in 45 minutes (this game didn’t go to overtime) and is also worth a look right now with Dennis Schroder (protocols) and Marcus Smart (hand) sidelined, while Al Horford did 2021-Horford stuff with 16 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and four triples in 34 minutes, and he became just the second big man since entering the league in 2007 to reach 3,000 career assists (Draymond Green, of course). Robert Williams had 11 boards and four blocks but foul trouble limited him to just eight points in 22 minutes, and Grant Williams took advantage of Time Lord’s fouling issues with 15 points, six rebounds, one steal and three treys in 28 minutes. Romeo Langford doesn’t score much but had seven stocks (four steals, three blocks) and has Matisse Thybulle-esque defensive upside if that’s what your’e looking for.

Six Jazz players reach double-digit scoring in victory over SAS

Utah is really good without many people talking about them, seemingly like always, as they improved to a 24-9 record and would be leading be leading that conference if the Warriors and Suns weren’t so stellar (Phoenix did lose on Monday, though). Donovan Mitchell was out with a lower back sprain, which allowed Jordan Clarkson to play 32 minutes off the bench and lead the team in scoring with 23 points (9-of-21 FGs, that’s great for him) and also helped out elsewhere with eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, two triples and three turnovers. Sadly, he’s not even a top-150 guy because he shoots 38% from the field, but whenever Mitchell is out, give him a look. Joe Ingles assumed Spida’s starting position and made four triples behind a 17/3/3 line and, like JC, is best to utilize when Mitchell doesn’t play, while Mike Conley (12/6/2 with four steals) gets a slight bump but didn’t show as such besides the elite steal numbers. Rudy Gobert had a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double with two assists, one steal and three blocks, and the best part is that he made all six of his free throws to bring him to a new career high of 69.1% there as of Monday evening. Bojan Bogdanovic still remains a guy that just helps in scoring as he had 19 points, but had nearly as many turnovers (four) as combined boards/dimes/steals/blocks (five). Hassan Whiteside’s elite per-minute play continued with 13 points, eight boards and a block in 19 minutes, but he just doesn’t play enough to trust on a nightly basis.

Dejounte Murray is in protocols and leaves this Spurs team with a 24.7% usage rate to be filled, and a lot of guys are going to benefit for however long he’s out. Derrick White is the first and best example of one of these guys as he went for a 21/2/8/3/1 showing in the loss along with three each in the triples/turnovers departments, but he’s been really good lately even with Dejounte so just enjoy the extra fun for the next few games. The quartet of Keldon Johnson (13 points, seven boards, one steal), Doug McDermott (17 points, three triples), Lonnie Walker (11/4/3) and Devin Vassell (13 points, six rebounds) were all fine but didn’t do anything all too exciting with Johnson’s steal being the only defensive stat of these four, but I still like Vassell’s defensive upside even though he didn’t come through there on this particular occasion. Jakob Poeltl continues to chip in with a bit of everything except made free throws (0-of-2) with a 10/13/5 line with a steal, and he somehow jumps up over eight rounds in rankings if you’re punting free throws (via Basketball Monster). Keita Bates-Diop (two points) can be left alone despite a 30-point outburst against the Lakers two games back, with the only thing to take away from that is to utilize more guys than usual whenever they’re playing L.A. Sorry, Lakeshow, but get it together.

King Ja calls game in thriller in Phoenix

King Ja, baby. The Grizzlies wrapped up a three-game road trip in fashion with a win over the second best team in the NBA, and the victory came from a Ja Morant game-winning layup with half a second to play to put Memphis up by a point and seal the fate of the Suns. The shot was ridiculous and probably could’ve been blocked three different times, but Ja is different. His final stat line wasn’t shabby by any means either, as he came through with a game-high 33 points (14-of-25 FGs) along with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, three 3-pointers and two turnovers in 35 minutes of action. Ja is one of the many reasons this team is becoming more fun by the day and they could be a problem by the time the postseason comes around. Desmond Bane was right behind Morant and has been outright ridiculous this season, providing fifth-round value and going for career highs in points and threes behind a 32/6/3/1/1 showing on 12-of-22 shooting with six treys in 37 minutes. He’s going to be on a lot of fantasy championship teams. Steven Adams kind of flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, 16 rebounds (season-high nine offensive), a season-high seven assists, one block and three turnovers in 31 minutes and he’ll have nights like these every so often but is usually just a guy for rebounding, but it’s hard to leave something like this on the waiver wire. Jaren Jackson Jr. played the fewest minutes of any starter (29) and struggled to the tune of 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting to go with three boards and two blocks, but anyone who rosters JJJ knows that off some nights are just part of the plan for him. John Konchar started and has made the quickest transition from meme to crucial role player ever, going for seven points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two treys in 34 minutes of a start. He’s starting for Dillon Brooks right now (in protocols, along with De’Anthony Melton, which also helps) and is another guy worth a short-term look, and if he can build on his recent play he could have some late-round value for the season, but that’s not certain on such a deep team.

Devin Booker hit his third 3-pointer of the night with five seconds left in the game in what looked like would be the deciding bucket, but again I say, King Ja. Book finished the narrow loss with a team-high 30 points (10-of-20 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs), two rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks and three giveaways in 37 minutes, and the scoring is there as always but he’s averaging just 25% of the stocks that he got on Monday on the season, so that part was fluky. Chris Paul was nearly vintage CP3 despite a 4-of-13 shooting night, but he was awesome otherwise with a 13/6/13 line with three steals and three turnovers in 35 minutes, and he remains in second-round status. Cam Johnson and JaVale McGee started for Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton (protocols), and while most eyes were on per-minute beast McGee, he let down a lot of DFS lineups with just six points, four rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes before fouling out. He usually only needs this many minutes to have value, so even if he doesn’t play a ton despite starting, hang onto him. Jalen Smith was also nice in an expanded reserve role, scoring a career-high 15 points with nine rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes, and Cameron Payne scored 15 as well and added three rebounds, four assists and a trey in 24 minutes.

Porzingis leads Mavs to blowout win over Portland

The Trail Blazers’ defense has been notoriously atrocious in recent years and that’s no different this season, as they post the fourth worst defensive rating in the league and allowed the Mavs to score 132 points on them. Kristaps Porzingis was a mad man and I’m fine giving both him and Vucevic shared honors of 9-cat gems of the night, as he went for a season-high 34 points (12-of-21 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs) along with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, two blocks and no turnovers in 32 minutes, and for some reason it looked like a bunch of bigs had something to prove to start Week 11. In nine games without Luka Doncic (protocols) this season, Porzingis goes off more than usual behind 22.6 points, 9.0 boards and 2.0 blocks per game, and this is his team when Luka isn’t active. Dwight Powell had a random 22 points (9-of-11 FGs) but otherwise had just a trey and three boards (all offensive) but he hasn’t been consistent enough to trust even on a shorthanded squad. Jalen Brunson (14/4/9 with a steal) and Dorian Finney-Smith (14/9/5 with a block and three triples) had nearly identical lines if you flip the respective defensive stats and boards/dimes, and they’ve both taken full advantage of new roles and need to be started for the time being. Frank Ntilikina was gaining some momentum but flopped with just eight points and little else in 23 minutes of a start, while Josh Green more than doubled his career high in dimes with 10 of them off the bench to go with nine points, four rebounds and a pair of steals in 26 minutes. Also, we had a productive Brandon Knight showing in 2021, which is right in line with the absurdity of the Greg Monroe showing (in the best way), as he posted a 18/3/5 line with a steal and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes of his third and best game with the Mavs. The 132-117 final score did not indicate how lopsided this game was, and while I’m keeping an eye on both guys, garbage time surely had something to do with it.

Damian Lillard has been on a tear lately but that came to a halt in the rough defeat, and despite scoring a team-high 26 points, he shot just 5-of-15 from the field (but 13-of-14 FTs) and additionally tallied two rebounds, five assists, one block, three treys and five turnovers in 36 minutes, and anyone who rosters Dame just has to hope he stays healthy and/or management doesn’t totally blow this team up in the months to come. Nassir Little was phenomenal and scored 20 points for the second time in his career, finalizing his magnificent 20/10/2/2/3 line on 50% shooting with two triples and no turnovers in 34 minutes of a start. C.J. McCollum (lung) not playing helps, but he’s shown a lot of good things and he could still be an asset when C.J returns, so I like his outlook quite a bit. Larry Nance Jr. continues to start, and while he didn’t swipe a steal in his 12/5/3 effort, he hit another three and a consistent dose of those would help his value in a big way. Norman Powell really struggled with 15 points on 3-of-12 shooting (but 8-of-9 FTs), but he’s fine, and Anfernee Simons scored 11 points off the bench in 27 minutes and has been approaching drop territory with how quiet he’s been.

The Beard does it again

James Harden is in the midst of an incredible stretch, adding to his recent gaudy stat lines on Monday behind 39 points (15-of-25 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), eight rebounds, 15 assists, two steals, four 3-pointers and three turnovers in 40 minutes of a 124-108 win over the Clippers. The video game numbers come as no surprise as we know what he can do without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (protocols) in action, and he got whatever he wanted with L.A. in this one. Nicolas Claxton had three more blocks along with 18 points, five boards and a pair of dimes, while Patty Mills hit six more triples for 18 points (6-of-14 FGs) while also accumulating three rebounds, two assists, a steal and three turnovers in 35 minutes, and they’ve both been fantastic lately and have to be rostered for now (I know I say “for now” a lot, but the state of the league is such a mess, so I further emphasize how important it is to have a flexible streaming spot on your roster). DeAndre’ Bembry was quietly good and was great on defense throughout the night as he had a 12/2/5/1/2 line in a start while only missing one of his seven shots, and even Blake Griffin approached double-double territory with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal in just 16 minutes, but I much prefer everyone else mentioned before him.

Marcus Morris Sr. was the only Clipper starter to score over 15 points and shoot over 45% from the field, and he went for 24 points (6-of-13 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs) with five rebounds, six dimes and four triples in 27 minutes, and he’s scored exactly 24 (season high) in three straight games and has been cooking with Paul George (elbow) out. Eric Bledsoe is coming off of a huge line as a starter for Reggie Jackson (protocols) last time out and wasn’t nearly as good but was still productive and useful with a 15/2/6 effort with a steal and three 3-pointers, but sadly four turnovers, and Ivica Zubac had a boring 9/9 night with a dime and that’s it in 22 minutes. Terance Mann has been getting it going but flopped with just six points in Monday’s start but is still worth holding with the PG news, as is Luke Kennard (10 points) despite both being very quiet in a pretty ugly loss. Of the bench guys, Brandon Boston Jr. had a decent 9/5/4 line with a steal and a triple in 27 minutes, while Keon Johnson needed just 17 minutes to net a career-high 15 points with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, but sadly neither of them are fantasy options (as bad as I want especially BBJ to be one), but I always have my eye on him.