A fresh start to the new week and we already got some bad news from the seven games we had tonight. The Grizzlies just can’t catch a break. Mike Conley left the game and didn’t return with a lower back problem. It took him some time to get back up on his feet and was clearly grimacing. The Grizzlies were getting blown out tonight so that plays a part to why he didn’t return. But for now he joins Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph, James Ennis and Brandon Knight on the shelf. We do have some good news, such as Reggie Jackson practicing with the team. Also, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple double now, you hear that LeBron?
Kings 95 – Wizards 101
This game went to overtime and Boogie is still trying to do everything for the team. He finished with a monstrous 36 points and 20 rebounds but he only hit 3-10 from the line. He had some freebies in the overtime to make it a closer game but he missed four straight. Rudy Gay added 18 points with five rebounds and a triple one but really struggled with the ball, turning the ball over six times. Not playing Rondo is doing wonderful things to Rudy Gay’s game and it’s lucky that it’s his contract year this season. Collison and Lawson combined for 18 points and six assists. Lawson was shooting the ball better than Collison and it’s fourth consecutive game he’s shooting above 50 percent.
Bradley Beal had a career-high seven treys while scoring 31 points in 40 minutes. He’s returning first round value for the past five games, but he’s also averaging 39.3 minutes in that span. The stress fractures he had in the past couple of seasons all came from heavy minutes. The Wizards are winning games but Scott Brooks is gambling on Beal’s playing career now. John Wall flirted with a triple-double with 19/8/11 with 11 turnovers so yes nearly a quadruple-double. Otto Porter did Otto Porter things with 15 points, 8 boards, 3 steals and 2 triples. He’s been really good and smashing his ADP. Marcin Gortat had 10 points, seven boards and three swats. Gortat is returning top-60 value but with Mahinmi getting into shape, it’s going to eat into his minutes. I would sell high asap.
Sixers 95 – Raptors 122
No Joel Embiid tonight so Jahlil Okafor got the start but he only played 25 minutes with 15 points and five rebounds. He’s still on a minute limit and you wonder how Sixers are going to sort the rotation out when Nerlens Noel return. Robert Covington led the team with 20 points and had an efficient time doing it. He also added six treys and two steals in 32 minutes. He’s struggling with his shot for the season and maybe this could get him going. Jerry Bayless didn’t even travel with the team so Sergio Rodriguez got the start and finished with 11 points and seven assists. He’s going to share minutes once Bayless returns though.
Kyle Lowry is sneaking into the top-20 discussion with his recent solid play. He scored 24 points tonight on 7-9 shooting while adding eight assists and six triples. He’s quietly returning top-30 value this season since he’s under DeRozan’s shadow. Meanwhile his partner in crime struggled tonight with 14 points on 4-13 shooting. DeRozan is falling back down to earth after a really hot start that had him compared with MJ. Jonas Valanciunas gave us a scare when he tweaked his ankle. He didn’t return to the game but he was cleared to return by the team. The Raptors was blowing the Sixers out so that’s likely why. He finished with 12 points and 11 boards in 22 minutes. DeMarre Carroll was solid and Casey said he’ll start playing him to back-to-back’s after the new year.
Celtics 112 – Heat 104
No Al Horford tonight because he’s having a baby! Congrats Big Al. While Horford is being a dad, Tyler Zeller got the start and finished with 10 points and seven boards but it’s Kelly Olynyk that had the better performance with 14/6/4 with two triples and two blocks. Jae Crowder’s minute restriction got lifted and played 32 minutes with 17 points, a couple of steals and treys. Isaiah Thomas had 25/4/8 but his field goal has been terrible and his sprained finger may be really bothering with his shooting. Bradley is sustaining his solid play with 18 points and six rebounds and is leading the Celtics in rebounding but with Crowder’s minutes slowly increasing and Horford returning, if you could get a top-30 player with Bradley, I’d do it.
After missing two games with a strained elbow, the Dragon has returning. Dragic came back and torched the Celtics with a season-high in both points and assists with 27 and 17. The Elbow clearly didn’t bother him since he was super efficient in getting his points, hitting 11-12 from the line. The assists numbers are also his highest since wearing a Heat jersey. It’s no coincidence that Whiteside had duds when Dragic was out but once his buddy came back, Whiteside had a good game. Whiteside hauled in 17 rebounds while adding 25 points and two blocks. The Heat are banged up and they started Luke Babbitt, Derrick Williams and Rodney McGruder, they’re definitely tanking this season.
Thunder 112 – Knicks 103
This triple-double race between Westbrook and LeBron is an unexpected yet really interesting story line this season. After the King extended his triple-double lead by one last night, Westbrook tied it again and now they’re both sixth all time in triple-doubles. He finished with 27/18/14 and there’s going to be more to come. Oh and he’s averaging a triple double for the season by the way. Just Westbrook things. Kanter had a monster game with 27 points, 10 boards and blocked three shots in 28 minutes. He got minutes tonight because he matched up relatively well against Porzingis since they’re both big. Donovan is playing Kanter sporadically, only averaging 19.2 minutes per game and is dependent on that night’s matchup. Steven Adams had 14 and 10 while doing it efficiently. Dipo only has 8/3/4 tonight and has been inconsistent. Slip in a buy-low offer for him if you can.
Derrick Rose led the way tonight for the Knicks with a game-high 30 points on 10-20 shooting and perfect from the line on 10 attempts. He’s been really healthy this season and his usage rate is at a respectable rate of 25.8 percent. The zinger added 21 points, five rebounds, five blocks and three triples. He’s real good. Melo got shut down by Roberson tonight and only had 18 points on 4-19 shooting. He did hit 10-11 from the line though. Courtney Lee is stringing some good games. He scored 13 points with three triples and two steals. He scored in double digits four of their last five games now.
Jazz 112 – Timberwolves 103
Rudy Gobert had a really good game matching up with Towns majority of the game. He finished with a big double-double with 16 points, 17 boards and 3 blocks. He’s returning top-40 value in 9-cat and is playing like the Gobert that we all expected last year. George Hill is really good. I mean really good. He had another solid game with 24/8/4 and making it look easy. He’s a first round value and it’s probably the steal of every draft. He’s averaging 54.3 percent shooting this season, and doesn’t seem like he can sustain it at this rate. However, I would only take a top-20 stud for Hill. Hayward also had 24 points and is rolling in the past few games. He’s averaging 23.3 points, 5.7 boards, 3.0 assists on 48.8 percent shooting in his last three games.
Zach LaVine is looking better and better than Andrew Wiggins. That’s my view. After scoring 31 points, LaVine followed with 28/8/8 on 9-17 shooting. Ricky Rubio was benched so LaVine got some ball handling responsibilities. Rubio finished with 11 points, two rebounds and three assists and doesn’t seem like he fits in well in Thibs’ system. KAT had 19 points and 12 boards but he was missing bunnies near the rim tonight, shooting 8-19 from the floor. Andrew Wiggins only had 13 points and is still looking one dimensional so far. Tyus Jones played in 14 minutes with three points and three assists but he closed the game out for the Wolves.
Hornets 104 – Grizzlies 85
After grabbing a career-high in rebounds, Jeremy Lamb followed strong performance with 21 points and nine rebounds while hitting a couple of threes. He came off the bench tonight with Batum’s return and only played in 22 minutes but he probably played himself to some meaningful minutes going forward though. Kemba had 21/3/3 and we’re probably expecting more from him. Is he a top-5 point guard in the league? Kaminsky got the start with Zeller tonight and finished with 12/6/3 in 31 minutes. While Zeller disappointed and only had 6 points.
I talked a little bit about Conley already and I think he’s going to miss the next game at least. Marc Gasol did the heavy carrying tonight with 19 points, eight boards with two triples. He’s been really good recently, averaging 20.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 triples. The rebounding numbers are a bit low but that’s because he’s hovering outside of the paint more and more. JaMychal Green disappointed with four points and five rebounds. He had five fouls in 28 minutes and wasted a good opportunity to step up with Randolph out. With Green in foul trouble, Jarrell Martin had 11 points and 12 boards but shouldn’t have any fantasy value except deep leagues while Randolph is out.
Hawks 100 – Warriors 105
After struggling to put points on the board and shooting efficiently for a couple of weeks, Schroder went at Curry tonight and had one of his best games of the season with 24 points on 10-20 shooting and adding six assists. Paul Millsap is still struggling with his shot and I’m starting to wonder how high his value is going to be for the rest of the season. He finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds on 3-11 shooting. I would slip in a buy low offer for him but don’t expect his blocks to regress back to last season’s standard. Against a relatively small Warriors team, Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 16 boards. This is the closest Dwight we’ve seen since his Magic days.
Draymond Green returned from an ankle problem but the ankle seemed like it’s still bothering him. On plays where he would usually dunk after a pick and roll with Curry, he would lay the ball up instead. However, he closed the game out with 2 crucial blocks, finishing the game with 4/3/7 with four blocks. Kevin Durant is really good at basketball with 25 points, 14 boards, two blocks, a steal and a triple. He is the best player in fantasy this season. Who would’ve thought? Curry struggled with his shot tonight and even missed two free throws when he usually is nearly perfect from the line. He had 25 points on 6-17 shooting. But when the Warriors were down the whole game, Iggy gave some energy off the bench in the fourth quarter with 12/5/5 with two triples and helped the Dubs get the win.
Hoped you like the change in format. Just a little thing I want to try out. Meanwhile, keep shooting questions on Twitter and until next time!