Only four games on a Thursday night yet we get some very unfortunate and stupid news. Nikola Jokic went to the locker room at the end of the game gingerly. It was kind of a non-contact situation so those are the worst. X-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a hip strain. And the most stupidest piece of news from tonight. Enes Kanter broke his forearm by punching a chair out of frustration. It wasn’t the smartest of moves and this goes up there with Blake Griffin punching the equipment manager and Amare Stoudemire punching the fire extinguisher. I have no words. Let’s just get to the breakdown of tonight’s games.
Thunder 109 – Mavericks 98
Another Russell Westbrook heavy usage rate game that leads to the win. He finished with 45-8-3 with four triples and two steals with a 49.0 usage rate! He probably heard the good news that he gets to play Kevin Durant again in the All-Star game and unleashed his anger on the court. Victor Oladipo had 17-3-4 with three steals and a triple. He’s been returning top-25 value in the last two weeks and his value is bumping up, partly because he’s finally making his free throws and getting a bit more steals. Enes Kanter left the game with probably the most stupidest reason from tonight, actually the most stupidest reason this season. He left the game at the end of the first half and did not return because he took out his frustration on the chair by punching it and hurting his wrist. He finished the game with four points and four rebounds in nine minutes. After the game, he got diagnosed with a forearm fracture. Yes, a forearm fracture. That’ll probably take a couple of months to fully recover. Domantis Sabonis, Jerami Grant and Joffrey Lauvergne is going to share the usage of Kanter making nobody a must-own still.
The Mavericks had Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea missing out tonight. Basically all the old guys except Andrew Bogut. Harrison Barnes tried to do it by himself with 31 points, three steals and two triples. However, he did only grab one rebound which is a bit disappointing. The good thing about Barnes is that he’s an extremely efficient player by having good percentages with high volume shots. Dorian Finney-Smith got the start tonight and had a decent outing with 11 points, five boards, three steals, two triples and a block in 41 minutes. We’ve seen this sort of line before by the rookie but it’s the consistency of his play and playing time that’s preventing him to be a reliable fantasy asset. He’s probably one of those guys who you add when it’s the last three to four weeks of the fantasy schedule. Bogut started and had six points and three boards in 17 minutes. He’s not returning any solid value in Dallas and a trade to another team would be better for him.
Pacers 109 – Timberwolves 103
The Pacers led almost the entire way against the Wolves and made some timely shots to keep the young Wolves from taking the lead. Paul George showed why he’s deserving an All-Star appearance this season by dropping 32-4-5 with three triples. That’s back-to-back games with 30+ point performances and he’s heating up. Jeff Teague lit Rubio up by dropping a massive line of 20-8-13 with three triples, a steal and a block. It’s a good bounce back game after having a dud against the Knicks. Myles Turner had 23 points, six boards and a block on 10-of-14 from field. He’s been hovering around top-20 value the entire season. Monta Ellis played 14 minutes and only grabbed one rebound the entire game. He dropped an egg in everything else and should be dropped everywhere.
The Wolves snapped their three-game winning streak tonight and just couldn’t climb over the hump against the Pacers. Karl-Anthony Towns did everything tonight with 33-10-4 with four triples and two steals on 13-of-23 shooting. He’s been really good and is a top-3 player in 9-cat in the last two weeks. He’s finally closing on into first-round value for the season as well. Zach LaVine finally had a good game after going through a slump for almost the entire month. He scored 23 points with five assists and three triples on 7-of-17 shooting. The shooting woes are still here but it’s a good sign that he has 20 or more points this game. The last time he scored 20 or more was on January 7th. Let’s hope he gets things rolling. Ricky Rubio handed out 12 assists, adding four steals, four points and two boards. Rubio’s an assists and steals guy and as long he’s providing elite contribution in these two categories, he’ll have value.
Nuggets 127 – Suns 120
It was a scoring fest in the mile high city. Both teams seemingly played no defense. Nikola Jokic had lots to gain from this and finished with 29-14-7 with two blocks and a steal. However, he did leave to the locker room near the end of the game when he hurt his left hip area in kind of a non-contact play. He was able to walk and limped his way back inside but he was clearly in pain. If he misses any time, Jusuf Nurkic is the player that becomes an add but knowing Mike Malone, he’ll probably revert back to sharing minutes between Nurkic and Kenneth Faried. Jameer Nelson started for Emmanuel Mudiay again and finished with 13-4-9 with two steals. He’s a good short term replacement for anytime when Mudiay misses games. Will Barton had a solid game off the bench with 16 points, four assists and a triple. I think he’s better off as a starter and is playing better than Gary Harris. Mike Malone should look into that roster change.
The Suns finally got a good game out of T.J. Warren as he scored 21 points along with eight rebounds on 9-of-16 shooting. The last time he dropped 20 or more was on January 2nd so it was a long time coming for Warren. He started off the season strong but he hasn’t been the same since that head injury and it’s clear that the team is going towards the Bledsoe and Booker direction. Speaking of Bledsoe, he bounced back with 28-4-5 with three triples. Injuries are dropping left and right and when it comes to injuries, Bledsoe’s all too familiar with those stuff and I’d start to worry if I were a Bledsoe owner. Brandon Knight had 17 points and four assists in 29 minutes of play. It’s his fourth straight game in double digits and he’s getting 20 or more minutes in that span. He doesn’t do much of anything else though and isn’t really worth an add in standard leagues.
Lakers 88 – Jazz 96
The Jazz snapped a two-game losing streak and is ready to go back to winning ways. Rodney Hood returned to the starting line up tonight and scored five points along with four rebounds. He was originally scheduled to miss closer to four weeks than the initial report of two weeks but tonight’s return was ahead of both schedules. He was a bit rusty this game and seems like we’re going to have another phase of adjustment period for Hood. Rudy Gobert narrowly missed out on a double-double with 13 rebounds, nine points and a whooping six blocks. He’s leading the league in blocks and he’s probably mad that he missed out on the All-Star game. Gordon Hayward got his first All-Star appearance as he was selected by the coaches. He dropped 24 points on an efficient 7-of-14 shooting and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He’s really elevated his play this season and is now a top-30 player in 9-cat.
The Lakers have now lost eight of their last nine. Julius Randle was ill tonight and missed out on tonight’s game. Tarik Black got the start for tonight but only scored four points and two rebounds in 30 minutes. Tarik Black move to the starting line up as the power forward opened up minutes for Ivica Zubac. I really like this kid and he has skills. He finished with 16 points and 10 boards in 26 minutes off the bench. Luke Walton recently said he wants to find minutes for Zubac and looks like he’s going to get unleashed. He’s a good guy to add for the second half of the season. Brandon Ingram dropped his second consecutive dud. He dropped an egg last night against the Blazers and he dropped another egg tonight in 20 minutes. Rookies go through ups and downs and Ingram is no different. Lou Williams is definitely having his hot stretch now. After dropping 31 points last night, he followed that up with 20 points and five boards in 25 minutes. Unfortunately, the Lakers don’t have any games left for this week.
A short FFF tonight with four games.Stay tuned for more and follow me on Twitter for more updates or to ask me any questions about your fantasy team!