There were 14 games on Wednesday night, meaning we posted 28 teams worth of blurbs into the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. In fact, I got up at 4:30 a.m. and worked on the Nets-Warriors game before cranking out this Thanksgiving Dose. Props to Aaron Bruski and Mike Gallagher for doing all the heavy lifting while I was catching up with my bro and cousin, and ignoring the NBA for most of the night. We posted more than 150 blurbs from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. last night, so make sure to read through them, as I couldn’t include everything here. Also be sure to read this entire column, as the hot pickups are listed later, including Jeremy Pargo.
Love Is All Around
I checked in with Bruski around 8 p.m. when he hit me with a “congratulations on Love” instant message. I assumed news broke that Love was nearing a return just a day after I predicted a return on Nov. 29, but the news was much better than that. Although I missed the boat on getting Love into any of my daily lineups, it was announced just before game time that he was active and would play against the Nuggets. If you were able to get him into your lineup, he came through with 34 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in his season debut. Incredible. Props to Jerry Zgoda for predicting on Oct. 18 that Love would make his debut tomorrow, as he was off by just one game. Love is back and should be put into all lineups immediately.
Dwyane Wade returned from his foot problem with 28 points, three boards and four assists, while Chris Bosh added 24 points and 18 rebounds, LeBron James nearly triple-doubled (again) with 28 points, 10 boards and eight assists, and Ray Allen chipped in 17 points. When this lineup is healthy and putting up these kinds of numbers, the Heat are going to be very tough to beat, although they needed OT to get by the Bucks.
Josh Smith finally had the game his owners have been waiting for with 25 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and four blocks on 11-of-19 shooting. Yes, he had six turnovers, but made all three of his free throws and has now shot over 50 percent from the floor in two of his last three games, which are the only two times he’s done it this season. Kyle Korver bounced back from an off game with 16 points and five 3-pointers, making owners who pick-and-played him for the four-game week looking pretty astute. And if you recently bought low on Smoove, Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Kyle Lowry started in his second game back from an ankle injury and had 21 points, eight dimes, two steals, three blocks and four 3-pointers. Welcome back, indeed. Jose Calderon suffered as a result of a return to the bench, finishing with just seven points and four assists in 24 minutes. I’m not dropping him yet, but he’s no longer a must-start with Lowry back.
James Harden returned from his bout with the flu and went off for 28 points, four boards, three assists, five steals and three 3-pointers in another strong performance. Yes, he had six turnovers, but they come with the territory of owning a volume scorer like Harden.
Klay Thompson finally busted his slump by hitting 10-of-19 shots and three 3-pointers to tie a season high with 23 points, a rebound and three assists. Yes, he didn’t do much outside of scoring, but once his shot is back in order, the rest of his game should follow.
Marcin Gortat broke out of a slump with 22 points and seven boards on 11-of-14 shooting, which was nice to see.
Paul George went nuts for the Pacers, hitting nine 3-pointers for a career-high 37 points to go along with four boards, four assists and a steal. He was on my weekly bench in one league, but I hope for your sake you didn’t make the same move. Slump over. Roy Hibbert was playing so poorly owners were actually asking me if they should drop him or trade him for pennies on the dollar. My answer was an emphatic ‘no’ and Hibbert went off with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks for his first triple-double. Yeah, he hit just 3-of-12 shots, but he’s not going to struggle with layups all year, so just hang in there with him.
Nikola Pekovic returned from his ankle injury and had 10 points, seven boards and a block. Get him back in your lineup. Nene debuted after sitting with plantar fasciitis and had 12 points, one rebound and a block off the bench. If he can stay healthy, he’s going to be worth a pick up in all leagues. Evan Turner had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and is starting to play well. Turner and Jason Richardson have rendered Dorell Wright useless, and he played just 17 minutes last night. I have dropped him in most of my leagues.
Dion Waiters came through with 16 points, four rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes (as predicted), and should continue to roll for as long as Kyrie Irving is out. Al-Farouq Aminu bounced back after an off night 14 points, 10 boards, two assists and a steal in 46 minutes. Stick with him. J.J. Barea returned for the Wolves and had 12 points and four 3-pointers in 20 minutes. He’s unreliable due to the injuries, but is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Please Come Home
Ersan Ilyasova is one guy who didn’t bounce back last night, hitting just 2-of-7 shots for four points in 17 minutes. Scott Skiles is still down on him and Ilyasova is down on himself. I’m not going to tell you to drop EI, but if you want to do it, I won’t be mad at you.
Derrick Williams didn’t even get off the Wolves bench, which killed me since I pick-and-played him in several leagues after his 23-point game on Friday. With Love back, Williams is going to be hit or miss the rest of the way, with probably more misses than hits. It’s going to be a long weekend if he’s stuck in your lineup, and trust me when I say I feel your pain.