We haven’t had a lot of games to start the week and last night there were only four games, but we saw a jackpot game in Cleveland thanks to the Warriors’ pinball numbers, a nail-biter between the Mavs and Blazers, the Andre Drummond show in Detroit’s blowout loss to the Bucks, and the Lakers finally look like a team (even if their box score looks like a data entry error). With 12 games tonight, there is no shortage of stuff to talk about so let’s jump right in.
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My Warriors jumped into Quicken Loans arena last night without Stephen Curry (ankle), Andrew Bogut (rest), and Harrison Barnes (knee/calf), but the Cavs are so shallow and bad that they were able to walk out of a playground atmosphere with an easy win. Carl Landry (shoulder) also did not play, which probably explains his low minute total from Monday night. This left Klay Thompson acknowledging before the game that he would be taking a ton of shots, and he didn’t disappoint as he posted a career-high 32 points on 13-of-24 shooting (including six threes) with seven boards and three blocks. Jarrett Jack (26 points, 12 assists) and David Lee (20 points, 13 boards, eight assists) joined the party with relative ease.
The Poster Boy for Playing Time
The Cavs, for their part, hung around in this lightly contested game despite Kyrie Irving (flu) not being at his best. He hit just 5-of-17 shots for 14 points, four assists, and three steals, and if you’re looking for a chance to steal him from opposing owners this is about as good as it gets. Dion Waiters had a nice night with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, seven assists, and a three in 28 minutes, but keep in mind that the Warriors’ defense was non-existent tonight.
Even with that defensive disclaimer, Tristan Thompson (18 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, one block) is becoming a poster boy for what consistent playing time can do for a developing NBA player. He was awful at the beginning of the year, and he has slowly and incrementally improved his game. Tyler Zeller scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with three rebounds, five assists, and a block, but again the Warriors’ defense last night shouldn’t be overlooked. He appears to be holding off Marreese Speights (12 points, five boards, 21 minutes), and that gives him some value in 12-14 team formats.
Owners will want to mostly disregard the Bucks’ box score from last night, as the Pistons rolled over and the game was over by halftime. Brandon Jennings scored 30 points with five threes and six assists, and Beno Udrih soaked up some extra minutes on his way to seven points, four boards, and a season-high 11 assists. If you’re in a fairly deep league you can give Udrih a look as he has been getting more playing time under Jim Boylan.
Ersanity (nine points, one board, three assists, two steals, two threes) did not continue last night and Larry Sanders (three points, three boards, one block) was also a victim of foul trouble, but with the game in hand early there wasn’t a lot of urgency to get either guy minutes or touches. Mike Dunleavy hit 7-of-13 shots for 17 points with two threes, five rebounds, a steal, and a block, breaking a mini-slump in the process. He’s worth a look in standard leagues but inconsistency will probably rule the day. Samuel Dalembert (12 points, 10 boards, three blocks) and John Henson (11 points, six boards, one block) were both beneficiaries of garbage time so owners should wait and see how things progress before making an add in most formats.
Bangin’ the Drummond
Lawrence Frank is starting to catch heat for his rotations and specifically because of the handling of Andre Drummond, who went for 18 and 18 with two steals and a block in 28 minutes. Yes, Drummond got minutes tonight, but for a team that could use any type of spark it’s pretty ridiculous that he can’t get this type of load every night. I’m not sure why Drummond would have been unowned in all but the shallowest of formats, and after last night’s outing you need to go run and pick him up if that is the case.
Brandon Knight followed up his big Sunday with another slow night, scoring 10 points with three assists and a steal in 23 minutes. I wasn’t a big fan at any point this season and needless to say I’m not a big fan right now. He has too many holes in his fantasy game to get excited over his consistently inconsistent results. Rodney Stuckey returned to action after getting tossed to the doghouse, and he managed just seven points on 1-of-4 shooting with not much else in 27 minutes last night. I dropped him in the one place I owned him and I’m not feeling bad about it at all. He could theoretically turn it on, but it sure looks like a lost season for Stuckey.
The Two-Man Game
The Mavs and Blazers brought excitement to a slow night in a last-second thriller, but the Mavs ultimately couldn’t execute down the stretch and ended up with a tough loss. O.J. Mayo scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting with two threes, seven rebounds, and nine assists, and the good news is that he and Dirk Nowitzki (26 points, four rebounds, four assists, two threes) showed some good chemistry in the two-man game last night.
Darren Collison scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting (including three treys) with four rebounds, nine assists, and three steals, which is sell-high territory for an inconsistent player whose role could be encumbered if the Mavs try to swing a deal for a PG. Chris Kaman did not play due to a concussion, and Elton Brand (two points, two rebounds, 17 minutes) was not able to take advantage. Brand can be tossed to the wire for a hot free agent in standard formats, but don’t be surprised if he bounces back at some point.
The story for the Blazers was how their bigs carved up the Mavs’ poor interior defense, as J.J. Hickson (26 points, 15 boards, one steal, two blocks) and LaMarcus Aldridge (19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks) had a field day. Aldridge hit a rare three and the game-winning shot in the game’s final moments to cap a stellar night. Nicolas Batum (10 points, 4-of-14 FGs, two threes, four rebounds, six assists, one block) is dealing with the dreaded shooting wrist injury, and at this point owners would be selling low if they tried to move the elite fantasy talent. If you want to knock a round off his value and sell him I wouldn’t blame you, but I would have a hard time pulling the trigger on that type of deal personally at this point. Elite talents are hard to come by.
Get Your Popcorn Ready
Greivis Vasquez bounced back from a pair of tough outings to post a typically gaudy popcorn stat line with 15 points, five rebounds, and 15 assists. If he could ever start posting peripheral stats he’d be an elite fantasy asset. Eric Gordon got up for playing at Staples Center with 25 points and six treys, and this would be the time to sell him if you want to get out from under his injury risk.
There was a Robin Lopez (16 points, nine boards) sighting last night but it’s worth noting that Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu combined for five rebounds in the starting forward slots. I’m going to wait for Lopez to do it again before jumping on that train. As for Davis, he scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting but the low activity numbers (three boards, two steals, no blocks) keep me worried about his ankle. Aminu played just 17 minutes due to foul trouble and Monty Williams stayed away from him for the most part. He was hot coming in so owners should see how this plays out before considering a drop in standard formats.