Blazers Take Utah
LaMarcus Aldridge stayed hot on Monday with 24 points, six boards and zero turnovers as the Blazers beat the Jazz. Robin Lopez had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards, while Nicolas Batum had a season-high 11 assists to go along with seven points, eight boards, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. Yes, the lack of offense is annoying, but he’s filling up the stat sheet every night to help make up for it. Remarkably, Batum now has a double-digit assist game this season, while Damian Lillard’s season high is stuck on nine. Lillard hit 5-of-14 shots for 18 points, but had just three assists last night.
Derrick Favors missed Monday’s game with a sore lower back. That makes two straight misses and he’s now highly questionable for Wednesday against the Kings.
Marvin Williams was out again with his Achilles injury, which was more good news for Enes Kanter. Kanter had 19 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block in the loss. Trey Burke was solid again with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, and is living up to the hype. Alec Burks continues to play a whole lot better than he was a few weeks ago, and had 20 points in 25 minutes. If he’s available in your league, he won’t be much longer. Jeremy Evans made another start for the Jazz and six points and eight rebounds, but won’t be worthy of owning once Favors is back in action.
Kings Trounce Mavs
Rudy Gay didn’t play for the Kings on Monday, but they clearly didn’t need him. Isaiah Thomas, who is now their starting point guard (finally) had 24 points and a career-high 12 assists, while Derrick Williams blew up for a career-high 31 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and three 3-pointers in a start at small forward. The problem for Williams is the arrival of Gay, although Williams could still see heavy minutes at power forward going forward. He’ll share time with both Gay and Jason Thompson (10 points, 7 boards), but Williams should be held after tonight’s explosion. This one could go either way, as he could start producing at a high level on a regular basis, or Gay’s arrival for the next game could push him back into obscurity. I’m holding him until we find out which scenario happens. And as if Thomas and Williams didn’t cause enough problems for the Mavs, DeMarcus Cousins went off for 32 points, 19 boards, three steals and a block. As for Thomas, he was already playing at a very high level and with Greivis Vasquez out of the picture, Thomas' owners have to feel like they won the lottery.
Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the losers with 18 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 31 minutes, and is quietly having one of his best seasons ever. Talk about a fantasy steal! Monta Ellis had 21 points and a another full stat line, while DeJuan Blair was blown away by DeMarcus Cousins and will take a hit once Brandan Wright is finally back from his shoulder injury. But until then, Blair will be better than this on most nights.
Injury News and Notes
Tyreke Evans is expected to miss a couple weeks for the Pelicans with a sprained left ankle, clearing the way for Al-Farouq Aminu to stay hot, while Anthony Morrow should also get extended minutes off the bench in his absence. I’m a fan of owning Aminu right now.
Deron Williams says he’s going to play for the Nets on Tuesday after missing nine straight games and 11 of his last 13. I’d leave him benched until you see him play well in a game or two. Paul Pierce is also likely to play after missing time with a fractured hand, although he would be well ahead of his 2-4 week timetable if it happens. He’s been pretty ineffective this season, so it’s worth waiting to see what he does before plugging him into your lineup. And if he’s available on waivers, he’s probably worth a flier.
Steve Nash still isn’t sure when he’ll return to the Lakers lineup with his back injury. It sounds like the Lakers are ready to sit him down until he’s fully healthy and ready to go, meaning he’s still out indefinitely in my book.
Luol Deng didn’t practice for the Bulls on Monday due to his sore Achilles and there’s no target date for his return. Taj Gibson remains a must-start player as long as Deng is out, and is probably worth running out there even when Deng is back. Jimmy Butler is “75-80” percent healthy after missing nine games with his turf toe. It sounds like he’s getting close, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses the whole week. However, starting him in weekly leagues for Week 8 is not out of the question.
Tiago Splitter will miss the next two games with a calf injury. Boris Diaw should benefit the most in his absence for the Spurs.
Tyson Chandler is participating in non-contact drills for the Knicks and is hoping to return from his broken leg some time in December. The Knicks need him badly, but the return of Chandler still probably isn’t enough to get the Knicks back on track. They’re just a mess.
Zaza Pachulia has a broken foot and will miss at least a month of action for the Bucks, which is more good news for John Henson. Caron Butler will miss another week with his knee injury, so you made the right call if you benched him in weekly leagues.
Stephen Jackson will join the Clippers on a non-guaranteed deal and while I picked him up in my 30-team league, he’s not a guy you should be rushing to pick up in yours.
Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes aren’t likely to be available for the Raptors on Tuesday, meaning Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross and Steve Novak should get plenty of run against the Spurs.