Kevin Love chokes on Saturday
Yes, the headline is harsh, but it’s hard to look at it any other way. Love went to the line to shoot three free throws with two seconds left in the game and trailing by two points. He missed the first, then the second, and then missed the rim when he was trying to miss the third, resulting in a loss to the Thunder. If this is the worst thing Love does to his fantasy owners this year, we’re all in pretty good shape.
Kevin Durant does not choke on Saturday
In the same game, the other Kevin, as in Durant, went nuts in the fourth quarter when he scored 23 and finished with an NBA season-high 48 points and a full stat line. He hit 16-of-32 shots, and has been shooting it 23 times per game since Russell Westbrook went down again. Durant’s numbers (35.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.0 3-pointers) over his last five games are ridiculous and he’s easily the best player in fantasy this season.
Danny Granger starting to buzzkill Lance Stephenson
Granger played a season-high 26 minutes on Sunday and had 10 points and two 3-pointers. He’s still not doing enough to be in most fantasy lineups, but he may be starting to slow the roll of Stephenson. Stephenson is still getting about 34 minutes per game over his last four, but has scored 10 or fewer points in three of his last four games after hitting double digits in eight straight games from Dec. 10 to Dec. 28. It’s also possible that he was just on a hot streak during that time, but the difference in the numbers is concerning. During the eight-game streak of double-digit scoring, when Granger was out or just working his way back, Stephenson averaged 37.2 minutes, 18 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists. In his four games since, when Granger has been getting more run, those numbers dip to 34.0 minutes, 10.75 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists. The last four games is a pretty small sample size and Stephenson’s minutes have only dipped slightly, but my guess is the dropoff is a direct result of Granger’s return. I’m not worried enough to drop Stephenson, but I will be keeping a close eye on this situation going forward, and weighing my options before automatically starting Stephenson.
Weekend Studs & Duds
After a slow start to the season, Thaddeus Young has been on a crazy tear for he Sixers, scoring in double figures in 13 straight games, and topping the 25-point plateau in six of his last seven games. Over that seven-game stretch he’s averaging 26.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers. I don’t see why he won’t keep playing well, but keeping up that kind of pace doesn’t seem possible. It’s time to float him to your league and see if you can move Young for a stud that might be more reliable as the season winds down.
O.J. Mayo got loose for 20 points, five assists and four 3-pointers on Saturday, giving his owners a glimmer of hope after he totaled four points in his previous two games. His minutes swing wildly under Larry Drew and it’s just hard to trust anyone in a Bucks uniform at this point. Mayo has played 31, 18, 9, 24 and 27 minutes over his last five games, and his scoring has followed suit: 20, 4, 0, 19 and 13. Mayo is a mess and is one of those players that if you start in a weekly league, you shouldn’t look at his numbers until Monday morning when it’s all over.
Kenneth Faried finally came through for Denver on Sunday with 17 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. It may have come at the expense of J.J. Hickson, who had just six points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, and it’s important to note that Hickson has seen his minutes drop heavily in two straight, as he played just 23 minutes on Friday after seeing 30-plus in four straight games. This was Faried’s first double-double since Dec. 1 and I just hope he can keep it going without completely ruining Hickson. We’ll see.
Timofey Mozgov is heating up for the Nuggets and had 20 points, seven boards, two boards and two blocks on Sunday, while Nate Robinson got loose for 21 points off the bench, and hung on the rim for what seemed like about seven seconds after a dunk. Mozgov had a similar line on Friday and could be in line for 20-25 minutes a game going forward, so keep a close eye on him if you need a center. The problem is that he played just 10 and 12 minutes in his previous two games, and as you can imagine, the production was poor on those nights. Robinson scored 15 on Friday and now that the Nuggets have won two straight games and these two guys played well in both of them, they could get more love from Brian Shaw going forward.
Jon Leuer came out of nowhere Sunday to tie his career high with 23 points, along with eight rebounds and two 3-pointers. And when I say out of nowhere, he had scored 11, 4, 0, 5, 6, 11 and 2 points in each of his previous seven games. Tony Allen was out for Memphis, but this looks like a fluke any way you slice it. Just keep an eye on him in case he’s ready to go on another hot streak like he did over the first two weeks of December. Ed Davis had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and has double-doubled in two of his last three, but had five points and two rebounds in between the two good games. He also played less than 20 minutes in each of his last two, meaning he can’t be trusted.
C.J. Miles stayed hot on Sunday night with 21 points against a stout Pacers defense. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three games and may finally be ready to go on a consistent run, especially with Jarrett Jack and Kyrie Irving currently missing games for the Cavs.
Reggie Jackson scored a career-high 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting with three 3-pointers for the Thunder on Sunday. He had just two assists, but I doubt any of his owners are complaining. Russell Westbrook is throwing out a vibe that he’ll returner sooner than later from another knee surgery, but Jackson has been a fun ride since Westbrook went down.
Kendall Marshall handed out a career-high (obviously) 17 assists to go along with nine points, six boards, two steals and a 3-pointer on Sunday for the Lakers. He also scored 20 points on Friday and is paying off in a big way to those of you lucky enough to pick him up. Keep rolling him out there until he falls off a cliff. Jodie Meeks scored 23 and Nick Young had 21, and all three players should be owned in all leagues at this point.
Danny Green, Mirza Teletovic, Anthony Tolliver, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani and Marcin Gortat (benched on Sunday) are all struggling mightily right now and should not be in your lineup, and it’s questionable as to whether they should even be on your roster.
Good luck in Week 11!