There were 10 games on Friday night and loads of breakout performances to talk about. The Pistons starting unit went to town against Brooklyn while Steve Nash finally looked like his old self. With plenty to cover, let’s get right to the action.
Hill buries the Blazers
George Hill, mired in a season-long funk, broke out in a big way Friday night against Portland, notching a career-high 37 points on 12-19 shooting with nine boards, eight assists, two steals, and a block. The fact that his near triple-double came against All-Star Damian Lillard makes the showing even more impressive and Hill owners had to be pleased given the fact that he’s averaging just 11 points and 3.5 assists overall this year.
Unfortunately this line comes with a disclaimer and that’s the absence of Lance Stephenson, who missed the game with a sore back. Stephenson isn’t expected to be out long so it will be interesting to see if Hill can build on his floor general performance once Stephenson returns to the backcourt. Another factor in Hill’s breakout was the poor performance of Paul George, who shot just 5-23 from the field but still salvaged 17 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
One of the many things that Hill had going that he can certainly build upon is his chemistry with David West. The big man dropped 30 points and 10 boards on 10-13 shooting and was in a good rhythm throughout the game. Unfortunately for Hill owners this is probably the best that Hill will be all year and even if he gains some confidence and improves, his value will never be higher than it is today so if you’re looking to move him, now is the time.
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Lillard does his thing
While George Hill was making the headlines and getting the win for his team, Damian Lillard was showing people why he’s an All-Star. The point guard hit 15-26 shots including four triples on his way to 38 points and 11 assists. It was just his fourth double-double of the season but it was a big one. Lillard was aggressive and got to the basket quite a bit which was nice to see after his timid game against New York on Wednesday. Lillard is rewarding owners with second round value in most leagues and is one of the top point guards in the game.
Pistons trio sinks Nets
Detroit dominated Brooklyn on Friday night behind a huge showing from the starting unit, most notably Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Jennings. Smith, who has been the subject of recent trade rumors, was terrific in notching 23 points, eight boards, seven assists, and four blocks. He also showed discipline from the field, knocking down 9-16 shots overall including 1-4 from deep.
While Smith looked like his versatile self, teammate Andre Drummond was busy owning the paint. The big man put up 16 points and 22 rebounds, adding one steal and one block for good measure. He did shoot 2-8 from the free throw line but that’s par for the course. The second year man is rewarding owners on a nightly basis with his huge defensive numbers and it’s worth noting that this was the second time this season in which he’s grabbed over 20 rebounds.
Then there’s Brandon Jennings, who had one of his best games of the season with 26 points, 10 boards, nine assists, and five three-pointers. He nearly notched a dubious quadruple-double thanks to his eight turnovers but alas Jennings was mostly fantastic. Coming off a brutal 5-23 shooting game on Wednesday, his 8-13 performance was good to see. Having said that he’s only shot over 50% from the field eight times this season so don’t get used to the efficiency. Jennings is providing good mid-round value thanks to his solid point, assist, and three-point shooting numbers but his field-goal shooting and turnovers will always temper his value.
Nash turns back the clock
Steve Nash looked pretty healthy on Friday night, handing out five assists to go along with a season-high 19 points. It was the most points he’d scored since March of 2013 and he looked good smooth doing it. The Sixers aren’t a very good defensive team and pretty much everyone on the Lakers played well but Nash’s performance was encouraging nonetheless. His nagging injuries make him a constant risk to sit out games but he’s certainly worth owning in most leagues given his strong play when he’s on the floor.