Bucks Stop Jazz
Ersan Ilyasova finally broke out with a season-high 31 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 13-of-14 shooting, but he obviously won’t shoot it that well again anytime soon. Khris Middleton cooled off with nine points and not much else, and I’ll blame it on Ilyasova’s big night. Middleton should bounce back. Ramon Sessions had 14 points, four boards and four assists off the bench, and is actually worth a look in deep leagues. And for you weekly leaguers, it’s time to pick up the Bucks as they go five times next week. Zaza Pachulia, Sessions, Nate Wolters, Jeff Adrien, Giannis Antetokounmpo and O.J. Mayo (who was awful) could all help weekly owners next week, but all are pretty risky plays, as well. The Bucks and Lakers both won on the same night for just the second time this season.
The Jazz saw a 27-point, 14-rebound explosion off the bench from Enes Kanter, who ruined Derrick Favors. Favors played just 19 minutes and hit 1-of-5 shots for two points, five boards and nothing else. Again, I don’t understand why Favors and Kanter can’t start together with Marvin Williams off the bench. If you somehow had Kanter and Ilyasova in a fantasy lineup, stop reading and go play the lottery. Gordon Hayward had 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting and might be heating up just in time for the fantasy playoffs, but outside of Kanter and Hayward, the Jazz were pretty bad last night.
Love Downs Denver
Kevin Love was a beast again with 33 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-21 shooting, while Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin (3-of-11, 16-of-17 free throws), Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea all played well for the Wolves, Barea is unreliable, but can be good if you play him on the right night (which is next to impossible to do). He saw some extra minutes with Ricky Rubio quiet (5 points, 5 dimes).
The Nuggets welcomed back Ty Lawson and he responded with 31 points, 11 assists, four steals and three 3-pointers on 11-of-16 shooting. We knew he was going to play through his broken rib well before tip-off so I’m hopeful you had him in your lineup. Kenneth Faried had 21 points and eight rebounds, while Wilson Chandler added 25 & 10, and would have been even better had he hit more than 2-of-11 3-pointers. Randy Foye hit four 3-pointers for 22 points, and the return of Lawson ruined Evan Fournier, who had just five points in 14 minutes. Timofey Mozgov started, but lasted just 10 minutes due to a potent combination of foul trouble and general apathy. You just can’t trust Tinafey.
Lakers Shock Blazers
The Lakers got a balanced attack from Wes Johnson (game-winner), Pau Gasol, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Farmar and MarShon Brooks all contributing. Every one of those guys were interesting plays this week with five games, although I was hoping for a little more out of Bazemore and Farmar. Farmar took a hit with Marshall’s reawakening, as he finally came through with a nice line of seven points, six rebounds and 11 assists. Maybe Marshall’s ready to get hot again. Bazemore took a hit by sitting most of the fourth quarter, as Mike D’Antoni inexplicably seems to be infatuated with Brooks, who doesn’t play defense. Whatever. Oh, and Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman didn’t even get off the bench last night.
The Blazers got nice games out of Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum (who is suddenly averaging 16.6 rebounds and 10.6 rebounds over his last five), Robin Lopez (9-of-13 for 19-16-3) and LaMarcus Aldridge, while Wesley Matthews’ 3-of-12 shooting for seven points is an easy target for the blame in the loss.
Kings Nip Pelicans
DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas didn’t do anything special, but enough to beat the Pelicans. The big news is that every time Cousins had a chance to bark at the refs he put his head down and went away. And that’s going to have to keep happening if he’s going to avoid a one-game suspension with one more technical foul. Rudy Gay was quiet with 14 points, but hit 5-of-10 shots, and if you just glance at the Kings box score, you’d guess they lost the game, regardless of whom they were playing. Reggie Evans led the bench scoring with 10 points and added 13 rebounds, but I don’t trust him unless he ends up starting over Jason Thompson, who had six points and five boards.
Anthony Davis was terrible with 13 points, four rebounds and zero blocks on 4-of-14 shooting, and didn’t do much of anything until the fourth quarter was well underway. He hasn’t looked right since a shoulder injury and I’m just hoping that he’s in good enough shape to keep playing through it. Tyreke Evans, on the other hand, appears to love his new starting gig and racked up 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting against his former team. He’s been on a massive tear since moving into the starting five and is a must-start fantasy player again. Brian Roberts had 15 points, two assists and a 3-pointer, as he continues to cling to fantasy value, while Eric Gordon was quiet again with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. That was a lot better than his two points on 1-of-13 shooting on Saturday, but still not very good. I recently had a dream that he scored 40 points, so maybe it’s coming against the Lakers tonight? Alexis Ajinca made another start and had four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes, but was in foul trouble against Boogie for most of the night. It obviously wasn’t a good match up for Ajinca, but I still have faith in him as long as he’s starting.
Tuesday Night Notes
The Spurs are at Cleveland and we’ll have to wait and see if any Spurs get ‘Popped.’ I’m guessing the regulars are all a go, but we’ll have to wait and see what Gregg Popovich has in mind. The Cavs should get Dion Waiters back tonight, but I don’t expect to see Anderson Varejao or C.J. Miles on the floor.
The Pacers may or may not have George Hill (shoulder) available, so watch for news. C.J. Watson’s worth a spot-start if Hill is out again. Jermaine O’Neal should be back for the Warriors and could be motivated against his old team.
Dwight Howard should play for the Rockets despite a sore back and Chandler Parsons (flu) sounds like a go. Jeremy Lin, along with Howard, is questionable with a sore back.
Kevin Durant should be ready to go despite dinging his ankle in his last game. The Thunder are interesting fantasy plays tonight. Yes, they’ll all torch the Sixers for big numbers, but the game could be over before halftime, so minutes are a concern if that happens.
Darren Collison remains a solid option with Jamal Crawford unlikely for the Clippers tonight, while it’s possible that Eric Bledsoe could make a surprise return for the Suns. I don’t know if it will happen or not, but it’s a possibility.