Thunder 117 Nuggets 96
Russell Westbrook continues to be nearly unplayable in weekly leagues and sat out Monday’s game in order to rest his knee. He’s slated to play on Tuesday against the Mavs, so at least we’ll be able to watch him go nuts off our collective weekly benches. Kevin Durant, like Kevin Love, looked human with 27 points, four rebounds and eight assists, while Serge Ibaka somehow didn’t dismantle the Nuggets, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Reggie Jackson turned out to be a great daily play, racking up 16 points, 11 assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers. I wouldn’t use him on Tuesday though, with Westbrook ready to go. Caron Butler hit 10-of-19 shots and three 3-pointers for 23 points, but we’ve seen this song and dance before, and I fully expect him to crawl back into his shell tonight.
All five Nuggets scored in double figures, led by 25 points and seven assists from Ty Lawson, while Kenneth Faried double-doubled with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points, nine boards and a block, and should be startable going forward with J.J. Hickson (knee surgery) shut down for the year. Quincy Miller started in place of Wilson Chandler, who again was out with a groin injury, and he’s another guy I’ve given up on. As for Miller, keep an eye on him, but I doubt he’s worth a pick up.
Spurs 113 Sixers 91
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in getting ‘Popped’ last night, as Tony Parker, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter were given the night off by their famous coach. Hopefully they’ll all be back in action on Wednesday against the Nuggets, and play well for their remaining three games. The absence of those guys allowed Austin Daye, averaging 2.3 minutes and appearing in his fifth game for the Spurs, to go off for 22 points, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks and six 3-pointers in one of his best-ever games that didn’t happen in Summer League or the preseason. And if you had him in any lineup, including a 30-team league, you should stop reading this and go buy lottery tickets right now. Despite the makeshift lineup, the Spurs still easily rolled the Sixers, handing them their 25th straight loss. Patty Mills had 15 points, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, which didn’t come as a surprise with Parker in street clothes. And what may be lost in the Sixers’ losing streak is the fact the Spurs, who, again, were led by Austin-freaking-Daye, won their 14th straight game.
Sixers center Henry Sims was at it again, going off for 10 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals, and props to you if you had him in your lineup. He’s now played well in three straight games and is worth picking up. Thaddeus Young, Michael Carter-Williams (5-of-20 shooting) and James Anderson all played fairly well, while Byron Mullens (15 points, eight rebounds) and Elliot Williams (14 points, two 3-pointers) played well off the bench. The Sixers will likely lose to the Rockets on Thursday, which would give them 26 straight losses, tying the 2010-11 Cavaliers for the worst streak of all time.
Pistons 114 Jazz 94
Andre Drummond is officially back and hit 9-of-10 shots for 19 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and no blocks, while Greg Monroe hit 9-of-15 shots for 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Kyle Singler’s cold spell continued with five points in 28 minutes, while Jonas Jerebko backed up his big Sunday with seven points, eight rebounds and a 3-pointer in 24 minutes. He’s officially on radar-watch given his play and minutes over his last two games. Brandon Jennings actually played well by hitting 6-of-9 shots and three 3-pointers for 15 points and eight dimes, while Rodney Stuckey hit 8-of-16 shots and a 3-pointer for 19 points off the bench.
Gordon Hayward hit 10-of-19 shots and three 3-pointers for 32 points, six assists, a steal and a block in the loss. His shooting has been very shaky all season, so this was nice to see. Derrick Favors was invisible with four points, but did have nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block in 31 minutes, and Enes Kanter had 14 points and eight rebounds in a start. Marvin Williams played 30 minutes off the bench and owners of Kanter can finally hope that the move to the starting lineup is permanent for the rest of the season. And Trey Burke quietly had a solid line of 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal on 6-of-15 shooting.
Clippers 106 Bucks 98
Larry Drew, as usual, let many of us down again by benching Giannis Antetokounmpo and giving Ramon Sessions the start. Which is funny, since he recently said he was planning to keep Sessions coming off the bench, despite the loss of Nate Wolters to a season-ending hand injury. Of course, Sessions hit 13-of-21 shots and two 3-pointers for a season-high 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists, while Alphabet had nine points in 28 minutes off the bench. I surrender. Khris Middleton was terrible in another start, but Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Adrien each had 14 points while Ersan Ilyasova (rest) watched in street clothes on a back-to-back. The strong play of Sessions also appeared to wreck Brandan Knight, who hit just 3-of-12 shots for nine points and three steals. Leave it to Drew to temporarily ruin the one guy we could count on in Milwaukee. And O.J. Mayo, who had 21 points out of nowhere on Sunday, played just 17 minutes for eight points before leaving with an undisclosed injury. If you can help it, just stay away from the Bucks in all your fantasy leagues.
The Clippers got 27 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, a steal and three blocks from Blake Griffin, who also hit 7-of-9 free throws. I think we can officially say Griffin’s free throw shooting is no longer a worry. Chris Paul was quiet with 14 points and seven dimes, while Darren Collison had 15 points, six assists and three 3-pointers, and Jamal Crawford his 4-of-11 shots off the bench for 13 points and five dimes. Eventually, expect Crawford and J.J. Redick, who is getting close to a return, to ruin Collison.