James Harden had another monster triple-double, Hassan Whiteside went for 28 & 20 and Gordon Hayward shot lights out as the Jazz beat the Cavs on Tuesday.
Wizards 101, Bulls 99 – The Wizards got big games from Markieff Morris, John Wall and Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat double-doubled with 10 points, 12 boards, a steal and a block, and Otto Porter scored 11 points with two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in the close win. Wall hit the game-winning 15-foot fade away with five seconds left on the clock and finished with 26 points and 14 assists. The Wizards didn’t get much from their bench, but didn’t need much, as the starters all scored in double digits and took care of business behind 51 percent shooting from the floor. Beal played through a sore ankle and looked fine last night.
The Bulls were without Jimmy Butler (illness), Nikola Mirotic (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but nearly pulled off the upset. Denzel Valentine led the Bulls in scoring with a career-high 19 points and five 3-pointers, while starters Michael Carter-Williams, Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson all scored in double figures. Gibson double-doubled, while Bobby Portis also played well off the bench with 13 points, seven boards and three 3-pointers in just 18 minutes. The news of the night for the Bulls was Rajon Rondo, who played 27 minutes and finished with 12 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals after not playing in his last five games. Coach Fred Hoiberg said after the game that Rondo is now back in the rotation based on how this game went, so if you’re desperate at point guard, now’s the time to pick him up. It would not be surprising if all three of last night’s missing Bulls are back for Thursday at New York, so guys like Valentine, Portis and Doug McDermott (2-of-11 in a start), will return to their bench roles. Jerian Grant will likely join them after starting tonight and finishing with nine points, six assists, a 3-pointer and five turnovers. MCW should hang onto the starting job for now, but may struggle going forward if Rondo is getting some of his minutes.
Raptors 114, Celtics 106 – DeMar DeRozan went off for a season-high 41 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, with a 3-pointer and two steals. Kyle Lowry added 24 points, nine dimes and five 3-pointers, and Jonas Valanciunas went off for 18 points and a career-high 23 rebounds with two blocks. JV’s slump is over and he’s averaging 14.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over his last four. DeMarre Carroll had 11 points after finally playing well in his last game when he had 26 points, eight boards, a steal and six 3-pointers. Maybe Carroll will eventually put it all together, but he’s been really bad for most of the season, outside of Sunday’s explosion. And Patrick Patterson didn’t even score in his 21 minutes.
Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points with seven dimes and three 3-pointers, Al Horford added 14 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers, and Marcus Smart started for Avery Bradley (Achilles) and had 16 points, four boards, five assists, four steals, a block and a 3-pointer. Obviously, he’ll take a hit when Bradley is back, and there’s talk of him playing on Wednesday. But Smart’s been feeling it for three straight games, making him worth a look. Jae Crowder was quiet with nine points in 38 minutes and has hit just 7-of-23 shots over his last three games. Now is probably a good time to buy low. Gerald Green had 14 points and Kelly Olynyk scored 13 off the bench. Green should go away if Bradley plays tonight.
Hawks 117, Nets 97 – Dennis Schroder led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points and 10 assists, Dwight Howard also double-doubled with 14 points, 16 rebounds and a block, and Paul Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha also scored in double figures for the Hawks. Kent Bazemore was bad again, hitting just 1-of-7 shots for six points and he’s scored eight or fewer points in four of his last five games. He just can’t put it together for more than a game or two at a time this season and is shooting 36 percent over his last five. Kris Humphries had 13 points and eight boards in 16 minutes, but had scored a grand total of eight points in his previous four games. Ignore him. Taurean Prince played a career-high 20 minutes and scored eight points with six boards, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers, and should continue to see some run with Kyle Korver now in Cleveland. If you want to take a flier on Prince, it makes sense right now.
The Nets got 20 points from Brook Lopez and he hit two 3-pointers, but also had just two rebounds in the loss. Joe Harris was awful in another start, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 10 points and seven boards on 2-of-9 shooting, Isaiah Whitehead started for Jeremy Lin and had seven points and three dimes, and Bojan Bogdanovic had 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes in a start. His minutes are up and he’s worth grabbing after his last three games. Sean Kilpatrick stayed relevant with 14 points, five rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer off the bench, while Caris LeVert had 11 points and two assists in 23 minutes. He could replace Harris as a starter any day now, so think about stashing him if you have someone you want to cut.
Rockets 121, Hornets 114 – James Harden went off for a 40-15-10 triple-double with seven 3-pointers, and he’s triple-doubled in 11 games this season, two straight games and in three of his last five. Beast. Trevor Ariza, Montrezl Harrell (back in the starting lineup) and Ryan Anderson all scored in double figures, while Eric Gordon missed this game with a toe injury. Corey Brewer got hot in his absence with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, but should disappear once Gordon is back. However, Gordon is very iffy for tonight against the Timberwolves, so Brewer could be relevant again. Patrick Beverley had eight points, eight rebounds, five dimes and two 3-pointers, but hit just 2-of-10 shots on the night.
For the Hornets, Nicolas Batum was out again with his knee injury and Cody Zeller sat out with an illness. Jeremy Lamb (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, a 3-pointer) and Marco Belinelli (15 points, 6 assists, 3 3-pointers) stepped up for Batum, while Frank Kaminsky (22 points, 4 3-pointers) and Spencer Hawes (16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 3-pointers) stepped up for Zeller. Once Zeller and Batum are back, these guys will take a hit, but especially Lamb and Kaminsky are worth a look against the Sixers on Friday if Batum and Zeller are out again. Kemba Walker had 25 points and 10 assists, Marvin Williams had 16 points and eight rebounds (if only he could do this every night), and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed all six of his shots and failed to score for the Hornets. He’s still worth owning in most leagues, especially with Batum’s injury.