Although many stars were sidelined on Saturday night for a variety of reasons, we were lucky enough to witness some truly historic performances in a jam-packed, 12-game slate.
The highlights included Russell Westbrook recording yet another record-setting triple-double and Anthony Davis posting one of the better statistical games in recent NBA history, on his birthday no less.
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Thunder 112, Jazz 104:
In a season in which he seems to break a new record on a nightly basis, Russell Westbrook topped the great Wilt Chamberlain on Saturday. Westbrook scored 33 points, dished out 14 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win over Utah. It was his 32nd triple-double in 2016-17, passing Chamberlain (who had 31 in 1967-68) for the second-most trip-dubs in a single season. Russ also added three 3-pointers, two steals and two blocks for good measure… Victor Oladipo had another strong game, finishing with 22 points, two rebounds, four assists, and three 3-pointers. ‘Dipo has been on an incredibly efficient scoring binge since returning from a back injury earlier this week. He is averaging 19.3 points while shooting 55.3 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from 3-point range over OKC’s last three games… Taj Gibson hurt his hip in the second half, but the team announced he was available to return. He had scored 15 points with six rebounds in 22 minutes before exiting.
Saturday started off on a down note for the Jazz. Derrick Favors (knee) was ruled out for the second straight contest, and then it was announced shortly before tip-off that Rudy Gobert (right leg soreness) was a late scratch. Fortunately, Gobert is just dealing with soreness and is expected to play on Monday against the Clippers. Jeff Withey started in place of Gobert on Saturday and finished with two points, five rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. Withey can be left on waivers… George Hill (toe) did return to the lineup but had just nine points, two steals and two turnovers in 18 minutes… Gordon Hayward also struggled on Saturday. He had only nine points and three rebounds in 21 minutes. This game was a blowout for much of the second half, so Haywood was left to watch most of it from the bench... It wasn’t all negative for Utah. Dante Exum had arguably the best game of his career and took most of Hill’s minutes. Exum scored a career-high 22 points and added one rebound, one assist and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes… Alec Burks scored a season-high 21 points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes.
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Clippers 112, Sixers 100:
Chris Paul poured in a season-high 30 points to carry the Clips to a victory over Philly. CP3 also chipped in seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and four 3-pointers… Blake Griffin’s usage rate and fantasy numbers have taken a big hit since Paul returned to the lineup. Griffin had 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals on Saturday. His stats are still solid but pale in comparison to last month when he was the focal point of L.A. attack… DeAndre Jordan hauled down 20 rebounds and added 19 points, four assists, one steal and three blocks. It was the league-leading ninth time this season DJ had at least 20 rebounds. No other player in the NBA has more than six such games.
Richaun Holmes was the star of the show for Philly. He scored a career-high 24 points and added nine rebounds and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Holmes fantasy stock is surging, as he's scored in double-figures in six of his last seven games and is averaging 13.6 points (shooting 61.9 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent from downtown) and 5.9 rebounds over that stretch. He’s worth a roster spot in standard leagues… The Sixers other center also played well on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and four turnovers in 21 minutes... Dario Saric scored 16 points with five rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes… Gerald Henderson (hip) did not play and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot started in his place. TLC played a career-high 33 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. Henderson is expected to play on Sunday, so there is no need to consider snatching Luwawu-Cabarrot off waivers.
Pistons 112, Knicks 92:
Andre Drummond dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, powering the Pistons to victory over the hapless Knicks. He scored 24 points (on 10-of-12 shooting) and ripped down 15 rebounds, to go along with three steals and a block. It was the third straight game he had at least 15 boards and his 45th double-double of the season… Reggie Jackson continued his strong play, tallying scored 19 points, three rebounds, eight assists and four 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Over his last five games, R-Jax is averaging 18.6 points, 5.2 dimes, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 treys… Tobias Harris started again on Saturday and scored a season-high 28 points. He also added seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers.
Kristaps Porzingis reminded us once again why he is a unicorn. He tallied 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers and six blocks on Saturday. Remarkably, it was KP’s third career game with at least six blocks and the three treys. No other player in Knicks franchise history has ever produced even one such game… Another lackluster performance from Carmelo Anthony in this one. He ended up with 13 points, one rebound, four assists and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Amazingly, it was the fifth straight game in which Melo has played at least 35 minutes yet scored fewer than 20 points. That is the longest such streak of his career. In fact, as of last week, he never had more than two such games in succession. The good news is that the Knicks continue to play Melo heavy minutes. He should snap out of his slump sooner rather than later… Derrick Rose had been putting up solid numbers but finished with just 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, and four turnovers in 27 minutes… Chasson Randle leapfrogged Ron Baker in the rotation as Rose’s backup on Saturday. Randle scored a career-high 12 points, with three rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers in 19 minutes.
Cavs 116, Magic 104:
The Cavs relied on the best player on the planet and LeBron James delivered. LeBron triple-doubled to the tune of 24 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds. It was his ninth triple-double of the season. Surprisingly, that’s the most he’s had in any season of his illustrious career… Kyrie Irving also stuffed the stat sheet on Saturday night. Irving had 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two 3-pointers. It should be noted that Kyrie logged 36 minutes and LeBron saw 38. The Cavs play the back-end of a back-to-back on Sunday in Houston. The last time Irving and James played heavy minutes in the first game of a back-to-back, they were both rested the next night. Keep an eye on this situation Sunday… Tristan Thompson (14 points and 13 rebounds) posted a strong double-double… It was reported on Saturday that Kyle Korver (foot) will miss up to a week due to a strained tendon.
Nikola Vucevic (Achilles) had missed each of the Magic’s previous four games but showed no signs of rust on Saturday night, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds… On a related note, Bismack Biyombo was bumped back to the bench. He finished with six points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. If you scooped up Biyombo as a short-term add while Vucevic was sidelined, you can send Biz back to the waiver wire… Elfrid Payton (eight points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 34 minutes) had another solid all-around fantasy night.
Pelicans 125, Hornets 122:
It was Anthony Davis’ 24th birthday on Saturday, so he decided to give his fantasy owners a truly memorable present. Simply put, AD had a fantasy night for the ages in the Pelicans overtime victory at Charlotte. Davis scored 46 points, pulled down 21 rebounds, knocked down four 3-pointers, and dished out three assists. Read that last sentence again. That actually happened. Per Basketball Reference, Davis is the first player to score more than 45 points and corral more than 20 boards in one game since Chris Webber in January of 2001. In fact, Davis has three 40/20 games over the last three seasons, while no other NBA player has even one. Davis is also believed to be the first player in NBA history to make more than three treys in a game in which he also had 40-plus points and 20-plus rebounds. We’ll be talking about this stat line for quite a while… On the other end of the spectrum, DeMarcus Cousins had a sour night in Charlotte. He was benched for the final 9:25 of the fourth quarter and the entirety of the overtime period. Boogie finished with a disappointing 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, five fouls, and six turnovers in 25 minutes. Hopefully, Cousins handles this bump in the road professionally and bounces back in New Orleans' next game… Jrue Holiday had been struggling this week but responded with a strong outing on Saturday, tallying 15 points, 13 assists, four rebounds, and three steals… The Pelicans second-leading scorer was a guy that has been on the roster less than a week. Jordan Crawford had 19 points, six assists, five 3-pointers and zero turnovers in 27 minutes.
Marvin Williams has been an absolute beast of late and kept it going on Saturday, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers. It was his fourth double-double over the Hornets last five games, and he is averaging 14.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 blocks over that stretch. It’s unfair to ask him to keep up at this pace, but Williams has a chance to be a real difference-maker in the fantasy playoffs… Kemba Walker is also riding a nice hot streak. Kemba tallied 24 points, 12 assists, eight assists and four 3-pointers on Saturday and has now scored at least 20 points in eight straight games, the longest such streak of his career. Also, it was the 16th career game in which Walker had at least 20 points and 10 dimes, which is a new franchise record. Baron Davis, who had 15 20/10 games for Charlotte, was the previous record-holder… Nicolas Batum (24 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and four treys) was solid as usual.