LeBron James and the Cavs both got hurt, Russell Westbrook turned in an MVP performance with his 37th triple-double, Seth Curry, Tyreke Evans, Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and Gordon Hayward all sat out and Dave Joeger got his dream win over the Grizzlies, playing his starters heavy minutes. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Spurs 103, Cavaliers 74 – The Spurs crushed the Cavs and LeBron James left the game after taking an elbow in the back from David Lee. For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was the man with a 25-6-6-3-1 line and Dewayne Dedmon added eight points, 13 rebounds and a block in 20 minutes. Dedmon has hauled in 13 boards in each of his last two games, but I still don’t trust him. Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to score just seven points, but Green did have two steals, four blocks and a 3-pointer on 1-of-7 shooting. Patty Mills had nine points, seven dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer, while Pau Gasol added 14 points and four boards off the bench. I trust Mills more than Parker these days, obviously. But at this time of year, it’s best just to avoid Spurs not named Leonard.
James has two days to rest before facing the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday, so owners will want to keep an eye out for news over the next 48 hours. The Celtics have now overtaken the Cavs for the top spot in the East by a ½ game. This was as ugly of a blowout as you’ll see and only James, who finished with 17-8-8, and Tristan Thompson (11 points, 7 boards, 1 block) scored in double figures. Iman Shumpert was out again with a sore knee, but J.R. Smith hit just 2-of-5 shots for five points. Kyrie Irving was quiet, hitting just 4-of-13 shots for eight points and two assists, and Kevin Love hit just 4-of-12 shots for nine points and seven boards. Richard Jefferson and Derrick Williams will pick up LeBron’s slack if he misses Thursday’s game, but I don’t like either one of them in fantasy. There’s really not much to learn from this game’s box score.
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Thunder 92, Mavericks 91 – Russell Westbrook went off again with 37 points, 13 boards, 10 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers for his 37th triple-double. The Thunder overcame a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes and Westbrook scored 16 in the quarter, including the dagger with seven seconds left in the game. Westbrook outscored the Mavs 12-0 in the final 3:30 of the game and this one will help him in his MVP race against James Harden. Steven Adams had eight points, six boards, two steals and two blocks, Victor Oladipo added 15 points, nine rebounds and three 3-pointers, and Taj Gibson had 13 points, six boards and a block in the win. Adams has been bad and I’ve got him on the bench in my championship matchup, but he was solid tonight. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter, who came in on fire, hit just 2-of-6 shots for six points and two rebounds in just 17 minutes. He should bounce back and was simply in foul trouble and unable to get it going in this one.
The Mavs’ Seth Curry was a late scratch with a “minor” shoulder injury so hopefully he’ll be back out there for Wednesday’s meeting with the Pelicans. Yogi Ferrell started in his place and had 13 points, five assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, while Nerlens Noel, Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews all scored in double figures. Barnes was bad, hitting just 4-of-14 shots for 10 points, but had scored at least 21 in his previous two games. Dirk Nowitzki hit just 3-of-9 shots for eight points. I’d be more excited about Ferrell if Curry’s injury wasn’t minor. Devin Harris and J.J. Barea both saw a bump with Curry out and were both worth using, although Curry’s absence wasn’t known until after most lineups had locked. Neither was playing very well prior to tonight’s game.
Knicks 109, Pistons 95 – The Knicks accidentally won behind big games from Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, Willy Hernangomez and Derrick Rose. But outside of those four, there wasn’t much to see from the Knicks last night. Kyle O’Quinn failed to score and finished with six boards and a block in 20 minutes, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas played 22 minutes for five points, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. He looks a lot better when Melo’s not out there. Justin Holiday played just 14 minutes, so I hope you weren’t counting on him this week.
All five Pistons starters played fairly well and scored in double figures, and Ish Smith was nice with 15 points, six boards, five assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit just 3-of-12 shots for 12 points and two 3-pointers. Reggie Jackson took the night off to rest so Smith played 35 minutes. The Pistons bench didn’t do much of anything, but all five starters (Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, Ish and KCP) are the players you want to own in Detroit. Jon Leuer played 25 minutes, but hasn’t been great lately and Jackson is the only reserve worth consideration right now. However, it’s possible he could be shut down and even if he’s not, there’s not much to love about him coming off the pine.
Raptors 131, Magic 112 – DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points but the rest of his stat line was lacking, while Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, Jonas Valanciunas and Cory Joseph all played well in the win. Tucker started for DeMarre Carroll (back) again and had seven points, five boards, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer, Joseph had 15 points, six boards and a career-high 13 assists, and Norm Powell came off the bench to hit 6-of-11 shots for 16 points and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Powell has been hit or miss night-to-night, but was very good in this one. I was thinking about dropping him in a daily league, but am going to probably roll with him after this one. Tucker has been solid lately, averaging 8.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. As long as he’s starting, he’s worth a look in all fantasy formats. As for Valanciunas, I don’t even know. He’s averaging just 9.4 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last five games and hadn’t scored in double figures in his previous three games, making him tough to trust down the stretch.
The Magic starters all scored between 12 and 22 points and we got good Elfrid Payton again. He hit 8-of-12 shots for 22 points, nine assists, a steal and a block, while Nikola Vucevic came through with a 12 & 15 double-double, but didn’t block a shot. The Magic somehow lost, despite the starters shooting a ridiculous 56 percent (35-of-62) from the floor. Mario Hezonja was a problem, hitting 1-of-10 shots off the bench and posting a +/- of -15. Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross both played well in this one, but Gordon didn’t do much besides score and Ross didn’t hit a 3-pointer, but did have four steals.
Jazz 108, Pelicans 100 - Rudy Gobert went off again for 20 points, 19 boards, a steal and five blocks, knocking down 8-of-11 shots against the center-less Pelicans, who started Dante Cunningham for DeMarcus Cousins, who was out with a sprained ankle. Rodney Hood hit 7-of-16 shots and four 3-pointers for 20 points, six boards and three assists, Joe Ingles had 19 points and hit all five of his 3-pointers in a start for Gordon Hayward, who was out with a quad injury. Jingles was great, hitting 7-of-13 shots and added four boards, four dimes and a steal to his impressive line. Joe Johnson added 14 points, seven boards, six dimes and two 3-pointers off the bench, and both guys are worth using if Hayward (or Hood) will miss more time. George Hill came through with 17 points, five dimes and three 3-pointers in the start, while the rest of the Jazz players were pretty quiet.
The Pelicans managed to lose despite Utah being without their best player and Anthony Davis going nutso with 36 points, 17 rebounds, three steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer, and even hit 11-of-14 free throws for the icing on the cake. Jrue Holiday had 19 points, five dimes, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers, and he’s hot again, averaging 16.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 3.0 3-pointers over his last five games. Solomon Hill is worth a look after his 11 points, eight boards, a block and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He hasn’t been shooting it well, but the minutes are there and he looked pretty good last night. Tim Frazier and Dante Cunningham started, but aren’t worth using, even when Cousins is out. Cousins is iffy for Wednesday with his bum ankle, so keep an eye out for news. Jordan Crawford played 30 minutes and hit 5-of-16 shots and two 3-pointers for 14 points, two assists and a block. Crawford is averaging 14.2 points and 2.2 3-pointers on 47 percent shooting over his last five, making him worth a look.
Kings 91, Grizzlies 90 – Darren Collison hit two huge free throws in the final seconds to win the game and avoid overtime for the Kings. He finished with 23 points and seven assists on 8-of-13 shooting, Buddy Hield scored 14, Willie Cauley-Stein added 12 points and nine boards, and Kosta Koufos had 11 points, five boards, two steals and three blocks in a start. Garrett Temple made the start as Tyreke Evans was given the night off for rest. Coach Dave Joeger was fired up to try to beat his former team and therefore played all of his starters more than 30 minutes, while Georgios Papagiannis didn’t even get off the bench. He was playing well, averaging 8.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his last five games, so if you picked him up in a deep league, there’s a decent chance he’ll play in the next one. Skal Labissiere also took a hit, getting just nine minutes in the win. I still really like him and am still intrigued by Papa G.
The Grizzlies were without Marc Gasol (foot), so Zach Randolph started and went off for 17 points, 15 rebounds and a block in 32 minutes. JaMychal Green, Vince Carter and Tony Allen all started, but none of them were great. Mike Conley had 22 points and nine assists, but hit just 8-of-23 shots. Brandan Wright played 21 minutes off the bench and had 11 points, two rebounds and two steals, but Randolph is the guy you want to use if Gasol misses more games. There’s just not much to love about Memphis these days.