Our Internet went down just before I was ready to write this at 3 a.m., but the show must go on. I used my wife’s iPad and a hot spot to look at stats, and then posted using McDonald’s free Wi-Fi. But this was a pretty difficult Dose to write. The big story lines are that Draymond Green and James Harden are banged up, Jusuf Nurkic got his revenge, the Hawks actually won a game and the Warriors are rolling again, winning their eighth straight game.
Warriors 113, Rockets 106 – The Warriors got their eighth straight win and became the sixth team to win at least 60 games in three straight seasons. Stephen Curry led the way with 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, Klay Thompson scored 25 and Draymond Green overcame a sprained ankle for 19 points, nine boards, four assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 9-of-15 shooting. The big news here is that Green tweaked his left ankle, but said after the game that he’s planning on playing tonight against the Spurs. The other big news stories for the Warriors are that Steve Kerr says that he’s not planning on resting any of his studs for tonight’s game, while a new update on Kevin Durant’s progress from a knee injury should be coming some time today. My guess is that he’s not nearing a comeback just yet, but you might want to keep a close eye on the newsfeed today in case I’m wrong and he’s on waivers in your league. And if you’re in a position to pick him up now and then drop him if the news is bad, it probably isn’t a bad idea. Andre Iguodala added 12 points, six boards and six assists off the bench and has become a must-own player as long as Durant is out.
For the Rockets, James Harden racked up his 20th triple-double in the loss with 24 points, 11 boards and 13 assists. He hit just 5-of-20 shots and 1-of-9 3-pointers, but was also clearly bothered by a sore left wrist, which was wrapped in ice after the game. Coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed that Harden’s wrist is something to keep an eye on going forward and we’ll have to see how he’s feeling prior to Thursday’s game at Portland before we’ll know his status in that one. It’s also interesting that Harden’s wrist flared up on the same day he commented against guys resting and leaving their teammates hanging out to dry, but if Harden does miss his first game of the season in the near future, it will likely happen because he’s actually unable to play, and not just resting. Clint Capela was nearly perfect, hitting 9-of-10 shots for 21 points and seven boards, and Trevor Ariza stayed red-hot with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and six steals, which ties a career high. Lou Williams added 17 points off the bench, but missed all five of his 3-pointers and hit just 5-of-14 shots. He was amazing in Sunday’s game, so he might be getting ready to heat up again.
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Blazers 122, Nuggets 113 – Jusuf Nurkic had one of the best revenge games on record with a career-high 33 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks against his former team, as the Blazers took the driver’s seat for the eighth playoff spot in the West. C.J. McCollum went off for 39 points and three 3-pointers on 15-of-24 shooting, and Damian Lillard hit 7-of-19 shots and four 3-pointers for 19 points, six boards and seven assists in the win. Al-Farouq Aminu came through off the bench with 15 points, nine boards and a 3-pointer, while starters Noah Vonleh and Moe Harkless struggled again. And outside of Aminu, the bench was pretty quiet in this one.
The Nuggets got a season-high 23 points, four 3-pointers, three rebounds and four assists from Jameer Nelson, as well as solid performances from starters Nikola Jokic, Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris. Jokic just missed a triple-double with 17-8-8 plus two blocks and a 3-pointer, Chandler had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Harris scored 19 points in the loss. Will Barton scored 13 points off the bench, but was a bit quiet with Harris playing so well. With Jokic playing so well, Mason Plumlee didn’t get his revenge and failed to score a point, while Danilo Gallinari hit just 3-of-15 shots for 13 points. His shot has pretty much been broken since he returned to action three games ago, as he’s hit just 7-of-33 over his last three games. If he’s ruining your chances of winning a championship this week, you have my sympathy.
Bucks 118, Hornets 108 – The Bucks got a monster game from Tony Snell, as he hit 10-of-14 shots and four 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 26 points, although he only added three rebounds and one assist to that line. He still might be worth a look if you need threes though, as he’s averaging 10.8 points and 2.0 3-pointers on 54 percent shooting over his last five games. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a pedestrian line, Khris Middleton hit just 4-of-12 shots for 14 points and five boards, and Greg Monroe was solid off the bench with 13 points, eight boards and five dimes on 6-of-7 shooting. Malcolm Brogdon got another start and came through with a 14 & 10 double-double, hitting 6-of-7 shots and 2-of-2 3-pointers in the win. He’s scored 14 points in three straight games and is averaging 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.0 3-pointers on 55 percent shooting over his last five games. Hopefully you hung in there with him when things weren’t going so well.
The Hornets got nothing from Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams, who combined for just 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Batum was particularly bad in this one and I blame it on the Greek Freak’s defense. Kemba Walker had a solid line, but Cody Zeller fizzled in 29 minutes and a start, finishing with just eight points and one rebound. This would have been a big-time blowout if Frank Kaminsky (9-of-15, 20 points, four boards, three assists, two 3-pointers) and Jeremy Lamb (6-of-11, 16 points, a steal and a 3-pointer) hadn’t have gotten hot late off the bench. Kaminsky’s worth owning these days, but Lamb hadn’t scored more than four points in his previous three games. He’s really only worth a look when his teammates are injured.
Timberwolves 115, Pacers 114 – The Wolves got strong performances out of Gorgui Dieng, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio, and it was Rubio’s late free throws that pushed the Wolves over the top in this one. He had 21 points, 10 dimes and hit 13-of-13 free throws in the win. I was so down on him midseason, but he’s been nothing short of a beast over the last month or so. Kris Dunn played 26 minutes and hit all three of his shots for nine points, four steals and three blocks, and became one of just a handful of Wolves rookies to ever have three steals and three blocks in a game. Dunn has played at least 24 minutes in four straight and is averaging 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks over his last three. Chances are he’s available in your league and he’s taken over the shooting guard duties off the bench for the Wolves. If you own Shabazz Muhammad or Allen Crabbe, you might want to think about making the switch.
Thaddeus Young actually played well for the Pacers with 14 points, four boards and a steal, but it might have been a fluke, as he hadn’t scored more than eight points in his previous four games. Paul George went off with 37 points, four steals and four 3-pointers, Jeff Teague had a 20 & 10 double-double and Myles Turner had a quality start with 15 points, eight boards and two blocks. Monta Ellis started again for Indy and had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, along with four boards, five assists, two steals and a block. Now that he’s starting for the Pacers he’s worth a look if he’s available in your league. Ellis is averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 boards, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five games, and is probably a better bet than Dunn, if available. The rise of Ellis has hurt C.J. Miles, who had six points in 20 minutes off the bench.