It was a busy 11-game night in the NBA, so you know the drill. I’m going to focus on the interesting fantasy angles, the guys who might be on your wire, the guys you might be thinking of cutting, or just the ones who just had a crazy night, like Lou Williams. Luckily, it was not an injury-fest, although Rodney Hood smashing a cell phone after getting ejected was kind of different. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Clippers 125, Warriors 106 – Tyrone Wallace, who I actually picked up and played in a few leagues this week (thanks, Gallagher) went off for 22 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-11 shooting. With the Clippers hurting across the board at point guard, Wallace is getting minutes and playing well. The Clippers have two games left this week, and Wallace might be worth a shot if you have a one-gamer you want to drop. Jawun Evans just isn’t that good, and Wallace has basically been running circles around him. Oh, and Lou Williams dropped a career-high 50 points, seven assists and 10 3-pointers on 16-of-27 shooting. He’s having a great season, but even after last night’s monster performance it may still be tough to get value back for the Top 50 player. But if there ever was a sell-high moment on Sweet Lou, it’s right now. Eventually, Milos Teodosic, Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin will be healthy. But for now, Williams is the man.
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry (ankle), but he won’t get an X-ray or an MRI, so hopefully it’s a minor injury. Klay Thompson was rested in this one, so Kevin Durant went off for 40 points and six triples, but he was the only Warrior to live up to the hype. He also became the second youngest player to hit 20,000 points, trailing only a guy named LeBron. And Jordan Bell stayed quiet with six points, three rebounds and a block in just 14 minutes. As long as Draymond Green (7 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) is healthy, you can probably move on from Bell. I have.
Heat 114, Pacers 106 – Nothing too interesting happened for the Heat, except for the fact their intriguing bench all went off. Tyler Johnson played through his shoulder injury and notched 15 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He was doubtful earlier in the day on Wednesday. Bam Adebayo got some extra run with James Johnson suspended and racked up 15 points, five assists and a steal in 31 minutes, and Wayne Ellington hit four 3-pointers for 15 points, five boards, two assists and a block on 5-of-13 shooting. All three players are worth owning in some formats, although Adebayo is the shakiest. He’s played very well in two straight games, but if you picked him up, you might as well see what happens on Sunday against the Bucks before moving on. Then again, if you want to drop him for a guy who has two games left this week, that also makes sense.
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Two Games Left This Week – BRK, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, IND, LAC, LAL, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, PHX, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, WAS
Everyone else has one game left this week.
The Pacers were without Myles Turner and he’ll sit out again on Friday with his elbow injury, leaving him iffy for Sunday’s weekly finale against the Suns. Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and seven boards, and looks like a nice pickup (if available) with Turner out at least one more game. Lance Stephenson also got a boost without Turner and had 15 points, eight boards, four assists and a 3-pointer, and might be worth a short-term add. Cory Joseph played 27 minutes and had five points and one assist, but could be pushing Darren Collison, who also played 27 quiet minutes, for the starting job. Just keep an eye on Joseph, who is not worth picking up right now.
Jazz 107, Wizards 104 – Ekpe Udoh started with Derrick Favors (ankle) out and went off for 16 points, nine boards, four steals and two blocks. Favors was a surprise DNP and he’d have to also miss the next one for Udoh to be worth a look, while the Jazz only play one more game this week. Udoh also hit 7-of-10 shots, which means this looks like a bit of a fluke. Ricky Rubio went off for 21 points, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting, so maybe he’s priming himself for a big second half. I think it might be coming. Joe Johnson also played 33 minutes and had 16 points, four boards, four dimes, three steals and three triples, but was a beneficiary of Rodney Hood getting ejected early. Hood knocked a cell phone out of a fan’s hand. I doubt he’s suspended, so don’t get too excited about Johnson’s game.
Mavericks 115, Hornets 111 – Yogi Ferrell replaced Maxi Kleber as a starter and went off, hitting 7-of-10 3-pointers for 22 points, four boards, one assist and one steal in 36 minutes. He played well in his last one too, but the Mavs only have one game remaining this week. Ferrell is still worth keeping an eye on if you need a guard, as he’s played very well in two straight and is coming on. Drop Kleber. Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points and six assists, but hit just 4-of-13 shots. But he’s righted the ship and even hit 7-of-8 free throws tonight. J.J. Barea had another nice game with 12 points, six boards, five assists and two 3-pointers, and should be owned, while Wesley Matthews had an off night. Dwight Powell played just 12 minutes, meaning he’s really hit-or-miss right now. I don’t trust him enough to use him in any format.
Kemba Walker had one of the lines of the night with 41 points, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers on 16-of-28 shooting. If you rolled him in DFS, you probably cashed. Nicolas Batum was invisible, but I still think he might have a nice second half, while Dwight Howard continued the trend of opponents abusing Dallas centers with 15 points, 12 boards, a steal and four blocks.
Bulls 122, Knicks 119 2-OT – Nikola Mirotic was out with an illness, so Lauri Markkanen decided to go bananas with 33 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, a block and eight 3-pointers. Mirotic is going to be traded, so just hang onto Markkanen and roll him out there. Bobby Portis was quiet in his 19 minutes, but Denzel Valentine, Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday all played well. Kris Dunn hit just 4-of-18 shots, as his struggles continue, but I think he’ll be fine. We’ll have to see what kind of damage Zach LaVine does to the Chicago core when he debuts on Saturday. I don’t think he’ll hurt anyone too much, but I’ve been wrong before. David Nwaba broke out for 13 points, five boards, a steal and a block, but I’m guessing he’s the guy who will take the biggest LaVine hit, at least initially.
Michael Beasley was back from his ankle injury and led the Knicks with 26 points, 12 boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. It’s official: he should be owned everywhere when healthy. Kristaps Porzingis played well, as did Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee, while Jarrett Jack somehow triple-doubled with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. Frank Ntilikina was awful in his 18 minutes, and I’m starting to believe that Jack might hold down the point guard job all year. I didn’t feel that way a week ago. The Knicks have two games left this week, so Beasley and Jack look like nice targets if you’re looking to gain a game on the competition.
Pistons 114, Nets 80 – Andre Drummond had 22 points, 20 rebounds, five dimes, two steals and two blocks and Dwight Buycks had 17 points and two 3-pointers off the bench. Buycks is hot, averaging 13.2 points, 3.2 assists and 1.2 3-pointers on 52 percent shooting over his last five. He’s backing up Ish Smith with Reggie Jackson out, and is basically outplaying Ish. Detroit only has one game left this week, shading some of Buycks’ luster. Stanley Johnson was back from his injury, but you wouldn’t know it by glancing at his box score, as he failed to score in 20 minutes. And yeah, I’d still rather own Ish over Buycks.
The Nets were bad, as Spencer Dinwiddie hit just 1-of-5 shots for two points and three assists, and starter Joe Harris hit just 2-of-7 shots (both 3-pointers) for nine points and a steal. I’m still feeling Dinwiddie and Harris, although Dinwiddie will take a hit when D’Angelo Russell is back in the near future. Allen Crabbe started and had 20 points and five 3-pointers, giving him back-to-back 20-point games. He’s a nice two-game add for the rest of the week if you’re looking for one. Caris LeVert bounced back after Monday’s 2-of-13 shooting performance, finishing with 12 points, five boards, three assists and two 3-pointers. He should be owned everywhere after missing a couple games with a groin injury. Jarrett Allen played just 15 minutes and is nothing more than a stash at this point, in hopes that the Nets will eventually turn him loose. And Jahlil Okafor played 17 useless minutes, and I’m simply not interested.
Bucks 110, Magic 103 – All five Bucks starters put up nice fantasy lines and Malcolm Brogdon started again, racking up 14 points, nine boards, seven assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.8 steals on 51 percent shooting over his last five, and the Bucks play two more this week. Make sure he’s not available. John Henson double-doubled with two blocks, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26, and Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe also played well for the Bucks. Their bench is useless in fantasy, but again, make sure Brogdon’s not available.
Starters Aaron Gordon, Jonathon Simmons and Elfrid Payton all struggled in this one, but only Simmons should be on your wire. He could get hot at any time, so just keep an eye on him. Mario Hezonja played 31 minutes and had 13 points, two steals and a 3-pointer, and could split minutes with Simmons going forward. Bismack Biyombo stayed the course with 14 points, nine boards and a steal, and Evan Fournier may be heating up again after scoring 21 points with two 3-pointers, a steal and a block.
Grizzlies 105, Pelicans 102 – The Grizzlies finally got a 20-point, 14-rebound, 2-steal, 1-block explosion from JaMychal Green. We’ve been waiting for this all season and he might be on your waiver wire. I don’t know if he can do it again, but he’s worth a flier until we find out. The Grizzlies only have one more game this week. Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans both posted big lines in the win, while the bench did next to nothing.
Anthony Davis was out with a sprained ankle and we’ll have to see if he plays on Friday against Portland. DeMarcus Cousins is always a big winner when Davis is out and had 29 points, eight boards, two blocks and five 3-pointers in the loss. Dante Cunningham starts when Davis is out, but isn’t worth using in any format, while Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo and E’Twaun Moore all played fairly well last night in the loss.
Wolves 104, Thunder 88 – The Thunder lost again and have dropped three straight, falling to the Wolves, Blazers and Suns. Yuck. Russell Westbrook went off, as usual, with 38 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and a 3-pointer on an efficient 15-of-23 shooting, and had just four turnovers. But the rest of the Thunder were nearly invisible, including Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams. If you’re still waiting for Terrance Ferguson to recreate the magic, that ship has sailed after another three-point night. The Thunder will try to regroup against the Hornets on Saturday.
The Wolves welcomed back Jeff Teague from a seven-game absence with a knee injury and he had eight points and a nice stat line. Dump Tyus Jones and get Teague back into your lineup. Jimmy Butler went bonkers with one of the fantasy lines of the night, Karl-Anthony Towns double-doubled and Andrew Wiggins scored 19 in the win.
Rockets 121, Blazers 112 – Chris Paul went crazy with 37 points, seven boards, 11 assists and three steals, Eric Gordon had 30 points and five 3-pointers in a start, and Clint Capela had 13 points, nine boards and two blocks. Trevor Ariza managed to play 39 minutes without scoring a point and Gerald Green had 12 points, six boards, four assists and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes off the bench. Green is still worth hanging onto for as long as James Harden is out with his hamstring injury, but he’s not as hot as he was a week ago.
Damian Lillard was back and had 29 points and eight assists after missing two more games with a calf injury. As expected, Shabazz Napier fizzled, as did Al-Farouq Aminu. Feel free to drop either player for a hot free agent, but keep in mind Portland plays two more games this week. Evan Turner was nice with 18 points, two 3-pointers and a steal, but I don’t trust him, and Jusuf Nurkic came through (sort of) with eight points, eight boards and three more blocks in 21 minutes.
Hawks 110, Nuggets 97 – Taurean Prince’s slump is over and he’s averaging 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.5 blocks and 4.0 3-pointers over his last two games. Hopefully you didn’t drop him. John Collins was quiet with 17 minutes, eight points, two rebounds, a block and five fouls, but I still think he’s a hold, as the Hawks simply have to turn him loose at some point.
Gary Harris was great, hitting 11-of-14 shots for 25 points, two 3-pointers, two steals and a block, and is getting 35 minutes a game right now. He’s as must-start as they come. The rest of the usual suspects in Denver did what they do, although Nikola Jokic hit just 4-of-21 shots. Had his shots been falling, he would have had a monster night. Trey Lyles finally cooled off, hitting just 2-of-8 shots for 11 points, six boards, three assists, a block and a 3-pointer, but he’ll bounce back in the next one. Stick with him until Paul Millsap is back. Jamal Murray had 13 points and was kind of quiet, but you don’t want to drop him.