Hawks 117, Jazz 114 – In not-so-revenge-game form, Kyle Korver missed three free throws (and won the Hawks crowd free chicken in the process), and hit just 2-of-7 shots in Atlanta on Thursday as the Hawks held on for the impressive win over the Jazz. Trae Young double-doubled and Dewayne Dedmon (18 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks) played well for Atlanta, but there wasn’t a lot happening fantasy-wise in this one.
For the Jazz, starters Derrick Favors (15 & 15), Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert (double-double), Ricky Rubio (17-5-7), and Donovan Mitchell (34 points) all went off, while the bench, including Jae Crowder (0-for-6) did nothing. And that’s a big reason why the Jazz lost.
Hornets 113, Wolves 106 – Kemba Walker went off with a 31-5-6 line, Miles Bridges double-doubled and Marvin Williams scored 13 points, while starters Bismack Biyombo (8 points, 4 boards, zero blocks) and Dwayne Bacon (1-of-8 shooting) struggled on Thursday. Frank Kaminsky played just eight minutes off the bench, as they went with Willy Hernangomez for 23 minutes after he didn’t even play in the previous three games. Nicolas Batum also came off the bench for the first time as a Hornet last night, so it’s going to be tricky reading this team, heading for a youth movement, the rest of the way. Jeremy Lamb was solid with 13 points and 10 boards off the pine, but hit just 6-of-20 shots. You’ll want to keep a close eye on what’s happening with the lineup each night if you own any of them. This is also a sign that Bridges may finally be ready to get it going.
All five Wolves starters scored in double figures and Karl-Anthony Towns continues to charge along, finishing with 21 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Even with nothing to play four, the kid just keeps moving forward, like the Energizer Bunny. Dario Saric played well with 15 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers, and has hit double digits in three of his last four games. Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague won’t play again this season, which should surprise no one, making Tyus Jones (14 points, 7 dimes) a must-own player.
Nuggets 113, Wizards 108 – The Nuggets entire lineup seemed go off, both starters and the bench. All five starters scored in double figures, with four of them (Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris) scoring exactly 15 points, and Will Barton being the odd man out with 13 points. All five starters had between four and six assists, all but Harris shot at least .500, and all of them hit a 3-pointer in a rather close game. Four bench players (Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris, Malik Beasley) played between 21 and 26 minutes, and Craig, Morris and Beasley all scored in double figures, while Plumlee had 11 rebounds to go along with his four points. This is the fantasy problem with Denver right now – they’re just too nice to each other. Six players led the team in scoring with 15 points, and that’s just unheard of. The Nuggets are one of just a handful of teams to play four games next week, and all nine of their rotation guys are probably worth a look. But don’t expect any of them to blow up a box score.
For the Wiz, Thomas Bryant started and went off for 22 points, eight boards and two blocks. Talk about a roller coaster ride this season…Jeff Green moved to the bench and disappeared, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen with these two for next week’s four-game festival, but right now, the hot hand lies with Bryant. Tomas Satoransky had a nice 16 & 10 double-double, and starters Bobby Portis bounced came through with 18 & 8, Troy Brown Jr. (starting for injured Trevor Ariza) had 13 points, five boards and three assists in his first NBA start, and Bradley Beal did more Beal-like things with 25 points. A lot of it will depend on the status of Ariza (groin), but the four-game Wizards are going to be interesting next week. Bryant, Sato, Portis, Brown, Beal and maybe Green are all going to be worth a look.
Pistons 118, Suns 98 – Starters Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Wayne Ellington all played really well, while Luke Kennard added 16 points and two 3-pointers off the bench. The Pistons bench waters have become pretty muddied, and I’d just stick with the starters at this point.
For the Suns, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges all came through for the starters, while Josh Jackson fell on his face with three points on 1-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes before leaving with an ankle injury. The Suns say he's going to be OK, but he could miss a game or two, so check on his status going forward. Richaun Holmes had 10 points, five boards, two steals and two blocks off the bench in 21 minutes, which is intriguing, but there’s not much to love about the Suns right now outside of Booker and Ayton. Despite his troubles last night, Jackson’s been decent and should continue to get a ton of minutes after it was announced on Thursday that Kelly Oubre’s season was over due to thumb surgery. Stick with him, assuming his ankle's all right.
Kings 116, Mavericks 100 – Buddy Hield led the way with 29 points, starters Harrison Barnes, Willie Cauley-Stein (10 & 18 double-double!), and De’Aaron Fox all played very well and Marvin Bagley went off again with 22 points, 12 boards and four blocks. Nemanja Bjelica has somehow remained relevant despite the Bagley locomotive, and had six points, nine boards, three assists, a steal and a block in 27 minutes. Bogdan Bogdanovic has fallen off a cliff and I only trust the six aforementioned guys for the Kings.
The Mavs’ box score is a disaster, as was Luka Doncic’s night. Doncic hit 4-of-19 shots, 2-of-10 3-pointers and 3-of-5 free throws. I watched a lot of this game and Luka looks like he’s hit that rookie wall, not too mention both of his knees are banged up. He doesn’t look like the same player he did a month ago, so keep an eye on news on him going forward. It’s awesome that he’s playing through ‘stuff,’ but he’s clearly worn out. Maxi Kleber was back with five points, seven boards, a steal and a block, Dwight Powell was solid with 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and Justin Jackson did it again, scoring 19 points with five rebounds and a 3-pointer. That’s two big games in a row and the Mavericks have no reason to stop him from doing his thing right now, so he might be worth a fantasy flier. And I can’t believe I wrote that. Jalen Brunson was pretty quiet last night and some dude named Ryan Broekhoff scored 13 points off the bench. It was just a couple games ago Luka was flirting with back-to-back triple-doubles, so I still think he’ll bounce back, but he did not look good last night, on television or in the box score.
Warriors 112, Pacers 89 – DeMarcus Cousins is back, baby, and looked great with his 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. The other four starters (Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson) all did what they’re supposed to do and it was weird seeing Draymond score in double figures, as it doesn’t happen often. There’s nothing to learn from this blowout, other than the fact that Boogie is back and the rest probably did him some good. I just hope (for personal playoff reasons) that KD continues to play out the rest of this five-game week. Luckily the Warriors only have a ½ game lead over the Nuggets for the No. 1 seed heading into this Saturday/Sunday back-to-back.
The Pacers starters were pretty dreadful in this one, with only Thaddeus Young showing up. He had 18 points and a fun, full stat line, while Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner, Cory Joseph and Wesley Matthews couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with their shots, hitting a collective 7-of-36 from the field. Domantas Sabonis had 12 rebounds, Tyreke Evans scored 20 points, and Aaron Holiday and Doug McDermott were decent, but this was rough game to watch, as well as play in. Not much to learn from this blowout.
Lastly, shout out to my friends Matt & Chauna. The Trae fans have also become big fans of the Daily Dose this season, especially on mornings after Luka is dominated by Trae. There was some confusion on who was writing this Dose due to start of the NCAA Tournament last night, and they kindly woke me up to find out why they couldn't read about Trae's greatness and Luka's struggles. Wish granted.