There were seven games on Tuesday with big lines from Anthony Davis, James Harden, Dennis Schroder, Jusuf Nurkic and Al-Farouq Aminu, an injury scare from Chris Paul and a dud from Taurean Prince. Additionally, Marcus Morris hit a big 3-pointer to beat the Thunder, the Hawks stunned the Jazz with a win at Utah, and the Rockets stopped the Blazers’ winning streak at 13 games.
Chris Paul had a great game against the Blazers and helped to keep Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in check, as the duo hit just 9-of-32 shots and went 0-for-12 from downtown. The Blazers still almost got the win, despite the struggles of their guards, but in the end James Harden’s 42 points were too much. The bad news is that Paul appeared to come up lame, grimacing with less than two seconds remaining as he appeared to tweak his left hamstring going after a loose rebound. He stayed in the game and knocked down a couple clutch free throws, but then sat on the scorer’s table for the final inbounds play. Maybe I’m overreacting, but hamstring injuries are not good and Paul was clearly in pain and limping. He told Dennis Scott that he was fine after the game, saying that “winning makes everything feel better,” but I think he was just trying to put on a happy face. My guess is he misses Thursday’s game against the Pistons, but that’s just a guess on my part. If I owned Paul, I’d be praying that he only misses one game at this point, while it’s still entirely possible that he might not miss any time at all. But I don’t feel good about it. If CP3’s out, it just means more goodies for Harden, Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, as if Harden needs any more help to dominate in the fantasy playoffs. Here’s to hoping that I’m overreacting.
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John Collins sat out for the Hawks with a sprained ankle and is day-to-day. His absence likely helped Dewayne Dedmon go off for 15 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer in a shocking win at Utah. If Collins remains out, look for Taurean Prince to bounce back, and for Dedmon and Mike Muscala to continue to play well. Prince hit just 3-of-13 shots and was 0-for-6 from downtown after hitting 20 of them in his previous four games. He’ll be fine on Thursday against the Kings.
T.J. Warren (knee) and Devin Booker (hand) were both out last night, allowing Josh Jackson to double-double and Troy Daniels to score 18 with four 3-pointers. As for the Alex Len explosion of 19 points, 12 boards and three blocks, I guess the blame falls on Andre Drummond’s defense. This bodes well for Clint Capela on Thursday, as he didn’t do much last night. Warren and Booker are day-to-day.
Draymond Green (pelvis) says his injury’s not serious, but we’ll know more after Friday’s shootaround. Kevin Durant’s (ribs) out for at least another 8-10 days, Klay Thompson’s (thumb) out for at least 10 more days, and Stephen Curry (ankle) is due back on Friday. Ouch.
DeMar DeRozan rested on Tuesday and Kyle Lowry had a big game, but the rest of the Raptors box score was a mess. I was expecting more from Delon Wright last night, but he just 10 points, five boards, four assists, a steal and a block. I still like the idea of using Wright right now, with or without DeRozan and Lowry.
Kawhi Leonard will not play on Wednesday and I have no idea when we’ll see him again. As usual.
Kris Dunn has been ruled out for tonight with turf toe and Cameron Payne is the play in his absence. Denzel Valentine should also be an interesting play for the Bulls now that he’s hot and Zach LaVine is very iffy with knee tendinitis.
Derrick Rose sprained his ankle on Tuesday and is day-to-day for the Wolves, not that you were counting on him in fantasy leagues.
Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 41 points with seven assists and three 3-pointers, as the Hawks accidentally beat the Jazz and caught the Magic to tie for the worst record in the East. And we already covered the heroics of Dewayne Dedmon.
James Harden racked up 42 points, six boards, seven assists and five 3-pointers on 13-of-25 shooting. Go ahead and give him the MVP Award already, OK?
Anthony Davis hit 15-of-21 shots and two 3-pointers for 37 points, eight boards and two blocks. He was actually iffy to play in the second half after suffering a shin injury, but he looked more than fine when he returned to action. The good news is that the Pelicans need to keep winning, so he should keep playing if he can. Just watch for news on him over the next two days. Rajon Rondo also went crazy with 19 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists and three steals, as he got some more revenge on the Mavericks. Rondo should be in all starting lineups, regardless of whether or not Jrue Holiday (illness) is playing.
Jusuf Nurkic trucked Clint Capela for 21 points, 11 boards, three assists, two steals and four blocks on 9-of-10 shooting, and played most of the second half with foul trouble. Impressive, and he’s peaking for the Blazers at the right time.
Al-Farouq Aminu also caught fire for the Blazers, hitting a season-high six triples for 22 points, eight boards, four assists, a steal and a block. He was awful a couple weeks ago, but has been hot for four straight games, so think about grabbing him if you can still get him.
Marcus Morris hit the game-winning 3-pointer over the Thunder with two guys in his face, finishing with 21 points, four boards, a steal and three 3-pointers. He should be owned right now and has been hot for a couple weeks. Jayson Tatum racked up 23 points, 11 boards and a lot more goodies, and became the youngest Celtic (20 years, 17 days) to record a 20-10 game since Antoine Walker did it back in the day. Tatum’s killing it right now and is going to be a superstar. And the reason Morris had a chance to win the game with a 3-pointer? Carmelo Anthony missed a pair of free throws with the game on the line. How much does he make again? Oh, right - $25 million. Terry Rozier also hit a big 3-pointer right before Melo missed the free throws.
Blake Griffin had 26 points, nine boards and 10 dimes for the Pistons, coming through in a big way for the fantasy playoffs. He also had three 3-pointers and a block, and made all five of his free throws.
Aaron Gordon finally returned from his concussion and had 16 points, six boards, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers, while Jonathan Isaac got loose for 10 points, five rebounds, five steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer. Frank Vogel says he wants to experiment with them together going forward, as he feels they should be a dynamic defensive duo together next year. This bodes well for both players down the stretch.
Al Horford had five points, six rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 2-of-9 shooting. He’s been disappointing, hitting just 5-of-20 shots over his last two games, which is part of the reason Greg Monroe has been coming up big. Monroe had 17 points, six boards, a block and a steal, and is averaging 14 points, 6.2 boards, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five, making him worth a look if you need a center.
Nerlens Noel had six points, six boards, two steals and two blocks, and has now played very well in his last two games played for the Mavs. He’s always a candidate to get a random DNP, but if you need a center, he’s worth a look.
Jamal Crawford scored 20 for the second straight game and has hit five 3-pointers in them. He could be ready to finish up strong for the Wolves.
Luke Kennard had 16 points, six boards, three assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers for the Pistons. He’s hit double digits in scoring in four of his last five and is worth a look if your wire is bare.
E’Twaun Moore had 14 points, six assists and two 3-pointers, and has been playing well for the Pelicans. Cheick Diallo also played well in his second straight game with a 10 & 14 double-double, but I have trust issues as long as Anthony Davis is healthy. Nikola Mirotic had a bad night (3-of-10, 8 points), which helped Diallo.
J.J. Barea started at point guard for Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) and had 10 points and eight dimes, while Yogi Ferrell had 15 points, three boards, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer off the bench. I still prefer Yogi over JJB for as long as Smith is out for the Mavs.
Emeka Okafor played just five minutes after playing 12 minutes in his previous game for the Pelicans. Maybe the dream is over.
Reggie Jackson is finally back for the Pistons and played just 15 minutes in a start. Maybe they ramp him up, but I don’t see what the point is with the playoffs essentially out of reach.
Games Played Per Week the Rest of the Way
DAL 4-4-1 (Powell, JJB, Yogi, Noel)
PHI 4-4-2 (Belinelli?)