Clippers 122, Hornets 117 – Chris Paul’s shot was off (4-of-13) but he still had 19 points and 11 dimes (11-of-12 FTs), DeAndre Jordan had 13-13-1, and J.J. Redick bounced back from a bad game with 26 points and five 3-pointers. Paul Pierce scored 13 and had a nice stat line in 21 minutes, and might be worth a deep-league look now that he’s starting for Blake Griffin/Josh Smith. Austin Rivers somehow had 22 points and four 3-pointers in 20 minutes off the bench, but it was a fluke. Smith didn’t even play and should be dropped immediately if you grabbed him.
Al Jefferson will have knee surgery and miss at least six weeks (drop him), so Cody Zeller is still a guy to own. Kemba Walker had 29 points, seven assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, Nicolas Batum played through a toe injury and had another big game, and Zeller added 12 points, eight boards, three steals and a block in the loss. Frank Kaminsky had 20 points, four rebounds and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 5-of-15 shots, but Zeller is clearly the guy I’d like to own, at least for now. Jeremy Lamb had a fluky 19 points, five boards and a 3-pointer off the bench, while Marvin Williams added just five points and five rebounds as his fade continues. Maybe Kaminsky will supplant him soon, but I don’t really trust Frank the Tank as long as he’s coming off the bench. Then again, I certainly don’t trust Marvin, either. Jeremy Lin sat this one out with a sprained ankle and is day-to-day.
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Magic 100, Nets 93 – Nikola Vucevic was nice with 20 points and nine boards, Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier were solid, and Elfrid Payton lasted just five minutes and didn’t score before leaving with an ankle injury and an illness, leaving him iffy for Friday. If Payton misses time, Victor Oladipo should step up and had 12 points, seven boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers last night, despite hitting just 3-of-11 shots. Aaron Gordon was decent with 10 points, seven boards, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes, but I’ll need to see him do it again before becoming interested.
Brook Lopez was large with 24 points, 15 boards, three steals and five blocks, Thaddeus Young was solid and Bojan Bogdanovic had one of his best games with 20 points, six boards and a 3-pointer on 9-of-17 shooting. He’s shown signs all season, but has yet to be consistent enough to trust. Maybe that’s about to change. Jarrett Jack had 10 assists and five boards, but hit just 2-of-11 shots, Joe Johnson was terrible again, and Wayne Ellington turned back into Wayne Ellington (9 points, 17 minutes) after Monday’s 26-point explosion. I’m not even starting Joe Johnson in a 30-team league, which should tell you all you need to know.
Lakers 112, Celtics 104 – Kobe Bryant said goodbye to Boston and had 15 points, 11 boards and two 3-pointers, despite hitting just 5-of-18 shots (his first double-double of the year). Roy Hibbert missed all five of his shots and was awful again, while Jordan Clarkson (24 points) and Lou Williams (19) both played well. Julius Randle had 15 points and 12 boards off the bench, and is coming on again, and D’Angelo Russell had 16 points and a very nice stat line off the bench. If you need to cut Hibbert for a hot free agent, do it. Larry Nance Jr. played just 17 minutes for six points and six boards. Blah.
Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger all did good things for the Celtics, but Amir Johnson was scoreless in 18 minutes. Evan Turner had a nice line off the bench and is playing well again, while Kelly Olynyk didn’t do much with his 21 minutes off the pine. I am still intrigued by Olynyk. Marcus Smart played just 11 minutes and I’m just not feeling him. I’m dropping him for a hot free agent if I own him, while I’m thinking about grabbing Turner right now.
Raptors 94, Wizards 91 – DeMar DeRozan went off for 34 points, six boards, five assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in one of the lines of the night, and also hit 15-of-15 from the stripe. Jonas Valanciunas started and had eight points, nine boards and a block, yet Bismack Biyombo stayed relevant off the bench with a solid line of 12 points, 12 boards and two more blocks. Hold him until the wheels fall off. Kyle Lowry was bad, hitting 2-of-12 shots for 11 points and six dimes, Luis Scola cooled off with four points and seven boards, and DeMarre Carroll still doesn’t look right, hitting 2-of-10 shots for seven points and seven boards. Hang in there with all of them, at least for now. Terrence Ross played 29 minutes off the bench and had 14 points, six boards and two 3-pointers, and is also worth hanging onto for now.
John Wall flirted with a triple-double and added five steals, despite hitting just 8-of-23 shots and missing all six of his 3-point attempts. Otto Porter Jr. was big with 20 points, nine boards and three 3-pointers, and has played very well in two straight, Jared Dudley had one of his better lines with 17 points, three steals and three 3-pointers, and Marcin Gortat was solid again with 12-9-3. Garrett Temple has fallen off and had just four points on 1-of-6 shooting, while Ramon Sessions had 11 points, seven boards and four assists in 28 minutes off the bench. Flip a coin on those two right now. Dudley was terrible in his previous two games, so I’m not overly excited that he showed up last night.
Bulls 102, Pacers 100 OT – Derrick Rose was a late scratch with a hamstring injury and his status is in doubt for Friday against the Knicks. Aaron Brooks came off the bench, but went off for 29 points, five assists and four 3-pointers, but also had six turnovers. If you were able to start him in any format, you did well, and he’s worth a look on Friday if Rose is out. Jimmy Butler went off with 28 points and a fun line, and Taj Gibson had 14 rebounds, two steals and a block to go along with just six points. He’s worth attention as long as Joakim Noah is out. Nikola Mirotic was a disaster in 20 minutes and failed to score, and no player is as frustrating to mess with right now. Bobby Portis had 16 points, seven boards, a steal and a block in 26 minutes, and it appears that he’s coming out. He’s a luxury own, but might be worth a flier given his huge upside. As for Mirotic, I don’t know what to tell you, and owners have to hope that a Chicago big man is traded at some point.
George Hill led the Pacers with 20 points, seven boards, three assists, four steals and three 3-pointers. His lack of assists is annoying, as is his inconsistency, but he’s still worth owning. Paul George hit just 7-of-20 shots for 19 points, but still had a decent line, even though he hasn’t been nearly as good lately as he was a few weeks ago. Lavoy Allen started and had 10 points and 12 boards, so just keep an eye on him. Myles Turner also had eight points, five boards and three blocks, and with Jordan Hill out with a mouth injury, Allen and Turner are worth a watchful eye over the next couple games. George has cooled, averaging 20.9 points and 36 percent shooting in December, which is a far cry from what he did in November. You might be able to still sell high based on his name value, but I’m not surprised he’s cooled. Ian Mahinmi had seven points and seven boards, but left with a sore knee and didn’t return, which is more good news for Allen and Turner.
Timberwolves 94, Jazz 80 – Karl-Anthony Towns was big, Ricky Rubio ripped off 17 assists with 10 points, three steals and two 3-pointers, and Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points with some rebounds and assists in the win. Gorgui Dieng had 12 points, nine boards and two steals to remain relevant in all fantasy leagues, while Zach LaVine was quiet with two points in 12 minutes. He had been playing well, but didn’t have it last night. Kevin Martin got another DNP and can be dropped, unless you want to hold him in case he’s traded. I’m not in that camp.
Gordon Hayward was pedestrian, Jeff Withey played well with 13 points, nine boards, a steal and two blocks, and Rodney Hood was awful with six points on 1-of-13 shooting. The Jazz starters were pretty awful across the board, outside of Withey. Trey Burke went off for 23 points, four assists, two steals and three 3-pointers off the bench, and is a nice wire option with Alec Burks out with a broken ankle. The Jazz play five games next week, so grab Burks and Withey now if you're planning ahead and games-played matter. Just keep in mind that Derrick Favors was out with back spasms, which really helped Withey. Rudy Gobert was dunking in pregame, so his return would probably foil Withey pretty quickly. But with five games next week, I think picking up relevant Jazz players is a good idea in some leagues.
Mavericks 114, Warriors 91 – The Mavs blew out the Warriors, handing them their second loss of the season as Stephen Curry watched the game in street clothes with a left leg injury. He could be out on Thursday as well, which could impact the Warriors’ hopes of winning 72 or more games. Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia, J.J. Barea (no Deron Williams again) and Wesley Matthews all played well, while Raymond Felton has cooled off. Any time Williams is out, Barea looks like a solid option. Chandler Parsons was bad with five points on 2-of-5 shooting, but played 31 minutes, and it looks like his dark days are behind him. Pachulia keeps defying the odds and had 14 points and 15 rebounds last night. Nice.
Shaun Livingston started with Curry out, but had just eight points and four assists, and Draymond Green hit just 4-of-15 shots for 11 points. He had a great line otherwise, while Klay Thompson failed his various owners with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting in a blowout loss. Not what any of us were looking for. Hurry back, Steph. Ian Clark came out of nowhere for 21 points and three 3-pointers, but this has fluke written all over it. My guess is Curry sits again tonight, but we’ll have to wait and see if it happens.
Spurs 112, Suns 79 – The Spurs quietly won their 29th straight game at home and are undefeated there this year. Tim Duncan missed his third straight game with a sore knee, but should be back soon. LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 21 & 12, Kawhi Leonard was solid, but not spectacular with 19 points, and his price tag may not be worth it in DFS right now. Boban Marjanovic had seven points, 12 boards, a steal and a block in just 15 minutes, but I’m not ready to trust him on most nights. He simply needs more minutes to keep this up. Danny Green was awful again and yes, I’m fine with you cutting him. I get a lot of Twitter questions about Danny, and I cut him across the board over the weekend. I sleep much better these days.
The Suns were just weird last night. Jon Leuer played just 15 minutes, as Markieff Morris came back from suspension and had four points, three rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes. I’m still in Leuer’s corner, but this development is concerning. And no, I’m not rushing out to pick up Morris right now, but the Suns may give him run in hopes of making him tradable, and he even started the second half over Leuer. Give Leuer until the end of the week before fully panicking. Alex Len started at center, but got just 12 minutes, didn’t score and came off the bench in the second half, while Tyson Chandler had 11 points, 10 boards and two blocks in 26 minutes. This has timeshare written all over it and maybe Chandler’s ready to start playing better. He sure did last night and could be in the starting unit over Len in their next game. P.J. Tucker, Brandon Knight, Devin Booker and T.J. Warren were all disappointing last night, but that’s the beauty of five-game weeks – there’s plenty of time for them to turn it around.
Blazers 110, Nuggets 103 – Damian Lillard was out again so C.J. McCollum, the Rotoworld golden boy, went off for 29 points and another big line, and Allen Crabbe stayed hot with 20 points and four 3-pointers. Both of these guys have been a blast to own lately. Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu were solid, starter Noah Vonleh did nothing, and Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless were both pretty good off the bench. Ed Davis is now dead to me (3 points, 16 minutes), while Leonard is worth owning in most leagues. Just keep an eye on Harkless in case his last two games weren’t a fluke (I think they were). Crabbe and CJM will take a hit when Lillard is back, but not a devastating one.
Will Barton was a 31-point beast and is the fantasy surprise of the season, Gary Harris scored a season-high 19, and Jameer Nelson and Kenneth Faried both played well. Harris has played well in three straight, and Nelson should continue to start with Mudiay out, making both of them worth grabbing. Barton has obviously been a must-own all season. Joffrey Lauvergne started at center and had 12 points and six boards, while Nikola Jokic had 10 points, six boards and two blocks in just 18 minutes. As I’ve been saying all year, once Jusuf Nurkic is back, things are going to get even more confusing. Danilo Gallinari is out with a sprained ankle, which is helping to make Harris relevant.
Sixers 110, Kings 105 – Don’t look now, but the Sixers have won two of their last three games, and almost beat the Jazz on Tuesday to make it three straight. Ish Smith is the new mayor of Philly and had another big game. Jahlil Okafor was back, but came off the bench, and Smith continued his chemistry with Nerlens Noel, leading to Noel’s season high of 20 points with nine boards and four steals on 8-of-12 shooting. Smith was just the shot in the arm this team needed and he should be owned in ALL leagues. Smith had 18 points, nine dimes and just one turnover. Isaiah Canaan bounced back with 15 points and three 3-pointers, and is also worth a look in most leagues, while Jerami Grant started and racked up 16 points, 11 boards, two steals, five blocks and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. He should eventually go back to the bench and was really struggling coming into this one, but my eyes are back open on him. Okafor had 10 points and 10 boards, and should replace Grant in the starting five sooner than later. But Smith has turned this thing around, and we really don’t know where this Sixers’ train is heading. Grant is worth a flier if you have someone to cut. Robert Covington was awful again, and appears to be the odd-man out for the new-look Sixers.
DeMarcus Cousins avoided a suspension and had 21-11-3, and Marco Belinelli blew up for a season-high 28 points and three 3-pointers on 11-of-17 shooting off the bench. He had three points in his last game, and is only worth owning in deeper leagues. Rudy Gay was quiet, Omri Casspi double-doubled with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers, and Rajon Rondo countered his 14 assists with seven turnovers. Darren Collison stayed relevant with 13 points, five boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and is worth holding in all leagues, while Rondo should be about ready to post another triple-double any day now.