It was a busy nine-game night in the NBA that featured a Hawks meltdown that resulted in the John Collins coming-out party, a snub triple-double from Ben Simmons, a wasted Andre Drummond snub-explosion, another Greg Monroe sighting, a wakeup call from Bobby Portis, the return of DeAndre Jordan and a Pau Gasol gem after a day of rest.
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DeAndre Jordan finally returned after missing five games with a sprained ankle and looked pretty good, racking up 15 points and 14 boards on 4-of-5 shooting. Fire him back up if you own him and prepare for a Montrezl Harrell let down. Harrell played just 18 minutes last night with both DAJ and Blake Griffin healthy and had 10 points and seven boards. Feel free to drop him for a hot free agent. In other Clips news, Milos Teodosic had just two points with six assists, but I say hang in there with him. And Tyrone Wallace and Wes Johnson still have fantasy value, which I didn’t see coming a couple months ago. Oh and Griffin threw a ball at a referee in frustration, but I don’t think it was enough to warrant much disciplinary action, as he wasn’t even ejected.
Pau Gasol came back from a night off to rack up a monster 14 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in 33 minutes. Unfortunately, red-hot LaMarcus Aldridge got the night off to rest and the Spurs still beat Memphis by a cool 23 points with no player scoring more than 15 points (Patty Mills). Dejounte Murray had 11 points, four boards, seven assists and a 3-pointer, and even though he‘s a Spur, I’m really into the thought of picking him up right now.
Rudy Gobert’s been back for four games and is killing it. He had 15 points and four blocks last night and is averaging a cool 15 points, 9.8 boards, 0.8 steals and 3.3 blocks in those four games. Hopefully he’s just getting warmed up.
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Ben Simmons wasn’t happy about being left off the All-Star Team and racked up a monster triple-double, most of which came in just under 22 minutes. He grabbed 11 boards in the first quarter alone and finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists, and set a few records in the process of racking up the fifth TD of his career (courtesy SBNation):
5 Triple-doubles: The most for a rookie since Magic Johnson did it in 1979-80. He’s only two behind Magic and the breaking of that record appears to be inevitable.
His 19-17-14 line with two blocks has only been done by one other player, and that was Larry Bird. However, it was probably done by a handful of others before blocks were an official NBA stat category.
And as far as we know, Simmons’ TD was the third fastest in history.
And lost in all the Simmons hoopla was a Robert Covington sighting, as he actually hit 6-of-9 shots and four 3-pointers for a 16-4-5-1-2 line. He’s been a mess, but has actually played well in each of his last three games. Lastly, this game might have secured the Rookie of the Year Award for Simmons, as Donovan Mitchell hit just 6-of-21 shots for 15 points, and a full stat line.
Snub Andre Drummond torched Rudy Gobert for a season-high 30 points, 24 rebounds, four assists, three steals and six blocks on 11-of-17 shooting. He was having so much fun he even attempted his fifth 3-pointer of the season. Oddly, three of his five attempts, which were all misses, have come in his last seven games. Dude, you don’t need to shoot 3-pointers, especially when you’re 12th in the league in field goal percentage. This game was nice to see after his seven-point performance on Sunday, but despite two offensive duds, he’s still averaging 15.8 points, 17.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.0 blocks on 60 percent shooting over his last five games. His 30-24-6 game was the first of its kind since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2004. And despite all that the Pistons have lost six straight.
Chris Paul was also an All-Star snub, but he had a different kind of night than Simmons. My buddy Kelin loaded up on snubbies in our DFS matchup last night, but CP3 backfired on him with just 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on 3-of-12 shooting. We’ve all seen worse stat lines, but that was a disappointing night for Paul, any way you slice it.
Paul George is another big snub and Russell Westbrook appears to be beefing with Damian Lillard over his omission, as Lillard has been pretty vocal about wanting to make the team. The Thunder get the Wizards tonight and my guess is that Westbrook and George are going to try to make a statement on TNT. Just beware that the last time that we saw PG-13 play a grudge match was in Indiana before Christmas, and he hit just 3-of-14 shots for 12 points in his former home. Hopefully he fares better tonight.
I was watching as Al Horford got popped in the face by Josh Bell’s head on Tuesday night and wrote up that blurb, saying that he may or may not have been concussed on the play. I guess that was the right answer, because he supposedly doesn’t have a concussion, but also didn’t play last night because the team wants to observe him to make sure he’s OK. And unfortunately, the news on Horford and teammate Marcus Smart (lacerated hand) didn’t hit until about 9 p.m. last night, so many of us were stuck with one of these guys in a DFS lineup (hand raised on Smart). As for Smart’s injury, he needed stitches after cutting his hand on a glass in his L.A. hotel room. This isn’t as suspicious as Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the foot or Steve Stipanovich claiming he was shot by an intruder back in the day, and it’s not as dramatic as Paul Pierce’s wheel chair incident, nor is it as weird as Clint Barmes falling down the stairs while carrying a load of deer meat. It’s also not nearly as mind blowing as Jeff Kent breaking his wrist while washing a car, but it does sound like there may be more to this story. In any case, Aron Baynes and Terry Rozier both stepped up and got a boost with those guys hurting. You’ll have to watch the newsfeed to find out how long Horford and Smart will be out, as they’re simply day-to-day at this point.
Jimmy Butler was out again with his sore knee, has missed three straight, and remains day-to-day. Nemanja Bjelica has been starting for him and is averaging 11.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 3-pointers in 32 minutes a game in those three games. Butler will probably be back by the time you pick up Bjelica and get him in your lineup, but then again, we don’t know when Butler will play again, either.
John Collins On the Rocks, Please
The Hawks were simply awful last night, getting blown out by the Raptors in the first quarter and never getting back into the game. I had Ersan Ilyasova in a lineup and actually thought he was a DNP-CD after looking at FanDuel scores on my phone. He played, but did almost nothing in his 20 minutes. Taurean Prince did the same in just 13 minutes, and he’s going to show up on waiver wires soon. But the Hawks only have 35 games left in a lost season and I still think Prince will get hot again soon. And then there’s my guy, John Collins. He got loose for 13 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and four blocks, which tied his career best. In this week’s Roundtable column (coming soon) I spent some time being a broken record and talking about Collins’ breakout potential in the second half, just as I’ve done in other Daily Doses, Waiver Wired columns, and blurbs for most of the season. Here. We. Go.
Bobby Portis Freed
Like Collins, Bobby Portis was the beneficiary of being involved in a blowout and played 25 minutes last night, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. He hadn’t played more than 19 minutes in his previous six games, but the last time he got decent playing time he scored 22 points on Jan. 8. The Bulls are ready to deal and Portis could be worth owning once they start moving big men, but as long as Lauri Markkanen is around, I’m not going to break my neck trying to get ahold of Portis. He’s also managed to go eight straight games without a blocked shot and has just 10 of them on the entire season. And he’s 6’ 11”, 250.
Oh Ricky You’re So Fine (at least for one night)
Ricky Rubio is another guy I keep saying could have a big second half, and he actually hit some shots last night (4-of-8) and double-doubled with 11 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer. He’s been brutal, but could still explode at any time.
Bend It Like Beckham
Soccer players are scoring more than Dragan Bender these days, as he was 0-for-3 for zero points again. Bender is starting and averaging 29 minutes over his last five games, and Marquese Chriss is out indefinitely. Yet Bender has taken the opportunity of a lifetime, wadded it up into a paper ball and thrown it in the direction of a trashcan. Of course, he likely missed that one too. He’s scored a total of 16 points in five games, posted two goose eggs and hit just 6-of-21 shots in those games, and again, is playing almost 30 minutes a night. I don’t get it. In other Suns news, Greg Monroe came off the bench this time, but went off again for 16 points, 17 boards, a steal and a block. I just wish we could trust him. And Josh Jackson got loose for 20 points and a couple 3-pointers in a massive blowout loss to the Pacers. He’s now averaging 14.2 points over his last five, but only 2.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers to go along with it. The potential is there, but if he’s not going to do anything but score and post a John Blutarsky GPA in steals, we have a problem.
Hey, Boo Boo
Yogi Ferrell had 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers on 6-of-9 shooting last night and is averaging 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting over his last five. I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever see Seth Curry again, and most of the other Dallas guards are old guys. Dennis Smith Jr. and Ferrell should both be pretty solid fantasy plays the rest of the way.
The End – Some Closing Thoughts
Delon Wright has quieted down and can be dropped for a hot free agent.
Jerian Grant fell back to earth after his monster game for the Bulls.
Zach LaVine looks pretty, pretty, prettay good.
Don’t tell anyone, but Joel Embiid has played in nine straight.
Avery Bradley is the fantasy bust of the year. 6 points, 2 rebounds last night.
Marvin Williams is playing better and had 14 & 14 last night.
Wesley Matthews went off for 29 points and seven triples last night.
Kyle Anderson (Spurs) should be owned in your fantasy league.
The Grizzlies’ starters look like a G-League team. And not the All-Star version.
Jamal Crawford scored 19 points in his return from a toe injury.
Jusuf Nurkic disappeared last night, but should bounce back, as usual.