It was a light night in the National Basketball Association on Tuesday, but that didn't mean that the action wasn't good. Quite the contrary, actually. In the first game of the evening we saw Boston rally to top Atlanta for their ninth consecutive victory, as the Celtics continue to be a fine-tuned machine. In the nightcap, Golden State started off a bit sluggish on the offensive end, but they did enough to push aside pesky Miami. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!
Celtics 110, Hawks 107 – The Celtics continue to roll right along and are looking like the class of the Eastern Conference, as Kyrie Irving continues to excel in his new role as 'the man'. Boston rallied past Atlanta for a three-point victory, winning their ninth straight. Irving was the man, hitting 14-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-10 from behind the arc, as he finished with a game-high 35 points, seven assists and three rebounds over 37 minutes. K.I. is teaming with Al Horford to make quite the tandem in Beantown. Horford flirted with a triple-double, posting 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists with a blocked shot across 33 minutes. Jayson Tatum also stepped up and had a huge game, hitting blackjack with 21 points, including three triples. He had a huge momentum changer in the fourth quarter and the C's never looked back. The bench didn't necessarily give fantasy owners anything to jump up and down about, although Terry Rozier was the best of the lot with eight points, five rebounds and three assists across 22 minutes. He and Semi Ojeleye managed to connect for a pair of triples off the bench, while Marcus Smart also contributed a 3-pointer while finishing with nine points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes. Aron Baynes was back in the starting five, but he managed just two points and three rebounds in 15 minutes with Marcus Morris getting a rest.
Dewayne Dedmon was the fantasy stud from the ATL side, dropping a season-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting while posting 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots over 36 minutes. Since flipping the calendar to November, Dedmon has picked up the pace offensively. He managed to post double-digit point totals just twice in seven games in the month of October, but he has already scored 10 or more points in three of his four games in November, averaging 13.3 PPG with 8.8 RPG. The double-double on Tuesday was just his second of the season, but there could be more down the pike for the big man. Dennis Schroder hit three triples while finishing with a team-high 23 points, six assists, two rebounds and two steals, as his stroke from the field continues to look way better than his funky multi-colored haircut. All five Atlanta started dropped in at least one 3-pointer, with Luke Babbitt nailing each of his two attempts from behind the arc to finish with nine points, five rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot. It was Babbitt's first game in four tries in November without a double-digit point total, but he is still averaging 13.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.0 3-pointers to suddenly emerge as a useful fantasy option. Marco Belinelli also shined off the pine, dumping in 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Malcolm Delaney was a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc in his return to action after a two-game absence due to an ankle issue.
Nets 98, Suns 92 – The Nets returned the favor, beating the Suns in Phoenix on Monday night after suffering a 122-114 loss on their home floor against the Suns back on Halloween. The highlight of this game was the fact Devin Booker reached an important milestone, scoring his 3,000th point with a bucket in the first quarter. With that deuce he joined some elite company, as only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony had hit the milestone faster in NBA history. He ended up with 18 points, two rebounds and two steals across 35 minutes, but unfortunately it wasn't a Booker battle, as Brooklyn's Trevor Booker was sidelined due to a sore lower back. T.J. Warren also had a strong game for the home team, hitting 8-of-19 from the field to finish with 20 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots over 36 minutes, and veteran Mike James knocked down a pair of triples to finish with 16 points in just 26 minutes. But it wasn't nearly enough, and Marquese Chriss totally disappeared with just one bucket, four points, four rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes. Jared Dudley received 23 minutes off the bench, hitting 2-of-3 from the floor to finish with six points, five rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot. It's highly disappointing for the fantasy owners of Chriss, as he is crashing and burning with seven straight single-digit point totals since his 19-point explosion on Oct. 23. He is averaging just 17.0 minutes per game over the past three, and he hasn't had a blocked shot in any of the outings. Alex Len shined with 14 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, but his shooting wasn't very good. He hit just 1-of-6 from the floor to wind up with seven points.
As far as the visiting Nets are concerned, Caris LeVert came off the bench and he posted just four points on a dismal 2-of-8 shooting. His shooting has been horrible lately, as he has missed more shots than he has made in each of his past seven outings. He is shooting just 30.6 percent (22-of-72) during the awful stretch. D'Angelo Russell stepped up his game with 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds with two steals and a blocked shot, doing a little bit of everything for his fantasy owners. The former Ohio State Buckeyes standout has dumped in at least eight buckets in each of his past three games, although his 3-point shooting still needs a little fine tuning. He also has averaged 5.5 RPG and 6.8 APG over the past four outings and he has five steals in two games in the month of November. It was Allen Crabbe moving into the starting five with LeVert coming off the pine, and Crabbe picked up 15 points across 23 minutes. Yes, he was limited to just 23 minutes, but that's a product of foul trouble and nothing else, as he was 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-4 from the perimeter. Believe me, coach Kenny Anderson wish he could have bumped those minutes up further. Quincy Acy (groin) was able to playing Monday's game, but he misfired on all eight of his field-goal attempts, including each of his seven long-range shots, posting just two points with seven rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. While Acy returned, the team lost Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to a right hip contusion, as Joe Harris started the third quarter in his stead.
Warriors 97, Heat 80 – The Heat were underdogs by 16 points in this one, but certainly didn't look the part for most of the game. While the Warriors kept them at arm's length, it was definitely not a blowout. Golden State really struggled from the floor offensively, but the Heat didn't really make them pay, either. The Heat managed to hit just 36.1 percent (30-of-83) from the floor, including a dismal 1-of-9 from Hassan Whiteside. He misfired on 8-of-9 from the field, finishing with just three points, six rebounds and one blocked shots and he was nailed to the pine for long stretches by head coach Erik Spoelstra. Bam Adebayo was the biggest beneficiary of the extra time in the middle, hitting his only field goal attempt and his only free throw, finishing with three points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal in 13 minutes. Kelly Olynyk also stepped up with 18 minutes, hitting 3-of-4 off the bench while ending up with 10 points and five rebounds. Don't look for this to be a long-term thing for Whiteside, as he is just too gifted of a player for the Heat to waste nailed to the bench. Consider it a wake-up call from Spo. James Johnson turned back to the clock by hitting 7-of-15 from the field, including 3-of-7 from the perimeter, exploding for an expected 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and a blocked shot. If anyone rolled the dice on him as a low-cost DFS option, they likely came away with stacks of cash. He is good for 14 or more points in five of his past six outings, and the 8-year veteran out of Wake Forest continues to surprise. Josh Richardson flamed out again, posting just six points with three steals, two blocked shots and six turnovers in 32 minutes. But be patient, as the season is a marathon, not a sprint. He is too talented to be stuck in the doldrums for too long. Don't compound his shaky play lately but cutting him, having him pick up the pace and shine on someone else's fantasy roster. Also, Dion Waiters will rejoin the team Tuesday in Phoenix, returning to the lineup Wednesday after being away due to a personal issue. That will likely force Justise Winslow back to the bench.
The defending champs shot a very un-Dub-like 36.8 percent from the field, as four of five starters missed more shots than they made. Only Draymond Green (5-of-10) could be proud of his shooting night, as he finished with four 3-pointers and ended up with 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot across 28 minutes. On the flip side, Stephen Curry had an uncharacteristic evening, hitting just 5-of-19 from the field while making just 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. He ended up with 16 points and a plus-25 rating, which masks the poor shooting, and he salvaged the night with five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Even when he has a bad night, it's still pretty good. Kevin Durant also saved his night with a 10-of-10 performance from the charity stripe, giving him 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots across 33 minutes. That more than made up for a 5-of-13 shooting night. No one really did anything of note off the bench either, except for Kevon Looney who came on and swatted three shots in 17 minutes while chipping in with five points and three rebounds. Shaun Livingston also hit a couple of buckets to finish with five points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist in 15 minutes. The biggest difference in this one was free-throw shooting, as Golden State was 91.7 percent (22-of-24) from the line, while Miami was a dismal 70.6 percent at the stripe (12-of-17).
Quick Hits: – Zach LaVine (knee) might be just two weeks away from being given the green light for contact, and that's great news since Chicago can use some extra offensive help. The time is now to stash away LaVine if he is available off the waiver wire. … Fantasy owners see a familiar site, as Grizzlies' Marc Gasol (ankle) is on the injury report and listed as probable for Tuesday's game against Portland. He hasn't been forced to the sidelines yet, so don't be terribly concerned about the little '+' next to his name when setting your lineup Tuesday. Mario Chalmers (knee) is also considered probable for Tuesday's tilt, while Wayne Selden (quadriceps) will continue to sit, although he is making progress toward a return soon. … Luol Deng is trying to work out a trade or buyout with the Lakers, as he has fallen out of the rotation. However, don't expect a move to be brisk, as he is owed $54 million over the next three seasons. … Dwight Howard (foot) is considered probable to face the Knicks on Tuesday, so start him as you normally would.