The Knicks finally lost, the Warriors rolled without Kevin Durant, Aron Baynes was the DFS play of the night, and Hassan Whiteside bounced back for the Heat. Oh, and some guy named Marquese Chriss decided to show up for a minute and maybe lighten the Twitter load of the Rotoworld basketball crew. Josh Richardson, on the other hand…
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Magic 112, Knicks 99 – Elfrid Payton (hamstring) returned in a big way for 11 points, six rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks on 5-of-9 shooting. Payton had missed his previous eight games with a hamstring injury and was a bit questionable coming in. He was awesome tonight and should be plugged back into lineups going forward, obviously. Evan Fournier was a beast again with 23 points, five steals, a block and three 3-pointers, and my man, Aaron Gordon, came through with 21 points, four rebounds, four 3-pointers and a block in the win. Jonathon Simmons, who is a nice player to own these days, returned to the bench but still had 16 points, two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting night. With Payton’s return, Shelvin Mack was 0-for-4 and failed to score in 20 minutes. Cut him.
The Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) and he’s day-to-day. Michael Beasley got the start in his place and had four points and four boards in 20 minutes, which helps explain the 6-5 Knicks’ loss. Tim Hardaway Jr. came through in a big way with 26 points, career-high 11 boards, a steal and a 3-pointer on 11-of-21 shooting. Remember when he stunk and you were begging to cut him? Enes Kanter, Jarrett Jack and Courtney Lee were all quiet in this one, and only Kanter falls in the ‘must-own’ category there. Doug McDermott backed up last night’s big game with 13 points and three 3-pointers on 5-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes, and officially belongs on your radar. Ditto for Kyle O’Quinn (8 points, 4 boards, 0 blocks) and Frank Ntilikina had six points, nine assists, a steal and a block in 23 minutes. I still don’t understand how Jack is starting.
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Pistons 114, Pacers 97 – Detroit’s starters were all fine, but Andre Drummond stood out with 14 points, 21 rebounds and a block on 7-of-9 shooting. He’d been hot from the free throw line this season, but the real Dre came to play last night and he was 0-for-7 from the stripe, dropping his season average to a more realistic 64 percent. Reggie Bullock started for Stanley Johnson (hip) and had seven points, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer.
The Pacers struggled as Myles Turner disappeared in the second half to finish with eight points, six rebounds, two steals and a block, while Darren Collison hit just 3-of-10 shots for seven points and three assists. Don’t worry about Turner, who was in foul trouble, while Collison just had an off night. Both should bounce back against the Bulls on Friday. Al Jefferson somehow had 19 points, six boards and a steal on 7-of-10 shooting in 22 minutes, but you can forget about it. Cory Joseph had 11 points, six assists, a block and a 3-pointer, but cannot be trusted as long as Collison is healthy.
Celtics 107, Lakers 96 – Al Horford missed last night with a concussion, which is scary. He missed nine games with a concussion last season and then struggled for several weeks to get back to form afterwards. Hold your breath if you own him. Aron Baynes started in his place and hit 8-of-12 shots to tie a career high with 21 points, eight boards and three assists in 23 minutes. If you started him in DFS, you probably did well. I don’t think he’s a must-own player, but if you want to pick him up and use him as long as Horford is out, I’m down. Marcus Morris returned from a rest and also moved back into the starting five and had a season-high 18 points, two assists, a steal and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. I’m not a fan of Morris in fantasy and am not taking the bait. If you want to, go for it. The big news in Boston was Jayson Tatum going down with an ankle injury. He’ll probably have an MRI today and Marcus Smart started the second half in his place, which means he could miss a few games here. If Tatum is going to miss time, it’s good news for Morris, so ignore my personal bias and give him a short-term look if you’re in a deeper league. Jaylen Brown and Marcs Smart were not good last night, hitting just 6-of-22 combined shots, but should bounce back, while Terry Rozier came out of nowhere for 14 points, eight rebounds and two 3-pointers. Just keep an eye on him.
Brandon Ingram had a nice stat line in another start for the Lakers and I’m a proud owner in about eight leagues. Kyle Kuzma had 10 points and six boards, but didn’t hit a 3-pointer or record a steal or a block. He’s fine, but Julius Randle caught fire off the bench and had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a steal in just 21 minutes. Both Kuzma and Randle should be owned, especially with Larry Nance out with his broken hand. Brook Lopez came back to earth with 10 points, four boards and two blocks, Lonzo Ball filled the stat sheet with nine points, five boards, six assists, a steal, four blocks and a 3-pointer, but hit just 4-of-15 shots. Ball’s been a bumpy ride and I still think you can trade him on name value alone and come out ahead. Jordan Clarkson had 18 points, two steals and two 3-pointers off the bench, and is averaging 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 3-pointers on 55 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s getting just 23 minutes a night, but should be owned in most fantasy leagues.
Heat 126, Suns 115 – The Heat went off behind Goran Dragic’s monstrous 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer, while Hassan Whiteside bounced back for 23 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and four blocks on 8-of-11 shooting. I called that one after his disastrous outing on Monday night. Speaking of disastrous, Josh Richardson hit just 2-of-5 shots for four points, six rebounds and one steal in 29 minutes. I just don’t get it. I own him everywhere and I’m going to hang onto him, but if you want to drop him and move on, it makes sense after his slow start this season. But I’m keeping the faith. Justise Winslow started again and it looks like the Heat may stick with him, preferring to keep James Johnson coming off the bench and feasting on second units. Winslow had his best game of the season with 14 points, six boards, five assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, which is the line Richardson should have had. Winslow played 37 minutes and is worth a look in standard leagues right now, but don’t cut anyone good for him. Dion Waiters (birth of a child) was back from his personal leave and had 16 points and two 3-pointers before fouling out, while Johnson had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. I love him. Kelly Olynyk had 10 points, nine boards and a 3-pointer in just 18 minutes, and Wayne Ellington added 15 points and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Tyler Johnson sat this one out with an illness, so don’t make a move on Ellington.
Devin Booker scored 30 points and hit 11-of-13 free throws, Mike James came through with 18 points, four boards, three assists and two 3-pointers, and T.J. Warren had a quiet 16 points and six boards in the loss. The disturbing news from this one, which cost me serious cash in DFS, was Alex Len. He started at center for Tyson Chandler, who was out with a back injury, but played just 19 minutes, picked up four fouls and four turnovers, and finished with just six points and three rebounds. Foul trouble was to blame and you should keep in mind his 14-rebound, 2-block game on Monday before dropping him. I’m sticking with Len, especially with Chandler hurting, but Baynes was the fantasy play last night. Marquese Chriss started again and played a whopping 25 minutes. He hit just 3-of-9 shots, but all three of those were 3-pointers, and finished with nine points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block. If you cut Chriss recently this line might bother you a bit, but you’ll probably be OK. I’m cautiously optimistic, but am not even close to turning cartwheels, let alone high fiving myself. Maybe this is the game that will get Chriss back on track. Jared Dudley split minutes at power forward with Chriss and had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and three 3-pointers. He was a great DFS punt if you used him, but still played two fewer minutes than Chriss. I’m hoping the Suns are giving Dudley run in order to light a fire under Chriss, and while I’m not racing to pick up Dudley, he’s at least worth a look in most leagues right now.
Warriors 125, Timberwolves 101 – Kevin Durant sat out with a bruised thigh, but it sounds like he might have played if it were a playoff game. Once I saw that he was out I loaded up on Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in DFS, while Andre Iguodala also made an appearance in my lineups because he was starting in place of Durant. In short, Thompson and Curry came through with big lines, Green had a 7-6-6 line with two blocks, and Iguodala had 11 points, three boards, a block and a 3-pointer on 4-of-5 shooting in the win. Omri Casspi got loose for 13 points, two steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer in 20 minutes, but can be ignored, while Swaggy P (Nick Young) scored 12 points with four steals and three 3-pointers in 21 minutes. Don’t take the bait on either one of them.
The Wolves’ starting five was solid, as they all scored in double figures and Karl-Anthony Towns had a 16 &12 double-double. However, none of them broke the bank. Taj Gibson, Andrew Wiggins, KAT and Jeff Teague were all pretty good, but Jimmy Butler’s quiet stat continued with just 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting. He did have five assists and two steals, but Butler’s been off to a really quiet start this season. We don’t hear too much about him since most Rotoworld fans are busy yelling at us about Josh Richardson and Marquese Chriss, but Butler is a candidate for biggest fantasy bust of the season, given on where he was drafted. I imagine he’ll get it turned around, but am also glad I don’t own him anywhere. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Minneapolis.