After watching James Harden dominate the NBA MVP conversation for most of the season, Russell Westbrook has given us a proverbial, “hold my beer” moment by recording a triple-double in 10 straight games. Meanwhile, Harden fought through a sore shoulder and is still doing Harden-like things, Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t let a sore knee keep him down, and Joe Harris had a monster night.
Thunder 120, Blazers 111 – Russell Westbrook hit just 5-of-19 shots and one 3-pointer, but also hit 10-of-13 free throws for 21 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal, two blocks and six turnovers in 37 minutes for his 10th straight triple-double. He passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time list of consecutive triple-doubles (Wilt had 9), joined Paul George (47-12-10) on the night to become the first teammates in OKC team history to triple-double in the same game, and it marks just the second time this season that teammates have triple-doubled in the same game (LeBron James & Lonzo Ball), and the ninth time it’s happened in NBA history. Westbrook and George also became the first teammates in NBA history to have 20-point triple-doubles in the same game. James Harden is still in the driver’s seat to win the MVP award, but if Westbrook keeps this up, it might be close. Despite those two doing most of the work for OKC, Deonte Burton (who?) got loose for a career-high 18 points with three blocks and three 3-pointers, and Raymond Felton added 15 points and three 3-pointers in the win. Dennis Schroder (personal) and Jerami Grant (ankle) were out for personal reasons, which is why those two did anything, and unless you’re in a 30-team league, it’s too early to think about grabbing Burton, who had scored a total of 43 points this season before Monday night.
The Blazers got a big line from Damian Lillard 31-7-6-2-1 with three 3-pointers, and Jake Layman kept it going with 17 points, four boards, one assist, four blocks and two 3-pointers off the bench, but that was about all of the interesting things that happened for Portland. Layman should be owned, in my opinion.
Rockets 120, Mavericks 104 – James Harden overcame his sore shoulder and had 31 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals and six 3-pointers, running his streak of 30-point games to 30 straight. He’s just one game short of catching Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in history at 31 games, but he’s also still 35 games behind Wilt’s NBA record of 65 straight games with at least 30 points. Harden barely got it in this one, sitting on 20 points with just over three minutes to go, but hit his sixth 3-pointer with just under 53 seconds remaining to hit 31 points. Harden said the shoulder has been bothering him and he’s probably really looking forward to the All-Star break. The Rockets go again on Wednesday night at Minnesota, and owners will want to make sure he’s a go in that one. Kenneth Faried 17 & 8), Chris Paul (17 & 11, moved into 8th spot on NBA assist list), Eric Gordon and Gerald Green (19 points, 5 triples) all played well for the Rockets. Green’s been alternating good games with bad ones, making him completely hit-or-miss from night to night.
For Dallas, Luka Doncic just missed a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two 3-pointers in the loss. The Mavs continue to start a small lineup with Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, and while I liked Kleber a little more coming in, it was DFS who had the more interesting night with eight points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Kleber added nine points, two rebounds, two assists, a block and a 3-pointer. Both of them are worth a shot in most leagues (and DFS) as long as they’re starting. Jalen Brunson continues to start at point guard and had 13 points and five rebounds, and Dwight Powell is the de facto center off the bench, and had 12 points, four boards and a 3-pointer. They’re also worth a look right now. Powell was the only bench player to hit double figures for the Mavs, who played a whopping 12 players last night.
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Bucks 112, Bulls 99 – Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) returned from a one-game absence for a 29-17-8 line with three steals and two 3-pointers on 9-of-13 shooting. Hopefully we don’t hear about his sore knee again this season. Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon all played well in the win, and Ersan Ilyasova, who isn’t worth owning, scored 12 points with two 3-pointers off the bench.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 27 points, five boards, seven assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers, and Lauri Markkanen stayed hot with 20 points, 17 rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer in the loss. Otto Porter had 18 points, Robin Lopez scored 17 with four boards and a block on 8-of-13 shooting, and Kris Dunn wasn’t feeling it on Monday, missing 8-of-9 shots for two points, four boards and six dimes. Dunn took a hard fall and eventually left the game, so check on his status on Tuesday. The Bulls bench didn’t do anything in this one, as Wayne Selden continues to fade, hitting just 2-of-10 shots for four points in 21 minutes. Nikola Mirotic sat out again with a calf strain and may not play until after the All-Star break.
Cavaliers 107, Knicks 104 – The Cavaliers got a rare win, led by Collin Sexton’s 20 points, but he only had three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. He’s on a scoring tear, but the peripheral stats are discouraging and he hit just 7-of-21 shots. Kevin Love racked up 14 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers in just 16 minutes, and Larry Nance had 15 points, 16 rebounds (a career-high 10 offensive), four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. He’s a must-own player at this point. David Nwaba started and played 33 minutes, but hit just 2-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for five points, six boards and a steal. Just keep an eye on him as long as he’s starting. Marquese Chriss (14 points, 7 rebounds, 22 minutes), Matthew Dellavedova (12 points, 6 assists, 27 minutes), and Jordan Clarkson (15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 3-pointers) all played well off the bench, while Nik Stauskas hit just 1-of-9 shots for three points, also off the pine. Clarkson should be owned, while Nwaba, Dellavedova, Chriss and Stauskas are worth monitoring in most leagues. Cedi Osman remains out with his sprained ankle, clearing the way for those guys to have some intrigue. Ante Zizic was a late scratch with a sore lower back, which helped Nance.
The Knicks were led by Kadeem Allen’s career-high 25 points, six assists, a steal and 3-pointer on 10-of-16 shooting off the bench, and he’s officially on the fantasy radar, as long as he’s on the Knicks. He’s on a 10-day contract currently. He also played well on Saturday, and might be more valuable than Allonzo Trier (17 minutes) and Damyean Dotson going forward. Kevin Knox (13-6-3), DeAndre Jordan (double-double), and Dennis Smith Jr. all hit double digits as starters, while starters Dotson and Mario Hezonja failed to impress. Mitchell Robinson came off the bench for 10 points, eight boards, a steal and two blocks, but it’s going to be hard for him to blow up with DAJ starting and playing well. The Knicks have lost a franchise-record 17 straight games.
Pistons 121, Wizards 112 – Andre Drummond had 32 points, 17 boards, four steals and a block, and Blake Griffin poured in 31 points, nine boards, nine assists and four 3-pointers in the win. Reggie Jackson had 16 points and six assists, but also had seven turnovers, while Luke Kennard came off the bench for 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. I’m a fan of picking him up, despite the fact he’s coming off the bench.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal had a 32-6-10-2-1 line with two 3-pointers, Trevor Ariza added a 23-7-5-2-1 line with three 3-pointers on 10-of-14 shooting, and Bobby Portis stayed hot off the bench with 24 points, five boards, two steals and six 3-pointers on 9-of-17 shooting. Portis is must-own. Jordan McRae added 10 points and four assists off the bench, and starting center Thomas Bryant had eight points, eight boards and a block to stay relevant. Jabari Parker, who had been on fire coming into this one, fizzled without a point in 20 minutes. He should bounce back. Chasson Randle and Jeff Green started for the Wizards, but didn’t do much.
Pacers 99, Hornets 90 – Starters Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Myles Turner, and Darren Collison all scored in double digits and played well, and Tyreke Evans led the bench brigade with 12 points and a couple 3-pointers. Turner was particularly fun with 18 points, eight boards, three steals and three blocks. Wesley Matthews started and played 30 minutes, but hit just 2-of-10 shots, and Domantas Sabonis had nine points and nine boards off the bench. Matthews is going to attempt to fill the void left by Victor Oladipo’s knee injury, making him worth a look in any league right now.
For the Hornets, Kemba Walker went off for 34 points, nine boards, three assists, two steals and four 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough. He’s hot again, scoring at least 30 points in five straight. Jeremy Lamb added 21 points and seven boards, and starting center Cody Zeller came through with 18 points, nine rebounds and a block in 35 minutes. I forgot him in Waiver Wired this week, but he’s worth adding after Marc Gasol ended up in Toronto instead of Charlotte. Starters Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams (who was coming off a big game) and the bench were all invisible in this one, but Batum is still worth owning, and Marvin is worth a look in many leagues.
Raptors 127, Nets 125 – Kawhi Leonard had 30 points and eight assists, and banked in the game-winning shot with 4.2 seconds on the clock. Serge Ibaka added 18 points, 12 boards, a steal and two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting, Pascal Siakam had 17 points, four boards, four assists and two steals, Kyle Lowry added 13 points, six boards, seven assists and three triples, and Danny Green had a 9-4-5-3 line with three 3-pointers in the win. Marc Gasol had 16 points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in his Raptors’ debut off the bench, and Patrick McCaw added 13 points, three rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer off the bench. Just keep an eye on McCaw, who played 20 minutes. He could step up with Fred VanVleet set to miss at least three weeks with a thumb injury. The Raptors also agreed to sign Jeremy Lin, who will be waived by the Hawks, and he’ll also help fill in for FVV.
For the Nets, Joe Harris hit a career-high seven 3-pointers for 24 points and four assists, D’Angelo Russell had 28 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 14 assists, and Allen Crabbe got hot off the bench for 22 points and six triples in the loss. Jarrett Allen had 15 points, but just three rebounds and one block, and Caris LeVert was quiet in his 23 minutes off the bench, hitting just 3-of-11 shots for six points, but did have four assists, a steal and a block, along with five turnovers. LeVert will get it going, but this could be a ‘baby steps’ situation. DeMarre Carroll sat this one out with a sore knee, but only Crabbe really stepped up in his absence. It sounds like Carroll should play on Wednesday. Harris hit five of his triples in the first quarter.
Timberwolves 130, Clippers 120 – The Wolves were without Andrew Wiggins (illness), pushing Luol Deng into the starting lineup. Karl-Anthony Towns had a 24 & 10 double-double, Jeff Teague had a 19 & 10 double-double, and Dario Saric moved into the starting lineup and went off for 19 points, eight boards, two steals, four 3-pointers. It took forever, but Saric has finally overtaken Taj Gibson and is now a must-own player. Deng (12 points, 9 boards) and Josh Okogie (10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, a 3-pointer) also played well in the win, and Derrick Rose finally returned to action and added 22 points and six assists off the bench, relegating Jerryd Bayless to just 15 minutes. If you’re holding Bayless, it’s time to find a waiver replacement, although chances are that Rose gets hurt again before too long.
The Clippers got a season-high 45-point explosion from Lou Williams off the bench (13-of-25, three 3-pointers, 16-of-16 free throws), while reserves JaMychal Green (11 points, 7 rebounds, three 3-pointers), Montrezl Harrell (18 & 12), and Landry Shamet (15 points, 2 steals, three 3-pointers) all played well in this one. The Clippers starters all left something to be desired, but Danilo Gallinari is back and had 12 points, five boards and a steal despite hitting just 2-of-10 shots. Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Garrett Temple were all disappointing, but we’ll have to see the new-look Clippers for another game or two before hitting the panic button on guys like Zubac and SGA, or getting too excited about Green and Shamet.
Nuggets 103, Heat 87 – Nikola Jokic and Malik Beasley each scored 23 in the win, as Jokic added 12 boards, four assists and three 3-pointers to his line, and Beasley added five triples and two assists to his. Mason Plumlee started again and had 11 points, eight boards, three assists and three blocks, and has been on a tear. However, Paul Millsap was back and played 20 minutes off the bench for nine points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Millsap, unfortunately, is probably going to ruin Plumlee going forward. Jamal Murray and Will Barton continued to struggle, as each of them hit just 3-of-12 shots, but their shooting slumps won’t last forever. Monte Morris hit 7-of-11 shots for 17 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers in 28 minutes after playing just 13 minutes on Friday. I held onto him after that one, and am glad I did – for now. Once Gary Harris and Isaiah Thomas are back, the deep Nuggets backcourt could become a fantasy mess.
For the Heat Kelly Olynyk bounced back with an 11-7-2-2-2 line with a 3-pointer, Justise Winslow had 15 points, four rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer, Josh Richardson had 12 points, eight assists, a steal, two 3-pointers and seven turnovers, and Dion Waiters had 11 points, six assists and three triples in 30 minutes. Starter Hassan Whiteside didn’t have it last night, hitting 3-of-7 shots for six points and eight rebounds. Here we go again. James Johnson came off the bench for 14 points and six boards, Rodney McGruder got hot with eight points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes, while Bam Adebayo and Dwyane Wade were quiet in this one. The Heat were playing on a back-to-back and looked tired, but Olynyk got back on track tonight and is worth a look in most leagues, assuming his slump is over.