There were only four games on Saturday's slate. Two of them came down to the wire, while the other two were blowouts. After recapping the action, including a historic performance from James Harden, I'll wrap up the Dose by taking a look at a handful of players that are facing injury issues for Sunday's games.
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Sacramento Kings 100, Denver Nuggets 97:
The Kings trailed by 17 at halftime, and double-digits in the fourth quarter, before making a spirited comeback to knock off the Nuggets in overtime.
Harrison Barnes led the way for Sacramento, as he played his best game for the franchise since a midseason trade last season. Barnes was 10-of-19 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line for a season-high 30 points to go along with five rebounds, one assist, two steals and one 3-pointer in 45 minutes. He scored six of his 30 points in overtime. Harry B has been one of the more pleasant surprises in fantasy hoops this season. His ADP was north of 120, but he currently ranks inside the top-80 overall in nine-category fantasy formats.
Buddy Hield struggled with his shot on Saturday, converting just seven of his 20 FG attempts. However, he did make a few clutch 3-pointers and finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and three treys in 40 minutes. Bogdan Bogdanovic also failed to find the touch from outside, shooting 4-of-16 from the field for 10 points with four rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Nemanja Bjelica had 10/12/5 in 25 minutes. Richaun Holmes tallied 13 points, ten rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 37 minutes before fouling out in overtime.
It looked like Gary Harris was going to enjoy a career-high performance on Saturday, as he came out on fire, scoring 18 points in the first ten minutes of the game. However, he cooled off, scoring just seven points the rest of the way, finishing with a season-high 25 points, three rebounds, one assist, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Will Barton shot 6-of-15 from the field for 14 points with five rebounds, two steals, one 3-pointer, five turnovers and a season-high 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. Paul Millsap quiet again, tallying just four points, two rebounds and two steals in only 21 minutes. He never got off the bench in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Nikola Jokic put forth another uninspiring performance. He was 3-of-11 from the floor for seven points with ten rebounds, six assists, one block and four turnovers in 36 minutes. Jokic has looked sluggish on both ends of the floor this season, and his numbers are down across the board. A consensus top-ten pick, Jokic ranks outside the top-40 in nine-cat formats in 2019-20. Let's hope he can turn it around in December.
Philadelphia 76ers 119, Indiana Pacers 116:
This one was tight throughout and wasn't settled until Ben Simmons stole the game for Philly, literally. Big Ben tallied 15 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, one turnover, one block and four steals in 38 minutes. Three of those thefts came in the closing minutes, leading to Sixer fast-break points that provided the margin of victory. Simmons was 4-of-13 from the field, but it was very encouraging to see him make all seven of his free-throws.
The other Sixer cornerstone was also perfect from the free-throw stripe on Saturday night. Joel Embiid was 15-of-15 from the line and 8-of-15 from the floor en route to his 32 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. That much-publicized zero-point game against the Raptors back on Monday seems like a lifetime ago. In the three games since, Embiid is averaging 30.7 points, 14.7 boards, 2.3 dimes and 2.0 blocks. It is also noteworthy that Joel has played in both ends in each of the Sixers past two back-to-back sets.
After getting the night off Friday, Al Horford (rest) returned to action on Saturday and scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. Tobias Harris finished with 22 points (8-of-16 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), four rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes. Josh Richardson (hamstring) missed his second straight game.
Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren did all they could to keep the Pacers close in Philly. Brogdon poured in 28 points (9-of-15 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs) and tacked on four rebounds, six assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. It's also important to note that he logged over 38 minutes on both nights of a back-to-back, proving that his back is feeling healthy. Warren scored a team-high 29 points (11-of-19 FGs) with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers in 32 minutes.
Myles Turner was invisible for most of the night on Saturday, totaling just three points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 29 minutes. He shot 1-of-8 from the field. Domantas Sabonis finished with 13/10/5 in 32 minutes.
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Houston Rockets 158, Atlanta Hawks 111:
James Harden was at it again on Saturday night, just missing setting a new career-high, but settling for a season-high 60 points in a blowout victory over the Hawks. Incredibly, The Beard needed only 31 minutes and 24 FG attempts to reach the 60-point plateau. He was 16-of-24 from the floor, 20-of-23 from the free-throw stripe, 8-of-14 from downtown. He also added three rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block.
This one was historic for several reasons. Harden joined Wilt Chamberlain as just the second player in NBA history with double-digit games of at least 55 points. He was previously tied with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Harden now also holds the record for most games (8) with at least 20 made free throws, breaking the record of seven such games he shared with Kobe and Moses Malone. I think you could make a pretty good argument that Harden is the best scorer in the game today. Here are the ten highest-scoring games of 2019:
1. James Harden: 61
2. James Harden: 61
3. James Harden: 60
4. Damian Lillard: 60
5. Devin Booker: 59
6. James Harden: 59
7. James Harden: 58
8. James Harden: 58
9. James Harden: 57
10. James Harden: 57
Danuel House (illness) and Clint Capela (illness) were ruled out on Saturday. Ben McLemore and Tyson Chandler slid into the starting lineup. It obviously won't get much attention, but McLemore had his best game as a Rocket. He scored a season-high 21 points and ripped down a career-high 13 rebounds along with one assist, one steal, one turnover, and a career-high-tying six 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Russell Westbrook had 15/8/8.
It's rare a player is 23 points shy of the game-high, but still scores 37, but that's what Trae Young ended up with on Saturday. He added three rebounds and seven assists and was also very efficient, shooting 10-of-16 from the floor, 5-of-9 from deep, and 12-of-13 from the stripe. De'Andre Hunter played well again, tallying 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting with five rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Cam Reddish did not play due to a wrist injury. Allen Crabbe got a spot start in his place, but scored just six points (2-of-5 FGs) with one rebound, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes.
Milwaukee Bucks 137, Charlotte Hornets 96:
The Bucks jumped out to a huge, early lead on Saturday and never looked back. As a result, no one on the team logged more than 24 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo needed only 20 minutes to accumulate 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. Giannis had his streak of 19 straight games with a double-double come to an end due to the truncated outing. Coach Mike Budenholzer joked that he would have left him in had he known.
Brook Lopez (back soreness) was ruled out of Saturday's game. This is a new injury for BroLo; however, Saturday was the second night of a back-to-back for Milwaukee, so it's possible that this is more of a precautionary day of rest. Robin Lopez got the start in place of his twin brother and scored 13 points with six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a career-high three 3-pointers in 24 minutes.
Even in a blowout, Devonte' Graham put up impressive numbers. He scored 24 points with four rebounds, five assists, one turnover and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Remarkably, Graham is top-5 in both assists and 3-pointers this season. Terry Rozier had 19/6/2 with two steals and five triples in 30 minutes. Bismack Biyombo started at center but played just ten minutes and had zero points, two rebounds and two assists. Cody Zeller scored 11 points with five rebounds and one 3-pointer in 20 minutes.
The Grizzlies announced on Saturday that in Friday's game against the Jazz, Ja Morant aggravated back spasms, which first occurred against the Pacers on Monday night. Morant did not travel with the team to Minnesota and is considered week-to-week, as a "period of short-term off-loading" is needed. Tyus Jones will likely slide into the starting lineup and will jump off waiver wires this weekend. In 23 starts last season, Jones averaged 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge (right thigh soreness) has been ruled out for Sunday against the Pistons. This is a new injury for Aldridge and will be his first missed game of the season. He logged his usual 32 minutes on Friday and didn't check out until the final minute, so hopefully, it's just a minor ailment. The Spurs will lean on Jakob Poeltl vs. the Pistons. Trey Lyles should see an uptick in playing time as well.
Brandon Clarke (left hip soreness) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game versus Minnesota. Bruno Caboclo, Jae Crowder and Jaren Jackson Jr. would soak up additional minutes if Clarke is ruled out. Kyle Anderson (right heel soreness) will not play on Sunday.
Lonzo Ball (stomach virus) and Derrick Favors (personal) are questionable to play on Sunday against the Thunder. Ball has missed each of the Pels' last two games with the stomach issue. Favors is away from the team due to a death in the family. Kenrich Williams (ankle) is doubtful for Sunday.
Serge Ibaka (ankle) is questionable for Sunday against the Jazz. It has seemed like Ibaka has been on the verge of making his return for quite some time. We'll see if he actually suits up Sunday. Kyle Lowry (left thumb fracture) is listed as doubtful. The Raps' next game is Tuesday vs. the Heat.
Moritz Wagner (left ankle sprain) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Clippers. Wagner tweaked his ankle Friday night against the Lakers, and it may cost him a contest. If he's unable to play, some combination of Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant will divvy up extra minutes.
Marcus Morris (neck spasms) is questionable for Sunday against the Celtics. Morris has been red-hot of late, having scored at least 20 points in seven of New York's past nine games. Over NY last eight games, he's averaging 3.4 made 3-pointers per game while shooting a mind-boggling 69.2% from downtown. Kevin Knox will re-enter the rotation if Morris is unable to play.