Some have turkey, others have ham. But in Miami? We’re serving Boshtrich at the table, and Chris is going to carve up the bird.
Anthony Davis feasted on pheasant before filling up prior to dinner concluding, Draymond Green was the biggest star on a national stage LeBron James performed on and Nikola Mirotic played fewer minutes than Doug McDermott or Bobby Portis.
A Merry Christmas and happy holiday season to all of our Rotoworld readers.
New Orleans @ Miami: Heat 94, Pelicans 88 (OT)
Anthony Davis: 29 pts, 15 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl, 3 blk, 4 TO, 13-of-29 FGs
Ryan Anderson: 18 pts, 8 reb, 3 3PM, 1 TO, 7-of-14 FGs
Chris Bosh: 30 pts, 10 reb, 4 ast, 2 3PM, 1 TO, 11-of-25 FGs
Hassan Whiteside: 8 pts, 17 reb, 4 blk, 3 TO, 3-of-7 FGs
Tyreke Evans: 6 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast, 5 TO, 2-of-9 FGs
Jrue Holiday: 9 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 TO, 4-of-9 FGs
Goran Dragic: 7 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast, 2 TO, 3-of-8 FGs
It’s not often a team can allow its opposition to have more shots and connect at a (slightly) better rate while still coming away with the win, but that’s exactly what we saw in an early, ugly overtime game win in Miami for the Heat.
Anthony Davis did everything he possibly could to steal his team a win, but Ryan Anderson was the only form of help Davis received beyond 16 points on 15 shots from Eric Gordon. After struggling with his efficiency this month, Anderson is now averaging 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 3-pointers on 47.2% shooting over his last three games.
Chris Bosh led the team in minutes played (42.5) and was one of the few who came to play on either side, but the only thing preventing Hassan Whiteside from posting a potential career-day was the fact he played in less than half (24.5 minutes) of the game. While Whiteside did deal with foul trouble, Erik Spoelstra still clearly needs to become more comfortable at being uncomfortable in order for Whiteside’s time on the floor to really grow.
Playing time isn’t a problem for Goran Dragic right now, but both his role and health certainly are of concern. After looking like he was trending in the proper direction, Dragic is now dealing with injuries to both hands combined with the fact that he’s third in line to eat at the dinner table behind Bosh and Wade. He’s again a buy-low candidate, but you’re not purchasing Dragic with any idea that he’s suddenly going to skyrocket toward or beyond his ADP.
Chicago @ Oklahoma City: Bulls 105, Thunder 96
Taj Gibson: 13 pts, 10 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 TO, 6-of-8 FGs
Pau Gasol: 21 pts, 13 reb, 6 ast, 2 blk, 4 TO, 8-of-16 FGs
Kevin Durant: 29 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 2 TO, 11-of-21 FGs
Russell Westbrook: 26 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast, 6 stl, 6 TO, 9-of-23 FGs, 7-of-13 FTs
Enes Kanter: 14 pts, 13 reb, 6-of-12 FGs
Serge Ibaka: 6 pts, 7 reb, 2 stl, 2 blk, 2 TO, 3-of-12 FGs
Even without Joakim Noah (shoulder) available for the next two-to-four weeks and with a new starting role, Nikola Mirotic appears to be the odd man out in Chicago’s reconstructed frontcourt rotation after playing fewer minutes than both Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis in the win…Taj Gibson is now averaging 10.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and a block on 64.3% shooting over his last four games, and he deserves to be rostered in more formats with his arrow pointing up…Since calling out his coach and team, Jimmy Butler is averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and a 3-pointer on 50% shooting. That’s what a fantasy basketball stud looks like.
The two-man game looks good for our purposes, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to need more than just one other guy in double-digit scoring if the blueprint is going to work. Despite the loss, Durant has really played well over his last four with averages of 24.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers on 52.2% shooting. It’s also worth noting K.D. has just seven games where he’s turned the ball over four or more times this season.
Cleveland @ Golden State: Warriors 89, Cavs 83
Draymond Green: 22 pts, 15 reb, 7 ast, 2 blk, 4 TO, 2 3PM, 8-of-17 FGs
Stephen Curry: 19 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 3 TO, 6-of-15 FGs
Timofey Mozgov: 0 pts, 3 reb, 1 TO, 0-of-5 FGs
Kyrie Irving: 13 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 2 TO, 4-of-15 FGs
Iman Shumpert: 0 pts, 4 reb, 1 stl, 0-of-6 FGs
Andre Iguodala: 7 pts, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1-of-6 FGs
When Golden State shoots just 27.8% from distance and still pulls out a win, you know it’s been Santa leaving the Warriors cheat codes under their Christmas trees. Draymond Green is returning first-round value this season, and there is no reason to believe he’s going to slow down even when Harrison Barnes (ankle) returns. Green isn’t a sell-high candidate—he’s a bona fide draft day steal who will carry you to a fantasy championship. Stephen Curry was forced back to the locker room at one point with his calf injury, but he shook it off and said it was a non-issue after the game.
The Cavs played well enough to win defensively, but to call what Cleveland did offense would be an insult to the game of basketball. Shooting a meager 31.6% from the field, including 16.7% from behind the 3-point line, the Cavs got a combined 35 points on 15-of-42 shooting from Kevin Love (10 pts, 18 reb, 4 ast, 2 blk, 5-of-16 FGs) and LeBron James (25 pts, 9 reb, 1 stl, 2 blk, 4 TO, 10-of-26 FGs). LeBron also missed several crucial free throws down the stretch en route to connecting on just 4-of-9 attempts from the charity stripe, but it’s just the second time since Thanksgiving LeBron has made fewer than 75% of his freebies.
With eight points, 10 boards and a steal in 27 minutes, Tristan Thompson is now averaging 9.5 points and 11. 3 rebounds over his last four games. His production isn’t going to blow you away because Thompson doesn’t block shots, but it’s a good reminder of how marginalized Timofey Mozgov’s role really is in Cleveland. Even with LeBron and a Big 3 in the fold, there isn’t a lot of fantasy appeal on this Cavs roster.
San Antonio @ Houston: Rockets 88, Spurs 84
Kawhi Leonard: 20 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast, 5 stl, 3 blk, 2 3PM, 1 TO, 8-of-19 FGs
Tim Duncan: 13 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 3 TO, 5-of-10 FGs
Tony Parker: 2 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast, 3 TO, 1-of-7 FGs
Danny Green: 5 pts, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 TO, 2-of-6 FGs
Clint Capela: 6 pts, 5 reb, 1 blk, 3 TO, 2-of-6 FGs
Trevor Ariza: 7 pts, 4 reb, 3 TO, 2-of-4 FGs
Patrick Beverley: 3 pts, 3 ast, 2 stl, 1 TO, 1-of-8 FGs
Houston won’t have any issues when James Harden takes more shots (21) than scores points (20) if it equates to a win, and the Rockets have their defense to thank for an impressive Christmas Day victory over San Antonio.
Although San Antonio got a big effort from its frontcourt between Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge (18 pts, 9 reb), the sole other player to score at least 10 points was Boris Diaw in his 16 minutes off the bench. Just Duncan’s second game with 10-plus points or 10-plus rebounds over the last two weeks, T.D. has only remained relevant because of his ability to contribute defensive stats. Leonard’s star continues to blossom, and it’s becoming an increasingly difficult task to find new ways to describe his statistical dominance. Kawhi tied a season-high five steals, and he’s now got a ridiculous 10-2 steal-to-turnover ratio (no, that’s not a typo) over his last three contests. He’s a slam-dunk top-five selection in fantasy drafts next season.
Although the Rockets got an off night from James Harden by his standards with 20 points, nine dimes and two 3-pointers on 7-of-21 shooting, it was first time since November 29 vs. New York that Chef Harden’s shots outnumbered his points. In other words: It’s not a regular thing. Trevor Ariza, is struggling over his last three with averages of 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds on 33% from the field, and the same could be said for Clint Capela during that stretch, checking in with 6.3 points and 6.0 rebounds while playing sub-20 minutes in two of those three affairs.
Dwight Howard took just six shot attempts in this game, and he came in averaging fewer attempts than guys like T.J. Warren, Jeff Green, Dion Waiters and Trey Burke. Houston has a giant problem so long as that continues to happen.
Los Angeles (C) @ Los Angeles (L): Clippers 94, Lakers 84
Blake Griffin: 13 pts, 12 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 6 TO, 6-of-17 FGs
Chris Paul: 23 pts, 5 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl, 1 TO, 11-of-19 FGs
Roy Hibbert: 8 pts, 3 reb, 4-of-10 FGs
Jordan Clarkson: 11 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast, 4 TO, 4-of-9 FGs
Lou Williams: 7 pts, 2 ast, 1-of-5 FGs
Although he tied his highest output of the season with six turnovers, Blake Griffin again did everything else in a season where his contributions across the board are becoming a much more consistent theme. Griffin’s scoring and efficiency are both down in December compared to previous months, but Griffin is going to keep blowing by his ADP as the Clippers’ best player and focal point. Don't bail because of a down month. You'll regret it.
For the second straight game, and fourth time in his last five, Chris Paul shot better than 50% from the field. Averaging 23.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.2 triples during that stretch, CP3’s numbers are an illustration of what’s possible when Paul’s feeling good and his teammates are knocking down shots.
Kobe Bryant’s final Christmas game didn’t offer a farewell vintage performance, but instead a usable 12 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers with three turnovers. The Black Mamba’s been better of late, and the discussion of whether or not he’s worth a roster spot is not a “debate” you’ll find here.
Jordan Clarkson’s December has been trending in the wrong direction with averages of 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals, and Friday’s effort won’t help straighten that out. Clarkson appears to be struggling to find his role, and he’s hit just two 3-pointers since knocking down all three in a game vs. Atlanta on December 4. You can see the glimpses with D’Angelo Russell, and they were there again on Christmas with 16 points, seven boards, two steals, a block and two triples (four turnovers) on 7-of-13 shooting. He’s looking increasingly confident every day, and it should only be a matter of time until the rookie finds himself playing starter’s minutes consistently.