It was a busy 11-game Monday, as the Bulls were awful, shooting just 28 percent against the Kings, which was a record low for a Sacramento opponent. And Joakim Noah was ejected, and then left the court in absurd style, while Kyle Lowry left with a sore knee. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here. Let’s Dose.
Pacers 98 Magic 79
Danny Granger led the Pacers in scoring for the first time this season, but did it with just 16 points. I’m still not a fan of him in fantasy. Paul George and Lance Stephenson (12 rebounds, 5 assists) each had 15 points, and despite the odd scoring distribution, the Pacers still crushed the Magic. The big news, if you want to call it that, is that George Hill saw just 19 minutes, hit 1-of-8 shots and finished with just two points and three assists. C.J. Watson played 26 minutes and had a nice line with 12 points, but the job is still Hill’s, and he’s not injured.
Arron Afflalo scored 20 with four treys and Nikola Vucevic double-doubled, while Victor Oladipo had 11 assists and four steals, but just six points. Jameer Nelson (knee) was out again and is day-to-day for his next one.
Wizards 100 Blazers 90
John Wall filled the stat sheet once again, Trevor Ariza stayed hot with 20 points and four more 3-pointers, and Kevin Seraphin came out of nowhere with 19 points and five rebounds, as Trevor Booker missed this one for personal reasons. Bradley Beal scored 13 and had a decent line, if you ignore his 5-of-16 shooting, as the Wizards got a very quality win over the Blazers.
Damian Lillard scored 25 with six boards, eight assists and two 3-pointers, and could be ready to get hot again after a cold streak. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 & 10, while Nicolas Batum crawled out of his shell and scored 18 points, although he also had five turnovers. Robin Lopez had 12 points, nine boards and four blocks, but Wesley Matthews was the big disappointment with just nine points on 4-of-10 shooting. If Batum were to shoot it 12 times a game, Matthews would probably have more nights like this one. And as usual, the bench was invisible with six points.
Nets 108 Sixers 102
Paul Pierce torched the Sixers for 25 points and hit 14-of-14 free throws, Shaun Livingston had 13 points, six rebounds, eight assists and a career-high seven steals, and Deron Williams added 21 points, six assists and three 3-pointers. Mirza Teletovic hit five 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and most of what I just mentioned happened because Joe Johnson (knee) and Andray Blatche (hip) didn’t play. Livingston’s steals were shocking, but he did average 1.5 of them in January. I picked him up and threw him in several lineups this week, but this might be as good as we’ll see from him all year. Teletovic is pretty inconsistent, but I decided to drop Derrick Williams and pick him up in one league tonight. Kevin Garnett had a nice game, for being Kevin Garnett, but that still resulted in just six points and seven rebounds, although he backed it up with two steals and five blocks in 21 minutes. The minutes and knees just aren’t enough for me to consider him.
The Sixers welcomed back Michael Carter-Williams and he had 21 points, three 3-pointers and a nice line, Thaddeus Young actually didn’t have a steal, and Tony Wroten managed to score 18 points with six rebounds, despite the return of MCW. Evan Turner was quiet with just nine points, and like teammate Young, would likely take a hit if he’s traded.
Heat 102 Pistons 96
LeBron James just missed a triple-double with 24 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks, while Dwyane Wade played in his fourth straight game and had 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and six turnovers on 13-of-19 shooting. He looks good to go until the Heat play back-to-back next Tuesday and Wednesday. Shane Battier, who went nuts in his last game, had just three points last night.
The Pistons got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Greg Monroe, who is heating up, and Brandon Jennings did it all with 26 points, seven assists, three steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. When he’s on, he’s really on. Rodney Stuckey returned from a dizzy spell and scored 20 off the bench, while Andre Drummond was solid with 12 points, 12 boards, two steals and two blocks. Josh Smith continued to be both good and bad with 12 points, six boards, six assists and three steals, but also had six turnovers and hit just 5-of-20 shots.
Bucks 101 Knicks 98
Brandon Knight had 25 points, seven assists, four 3-pointers, and the game-winning dagger, while Khris Middleton looked good again with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and five 3-pointers. As long as he sticks in the starting five, it looks like it’s time to pick him up – especially since Caron Butler went down with a high ankle sprain during the game. Larry Sanders had eight points, 11 rebounds and a block, and may finally be ready to get it going, while Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points, eight boards and a 3-pointer. Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and seven boards in 18 minutes, adding another piece to the puzzle that is the Bucks. And the fact they beat the Knicks tells you just how bad New York is struggling.
Carmelo Anthony scored 36 with five 3-pointers and J.R. Smith hit 9-of-17 shots and six 3-pointers for 30 points, and is really rolling right now. Tim Hardaway Jr. cooled off, hitting just 2-of-10 shots for seven points, but still got 28 minutes. He’ll bounce back. Outside of Melo’s 36 the rest of the starting lineup totaled just 18 points.
Spurs 102 Pelicans 95
Boris Diaw started and played 32 minutes (second highest on the team), but hit just 2-of-8 shots for five points. He will bounce back. Tim Duncan (6 blocks), Tony Parker and Marco Belinelli were the only Spurs in double digits, but that didn’t stop them from beating the Pelicans. The news here is that Danny Green returned from his hand injury and played like…Danny Green. He hit just 1-of-7 shots for seven points, seven rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. Feel free to pick him up, but you might want to glance at his game log on the season before setting your expectations above sea level.
The Pelicans got 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks from Anthony Davis, but he hit just 6-of-21 shots against the defense of Duncan. Eric Gordon scored 19, Al-Farouq Aminu and Brian Roberts were disappointing, and Anthony Morrow came out of nowhere for 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes. Keep an eye on him, but don’t expect him to do this again anytime soon. The news is that Tyreke Evans left the game with a rib injury and didn’t return, which helps to explain Morrow’s night. It doesn’t sound serious, as Evans was expected to return, so consider him day-to-day for now.
Thunder 86 Grizzlies 77
Kevin Durant got back on track with 31 points, eight boards, eight assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 11-of-21 shooting. He hit just 7-of-10 free throws, but who cares? Serge Ibaka stayed hot with 21 points and 12 boards, but blocked just one shot, while Reggie Jackson was quiet with 12 points and two assists. He’s topped 14 points just once in his past six games, and is prepping owners for life once Russell Westbrook returns from knee surgery. These three were the only relevant players for OKC, yet they still won.
The Grizzlies were led by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but they scored just 13 points each. Gasol had just three rebounds and one block, and still hasn’t looked like his old self, although he was playing a bit better before tonight’s meltdown. Hot pick up Nick Calathes hit 4-of-11 shots for eight points, three assists and four steals, but was 0-for-4 from downtown, while James Johnson was serviceable with eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks off the bench. The minutes were there for Courtney Lee, but he hit just 3-of-10 shots and one 3-pointer for 11 points.
Dallas 124 Cavaliers 107
Dirk Nowitzki played very well and Monta Ellis (22 points) and Jose Calderon (11 points, 10 dimes) fared well against the defenseless Cleveland guards, as expected. The surprises of the night for the Mavs were starting center Samuel Dalembert, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, and Jae Crowder, who was starting for Shawn Marion (shoulder). Crowder’s night was the opposite of Dalembert’s, as he got into early foul trouble and hit just 3-of-9 shots for eight points and three rebounds. Shane Larkin was sick with the flu and Devin Harris got loose for 16 points, four assists and two 3-pointers in just 19 minutes. He’s playing well and if his minutes get up to 25 per game, he might be worth a pick up. Brandan Wright was also surprising with 14 points and seven boards off the bench, but is only worth a look if he overtakes Dalembert for the starting job. As for Dalembert, he hit 7-of-8 shots and probably won’t score this many points again this season.
All five Cavs starters were in double digits scoring, along with Anthony Bennett and C.J. Miles. The three newsworthy items here were Jarrett Jack, who started again, played 40 minutes and had 12 points, eight assists and a 3-pointer, Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters. Varejao returned from a knee injury and had 10 points and five rebounds, but Jack is the guy you should be looking to pick up, as I don’t see him getting booted from the starting five anytime soon. And his 40 minutes meant that a red-hot Waiters was benched, playing just 11 minutes and failing to score after missing all four of his shots (two 3-pointers) and both free throw attempts. Maybe he’s finally being disciplined for being thrown out of practice last week.
Raptors 94 Jazz 79
Kyle Lowry left this game with a knee injury and didn’t return, meaning Greivis Vasquez is relevant. GV had 12 points and four assists, and is worth a speculative add in case Lowry’s going to miss time. However, Lowry said after the game his knee has been bothering him and he just wasn’t able to help the team. My guess is that he’s OK. DeMar DeRozan stayed hot with 23, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and nine boards, and Amir Johnson had 11 points and 11 rebounds despite the presence of Patrick Patterson. Johnson could be ready to go on a run. Terrence Ross was terrible with five points on 2-of-8 shooting, and his 51-point explosion is quickly becoming a distant memory.
Marvin Williams was solid again with 23 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer, but Derrick Favors missed his third straight game with a hip injury. Pick him up at your own risk. Richard Jefferson looked like an All-Star in his last game, but hit 2-of-6 shots for five points, while Enes Kanter cooled off with 10 points and three rebounds in another start. Gordon Hayward has had a lot of bad-shooting nights this season and last night was another one (3-of-11). On a positive note, Alec Burks broke out of a funk with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Nuggets 116 Clippers 115
Randy Foye hit a crazy 3-pointer at the buzzer to stun the Clippers and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers. Ty Lawson returned from his injury and hit 10-of-19 shots for 27 points and a solid stat line, while Kenneth Faried went off for 28 points, 11 boards, a steal and two blocks on 11-of-13 shooting. J.J. Hickson also double-doubled with 17 points and 12 boards in the win. With those two playing so well, Timofey Mozgov disappeared with just four points and four rebounds on 1-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes. Ouch.
The Clippers got 36 points and 11 boards out of Blake Griffin, as the Nuggets continue to get abused by opposing PFs. DeAndre Jordan, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford were all solid, while Darren Collison (9 points, 6 assist, 4 steals, 4-of-12 shooting) and J.J. Redick (4-of-11, 9 points) were both disappointing. I’ve been keeping an eye on Barnes, but he’s been far too inconsistent to use. Maybe that’s about to change.
Kings 99 Bulls 70
DeMarcus Cousins was back in a big way with 25 points and 16 rebounds, but said after the game that he was struggling with conditioning. He also picked up a technical foul, which I’m guessing will be rescinded. Hopefully he’s good to go in the next one. Derrick Williams hit just 1-of-4 shots and did this, and I dropped him in a couple leagues recently. Jason Thompson didn’t enjoy the return of Boogie, as he missed his only shot and finished with one point and four rebounds in 20 minutes. I might be dropping him soon, too. Rudy Gay cooled off with 14 points and six boards, and also committed six TOs. He’s fine, but won’t be as consistently great with Cousins back.
The Bulls shot just 28 percent for the game, meaning they all kind of stunk. Carlos Boozer led the way in that department, hitting just 4-of-15 shots on the same day he complained about his fourth-quarter minutes. This may not end well. Perhaps the highlight of the night was Joakim Noah getting ejected and doing this. Classic, and owners have to hope it doesn’t lead to a one-game suspension. Lastly, Kirk Hinrich started over D.J. Augustin, although I have no idea why. Hinrich hit 1-of-8 shots in 19 minutes, while Augustin hit 2-of-11 shots in 31 minutes. DJA is still the guy to own here, clearly.