Ayo notches career high, CP3 nearly trip-dubs

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Week 15 starts off with one of the lightest Monday nights of the season with just four games, but don’t worry, there will be nine games on Tuesday to make up for it. Before you read further, go pick up Ayo Dosunmu if he’s available, and ask Kevin Love where he’s keeping his time machine.

Cavaliers 95, Knicks 93

Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Love led Cleveland in just 24 minutes off the bench, scoring 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting (all threes) with 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal and three turnovers. It’s his seventh double-double of the season and he continues to be a surprisingly productive fantasy player with top-100 value despite being on a team that sure doesn’t lack bigs -- it likely helped that Jarrett Allen (illness) and Lauri Markkanen (ankle, no timeline yet) were out. However, there’s no denying he’s been pretty incredible, and if he’s on your team you probably got him for dirt cheap or free. Ed Davis got the start for Allen but played just 17 minutes with a 2/6/2 line along with five fouls, so he did not pay off in DFS, and other big Evan Mobley posted a 15/12/5 line with no defensive stats, four turnovers and a 3-of-7 showing from the line, but the counting stats are looking good and remember he’s just 20 years old. Darius Garland struggled with his shot but still double-doubled with 13 points (6-of-19 FGs), two boards, 12 assists, two steals, one trey and six turnovers in 39 minutes. Not the best, but he hit his lone triple with 1:23 left in the game to help his team clinch the victory, and despite being fifth in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland is now just 1.5 games back from the No. 1 seed Heat, which is pretty wild. Dean Wade started and was pretty good with 13 points, five rebounds, three steals and four 3-pointers and 35 minutes, while Isaac Okoro had similar success with a 14/6/2 line with a block, and while Okoro is looking more confident lately, he has just two double-digit scoring efforts this whole month and can be disregarded in fantasy leagues unless he strings it together consistently. Rajon Rondo (hamstring) returned with an 8/4/3 line with a steal and two 3-pointers in 18 reserve minutes, and I don’t hate his outlook on a team that’s really thin at the point, but he’ll probably need to play minutes in the mid-20s to be worth considering.

The Knicks have lost four of their last five and soon enough, teams are going to need to play the “Cold As Ice” jingle whenever Julius Randle comes into their building. He shot just 6-of-17 from the field in Monday’s loss for 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, two triples and four turnovers in 33 minutes (also a team-worst plus/minus of -22), and over his last five, Randle has hit just 27 of his 72 (37.5%) of his shots. This is factoring in a 8-of-15 mark against the Clippers on Sunday, so he’s just been pretty painfully inefficient lately and it’s obvious his team is struggling because of it. RJ Barrett’s trajectory is the exact opposite as he’s actually been mostly good, exemplified by his team-high 24 points (9-of-16 FGs), five rebounds, four assists, two steals and one turnover in 34 minutes of the loss. For once, the defense was there, he made his shots and he kept his turnovers down, but of course he had to ruin it somehow with a 5-of-10 clip from the free throw line, but the whole team was horrible from there as they hit just 11-of-21 freebies. But, this will do for RJ and I can confidently say that he did more good than bad tonight, which is pretty rare. Nerlens Noel started for Mitchell Robinson (ankle) but only his 13 rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes were helpful, while Kemba Walker (eight points in 20 minutes) and Evan Fournier (seven points in 21 minutes) were both benched down the stretch with Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes playing over them. Quickley played 26 minutes and wasn’t good with his ugly 1-of-10 shooting clip, but Grimes wasn’t bad at all with 12 points and four triples in 24 minutes. If this is how the rotation is going to pan out most nights, I don’t think any of those four guards will be worth rostering, and I’d argue the only one with real upside would be Grimes. Obi Toppin needed just 15 minutes to total 13 points with six boards, one steal and three 3-pointers, and his plus/minus net rating of +20 was second only to Grimes (+21), and if you can figure out why Thibs isn’t playing him more, I would love to know.

Bulls 111, Thunder 110

No DeMar DeRozan (rest) in this one, and still no Lonzo Ball (knee) or Alex Caruso (wrist) for a while of course, and despite leading by as many as 28 points the short-handed Bulls still made it happen. Three guys scored 20+ points, with Ayo Dosunmu being the most impressive with a new career high of 24 points, also adding five rebounds, eight assists, one block, a career-high four triples and three turnovers in 35 minutes before fouling out. Ayo also set a new record for Bulls rookie for most consecutive makes to start a game with nine, and you could tell his night was going well when he’s hitting shots like this one. He was much quieter over his last two but showed what he’s capable of yet again, and there’s no reason he should be on any league’s waiver wire with Caruso’s and Ball’s absences both being of week-to-week variety. Nikola Vucevic was awesome with a huge 26/15/4/1/3 line on a 10-of-18 shooting clip, and he also hit four triples but did turn it over four times, but who cares when the other numbers are as such. His consistency fluctuates more than the stock market, but when he’s hitting his shots his lines are far more exciting, with Monday’s stat-stuffing effort being perfect proof. Zach LaVine (knee) returned after missing his last five, and even though he shot just 6-of-19 from the field (8-of-10 FTs), most other parts of his game looked just fine as he recorded 23 points with seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals, one block and three turnovers in 35 minutes. The minutes are a great sign and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be ready for Wednesday’s game against the Raptors. Otherwise, Coby White posted a 9/7/7 line in 31 minutes off the bench but shot 3-of-14 from the field, Troy Brown Jr. went for a 10/3/2/1/1 line and Tyler Cook left the game early with an eye injury but isn’t a fantasy option anyway.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is officially on a heater as he went off again in the loss, recording his fifth double-double of the season with 31 points (9-of-17 FGs, 11-of-14 FTs), three rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, one block, two 3-pointers and three turnovers in 39 minutes. He’s scored at least 20 points in in seven of his last eight games, and half of those were with 30+, and the only worry with SGA will always be if the Thunder decide to bench him and embrace the tank. He was the best Thunder guy by quite a bit, but Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (12/3/3/2/1 with four triples) and Lu Dort (16/7/2 with three triples, one block) were both usable, and JRE has the skillset to help your team but just isn’t consistent yet. Josh Giddey wasn’t great with a 9/8/6 line on 4-of-11 shooting with four turnovers, but he can only get better, and Mike Muscala had a random 14 points with four threes but don’t worry about that.

Pelicans 117, Pacers 113

The Pelicans were missing Brandon Ingram (ankle) and the Pacers were missing just about everyone on their team, but if you’ve been paying attention to the Indiana Nobodies, you’d know they’ve actually been competitive. They were close again on Monday, but it was Devonte’ Graham who ultimately led the Pels to a win with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting with three rebounds, six assists, one steal, five triples and just one turnover in 35 minutes. Keep in mind that Graham came in shooting 36.6% from the field and scored between seven and 15 points in his seven games prior, so if you can get rid of him now, go for it. Josh Hart played really well with a 22/10 double-double with two assists, one steal, one trey and three turnovers in 36 minutes. His percentages were great as he hit 6-of-11 from the field and all nine free throws, and the good news is that he was able to return to the game in the fourth quarter after appearing to suffer an ankle injury. It may swell up overnight, but the fact that he returned is good news. Jonas Valanciunas did his thing with a 16/12/6 line with a swat and Garrett Temple scored 14 points with four boards and not a single other stat in a start, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker posted a nice 14/3/6/1/1 line but no Ingram helped him and his shooting is simply not usable. Finally, Herb Jones was “quiet” with a 9/4/2/1/2 showing and is must-roster for defense alone and Jaxson Hayes scored 14 points with seven boards and two steals in 17 minutes but isn’t playing enough to be able to trust.

Duane Washington Jr. came off the bench and hit a career-high seven triples for 21 points, two rebounds, three assists and nothing else in 23 minutes, but this was kind of random since he had hit more than two triples in just two games before this. However, Malcolm Brogdon can’t seem to shake his Achilles injury and he could very well be shut down, which would definitely make Washington Jr. more attractive but still not a must-have guy. Caris LeVert had the counting stats going with his 19/6/8 line, but he shot 8-of-21 from the field, missed both his free throws and committed four turnovers with no defensive stats, but he’s usually better than this. Chris Duarte also struggled with 4-of-11 shooting but filled it up with his 14/4/3/1/1 evening, Goga Bitadze played just 22 foul-plagued minutes but wasn’t bad with an efficient 12/5/3 line with three turnovers and should be rostered for now and Isaiah Jackson kept up his per-minute eliteness with a 6/4/1 line with two swats in just a dozen minutes. If Jackson is ever unleashed due to a trade, he’ll be one of the hottest pickups you’ll ever see. Torrey Craig was fine with 13 points, four boards, three 3-pointers and a block, while Oshae Brissett’s 33 minutes are of intrigue as was his line which consisted of just six points but also nine rebonds, two steals and two blocks, and he’s another guy that could benefit from a Sabonis or Turner trade.

Suns 115, Jazz 109

Only four Suns players scored in double figures, but that was all they really needed against a Jazz team missing their entire starting five, but it was not lopsided by any means. Devin Booker attempted 35 shots and sank 14 of them for a full line consisting of 33 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks, three 3-pointer and three turnovers in 38 minutes. The next highest shot-taker didn’t even attempt half as many as Book, so his light was greener than green despite the 40% clip on very, very high volume. Chris Paul was as close to triple-doubling as possible with a 27/9/14 evening, with the 27 points (10-of-17 FGs) being a new season high, and the Point God also added one steal, four triples and an unfortunate seven turnovers, but if that’s the only issue then so be it. Jae Crowder (wrist) is out which means Cam Johnson starts and he was the third guy in the 20-point club with exactly 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, six rebounds, three steals, five 3-pointers and two turnovers in 38 minutes. Make sure he’s not floating around on your wire, especially with Crowder out, but even with Crowder he has some late-round appeal on the season. Bismack Biyombo continues to be the big to fire up with Deandre Ayton (ankle) still sidelined, as Biyombo double-doubled with 16 points, 13 rebounds and one block in 31 minutes (as opposed to JaVale McGee’s six points and nine boards with two blocks in 17 minutes). I thought the first game that Biyombo outperformed McGee was a little fluky, but he’s proven me wrong very easily, and Biyombo is the Suns big you want whenever they’re without Ayton at least for now.

Jordan Clarkson was the obvious candidate to go off with Utah missing all their starters, and he was really solid and led the team with 22 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, four triples and four turnovers in 34 minutes, and the most impressive part was his 9-of-20 shooting (I fully expected him to chuck up 40 shots). Trent Forrest had a career night with a very efficient 17/6/2 evening with a steal and a triple, Danuel House had a full 14/7/4/2/2 line with a trey in a whopping 43 minutes and Hassan Whiteside was honestly a bit underwhelming in his 33 minutes with just 10 points, nine boards, two assists, one steal and one block. This wasn’t bad for the backup center, but we’ve seen the per-minute beast get similar lines in 15 minutes while backing up Rudy Gobert. Rudy Gay started and scored 13 points with five boards and nothing else in 36 minutes, while the bench saw Eric Paschall (14 points, two triples) and Jared Butler (13 points, three triples, four steals) hit double figures in the scoring column. There’s not much to take away from this game as generally none of these guys are the strongest fantasy assets, and none of the starters’ injuries seem to be too long term.