It was another entertaining Saturday in the NBA, highlighted by an epic scoring binge from Stephen Curry, the glorious return of Victor Oladipo, and another brilliant all-around performance courtesy of LeBron James.
After recapping the essential storylines from Saturday, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a quick look at some important players facing injury issues for Sunday’s games.
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Stephen Curry, in a truly awe-inspiring performance, exploded for 45 points in just 30 minutes against the Clippers on Saturday afternoon. According to Basketball-Reference, he is only the fourth player in the last the last 50 years to score 45-plus points in 30 or fewer minutes. Curry, who did all his damage in just three quarters, also added six rebounds, three assists, three steals and eight 3-pointers. Steph is averaging 36.0 points and seven treys while shooting 58 percent from the floor and 54 percent from downtown in the four games he’s played since returning from his ankle injury. He’s scored 144 points on just 77 total field goal attempts during that four-game stretch. In addition, Curry has scored at least 29 points and knocked down at least four 3-pointers in each of his last six games. He’s made at least three triples in 13 straight. We’ll all tell our grandkids one day about Curry’s incredible marksmanship.
Aaron Gordon scored a team-high 30 points and added eight rebounds, two steals and an assist across 32 minutes Saturday vs. Cleveland. Air Gordon had only six points at halftime, but kicked it into high gear in the second half… Elfrid Payton tallied 20 points (on 8-of-13 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes. It’s his tenth straight game with either double-digit assists or points. He’s also shot 50 percent or better from the floor in nine of his last 11 contests.
Giannis Antetokounmpo refuses to slow down, producing prodigious stat lines night after night. The Greek Freak was back at on Saturday, tallying 34 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. He was an efficient 12-of-17 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free-throw stipe. Amazingly, it was the 21st straight game in which Antetokounmpo has recorded at least 20 points, five boards and three dimes. Per Basketball-Reference, that’s the NBA’s longest such streak dating back to 1983-84, Over the last week, Giannis passed a few guys you may have heard of: Michael Jordan (18 games), LeBron James (17 games), Russell Westbrook (17 games) and Larry Bird (16 games).
Pacer fans and ‘Dipo owners were delighted to see Victor Oladipo back in action on Saturday night. Oladipo, who had missed four consecutive games, did not show any signs of rust and finished with 23 points (on 9-of-11 shooting), six rebounds, nine assists, five steals and two 3-pointers. He only played 24 minutes, but that had more to do with the fact that Pacers were up 30-plus points in the second half. Encouragingly, coach Nate McMillan said that Oladipo would not have any minutes restrictions. If he can avoid any injury setbacks, ‘Dipo should continue to post top-20 value the rest of the season.
LeBron James was everywhere in Saturday’s win over Orlando. King James scored 33 points, grabbed ten rebounds and dished out nine assists. Oh, and he also knocked down four 3-pointers, blocked a shot and registered six steals. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the 38th time in his storied career in which LeBron has finished with one assist or one rebound shy of a triple-double. That’s the fifth most such games in NBA history.
DeMarcus Cousins stayed hot on Saturday, finishing with 23 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, three blocks, seven turnovers and two 3-pointers. The turnovers are a bit of a buzzkill, but Cousins is crushing it in just about every other statistical category. Over his last five games, Boogie is averaging a mind-boggling 26.0 points (on 51.2 percent shooting), 15.8 boards, 4.6 assists, 2.4 triples, 1.2 steals and 2.0 blocks.
Chris Paul scored a team-high 16 points and dished out a game-high 13 assists on Saturday. He also chipped in seven rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers. CP3 hasn’t been as prolific as hoped with James Harden (hamstring) sidelined, but Paul still has at least another week to rack up plenty of numbers while running Mike D’Antoni’s fantasy-friendly offense sans Harden.
While not quite as impressive as his 25-point, 23-rebound masterpiece from Friday, Karl-Anthony Towns “only” had 21 points and 16 boards on Saturday night. Towns rounded out his line by adding three assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers.
Jayson Tatum stuffed the stat sheet on Saturday to the tune of 14 points, six rebounds, three steals, six blocks and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. Per Basketball-Reference, he is the first player in Celtics franchise history with at least six rejections, three steals and two treys in the same game. In addition, he carried the Celtics home in the clutch, scoring seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter including a crucial dunk and the game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute. The 19-year old Tatum has exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations this season.
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On The Radar:
Draymond Green tallied nine points, a game-high 12 rebounds, seven assists and a steal in 29 minutes on Saturday. Other than Steph Curry’s 45, no other Warrior scored more than 11 points, but the Dubs still easily dispatched the Clippers, 121-105.
Lou Williams scored 23 points and chipped in two rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. The Clippers were already shorthanded before losing Blake Griffin to a concussion (see below), which means L.A. has no choice but to continue to lean heavily on Lou Will… DeAndre Jordan tallied 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one block in 25 minutes. Jordan should see his rebound numbers tick upwards while Griffin is sidelined.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points and added three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes on Saturday. It was the ninth time this season that Dinwiddie has eclipsed the 20-point plateau, which is remarkable considering he scored 20-plus points just once over his first three NBA seasons. Dinwiddie has been a very pleasant surprise, and those GM’s that scooped him up continue to reap the rewards. He is definitely in the running for ‘Best Waiver Add of the Year.’... Jahlil Okafor showed some signs of life on Saturday, scoring a season-high 12 points and adding five rebounds, two blocks and one turnover in 13 minutes. It’s the first time he’s scored more than 10 points since last March.
Kyrie Irving struggled with his shot once again, but still put up 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, one block and two 3-pointers on Saturday. This marks the third straight game Irving has shot below 38 percent from the floor. However, Kyrie is still finding ways to keep fantasy owners smiling. Over his last five games, including this cold spell, Irving is averaging 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 triples.
Domantas Sabonis had another solid effort off the bench on Saturday. He scored 22 points and chipped in five rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. Sabonis was fresh off a career-high 24 points in Wednesday’s loss to the Bucks… T.J. Leaf was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor and finished with 15 points, six rebounds, one turnover and three 3-pointers… Due to the return of Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson was bumped back to the bench and was limited to four points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal in 24 minutes.
Kris Dunn came back down to earth a bit in the Bulls blowout loss to the Pacers. Dunn had eight points, eight dimes, four boards and four turnovers in 28 minutes… Nikola Mirotic (illness) played on Saturday but contributed just eight points, two rebounds and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes… Bobby Portis scored a team-high 15 points and added four rebounds, two assists, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes, but much of that came in garbage time.
Kevin Love (ankle) suited up on Saturday and tallied 27 points, five boards and six 3-pointers in 28 minutes… Isaiah Thomas (rest) started his first game as a Cavalier and registered 19 points, four assists, two boards and two treys across 21 minutes. IT is just getting warmed up for the wine and gold… Dwyane Wade had another productive night as a reserve, finishing with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in 25 minutes.
Anthony Davis disappointed on Saturday, registering just 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 36 minutes. It’s the first time all season that he’s had fewer than 17 points and fewer than ten rebounds in the same game. Expect him to bounce back on Monday vs. the Pistons.
Gerald Green launched 12 3-point attempts on Saturday, finishing with 15 points, three boards and four treys in 29 minutes. Green finally cooled off after a torrid three-game stretch, shooting just 5-of-14 from the floor. However, he clearly has a green light and should continue to see plenty of playing time with James Harden (hamstring) out of action… Eric Gordon tallied 15 points, three rebounds, three 3-pointers and matched a season-high with seven assists.
Tobias Harris torched the Rockets for 27 points on Saturday, adding eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. Harris came into Saturday night in a bit of slump, averaging 15.0 points, while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 10 percent from downtown over his last three games, so it was nice to see him bust out in a big way… Dwight Buycks scored a career-high 16 points with two rebounds, two assists, one block and four 3-pointers in 22 minutes. On a related note, Langston Galloway was smacked with a DNP-CD.
Eric Bledsoe has another solid outing on Saturday, finishing with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block… John Henson double-doubled (11 points and 11 boards) in 34 minutes… Malcolm Brogdon replaced Tony Snell in the starting lineup on Saturday and finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes. On the negative side of the ledger, Brogdon failed to record an assist and was just 5-of-14 from the floor.
The good news concerning John Wall was that he scored 16 points and dished out a season-high 16 assists on Saturday. The bad news was he shot just 5-of-19 from the field and committed six turnovers in the Wizards loss to the Bucks… Bradley Beal also struggled with his shot, missing 12 of his 19 field goal attempts. Beal finished with 20 points, five boards, one trey and four turnovers… Markieff Morris stayed hot (14 points and ten boards), posting his third straight double-double.
After a rare disappointing dud on Friday, Jimmy Butler returned to his dominant ways Saturday, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes.
Trey Lyles stayed hot on Saturday, tallying 19 points (on 8-of-11 shooting), nine rebounds, one block and two 3-pointers. It was Lyles 11th straight game in double figures… Jamal Murray had 18 points, five rebounds, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. The Blue Arrow is pointed straight up… Gary Harris finished with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, three treys and a steal.
Blake Griffin sustained a concussion in the first quarter of the Clippers loss to the Warriors on Saturday afternoon and was unable to return. Griffin was driving towards the basket when he caught an inadvertent elbow from JaVale McGee. Then things got scary, as Griffin dropped to the floor and immediately clutched his head. At one point, Griffin’s hand was shaking, and he seemed to be in severe pain. Fortunately, he was able to rise to his feet after a few minutes walk to the locker room under his own power. "He got hit pretty hard," coach Doc Rivers said after the game. "You can always tell ... when those players stick around, you know it was a hard hit. And then when you see Blake's hand, you knew it was bad." Rivers also said he didn’t want to speculate as to how long Blake will be out. It’s safe to assume Griffin won’t be able to play in the Clips next game Monday. We’ll have to wait for a reliable update before predicting anything beyond that. Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker and Wes Johnson will likely all see an uptick in playing time in Griffin’s absence. Harrell is probably the most attractive add amongst this group.
Kevin Durant (calf) did not play Saturday vs. the Clippers. Durant played through the calf strain on Wednesday but was held out of Thursday’s contest as well. Andre Iguodala started in place of KD but and finished with two points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 23 minutes.
Otto Porter (back, hip) sat out Saturday’s game vs. Milwaukee. This wasn’t a surprise, as Porter’s back tightened up on him on Friday night and he was unable to play in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, the Wiz are just being cautious on the second night of a back-to-back. Kelly Oubre started in his place and finished with 14 points, two boards, two dimes, two steals and two treys.
Stanley Johnson (hip) missed another game on Saturday. With Avery Bradley back, and Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard playing well, Johnson has very limited fantasy value even when fully healthy. He should be left on waivers.
Andre Drummond (ribs) was ruled out of Saturday’s contest. Drummond came back and played through pain on Friday, but took a shot to his injured courtesy of J.J. Redick. Coach Stan Van Gundy has said Drummond’s status going forward would depend on his pain tolerance. Eric Moreland started at center on Saturday and finished with eight points, eight rebounds, a career-high four assists, two steals and one block in 36 minutes. Boban Marjanovic tallied 10 points, five rebounds, one assist and two blocks in 12 minutes off the bench.
Al Horford (knee) sat out Saturday after missed part of the second quarter on Friday night due to knee soreness. Horford said he felt better after overnight treatment and was optimistic he would be able to suit up, but that his knee didn’t “feel right” after pregame warmups. The Celtics smartly decided to err on the side of caution and held him out of the second night of a back-to-back. The C’s don’t play again until Thursday when they travel to London. Aron Baynes started at center and finished with 10 points and six boards in 20 minutes.
Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle) had played in each of the Pacers first 38 contests but missed his first game of the season on Saturday. Damien Wilkins drew the start at small forward and scored 11 points in 22 minutes.
Jonathon Simmons (back) was ruled out of Saturday’s game vs. Cleveland. This wasn’t a surprise after Simmons sat out the second half of Wednesday's game vs. Houston and was unable to practice on Thursday and Friday due to back spasms. The Magic’s next game is Tuesday at Dallas. Mario Hezonja started on Saturday and played well, finishing with 16 points, ten boards, two assists and two treys in a team-high 39 minutes.
George Hill (personal) did not play Saturday. Hill is with his wife for the birth of their child. Frank Mason (bruised right heel) is also sidelined, which enabled De'Aaron Fox to log 35 productive minutes on Saturday. Fox finished with a team-high 18 points, seven assists and three rebounds.
Zach Randolph (mouth) was a late scratch for Saturday's game against the Nuggets. Z-Bo underwent oral surgery, but other than that, we don’t have any details. Skal Labissiere started on Saturday and finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in just 16 minutes. Willie Cauley-Stein tallied 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and a career-high seven steals over 25 minutes.
DeMarre Carroll hurt his knee on the last play of the Nets loss to the Celtics. He limped off the floor and appeared to be in considerable pain. We should have an update by Sunday afternoon.
The Lakers announced that they requested waivers on Andrew Bogut on Saturday. He averaged just averaged 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24 games for L.A. Bogut is now free to sign with another team that has a better chance of advancing to the postseason. However, it's highly doubtful that Bogut will make a fantasy impact with his new club, regardless of where he lands. Leave him on the waiver wire. There will be a few spare minutes up for grabs in L.A., but Bogut was not a consistent part of the rotation. In fact, he was a DNP-CD in each of his last two games.
Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters that the Bulls hope to decide on a target date for Zach LaVine (knee) early next week when the team returns home from their current road trip. LaVine has been making solid progress in rehab and should be able to get back on the floor by mid-January if he is able to avoid a setback.
Injury Notes for Sunday’s Games:
Michael Beasley (ankle) is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Mavs. He turned his ankle in overtime of the Knicks loss to the Heat on Friday night and limped to the locker room. However, he was able to return for the last 30 seconds of the overtime period. Beas has been a beast of late. Over the Knicks previous six games, he’s averaging 19.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks in just 25.7 minutes, while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from downtown, and 85.0 percent from the charity stripe. If he is unable to suit up on Sunday, Doug McDermott and Lance Thomas would see an uptick in playing time.
Tim Hardaway (leg) was able to participate in some contact drills and will be re-evaluated next week. THJ is slowly but surely increasing his rehab as he works his way back from a stress fracture.
Kawhi Leonard (left shoulder strain) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game vs. the Blazers. The Spurs play a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday, so we knew that Kawhi would sit out one of those two contests. He should be ready to roll Monday vs. the Kings. Leonard scored 21 points with three rebounds, three assists, four steals, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes on Friday.
Danny Green (groin) is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Blazers. Green is dealing with tightness in his left groin, and coach Gregg Popovich stated earlier in the week that Green could be "shut down for a while.” Thus, it’s safe to assume we won’t see Green on the floor Sunday. With Kawhi Leonard also sidelined, Bryn Forbes, Kyle Anderson and Brandon Paul will see an uptick in playing time.
Tony Parker (rest) won’t play Sunday against Portland. Dejounte Murray will likely draw another start. However, Murray was supremely disappointing in his last start, finishing with just four points, one rebound and zero assists in 14 minutes.
T.J. Warren (illness) and did not practice on Saturday and is questionable to play against the Thunder on Sunday. Warren missed Friday’s game and Josh Jackson started in his place.
Isaiah Canaan (groin) also missed practice on Saturday and is considered questionable Sunday’s game vs. OKC. If Canaan is unable to play, Tyler Ulis will likely log all the minutes he can handle. In addition, Davon Reed, who was called up from Phoenix’s G-League affiliate on Saturday, could make his NBA debut.