My man Luka Doncic went nuts on Monday night while Aaron Holiday, Julius Randle, Clint Capela, Jeff Teague, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMar DeRozan and Dorian Finney-Smith all went off. And Marcus Smart and Ricky Rubio are banged up heading into Tuesday.
Mavericks 117, Spurs 110 – Luka Doncic hit 14-of-27 shots, five 3-pointers and 9-of-13 free throws for a career-high 42 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists and five turnovers in the win over the Spurs. Luka and LeBron James are the only two players in history to have a 40-point triple-double before the age of 21. Oddly, Luka wasn’t getting any help from the officials tonight and flirted with fouling out after picking up his fifth foul on a very shady offensive foul call. But he persevered and helped the Mavericks improve to an 8-5 record. We get to see Luka play three more games this week including a Sunday matinee against James Harden. Dorian Finney-Smith had a career-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists, a steal, block and three 3-pointers, as Doncic set him up for great looks all night long. Kristaps Porzingis had an 18 & 10 double-double, while the rest of the Mavericks were pretty quiet. DFS should be monitored closely but we doubt he will have another game this good any time soon. Just keep an eye on hi in case he and Luka start gelling going forward.
The Spurs are reeling, sitting at 5-9 with just one road win this season, losing six straight games and eight of their last nine. They’ll get it figured out, but Gregg Popovich was not happy after calling a late time out and then seeing the Spurs throw the ball away allowing the Mavs to go on a 7-0 run and put the game away. DeMar DeRozan had a 36-8-4-1 line and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points, nine boards and a block, but the Spurs are a mess right now.
Knicks 123, Cavaliers 105 – The Knicks have now won two of their last three games and only lost the third one by a single point to the Hornets. Julius Randle led the way with 30 points and a massive stat line and Marcus Morris hit 12-of-13 free throws on his way to 23 points, six boards, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer. RJ Barrett had two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer to go along with 15 points, but hit just 5-of-13 shots, while starters Taj Gibson and Frank Ntilikina were both kind of quiet in starts. I still think Ntilikina should be owned in most leagues and Morris should not be available in any leagues. Morris has scored at least 20 in six of his 10 November games and is also stealing, blocking and hitting 3-pointers, while averaging almost seven boards a game in November. Mitchell Robinson had seven points, eight boards and four more blocks in just 17 minutes. Hopefully he can get fully healthy and get more minutes from David Fizdale.
The Cavs played without Kevin Love (back) and Larry Nance Jr. (thumb), so Kevin Porter Jr. got his first start and had a career-high 18 points, three 3-pointers, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. I don’t really trust Love this season and the Cavaliers may start giving KPJ more run going forward. He might be worth a stash. Every other Cavalier posted a pretty boring stat line, although Alfonzo McKinnie hit three 3-pointers and scored 14 points to go with six boards. Just put him on your radar.
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Pacers 115, Nets 86 – Aaron Holiday, filling in for Malcolm Brogdon (back) and had career highs of 24 points and 13 assists and also had six rebounds and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He was great tonight but will simply have to take a hit once Brogdon, who is day-to-day, is back. Holiday’s brother, Justin, scored a season-high 20 for the Pacers and also hit four 3-pointers in the win. The Pacers are banged up with Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. McConnell all out, so both Holidays are worth a look as long as the injured Pacers stay in street clothes. Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Warren and Myles Turner all played well in starts for Indy and Turner salvaged his line with three blocks after hitting just 4-of-11 shots.
The Nets were once again without Kyrie Irving (shoulder), so Spencer Dinwiddie went nuts with a 28-5-8-1-1-4 line in the start. Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple were the only other Nets in double figures, each scoring 10. Someone besides Dinwiddie is going to have to step up with Caris LeVert (thumb) out indefinitely but it hasn’t happened so far. Even when Irving (day-to-day) is back Dinwiddie still has a road to success filling in for LeVert.
Raptors 132, Hornets 96 – Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Norm Powell (career-high 6 assists) and Fred VanVleet all played well from the starting lineup and Chris Boucher (14 points, career-high 11 boards, one 3-pointer), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (15-8-2) and Terence Davis (career-high 16 points, 7 assists) all played well off the bench. Powell should be owned for as long as Kyle Lowry (thumb) is out, Boucher’s a stash, but a lack of minutes is a big concern, RHJ is better in real life than fantasy, and Davis is a total crap shoot. But if Powell’s available in your league I think he should be owned until further notice. Also keep in mind that this game was a late blowout, so Boucher and Davis were beneficiaries of some garbage time. And if Anunoby was dropped in your league due to his recent eye injury, pick him up. He hit 10-of-13 shots and four 3-pointers for a 24-5-2-2 line.
The Hornets are a big of a mess with Cody Zeller, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Marvin Williams, Malik Monk, Nicolas Batum and Dwayne Bacon are all getting minutes and taking turns having big nights. I’m afraid Bacon may be the odd man out, but the Hornets play four times a week for the next month and a half, so all of these guys (except for Bacon) should be owned until further notice. None of them were great on Monday as Williams led the way with 14 points off the bench, but Bridges and Graham were solid. Bismack Biyombo scored 13 points with two blocks, but I don’t trust him at all.
Bucks 115, Bulls 101 – Giannis Antetokounmpo had another monster line but also committed eight turnovers for the second time this season. He’s averaging 5.1 TOs over his last nine games after averaging just 3.7 of them a year ago. Hopefully he gets them figured out soon. Brook Lopez had a fun 19-10-2-2-5-1 night and Donte DiVincenzo and George Hill both played well on a night when Eric Bledsoe missed 9-of-11 shots and Wesley Matthews didn’t even get a shot up. DiVincenzo is apparently the big winner from Khris Middleton’s (quad) injury and it’s time to pick him up. It’s only a two-game sample, but he’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.5 3-pointers. He’s also played at least 24 minutes in three straight. Sterling Brown played 25 minutes off the bench and had eight points, five boards, six assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and is worth monitoring closely right now. But I think DDiv is the pickup.
The Bulls were bad tonight as the starters hit just 13-of-48 shots. All the starters were a mess but at least Zach LaVine (ankle) was able to play. The start of the night for the Bulls was unknown PF Daniel Gafford, who hit 10-of-12 shots for 21 points, five boards and two blocks. Luke Kornet is out (sinus surgery) which clears the way for Gafford to get some run in the upcoming weeks, but tonight’s line felt a little fluky. Unless you’re in a pretty deep league, I’d ignore Gafford for now. Just put him on your radar. Lauri Markkanen was 2-of-12 and hasn’t looked great since his opening-night 35-point explosion. This is your sign to buy low.
Rockets 132, Blazers 108 – James Harden scored 36, Russell Westbrook had a 28-13-10 triple-double and Clint Capela racked up 22 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks in the easy win. Danuel House returned from his back injury and had 11 points, six boards, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers and should be picked up if he’s available in your league. House’s return should ruin Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers, who combined to make just 3-of-13 shots off the Rockets bench last night.
For the Blazers C.J. McCollum led the way with 25 points and five triples and Damian Lillard hit 4-of-15 shots for a 13-6-11 line in the blowout loss. Nassir Little started at power forward again and had 11 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes, but Carmelo Anthony is on his way to hurt Little’s minutes. Just put Little on your radar in case he continues to start and begins to produce consistently. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Anfernee Simons played 22 minutes and scored 10 points, but just isn’t featured enough to do much in fantasy, although he’ll have the occasional big game.
Celtics 99, Suns 85 – Starters Jayson Tatum (26 points, 11 boards), Kemba Walker (19 points, 5 assists), Marcus Smart (17 points, full stat line) and Jaylen Brown (14 points, 9 boards) all played well in the win, but Smart suffered a sprained right ankle on Monday night. He’ll be reevaluated on Tuesday and if he’s going to miss time both Brown and a guy like Brad Wanamaker (10 points, six dimes, 3 steals) should benefit. Smart said after the game that he was OK, but the Celtics play the Clippers on Wednesday, which is not a great matchup for guards. Enes Kanter only played five minutes on Monday and has been mostly a disaster since returning. Daniel Theis started and played 28 minutes but failed to score. He did have 11 boards and a block though. Robert Williams and Carsen Edwards were also quiet last night, making the Celtics’ non-starters tough to rely on almost across the board – even with Gordon Hayward (hand surgery) out indefinitely.
For the Suns, Ricky Rubio was a late scratch with back spasms and it’s unknown if he’ll be able to play tonight against the Kings. Jevon Carter started but hit just 1-of-2 shots for three points and two assists in 24 minutes. He also had a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer and could bounce back on Tuesday if Rubio is out. Devin Booker led the way with an empty 20-point night and Kelly Oubre had 15 points, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 5-of-13 shooting. But after those two, the Suns line is kind of brutal. I was able to pick up Dario Saric in a few leagues and he had nine points, 10 boards and two 3-pointers on 3-of-13 shooting. He’s worth an add if you need a big man and had his double-digit scoring streak broken at three games last night. Frank Kaminsky came in hot and was a popular pickup but played just 16 minutes last night. I’d rather have Saric.
Timberwolves 112, Jazz 102 – Karl-Anthony Towns was a beast with 29 points, 13 boards, five assists, two steals, two blocks and seven 3-pointers, tying his career high with the triples. Jeff Teague had a 21 & 11 double-double and Robert Covington came through with a 15-8-1-2-1-2 line. Covington’s scoring has been weird, but he’s also been racking up threes, boards, steals and blocks. Jake Layman left with a foot injury and rookie Kelan Martin came through with 14 points, six board and two 3-pointers on 6-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes. There’s no reason to race and pick him up but he is worth keeping an eye on, especially if Andrew Wiggins (illness) misses more time. Once Wiggins, who has been out for three straight games, is back, Martin, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver will all take a hit.
For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert double-doubled, Mike Conley had a 15-6-6 line with a 3-pointer and one turnover, and Donovan Mitchell scored 17 points with seven boards and two 3-pointers. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 18 points and three 3-pointers, while Jeff Green and Joe Ingles each hit double digits off the bench. Ingles hit just 4-of-12 shots and the buy-low window is fully open on the Aussie. But he did come through with 12 points, eight boards, five dimes and three 3-pointers, despite the poor shooting. Dante Exum made his season debut with two points in 14 minutes, but you’d have to be in a really deep league to give him a look. And speaking of buy-low guys, Conley still qualifies as one until he finally puts it all together.
Clippers 90, Thunder 88 – Kawhi Leonard (left knee contusion) missed his third straight game so it's becoming a real concern for those who drafted him. I was scared of Kawhi this season so I stayed away but hopefully he'll be back for Wednesday but it could be a long season for his owners. Paul George scored 18 points with seven boards, four assists, three 3-pointers and seven turnovers, and hit the game-winning 3-pointer late. Ivica Zubac double-doubled with 12 points and 10 boards (no blocks) while Montrezl Harrell went off for 28 points, 12 boards, five dimes, a steal and a block on 13-of-20 shooting off the bench. If you’re desperate for a center, Zubac is worth a look, offering value just around the top 100, but he won’t be easy to own given his inconsistency. If Harrell ever goes down, Zubac could be a beast.
There wasn’t a lot to love about the Thunder’s box score. Chris Paul had a 22-4-4-4 line with two 3-pointers and just one turnover, but Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were all kind of quiet. Dennis Schroder played 29 minutes but hit just 6-of-17 shots for 12 points, four rebounds and two dimes in the loss. Consider this a buy-low opportunity on SGA if you like him. Hamidou Diallo was out with a knee injury and may not play tonight, either.
Tuesday features four games:
Warriors @ Grizzlies – Ky Bowman and Eric Paschall are intriguing plays for the Warriors, who will be without D’Angelo Russell for a couple weeks. This is one of only two games for the Grizzlies this week.
Blazers @ Pelicans – Lonzo Ball (adductor) and Brandon Ingram (knee) are iffy for Tuesday, Jahlil Okafor (ankle) is doubtful and Josh Hart (knee) is out. Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, E’Twaun Moore, Kenrich Williams and Derrick Favors should all have plenty of minutes if all the injured players remain out.
Suns @ Kings – Rubio’s (back) iffy and De’Aaron Fox is out. Maybe Cory Joseph will show up tonight.
Thunder @ Lakers – Anthony Davis (shoulder) is probable, which is great news.