There were six games in the NBA on Monday night and we saw some monster lines from guys like Stephen Curry, Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker and DeAndre Jordan, while injuries are still the news of the league, at least in fantasyland.
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Charlotte Downs Warriors
Kemba Walker did his best to keep up with Stephen Curry, finishing with 31 points, two 3-pointers, five rebounds and five assists in Monday’s tough win over the Warriors. Gerald Henderson scored 24 and Josh McRoberts stayed relevant with 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in the win. Walker’s slump is clearly over and he’s paying off for owners who stuck with him through the dark days, while McBob continues to do just enough for owners to hang on through the tougher nights. Jeff Taylor was out with a bruised heel so Anthony Tolliver got the start in his place, but had just six points and five boards.
Stephen Curry went nuts with a season-high 43 points, nine assists, five 3-pointers and a full stat line, but the Warriors still couldn’t get by the Bobcats. Andre Iguodala sat out again for the Warriors but appears to be nearing a return from his hamstring injury.
Clippers Best Sixers
DeAndre Jordan played through his foot injury and blew up for 11 points and 21 rebounds in a win over the Sixers. If you started him this week, congratulations are in order, as the move was obviously a gamble. Hopefully he makes it through all four games this week. Blake Griffin had 26 points and eight rebounds, while Chris Paul added 25 points, 13 dimes, three steals and two 3-pointers in another stellar performance.
Michael Carter-Williams rejoined the Sixers (from the hospital) on Monday, but didn’t play. He’s basically questionable for the rest of the week with his knee infection, but there’s still a chance he’ll play on Wednesday. Tony Wroten only hit 2-of-12 shots, but still had nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the start, and remains a must-start player any time MCW is out. Spencer Hawes cooled off in a big way with just two points, four rebounds and no 3-pointers, which is part of the reason the Sixers lost. Maybe he was overwhelmed by DeAndre Jordan, or maybe he’s getting ready to struggle, but my guess is he bounces back against the Wolves on Wednesday. Evan Turner bounced back from Saturday’s dud with 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 40 minutes. Hollis Thompson played a career-high 39 minutes, but had just eight points, five rebounds, three steals and a 3-pointer in them. While James Anderson can now be cut, I’m not convinced Thompson is going to be worth owning in most leagues, even if he continues to start at shooting guard.
Nuggets Sneak By Wizards
Ty Lawson skipped this game with his lingering hamstring injury and remains day-to-day. Andre Miller started and had missed all five of his shots for a forgettable night, while Nate Robinson chipped in with 16 points and four steals. Lawson shouldn’t be out much longer, and it’s become clear that Robinson, and not Miller, is the second point guard to own in Denver. Wilson Chandler played better with 17 points, eight rebounds and three 3-pointers, and might finally be ready to start producing for the Nuggets. Kenneth Faried struggled for the fourth straight game, finishing with six points and seven rebounds. He looks like a good buy-low candidate, but his quiet start to the season is definitely a concern. Believe it or not, Robinson and Chandler were the only two Nuggets to score in double figures last night.
Martell Webster (ankle) and Nene (Achilles) were out on Monday night, meaning Glen Rice Jr. and Trevor Booker got the start for the Wizards. Booker actually double-doubled with 12 points, 12 boards and two blocks in the loss, and could be a sneaky play until Nene is back in action. John Wall, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza all played well in the starting lineup, but Rice Jr. hit just 3-of-9 shots for seven points. Bradley Beal was cleared to increase basketball activities despite his leg injury, which is great news if you own him. Hopefully he’ll be back in action next week, and once Beal and Webster are back, Rice becomes an afterthought, if he’s not already.
Grizzlies Beat Magic
Ed Davis was out again with a sprained ankle, while Tony Allen was also out with his lingering hip injury. Zach Randolph had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jon Leuer stayed hot with 16 points and 12 boards, and Kosta Koufos had seven points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. I’m still not convinced Leuer can keep this up, but he should at least be on the radar screen in all leagues. And as long as Davis is out, he’s probably worth throwing into lineups. He’s averaging 13 points, eight boards and 27 minutes over his last five games, and has scored in double figures in three of them. He also saw extended minutes at center with Koufos in foul trouble last night.
Nikola Vucevic (ankle) and Tobias Harris (ankle) were both out for the Magic and remain day-to-day. Andrew Nicholson stepped up with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting, while Glen Davis added 16 points, nine boards and three blocks.
Blazers Take Utah
LaMarcus Aldridge stayed hot on Monday with 24 points, six boards and zero turnovers as the Blazers beat the Jazz. Robin Lopez had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards, while Nicolas Batum had a season-high 11 assists to go along with seven points, eight boards, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. Yes, the lack of offense is annoying, but he’s filling up the stat sheet every night to help make up for it. Remarkably, Batum now has a double-digit assist game this season, while Damian Lillard’s season high is stuck on nine. Lillard hit 5-of-14 shots for 18 points, but had just three assists last night.
Derrick Favors missed Monday’s game with a sore lower back. That makes two straight misses and he’s now highly questionable for Wednesday against the Kings.
Marvin Williams was out again with his Achilles injury, which was more good news for Enes Kanter. Kanter had 19 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block in the loss. Trey Burke was solid again with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, and is living up to the hype. Alec Burks continues to play a whole lot better than he was a few weeks ago, and had 20 points in 25 minutes. If he’s available in your league, he won’t be much longer. Jeremy Evans made another start for the Jazz and six points and eight rebounds, but won’t be worthy of owning once Favors is back in action.
Kings Trounce Mavs
Rudy Gay didn’t play for the Kings on Monday, but they clearly didn’t need him. Isaiah Thomas, who is now their starting point guard (finally) had 24 points and a career-high 12 assists, while Derrick Williams blew up for a career-high 31 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and three 3-pointers in a start at small forward. The problem for Williams is the arrival of Gay, although Williams could still see heavy minutes at power forward going forward. He’ll share time with both Gay and Jason Thompson (10 points, 7 boards), but Williams should be held after tonight’s explosion. This one could go either way, as he could start producing at a high level on a regular basis, or Gay’s arrival for the next game could push him back into obscurity. I’m holding him until we find out which scenario happens. And as if Thomas and Williams didn’t cause enough problems for the Mavs, DeMarcus Cousins went off for 32 points, 19 boards, three steals and a block. As for Thomas, he was already playing at a very high level and with Greivis Vasquez out of the picture, Thomas' owners have to feel like they won the lottery.
Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the losers with 18 points, six boards, seven assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer in 31 minutes, and is quietly having one of his best seasons ever. Talk about a fantasy steal! Monta Ellis had 21 points and a another full stat line, while DeJuan Blair was blown away by DeMarcus Cousins and will take a hit once Brandan Wright is finally back from his shoulder injury. But until then, Blair will be better than this on most nights.
Injury News and Notes
Tyreke Evans is expected to miss a couple weeks for the Pelicans with a sprained left ankle, clearing the way for Al-Farouq Aminu to stay hot, while Anthony Morrow should also get extended minutes off the bench in his absence. I’m a fan of owning Aminu right now.
Deron Williams says he’s going to play for the Nets on Tuesday after missing nine straight games and 11 of his last 13. I’d leave him benched until you see him play well in a game or two. Paul Pierce is also likely to play after missing time with a fractured hand, although he would be well ahead of his 2-4 week timetable if it happens. He’s been pretty ineffective this season, so it’s worth waiting to see what he does before plugging him into your lineup. And if he’s available on waivers, he’s probably worth a flier.
Steve Nash still isn’t sure when he’ll return to the Lakers lineup with his back injury. It sounds like the Lakers are ready to sit him down until he’s fully healthy and ready to go, meaning he’s still out indefinitely in my book.
Luol Deng didn’t practice for the Bulls on Monday due to his sore Achilles and there’s no target date for his return. Taj Gibson remains a must-start player as long as Deng is out, and is probably worth running out there even when Deng is back. Jimmy Butler is “75-80” percent healthy after missing nine games with his turf toe. It sounds like he’s getting close, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses the whole week. However, starting him in weekly leagues for Week 8 is not out of the question.
Tiago Splitter will miss the next two games with a calf injury. Boris Diaw should benefit the most in his absence for the Spurs.
Tyson Chandler is participating in non-contact drills for the Knicks and is hoping to return from his broken leg some time in December. The Knicks need him badly, but the return of Chandler still probably isn’t enough to get the Knicks back on track. They’re just a mess.
Zaza Pachulia has a broken foot and will miss at least a month of action for the Bucks, which is more good news for John Henson. Caron Butler will miss another week with his knee injury, so you made the right call if you benched him in weekly leagues.
Stephen Jackson will join the Clippers on a non-guaranteed deal and while I picked him up in my 30-team league, he’s not a guy you should be rushing to pick up in yours.
Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes aren’t likely to be available for the Raptors on Tuesday, meaning Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross and Steve Novak should get plenty of run against the Spurs.