LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard all had coming out parties on Monday night, Gordon Hayward and Anthony Davis stayed hot, and a couple Pacers fell back to earth. Dose breaks down all five games and takes a look at the injury report. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Cavaliers 118, Pelicans 111
LeBron James finally played like his owners have been waiting for, racking up a monster triple-double with 32 points, 12 boards, 10 assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 9-of-17 shooting. He also hit 13-of-17 free throws for his best game in recent memory. James has 19 triple-doubles with 30 points over his career, and only Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain have more. Kyrie Irving also got loose for 32 points, five rebounds, nine assists and four 3-pointers on 11-of-21 shooting, while Kevin Love added 22 points, five boards, two assists, a steal and six 3-pointers on 7-of-13 shooting. Finally. Shawn Marion started at shooting guard, but had just four points, while Anderson Varejao added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Dion Waiters sat out with a back injury and has lost his starting job to Marion, so owners should think about hitting the waiver wire. I’m not sure the Cavaliers are completely cured after this one, but owners of the Big 3 should feel much better about things after tonight. And you have to wonder if the absence of Waiters played a part in how things went down.
Anthony Davis was a beast again with 27 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks, but it wasn’t enough against the Cavaliers, who came out of hibernation last night. Ryan Anderson also blew up for a season-high 32 points, five boards, a steal and eight 3-pointers on 11-of-19 shooting after struggling for much of the season. He needed this game. Tyreke Evans hit just 2-of-14 shots, but still had six points, four rebounds, 10 assists and a block, while Omer Asik added eight points, 10 boards, a steal and a block, and Jrue Holiday had 16 points and five dimes in the loss. Eric Gordon is starting to play a little better, but still had just 10 points in 32 minutes. Shawn Marion guarding opposing shooting guards is probably going to work out well for the Cavs.
Hawks 91, Knicks 85
Paul Millsap showed some signs of life on Monday with 19 points, three 3-pointers and three steals, but only had four rebounds. He might be struggling to adjust playing next to Al Horford right now, but he simply can’t play this poorly all season. He’s averaging just 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds while hitting 39 percent of his shots, and just 65 percent of his free throws. Looks like a nice buy-low opportunity to me. Jeff Teague was a fantasy killer last night, missing all four of his shots for three points, six assists and three turnovers. He was off to a great start this season and was due for a letdown. I just didn’t think he would fall this far. He’ll be back in form for the next one. Kyle Korver continues to defy the odds and had 17 points, eight rebounds and three more 3-pointers. He hit just 4-of-13 shots, but is now averaging 17 points, 3.8 3-pointers and has blocked seven shots in six games. While Teague was busy doing nothing tonight, Dennis Schroder came through with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in 28 minutes, but he’s a long way from stealing Teague’s job.
The Knicks have now lost five in a row, but at least Carmelo Anthony showed up to work last night. Melo had his best game of the season with 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, but still only hit 11-of-25 shots, was 0-for-5 from downtown, and didn’t have a steal or a block. It’s really early in the season to be too down on Melo, but it’s clear that he and his teammates are struggling to learn the triangle. Iman Shumpert hit 8-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for 18 points, three boards and five assists, and Tim Hardaway woke up in the second half and finished with 15 points and two 3-pointers. He started, but played just 22 minutes, as J.R. Smith was 4-of-11 with two 3-pointers for 12 points in 27 minutes, and it looks like the two are going to timeshare. I plugged Hardaway into a bunch of lineups for his four games this week, and will then re-evaluate if he’s going to be able to survive along Smith. As for Shumpert, he’s currently a must-own player.
Pacers 97, Jazz 86
Despite off nights from Donald Sloan and Chris Copeland, the Pacers beat the Jazz. Roy Hibbert returned from a knee injury and racked up 29 points, five boards, a steal and a block on 11-of-21 shooting and also made all seven of his free throws. Sloan was just 1-of-9 for two points and three assists, while Copeland was 2-of-6 for six points and three boards. Don’t give up on either guy, as this was just one game. Solomon Hill was decent with 13 points, three boards, two assists and a steal, while Lavoy Allen came off the bench for 12 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block in 27 minutes. Put him on your radar and be ready to move if he replaces Luis Scola in the starting five. Hill led the Pacers with 37 minutes and looks like a nice pick up right now. A.J. Price made some noise for the Pacers tonight and scored 22 points with three 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting in 25 minutes. Yes, he might eat into Sloan’s production a bit, but it’s not time to panic – yet. I’m also not racing out to pick up Price, but will be keeping an eye on him.
Gordon Hayward stayed hot with 30 points, eight boards, five assists, a block and two 3-pointers, and hit 11-of-15 shots. He’s on fire. Derrick Favors was effective with 13 points, eight boards and two blocks, and Enes Kanter hit 7-of-8 shots and a 3-pointer for 18 points, three rebounds and his first two blocks of the season. I’ve been holding him in my leagues, but wasn’t brave enough to start him in weeklies. Trey Burke struggled again, hitting 2-of-12 shots for five points, eight assists and two steals, and it’s hard to remember just how good he looked in the preseason. There’s still time for him to figure this out and he played 36 minutes. There probably aren’t a bunch of good point guards sitting on your waiver wire, so just bench Burke if that’s the case.
Bulls 102, Pistons 91
Derrick Rose was a game-time decision, as usual, and looked fantastic. He hit 9-of-20 shots and two 3-pointers for 24 points, seven assists and a steal. This won’t be the last time he’s a game-time decision, but owners have to feel a sense of relief after seeing him tonight. Pau Gasol had 17 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, a steal and four blocks, Joakim Noah added 13 points, 14 boards and six dimes, and Jimmy Butler chipped in with 19 points, four rebounds and four 3-pointers in the win. Mike Dunleavy came back to earth with seven points on 2-of-7 shooting, and Aaron Brooks played just 11 minutes with 10 points with Rose back.
We got a dose of good Josh Smith tonight with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a 3-pointer on 8-of-19 shooting, and he even made 2-of-3 free throws. Greg Monroe double-doubled with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and D.J. Augustin came off the bench for 16 points and two assists in 21 minutes. Brandon Jennings hit just 3-of-11 shots, but still finished with 11 points, five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. He’s still the starting point guard and has been playing better. If he was dropped in your league and you need a point guard, I still think he’s worth stashing. I’d still rather own him than DJA, and tonight’s minutes were promising. Andre Drummond, or ‘Drummund,’ as his jersey read last night, was a mess again with two points, 12 rebounds, a steal and a block before fouling out. He missed all five of his shots and doesn’t look anywhere near the player he was last year. He’s dribbling too much and looks confused in the Pistons offense, but I will still argue he’s too good to not get it turned around soon. But yes, he’s killing a lot of us, and this is the perfect time to make a move to get him on the cheap. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit just 3-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for nine points, but played 29 minutes and will bounce back. However, he’s probably not going to do much outside of scoring and hitting 3-pointers, so owners should be prepared to have a short leash if he doesn’t start producing consistently soon.
Spurs 89, Clippers 85
The Clippers pretty much controlled this one until late in the game and only got three Jamal Crawford free throws over the last several minutes of the fourth quarter. Kawhi Leonard was finally a beast, tying a career-high with 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 10-of-18 shooting. He was also 5-of-5 from the line and only had one turnover. While he’s not going to do this every night, that’s a nine-category line, folks, and the hope is that his eyes are feeling better. Gregg Popovich also said after the game that they called more plays for Leonard than in any other game in his career. Let’s try that again, Pop. Tim Duncan added 18 points, 11 boards and a block, and they were really the only two Spurs to do anything of note. Tony Parker was quiet with 13 points and five assists, while Matt Bonner started and hit 2-of-10 shots for five points. Boris Diaw played well down the stretch and had eight points, two rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block off the bench, while Danny Green was invisible on 1-of-5 shooting for two points in the starting lineup. Parker’s had a pretty quiet season thus far, and the only two I really trust right now are Duncan and Leonard.
The Clips got 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and a steal from Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan did what he does with six points, 13 rebounds, two steals and five blocks, and Chris Paul just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Jamal Crawford struggled in another start with 10 points, three assists and one 3-pointer, but hit just 3-of-13 shots and missed six treys. J.J. Redick had 13 points and two 3-pointers, while the Clippers bench didn’t do much at all. Matt Barnes hit a 3-pointer, but it’s probably time to move on. Griffin and Jordan were ill coming into this one, but both of them played well and will don’t play again until Saturday, which should give them all a chance to rest. The Clippers haven’t exactly been closing out games, but are still 4-3 on the season.
Rajon Rondo (hand) – Expected to play on Wednesday.
Klay Thompson (hand) – Expected to play on Tuesday.
David Lee (hamstring) – Could play in two weeks.
Dwight Howard (illness) – Practiced Monday, hoping for Wednesday.
Terrence Jones (leg) – Missed Monday’s practice, iffy for Wednesday.
Patrick Beverley (hamstring) – Missed practice, iffy for Wednesday.
C.J. Miles (migraine) – Missed another game Monday, has very little value when healthy.
David West (ankle) – Hoping to return late in week.
Ricky Rubio (ankle) – May not play again in November.
Jose Calderon (calf) – Not expected to practice on Tuesday, remains out.
Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) – Unlikely to practice, making return Wednesday doubtful.
Andre Roberson (foot) – Still day-to-day without target date.
Perry Jones (knee) – Still day-to-day without target date.
Russell Westbrook (hand) – Still targeting late November
Anthony Morrow (knee) – He’s been practicing, should play at some point soon.
Kevin Durant (foot) – Not expected back until December.
Kyle O’Quinn (ankle) – Iffy for the week.
Victor Oladipo (face) – Limited practices, not likely for this week.
Nerlens Noel (ankle) – Very iffy for Thursday’s game vs. Mavs.
Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) – Targeting Thursday as Tony Wroten owners hold breath.
Nicolas Batum (knee) – Out Tuesday, could miss the whole week.
Bradley Beal (wrist) – Targeting last week in November.