Friday night was quite the fantasy bonanza across the NBA. Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving both messed around and got a triple-double. Goran Dragic dropped 40 on the Pelicans, Jordan Farmar drained eight 3-pointers, and Kevin Durant kept doing Kevin Durant things. Hope you made sure to tip your waiter. Click here to follow me on Twitter!
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $80,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Saturday night's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Saturday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
Like just about every other in the player in the NBA, Steph Curry loves playing in Madison Square Garden. And I mean really loves playing in Madison Square Garden. The last time he visited Manhattan, Curry dropped 54 on the Knicks. He didn’t top 50 points Friday night, but he did manage to put up his third triple-double of the season on his way to posting 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting to go along with 11 boards, 11 dimes, one block, and 5 3-pointers. LeBron James will have something to say about this before the season is over, but Curry has established himself as the second best fantasy player up to this point and Friday’s performance in hoops Mecca affirmed that standing. Your move, LeBron.
The other amazing part of Curry’s performance is that most of his teammates didn’t do a whole lot to add to the Warriors’ blowout of the Knicks. Klay Thompson hit five shots from downtown top pad his 25-point output, but Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and David Lee only scored six, seven and 10 points, respectively.
On the Knicks’ side of the ball, Carmelo Anthony had a nice stat line of 23 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer, but also hurt his owners with a 7-of-26 performance from the field. You know you’re having a bad shooting night when J.R. Smith puts your field goal percentage to shame by shooting 7-of-19 from the field (which went for 17 points that included three 3-pointers). Tyson Chandler had a forgettable game other than grabbing 12 boards, as did Raymond Felton with his eight points and three assists in 22 minutes. The lone bright spot for the Knicks was Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 22 points off the bench that came on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and included four 3-pointers, two rebounds, and two steals.
Ice Cube would be proud
As I alluded to above, Kyrie Irving posted the first triple-double of his career last night as the rising Cavaliers trounced the sinking Utah Jazz. Kyrie hit 7-of-16 shots from the field that led to a final line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, one block, and one 3-pointer. Don’t look now, but Kyrie is among the Top Five players over the past month and is handsomely rewarding his fantasy owners who spent a Top 10 pick on him.
Unlike Curry, Irving got some help from his friends as the injury-depleted Cavs got 30-plus minutes from four of their five starters. Spencer Hawes continued to enjoy his change of scenery with 13 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal, and two blocks. Tristan Thompson was a monster on his way to finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and two assists while shooting 9-of-13 from the field. And Luol Deng caught the same field goal percentage fire with 8-of-12 shooting that led to 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Jarrett Jack was the only Cavs’s starter who played less than 30 minutes and his stat line of five points, one board, and four dimes (on 2-of-9 shooting) didn’t do much to help fantasy owners who were hoping to take advantage of Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles being out again.
This hasn’t been confirmed, but there is a possibility that Gordon Hayward was the only player who boarded the Jazz’ plane to Cleveland as he was the only Jazzman to score more than 13 points Friday night. Hayward’s line of 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals, two blocks, and four 3-pointers was a great stat line for fantasy owners and it looked even better next to the useless lines that came out of the rest of the roster. Derrick Favors had two blocks and two steals, but only scored 8 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. The silver lining with Favors is that he was at least able to play 32 minutes as he recovers from his hip injury. That silver lining doesn’t exist, however, for Trey Burke’s four points on 2-of-9 shooting, Alec Burks’ 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting, and Marvin Williams’ five points on 2-of-10 shooting. Cleveland doesn’t rock if you’re a member of the Utah Jazz.
Next floor, Goran’s department
More about the elevator analogy in a second, but Goran Dragic made a surprise appearance Friday night after being listed as a game-time decision and made his presence felt as he dropped 40 points on the Pelicans in the Suns’ 116-104 victory at home. Dragic was thought to be doubtful to play for much of the day due to his sprained ankle, but the 27-year-old continued to prove himself as one of the better fantasy point guards to own as he dropped the aforementioned 40 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go along with five assists, three rebounds, and three 3-pointers.
Daily owners who tried to take advantage of Dragic potentially being out got stuck with Ish Smith’s 10 points, two rebounds, six assists, and one steal (which isn’t horrible), while the Morris brothers added a 1-2 punch to go alongside Dragic as Markieff scored 18 points to go along with Marcus’ 15 (and each blocked two shots apiece). Gerald Green got stuck with
In one of the more bizarre pieces of news in a season of bizarre news, Tyreke Evans made his first start of the season last night, but barely made it to the arena after getting stuck in a hotel elevator before the game. Evans didn’t have his best game of the season, but he did put up 14 points in 36 minutes to go along with five points and four assists. The big game for the Pelicans expectedly came from Anthony Davis who played through a sore shoulder and shot 14-of-18 from the field with 32 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block. Eric Gordon was the only other bright spot for the Pelicans as he scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field to go along with two rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers. Also of note, Jrue Holiday had surgery on his tibia on Friday and will miss the rest of the season.
The Artist Formerly Known as The Servant
I’ll leave the actual MVP talk for fans and beat writers, but Kevin Durant is leaving no doubt as to whom this year’s fantasy MVP will be. Durant has come back down to Earth a bit since Russell Westbrook’s return, but it just goes to show how dominant he’s been this season when a 37 point, six rebound, five assist, two steal, one block, and three 3-pointer performance (which included 12-of-24 from the field and 10-of-10 from the line) isn’t the big news of the night.
Speaking of Westbrook, he’s rounding into form after returning from his knee injury and put up 21 points, two rebounds, six assists, three steals, and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes Friday night. His critic can take a night off, as the Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak that started when Westbrook returned to action. Serge Ibaka dropped with 16 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks on 7-of-11 shooting, while Reggie Jackson scored 14 points in 34 minutes, but left the game early after getting hit in the face.
The Grizzlies were on the losing end of Durant’s big game Friday night, but received solid performances from their big men as Zach Randolph doubled up with 13 points and 10 boards while Marc Gasol shot 7-of-10 with 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. Mike Conley countered the Grizzlies’ solid frontcourt performance with a 1-of-10 from the field stinker that only produced six points, two rebounds, one steal, and one 3-pointer (although he did drop nine dimes, to be fair). There was even a Mike Miller sighting for the Grizz as he played 20 minutes off the bench and scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with two rebounds, two assists, one steal, and four 3-pointers.
It’s getting to the point in Chicago where you have to wonder what Taj Gibson did to make Tom Thibodeau mad. I’m mainly talking semantics here as the 28-year-old played more minutes than Carlos Boozer, but he again came off the bench for the Bulls Friday night. Gibson put up another strong showing in 31 minutes as he double-doubled his way to 20 points, 15 boards, one assist, and one block. Gibson is averaging 18.0 points and 9.6 rebounds over his last five games and is making a strong case to force his way into the Bulls’ starting lineup.
Boozer only played 24 minutes Friday night and didn’t do a whole lot with them as he only scored nine points to go along with six rebounds and one assist. Joakim Noah didn’t continue his torrid pace as of late, but he did post a solid line of 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. Jimmy Butler played a team-high 44 minutes and filled up the box score with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block.
Like the Jazz, the Mavericks players didn’t show up much for fantasy owners Friday night. Monta Ellis led the way with 20 points to go along with four boards, five assists, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers. Dirk Nowitzki only scored 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting to go along with five rebounds, two assists, one block, and one 3-pointer. Jose Calderon scored 13 points to go along with three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers, while Shawn Marion shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the field on his way to 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, one block and one 3-pointer. Vince Carter joined Ellis as the most productive Mavs’ fantasy player as he came off the bench and scored 15 points with 7 rebounds, one assist, three steals, one block, and four 3-pointers in 26 minutes.
Oldie, but a goodie
Tim Duncan continued to show that 37 is the new 27 as he flirted with a triple-double in San Antonio’s 92-82 win over Charlotte. Duncan put up 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting to go along with 16 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block and even shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the line. The Spurs’ light schedule of only two games this week helped Duncan as he was able to get some rest and the only thing stopping him from being productive at this point is a Gregg Popovich rest day.
Kawhi Leonard put up another strong performance in his second game back from his finger injury as he put up 12 points to go along with eight rebounds, one assist, three steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers. Danny Green continued to be an enigma as he went 2-of-7 from the field with just 10 points and two rebounds, while the triumvirate of Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, and Patty Mills thrived off the bench with outputs of 15, 14, and 14 points, respectively.
The Bobcats have never confused anyone for a fantasy powerhouse and Al Jefferson was really the lone bright spot for Charlotte Friday night. Big Al continued his quietly strong season with 20 points, seven boards, one assist and two steals, while his running mate Kemba Walker shot a putrid 3-of-15 on his way to scoring just 11 points with two boards, four assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer. Josh McRoberts had an interesting line of four points, four rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, and two blocks and newly-acquired Gary Neal came off the bench and chipped in 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, and one 3-pointer.
It wasn’t quite the Lakers-Kings showdowns of the early 00’s, but fantasy owners got an unexpected treat out of these two teams in Los Angeles’ 126-122 win Friday night.
Jordan Farmer led the way with eight 3-pointers that led to 30 points off the bench on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with seven assists and one steal. Farmar was so hot Friday night that he forced Mike D’Antoni to sit Jodie Meeks and Meeks finished the game 8-of-8 from the field!
Meeks dropped 22 points that included three 3-pointers and MarShon Brooks joined in the fun with 23 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers. Kendall Marshall only played 19 minutes, but was able to salvage a scoreless performance with 10 assists while Kent Bazemore didn’t look as Bazed and Confused as he scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks, and two 3-pointers. Pau Gasol played the role of Old Faithful for the Lakers as he chipped in 22 points, five rebounds, six assists, and two blocks.
The fantasy bonanza carried over to the Kings Friday night too as Sacramento played without the suspended DeMarcus Cousins. Rudy Gay lit up the scoreboard with 32 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, and one 3-pointer and Isaiah Thomas added 26 points of his own to go along with one rebound, eight dimes, one steal, two blocks, and one 3-pointer. Jason Thompson (17 points, 11 boards) and Derrick Williams (26 points, 12 boards) helped pick up Boogie’s slack, while Ben McLemore was just about the only Kings player who needed more cowbell Friday night as he missed all four shots he took and ended up with more personal fouls than any other stat Friday night.
Other news and notes
- In news that won’t affect this fantasy season, Steve Nash is reportedly planning on retiring if the Lakers release him this summer.
- The Spurs are hopeful that Tony Parker (general soreness) will play against the Mavericks on Sunday.
- Nikola Pekovic is expected to play limited minutes against the Kings tonight as he recovers from his ankle injury.
- Ty Lawson (broken ribs) has been going through non-contact drills in practice, but still has no return date set by the Nuggets.
- The NBA has told LeBron that he can’t wear his black mask to protect his broken nose and will have to switch to a clear one. James is appealing the decision, but it’s sounding like we’ll see a clear mask on King James when the Heat host Orlando tonight.
- Paul Millsap has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game with a bruised knee that has to be a little concerning to fantasy owners seeing as he’s being ruled out for games that are two days away at this point.
- After getting bought out by the Bucks, Caron Butler agreed to terms with the Thunder and will officially join the team after he clears waivers today.
- In more buyout news, Jimmer Fredette has verbally committed to the Bulls if he clears waivers and will join a Chicago squad that is in desperate need of 3-point shooting (attention fantasy owners who are in the same boat!).