Wednesday, January 30, 2019
A seven-game NBA Tuesday featured dynamic performances from a bunch of big-name superstars (including James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Joel Embiid), as well as a career-high night on defense for Jrue Holiday and a big scoring evening from Devin Booker. Here’s the breakdown:
Thunder 126, Magic 117
OKC didn’t have Steven Adams (ankle) or Terrance Ferguson (back), which cleared the way for Nerlens Noel and Hamidou Diallo to start. Diallo scored just seven in 17 minutes, but Noel paid off big time for those who used him in daily leagues, with 12 points, seven rebounds, a steal and five blocks. Meanwhile, Paul George (37-6-4) and Russell Westbrook (23-14-14) did Paul George and Russell Westbrook things, while Jerami Grant posted 18 and seven with three steals and two triples, and Dennis Schroder got hot off the bench with 21 points, shooting an uncharacteristically good 8-of-11 from the floor.
Orlando landed all five starters plus Terrence Ross (16 points, four 3s) in double figures, led by Nikola Vucevic with a monstrous-but-not-surprising 27-11-5 stat line. Aaron Gordon was good in counting stats (16-9-7 with two 3s and a block), but shot just 6-of-19. Perhaps most notably though, Jonathan Isaac continued his recent upward trend, putting up 11 points, eight boards, two steals, one block and one trey. Isaac’s last five games include 12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.6 bpg and 1.0 3s. If he’s somehow out there in your shallow league, don’t wait.
Cavs 116, Wizards 113
Break up the Cavs! After losing 18 of 19, this resilient yet still terrible squad has won two in a row despite desperately trying to give away Tuesday’s game. The face of this stunning resurgence? Cedi Osman, who put up 26-5-7 with two steals and a game-sealing block. Osman has has now averaged 24.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg and 3.8 treys over his last four games. The only blemish on his stat line Tuesday: 2-of-8 from the free throw line.
Also for the Cavs: Jordan Clarkson scored 27 with a season-high six treys, Ante Zizic (12 and 12) and Larry Nance (13 and 11 with a block) both posted double-doubles, while Alec Burks continued to trend back upward with an 8-5-9 line in 35 minutes. Over his last four games, Burks has put up an understated but dignified 12.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.0 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.8 3s. As of this writing, he was owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo leagues.
As for the Wiz, this was largely a night to forget, though Bradley Beal did bust out of a recent shooting funk by putting up 31 points on 10-of-20 from the field after shooting 40 percent over his previous five games.
Bucks 115, Pistons 105
The Bucks didn’t have Malcolm Brogdon (sternal contusion), but still landed all five starters in double figures, with Giannis Antetokounmpo putting up a near triple-double (21-8-11 with three steals, two blocks and a triple). Fill-in starter Tony Snell scored 11, with Pat Connaughton putting up 16 and George Hill scoring nine (with four boards, three assists and two steals) to pick up the slack for Brogdon and Sterling Brown (wrist).
The Pistons got 82 of their 105 points from four players: 25 from Reggie Jackson (tying a season high), 20 from Andre Drummond, 18 (with nine rebounds, seven assists) from Blake Griffin, and 19 from Luke Kennard, who got an extra opportunity with Reggie Bullock (ankle) not playing.
Nets 122, Bulls 117
Brooklyn got 28 points from D’Angelo Russell and 18 from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (in 21 minutes off the bench), but the big fantasy news from the Nets side of things was another big game for Shabazz Napier, who went 24-3-4 with three steals and five 3s for his second consecutive 20-point game. Still owned in just 24 percent of Yahoo leagues, Napier should have continue to a significant role in the upcoming weeks as he steps into a Spencer Dinwiddie-sized void for the foreseeable future.
For the Bulls, Zach LaVine dropped 26 and Lauri Markkanen pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds (with 18 points). Jabari Parker looked fantastic and was an absolute per-minute beast in this one, with 22-9-3 with two steals, two blocks and a triple in just 23 minutes. Still though, he hasn’t topped 25 minutes since early December, so he remains just a deep-league asset or DFS consideration. Kris Dunn had a weird night with 15 points, no assists, six turnovers, two blocks and two 3s.
Pelicans 121, Rockets 116
The Pelicans won despite the absence of Anthony Davis (finger), Julius Randle (ankle), Nikola Mirotic (calf), Elfrid Payton (ankle) and E’Twaun Moore (rest). That left Jrue Holiday as the only normal starter available for New Orleans. His response: 19 points, six rebounds, eight assists and yes — six blocks (a career high). Jahlil Okafor had another huge game with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Darius Miller scored 14 in 40 minutes. Beyond that, this box score was mostly madness for the Pelicans, with Tim Frazier resurfacing with a 10 and 10 double-double, Frank Jackson scoring 10 with seven boards and someone named Kenrich Williams scoring eight points with 16 rebounds and a block. It takes quite a bit for me to just outright not know who an NBA player is when they appear in a game, but I had no idea who this dude was when I was watching this game. Congratulations, Kenrich Williams. You did it.
Chris Paul was on a minutes limit — he played 26 of them, specifically — and was reasonably productive with 10-4-9 plus two steals and a trey in his second game back. James Harden shot 11-of-32 and had a quiet night in the box score (half joking) with 37 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals, a block and six 3s). Meanwhile, Kenneth Faried continued his impresive run in the Clint Capela role, posting 19 and 11 with a steal and two blocks in 30 minutes — his third straight double-double. Since joining the Rockets, Faried is averaging 15.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.2 spg and 1.4 bpg.
Spurs 126, Suns 124
Rudy Gay hit a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to win it for the Spurs, and LaMarcus Aldridge led seven Spurs in double-digit points, scoring 29 of them specifically, and has now put up 28, 30 and 29 in his last three games. His averages over the last month (16 games): 25.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.6 apg and 1.5 bpg. Davis Bertans also made the most of a rare start with DeMar DeRozan still sidelined, posting 18 points, five dimes, four steals, one block and five treys to give him 10 triples over his last two games.
Devin Booker dropped 38 to tie his season high, and 38-year-old Jamal Crawford scored 22 for his highest point total of the season. More on Booker: He shot 14-of-19 from the field and has hit 49.4 percent of his shots for 24.8 ppg in nine games since returning from his back issue, so now would be a good time to consider floating some casual trade offers if he’s on your roster (keeping in mind that he has also averaged just 0.4 spg with 4.4 turnovers during that same stretch).
Richaun Holmes got another start for Deandre Ayton (ankle) and had a serviceable 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks. And don’t look now, but Mikal Bridges may be finding his offense. Bridges had 17 points (with three 3s) on 7-of-9 shooting, adding six rebounds, three assists and four steals. That makes 16 and 17 points in back-to-back games for Bridges, and even though that’s obviously a small sample size, a hot streak has to start somewhere.
76ers 121, Lakers 105
Jimmy Butler (wrist) returned from a three-game absence, and the big three did most of the damage for the Sixers (28-11-6 for Joel Embiid, 20-5-6 with five steals and a block for Butler, and 19-8-6 for Ben Simmons). It’s worth noting that Embiid did sustain a back injury late, but was able to return and finish. Philly also got good games from erratic contributors Wilson Chandler (9-4-3 with two steals, a block and three 3s) and Mike Muscala, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, three 3s and a block off the bench.
Kyle Kuzma (hip) didn’t play, and the main standout on a mostly ugly night for L.A. was Brandon Ingram, who scored a career-high 36 points on 16-of-20 shooting on what may have been his last game with an elevated role before LeBron James returns (more on that in a minute). Also for the Lakers: Ivica Zubac struggled against Joel Embiid (seven points in 17 minutes), and JaVale McGee had a big game off the bench with 17 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. Despite his Zubac-induced inconsistent playing time, McGee has still put up 10.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg and 1.0 bpg (in 19 minutes a game) over his last five.
In other news…
*The Pelicans will reportedly have to be overwhelmed to trade Anthony Davis, which isn’t really a surprise. The concern here is that if New Orleans doesn’t trade him this year, they’ll shut him down at some point to avoid an injury putting a dent in his offseason trade value. Ryan Knaus and I discussed this in more detail on the latest Rotoworld hoops podcast.
*Also on Tuesday, we got some relatively positive news on LeBron James (groin), who reportedly went through the Lakers entire shootaround, though he isn’t yet going “full out.” The next chance for him to return to the court is on Thursday.
*The Kings and Pistons are potentially interested in trading for Marc Gasol, per The Ringer. Both of those teams are currently outside the top eight of in terms of playoff positioning, but they’re also notably closer to potential playoff berths than the 20-31 Grizzlies, so we’d take it.
*Kent Bazemore (ankle) has abruptly been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game, so it looks like he’s close to returning after a month absence. Things are going to get crowded between Bazemore, Kevin Huerter and Taurean Prince, but as long as he’s in Atlanta it seems likely that Bazemore will play at least 25 or so minutes a game, which is enough for at least low-end value in standard leagues.
Injury Quick Hits: Kyrie Irving (hip) is doubtful for Wednesday. … Jamal Murray (ankle) is out. … Tyreke Evans (back) is not expected to play Wednesday. … Tyler Johnson (calf) is questionable. … Derrick Rose (ankle) went through a limited practice on Tuesday, but did not participate in the contact portion. He’s listed as questionable, while Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague are out. On a positive note, Jones and Robert Covington (knee) are reportedly “ramping things up” in their recoveries. … Dwyane Wade (sore knee) is questionable. … Also questionable: JaMychal Green (sore knee). … As always, check the Rotoworld player news page leading up to tipoff since statuses can and will abruptly change.