• I’m back with some breakdowns of Thursday night NBA action.  Five games on the docket last night kept me busy and entertained while I awaited the release of the newest Pokemon game (yes, I’m a grown man that still plays Pokemon).  The late game of the night actually took place in my town, Salt Lake City, and was airing on TNT for me to enjoy while I chatted it up with @VMCENTER on Fantasy NBA Tonight (a Hoop-ball premium content product).

    Let’s check out what went down last night.

    Knicks (112) @ Wizards (119)

    The Wizards grabbed a home win to help their very disappointing start to the season behind the efforts of John Wall (23 points, 11 assists, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and a steal) and Otto Porter Jr. (21 points, eight rebounds, four 4-pointers, two steals, one assist and one block.  After preseason worries about Porter’s value, he has been the wing to own for the Wizards.

    Markieff Morris had a slow night with just eight points (4-for-11 FG), eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.  He seems to be prone to these types of nights and its comes with owning him.  Bradley Beal added 18 points, five assists, three 3-pointers and two rebounds.  Marcin Gortat rounded out the starting five with 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block.

    For the Knicks, Derrick Rose led the way in scoring with 27 points (8-for-18 FG, 8-for-8 FT), four assists, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and a steal.  Carmelo Anthony added 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer (on eight attempts).  Kristaps Porzingis had a solid night with 16 points (7-for-16 FG), seven rebounds, four steals, two 3-pointers and two assists.

    Courtney Lee had a quiet night and only played 23 minutes.  On the other hand, Brandon Jennings came off the bench for 24 minutes and posted a line of 17 points, 10 assists, three 3-pointers, five rebounds and one steal.  He is a name to keep an eye on, but his production may not be consistent as a bench player.

    Bucks (73) @ Heat (96)

    The Bucks got beat pretty bad tonight and had some odd stat lines outside of their usual suspects.  Matthew Dellavedova had zero points on seven attempts, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.  Tony Snell had 14 points in 32 minutes, to go along with six rebounds and one assist.

    The most interesting situation revolves around the center position.  John Henson started and played 28 minutes, posting a box score of 12 points, five rebounds, one steal and three blocks.  Greg Monroe, on the other hand, was a DNP-Coach’s Decision.  Rumors have been swirling of a possible trade for the big man ever since he joined the Bucks, but his bench role and lack of playing time is really concerning.

    Goran Dragic returned tonight after missing three games due to injury.  He played well with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer and one steal, but was pretty inefficient in terms of shooting.  Hassan Whiteside went man-mode with 12 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks and two steals.  There’s the first round value upside.

    Dion Waiters (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Josh Richardson (18 points, three rebounds, one assist) started with Justise Winslow out due to an injured wrist.  Tyler Johnson got 23 minutes off the bench and added eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.

    Blazers (109) @ Rockets (126)

    The Blazers were led by, as usual, Damian Lillard (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) and C.J. McCollum (26 points, four assists, three rebounds).  Moe Harkless started tonight and added 19 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers.  Mason Plumlee added four points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes.  Evan Turner played 28 minutes off the bench with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.  He seems to be finding his niche as the Blazers sixth man.

    Hassan Whiteside wasn’t the only player going off tonight, as Harden posted a line that has now become somewhat expected.  He triple-doubled with 26 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds, three 3-pointers and three steals.

    Surprisingly, the entire starting lineup for the Rockets scored in double digits and Eric Gordon added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench.  Patrick Beverley played in his first game of the year tonight, starting and logging 25 minutes.  He didn’t show much rust with 11 points (5-for-8 FG, 1-2 3PT), three assists, three blocks and two rebounds.  He has a tendency to get under opposing point guards’ skin and Lillard is no exception.

    76ers (86) @ Timberwolves (110)

    This game was the first TNT game last night and the only reason these losing teams got a primetime slot was for the young center matchup.  Joel Emiid and (10 points, 10 rebounds, one block) Karl-Anthony Towns both double-doubled (25 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) in the matchup, but were overshadowed by Andrew Wiggins.  Wiggins contributed for the Timberwolves beyond scoring for once with 35 points (14-for-20 FG, 4-for-4 FT), 10 rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers and one steal.

    Zach LaVine added 11 points, two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist, one steal and one block.  Gorgui Dieng double-doubled with 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Ricky Rubio rounded out the Minnesota starters with four points, five assists and four rebounds. Not much action off the bench for this squad tonight.

    For the 76ers, Ersan Ilyasova got the start at power forward tonight.  His stat line didn’t offer much with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes.  Rookie Dario Saric came off the bench and played 27 minutes with 16 points, four rebounds, one assist, two 3-pointers and two steals.  Saric is the power forward to own in Philly.  Jahlil Okafor played in the second night of a back-to-back but only played 22 minutes and did very little with seven points and two rebounds.  Nick Stauskas scored 13 points, five rebounds, three 3-pointers, two steals and one assists.  He has potential but has teased fantasy owners in the past and not much came of it.

    Game of the Night

    Bulls (85) @ Jazz (77)

    This game was very disappointing to say the least, as it ended being very low scoring as neither team looked great on offense.

    For the Bulls, Jimmy Butler led the way with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Dwyane Wade added 18 points, two rebounds, one assist and one block.  Jerian Grant got the start for the injured Rajon Rondo and added six points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist.  Robin Lopez is looking for like the big man to trust in Chicago with 10 points and 12 rebounds over 38 minutes.

    The Jazz really struggled tonight.  Gordon Hayward came in to this game with a lot of value, but played 41 troubled minutes tonight.  He scored eight points (3-for-15 FG, 2-for-3 FT), 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.  Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.  Rodney Hood added 12 points, six rebounds, one 3-pointers and one assist.

    George Hill missed another game due to a thumb injury and Dante Exum started and added 14 points, four rebounds, two 3-pointers, two assists and one steal.  Derrick Favors may be looking at an extended absence, so Boris Diaw and Trey Lyles are in a timeshare for his minutes.

Fantasy News

  • Allonzo Trier
    PG, New York Knicks

    Allonzo Trier staying positive despite reduced role.

    As an undrafted rookie last season, Trier averaged 22.8 minutes across 64 games. This season has a much different outlook as he has appeared in less than half the team's games so far at only 12.0 minutes. Interim coach Mike Miller praised Trier's professionalism this year, saying he is one the first ones in the gym every day as well as being focused and providing excitement on the bench, cheering on his teammates. Trier himself spoke about how he is trying to be the best teammate he can be, constantly trying to find holes in the defense to point out to his teammates Mitch Robinson and Marcus Morris and his team-first, continue to work hard every day attitude is a great sign that he will be ready when his number is called. He can be ignored for fantasy purposes in the meantime.

    Source: SNY

  • Jeff Teague
    PG, Atlanta Hawks

    Coach Lloyd Pierce said he expects new acquisitions Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to be available on Saturday versus Pistons.

    Teague was looking like a solid drop candidate as a backup for the Wolves lately with his minutes down. That is unlikely to change with the Hawks as they are set with Kevin Huerter and Trae Young as big-minute starters but maybe you'd like to wait a game or two to make sure. Teague has maintained late-round value thanks to his early-season production mostly due to assists and free-throw percentage although his steals rate is down significantly from prior seasons. He would likely need an injury in front of him to get back on the standard league map.

    Source: Sarah K. Spencer on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Luka Doncic was sublime in Friday's 120-112 win over the Blazers, dropping 35 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, a steal and eight 3-pointers.

    Doncic had an answer for everything that the Blazers threw at him and even responded to some signature stretches out of Damian Lillard that put the game back in the balance. He did go 5-of-8 at the free throw line and has shot just .681 on his freebies over the last two weeks but we're hoping that will correct given the much larger sample of great shooting from earlier in the year. It's a joy to watch him play.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.
    SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Tim Hardaway Jr. was feeling it on Friday night, helping the Mavs to a home win with 29 points, a steal and five 3-pointers.

    Hardaway goes on runs of big production but overall he's still outside the top-150 on the year. His poor shooting nights can ruin your week but THJ has started to level out to a certain extent, scoring in double digits in each of the last seven after a three-game absence. That sounds good, but only two of those games feature 20-plus, while four are games of 15 points or fewer. THJ is boom or bust and it's just a matter of getting on board at the right time.

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell had a mediocre game on Friday night, dropping eight points (3-of-6 FG), six rebounds and two assists against Hassan Whiteside and the Blazers.

    Powell has a nasty habit of posting uninspiring lines like this right after he gets people back on the bandwagon. Still, he's been an easy middle-round value over the last couple of weeks thanks to an insane .783 mark from the floor and is now up to top-150 value on the full season. It's been a disappointing year overall, but Powell is at least trending in the right direction.

  • Maxi Kleber
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Maxi Kleber logged 33 minutes on Friday night and was able to post 10 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two 3-pointers.

    Nothing too special, but it'll certainly play. Kleber's up to top-155/140 value on the full year and has been a top-90/75 player while starting for Kristaps Porzingis (knee) over the last two weeks. Keep him locked and loaded until KP returns.

  • Seth Curry
    SG, Dallas Mavericks

    Seth Curry put up 16 points off the bench in Friday's win over the Blazers, rounding out his night by going 6-of-14 from the field with four rebounds, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers.

    The Blazers are dropping like flies and probably miss Curry quite a bit. He's been up and down this season but his mix of threes and relatively sound efficiency, plus some timely hot streaks, have him sitting with top-200 value. The Dallas bench can be volatile from night to night and in this game it was Curry and Jalen Brunson (13 points, one steal, one 3-pointer) well ahead of Delon Wright (3-5-4 in 15 minutes). Wright remains the best fantasy option of the bunch even if he didn't show it tonight.

  • Mario Hezonja
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Mario Hezonja (back) returned from a two-game absence on Friday night and had seven points in 19 minutes.

    Hezonja has been in and out of the rotation, but could find himself looked to for scoring if CJ McCollum's ankle injury ends up being serious. Not-So-Super Mario is only a deep-league option these days, and not a good one at that.

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard played through an illness on Friday night and kept the Blazers in the game, scoring 34 points on 13-of-25 from the field while adding 10 assists, two steals and three 3-pointers.

    Lillard was a game-time decision tonight but this one would've been a blowout had he not been able to suit up. Portland's on the outside looking in on the playoff chase right now, and as long as that deficit is manageable we should see Lillard emptying the tank to get the Blazers back into the postseason.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside kept on rolling in Friday's loss, notching 21 points, 18 rebounds, five blocks and a 9-for-10 shooting line.

    Whiteside is stuck on automatic and figures to remain that way until Jusuf Nurkic returns. He's been a huge steal for fantasy GMs this season and while we'd bet on him slowing down over the last couple of months, you're free to ride this wave to its completion considering his ADP.