• It was a relatively quiet Thursday night, well not if you were at the scorer’s table at the Rockets-Jazz game and were probably treated to an earful from Rudy Gobert as he complained about his quick second foul.

    But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We’ll get to that game in a bit.

    Al the way with Horford

    The first game of the night was a systematic and steady dismantling of the Knicks by the Celtics 100-128. It was not an absolute slaughter, at least not immediately, as Tim Hardaway Jr. and, yes, Emmanuel Mudiay did their best to keep the game close in the first half. THJ had a Hardaway-esque line with 22 points, six treys and little else, while Mudiay – still struggled from the field with 5-of-15 shooting – finished with 17 points and six dimes. Enes Kanter started for the Knicks and dropped his perfunctory double-double with 14 & 11.

    The Celtics leaned on Kyrie Irving again in this one and he delivered with 22 points (three 3s) and eight dimes. Al Horford had a notably solid performance with 19 points and 12 rebounds with four blocks, that nicely yanked up his season averages. Jason Tatum did Jason Tatum things with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, five boards, three treys and two steals. It was a quiet night for Gordon Hayward who hardly exerted effort in his 25 minutes off the bench with eight points, six rebounds and four assists.

    Comforts of Holmes

    The Phoenix Suns raised a couple of eyebrows when it was reported that Richaun Holmes was getting the start over an available Deandre Ayton. Whether the move was to send the rookie a message or he was feeling under the weather, it did not get its desired result, with Holmes getting subbed out early in the first. Ayton ended up posting a decent line with 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 27 minutes. Holmes, despite his start, recorded just nine points, four rebounds and no defensive stats in 21 minutes.

    Beyond that starting center swap, there was nothing really extraordinary coming out of the Suns’ side of their 86-108 blowout loss to the Blazers.

    On the Blazers side, Jusuf Nurkic struggled with his shot going 4-for-12 from the field to finish with nine points but dominated on the glass with 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard did away with the Suns easily with his 25 points and full line. It was on him to deliver the goods with regular backcourt partner C.J. McCollum out with a sprained ankle. Scoring reinforcements came from an unexpected source. Jake Layman dropped a career-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds. While this is a rare outburst from Layman, he can possibly emerge as the third scoring option that the Blazers sorely need.

    One angry Frenchman

    The Rockets were a mess, individually and collectively. As a result, they lost, horribly, to the Jazz, 91-118. James Harden posted a season-low 15 points and Clint Capela uncharacteristically shot poorly from the field with 5-for-14 shooting.

    Rudy Gobert took his frustration out on some cups at the scorer’s table, which resulted in his ejection. It’s unclear whether the Stifle Tower will be slapped with a one-game suspension or a fine. Either way, expect him to be disciplined one way or another. In the wake of his absence, Derrick Favors stepped up and delivered his best offensive output of the season with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 10 rebounds, one steal and one block.  Smokin’ Joe Ingles played well in the win with 18 points, six boards, four triples, three dimes and two steals.

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Fantasy News

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant scored 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists and five turnovers in the Warriors' 113-93 loss to the Raptors on Wednesday.

    The offense tilted toward Durant's isolation game and the team played less defense than it should have, two issues that are tough to correlate but not surprising when it happens. Steph Curry hit just 3-of-12 shots for 10 points and a lower-end line, and Klay Thompson missed all five of his 3-pointers and finished with 14 points in the blowout loss.

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green hit just 1-of-5 shots for two points but was otherwise solid with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three blocks over 25 minutes in Wednesday's home loss to the Raptors.

    Green is right on track for preseason expectations the rest of the way as far as we're concerned, so there might be a little room to buy low before that's readily apparent.

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry scored 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting (including two threes) with five rebounds, 12 assists and three steals in Wednesday's blowout win over the Warriors.

    That's two in a row for Lowry and with Kawhi Leonard (hip) out he has been forced to hit the gas pedal, though that shouldn't be construed to suggest he can't be productive with Leonard on the floor. Serge Ibaka added 20 & 12 with a steal and two blocks, and Pascal Siakam added 13 points with three rebounds, three assists, one trey, two steals and one block in the win. Jonas Valanciunas' (thumb) potential absence will feed them even more minutes and touches.

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet started for injured Kawhi Leonard (hip) and scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting with two threes, three boards, two assists and three steals over 28 minutes in Wednesday's win over the Warriors.

    VanVleet is worth owning while Leonard is out and it won't hurt that Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) could miss some time and ease the frontcourt portion of the logjam.

  • Nemanja Bjelica - F - Sacramento Kings

    Nemanja Bjelica scored 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting (including four threes) with five rebounds, three assists and two blocks over 29 minutes in the Kings' 141-130 win over the Wolves on Wednesday.

    The score pumped up the entire box score but Bjelica is still sitting on top 75-100 value (9/8 cat) on the season and that's a guy that probably shouldn't have been dropped in too many leagues. He was, though, so hopefully you got in on the post-hype production.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein - C - Sacramento Kings

    Willie Cauley-Stein scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting (4-of-9 FTs) with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks in Wednesday's win over the Wolves.

    Cauley-Stein was intentionally fouled late in the fourth quarter after airballing a free throw and this isn't just a one-game thing. He has hit just 47.8 percent from the line this season and it's keeping him stuck in the late rounds for fantasy value. This probably gets on scouting reports and he'll have to prove he can make it or he's going to get an even bigger weight on his value, as well as less minutes.

  • Marvin Bagley III - F - Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley scored 17 points on 4-of-5 shooting (9-of-10 FTs) with 10 rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes off the bench on Wednesday against the Wolves.

    Bagley did not have a steal or block and he's not likely to hit that well from the free throw line. He struggled on defense, as well, but he's going to be getting anywhere from 22-30 mpg on most nights. He's well outside the top-150 in 24 mpg so far this season.

  • Yogi Ferrell - G - Sacramento Kings

    Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points off the bench in Wednesday's win over the Wolves, hitting 5-of-6 shots (including four threes) with two rebounds, six assists and one steal in 16 minutes.

    Ferrell looked great in this one and he adds a component to the fast break that the Kings really do need. He's not in the clear when it comes to Frank Mason, even if Dave Joerger said after the game that Ferrell is going to get a 10-game stretch in this role. If you're in a deep league where 14-18 mpg with the right guy can play, give him a look for the aforementioned stretch.

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic - G - Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points off the bench in Wednesday's win over the Wolves, hitting 9-of-15 shots (including two threes) with five rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes.

    Bogdanovic is bringing late-mid round value back when on the floor this season and he can climb up and over the top-75 hump with just a few more upticks. Aside from some lower-grade injury risk, he's going to be as consistent as it gets.

  • Robert Covington - F - Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (knee) scored 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting (1-of-2 3PTs, 4-of-5 FTs) with six rebounds and no steals or blocks in Wednesday's loss to the Kings.

    Covington's goose eggs on defense in a game with no defense being played stood out and he didn't look like he was at full strength. One has to hope that these aren't Thibs minutes and it'll be something we all monitor going forward.