December 7, 2018, 5:12 am
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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February 16, 2019, 11:50 pmHamidou Diallo - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Hamidou Diallo puts his stamp on the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest by beating Dennis Smith Jr., John Collins, and Miles Bridges.
Diallo arguably delivered one of the greatest performances in Slam Dunk Contest history by jumping over the seven-footer Shaquille O'Neal and throwing down a vicious elbow dunk. He left the crowd mesmerized and gave them a moment to remember in an otherwise lopsided contest. As incredible he might be tonight, fantasy owners shouldn't really give him a look unless they're in deep leagues.
February 16, 2019, 9:37 pmJoe Harris - G/F - Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris was scorching hot during the entirety of Saturday's 3-point shootout as he bested Stephen Curry with 26 made three-point shots in the final round.
Harris put an end to Curry's storybook ending of winning the 3-point contest in his hometown of Charlotte by besting him and Buddy Hield. It's no surprise that Harris was a dark-horse candidate entering the contest since he's been hot all season long from behind the arc, making 47 percent of his shots. In the past week, Harris has been rewarding his owners with top-20 value with averages of 22.7 points with 4.7 threes per game on 67.6% shooting. If you could sell high on him, now would be the perfect time.
February 16, 2019, 9:07 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the Taco Bell All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal in this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as an early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 8:45 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal on this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as a early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 4:24 pmHasheem Thabeet - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
Hasheem Thabeet worked out for the Rockets, Raptors and Pistons while the teams were in Charlotte for All-Star weekend.
Thabeet was the second overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Grizzlies and was quickly one of the biggest busts in NBA history. He was the highest overall pick to be sent to the then D-League until Anthony Bennett secured the top spot. Thabeet is somehow still only 31 years old, and 7'2" centers can certainly provide value in today's NBA, but it's unlikely Thabeet finds his way back into the league. He's currently playing in the Japanese B-League.
Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 4:04 pmDirk Nowitzki - F - Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki said he has not made any final decision on if this is his last season.
"I haven't said this will be it," Nowitzki said, "I'm going to wait and see the last couple of weeks, how my body feels and if I continue to see improvement and I'm still having fun, we'll see." While Dirk has been treating this season as a retirement tour, there's still a chance we see him playing next season.
Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 3:58 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) said he is unsure if he will play in the All-Star game on Sunday.
Davis said the plan is to play, but we will have to wait and see if he's feeling okay. He's certainly not worried about saving himself for the second-half of the season.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:26 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) says he is healthy and plans to play in Sunday's All-Star game.
Irving missed the Celtics' last two games but fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to miss any more with the current injury. Terry Rozier was a hot pickup when Irving initially went down but now goes back to being a handcuff. Irving has put up top-10 per-game value this year with no holes in his fantasy game but he has already missed 11 games. He has missed at least 10 games in seven of his eight NBA seasons so this is something fantasy owners should already be used to.
Source: Gary Washburn on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:22 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis said that the Celtics are on his list of preferred destinations.
Moreover, Davis added "they were never not on my list," though he also confirmed that the initial reports of his list including the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks were true. Initially it had been said that the Celtics are not a preferred landing spot, and Davis' dad would rather his son play elsewhere. It sounds like everything is on the table now that his push to end up on the Lakers has failed, as Davis also said "all 29 teams" (sorry New Orleans) are on his list. Get ready for more updates on AD's thoughts as the season rolls on.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 10:29 amNikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have agreed to extensions with president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and GM Arturas Karnisovas.
The Nuggets haven't reached the playoffs in the last five seasons but will surely end that streak this year. Their abundance of talent and depth currently has them in second place in the Western Conference although Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas have all been injured for much of the season. Their draft choices and player development over the years has been a big catalyst for this as one could look at Nikola Jokic and the breakout seasons of Jamal Murray, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, all of them having been with Denver since their first day in the NBA.
Source: Denver Post