• Thursday night’s games gave us some big stat lines, exciting game-winning shots, and fugly shooting from more than a few NBA stars.

    The night belonged to James Harden, who dropped a fat stat line on the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Rockets grabbed another win at their expense. The Beard went bonkers with 35 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, six treys and five steals. Epic!

    Lonzo Ball was his usual shot-missing self. Sigh. But at least he flirted with a triple-double. That was a pale consolation but a consolation nonetheless. Other rookies shined, with Justin Jackson exploding for a new career-high with 19 points. De’Aaron Fox now gets to add “made game-winning shot” to his basketball resumé.

    DeMarcus Cousins fumed from the bench and got T-ed up. He huffed and he puffed, then missed a ton of ill-advised threes and turned the ball over more than he should have. Emotional quotient was a stat he failed to score in last night and it was ugly in the box score.

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    Los Angeles Lakers 95 – Washington Wizards 111

    The Wizards cruised to an easy victory as the Lakers could not buy a bucket. The usual suspects, John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 45 points for the Wizards, while Otto “Mr. Efficient” Porter had a sweet 20-point, 11-rebound double-double performance. Marcin Gortat disappeared with eight points and five boards in 30 minutes.

    Lonzo Ball shot 3-of-12 from the field and 3-of-7 from the line. Awful. Sadly, this is becoming all too common with the promising rookie. He ended up with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Kyle Kuzma barely fared better with 4-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 shooting from the line. He finished with 13 points and nine boards.

    Brook Lopez had a serviceable line with 15 points, four rebounds, a steal and two blocks and even that was nothing to be too enthused about.

    New Orleans Pelicans 118 – Toronto Raptors 122

    This game was a close one. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan stepped up for the Raptors in the dying minutes. DeRozan scored eight of his 33 points in the last few minutes, while Lowry shook off a sluggish start to knock down some key 3-point shots down the stretch to lift the Raps above the soaring Pelicans. Lowry finished the game with 18 points, four treys, six rebounds and seven assists.

    Jonas Valanciunas was quiet on offense but made his presence felt in the paint with 13 rebounds to his name. He helped box out the Pelicans’ bigs, which is no easy task. Serge Ibaka had a great game for his fantasy owners with 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three triples and two blocks.

    Boogie Cousins let his frustration get the better of him in this one, something that has happened in the past. He did score 20 points and haul in 15 rebounds while filling up the stat sheet. The thing is, Cousins shot an awful 8-of-24 from the field, 2-of-6 from the line and committed seven turnovers, dampening the impact of his contributions in the counting categories.

    Anthony Davis also filled it up with 18 points, seven rebounds, a trey, two assists, two steals and two blocks. No injury news is always good news when it comes to Davis. Owners still need to keep their fingers, toes and eyes crossed that he doesn’t tweak, pull, or bang anything that’ll cause him to miss time.

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with a 34-point, 11-assist explosion. He started off hot and stayed hot for the rest of the game.

    Cleveland Cavaliers 113 – Houston Rockets 117 

    James Harden was so on fire, that whatever it is that he’s always cooking with his hand gesture got burned. His fantasy line of the night was too much for even LeBron James to overcome.

    James flirted with the wrong kind of triple-double with 33 points, seven assists and nine turnovers. That kind of thing means you’re going to lose the game. It was a good thing that Jeff Green surprised everyone with his 27-point outburst off the Cavs’ bench. He took on Harden but obviously got outgunned. Kevin Love was slowed down by some foul trouble and eventually fouled out after 29 minutes. He ended up with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

    Eric Gordon kept on cruising with another 20-point performance. He added 20 points, four threes and two steals for the game. Clint Capela came up big with a solid effort, scoring 19 points, pulling down 13 boards and getting four blocks.

    Philadelphia 76ers 108 – Sacramento Kings 109

    De’Aaron Fox was the hero of this chapter as he sank the key jumper that put the Kings ahead, 109-108 with a few seconds left on the clock. Joel Embiid had a chance to swing the score in favor of the Sixers but missed his shot. Fox won the real game but stabbed his fantasy owners in the neck with 4-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 shooting from the line. Give him time. Be patient. He’ll be running point as a starter for the Kings sooner rather than later.

    Z-Bo led all Kings in scoring with 20 points. Justin Jackson looked impressive in 30 minutes off the bench, notching a new career-high with 19 points. Jackson has now scored 16-plus points and hit two treys in back-to-back games.

    Ben Simmons had a solid game for the Sixers with 18 points, six assists and two steals. The Process recorded another double-double with 22 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Robert Covington stole the fantasy spotlight in this game as he rained down six threes on the Kings, en route to his 24 points, seven rebounds, one steal and two blocks.

    Oklahoma City Thunder 94 – Denver Nuggets 102

    Russell Westbrook fell flat and with him, so did the Thunder. Westbrook struggled mightily shooting just 6-of-22 from the field and 0-of-3 from the line. He ended the night with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Steven Adams also suffered a calf contusion in this game and will be re-evaluated later today. He scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked one shot.

    Paul George scored 13 points, got eight rebounds and swiped four steals in this game. He too struggled finding the basket with 6-of-14 shooting from the field. In the end, it would be Carmelo Anthony who would step up and fill the void left by his co-stars. He scored a team-high 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field. He also knocked down six triples and blocked two shots.

    Paul Millsap went beast mode on defense and was a rabid rim protector in this game. He scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists and swatted six shots.

    Nikola Jokic, did, well, “Nikola Jokic things” with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.

    Emmanuel Mudiay turned some heads as he outshined starter Jamal Murray, scoring 21 points (four treys), grabbing seven boards and handing out five dimes in 30 minutes off the bench. Murray remains the guard to own, but Mudiay is making waves and is a must-own guy in deep leagues at this point.


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