November 19, 2018, 3:39 am
Last week saw lots of explosive performances while being very strange from a scheduling standpoint with a team playing only one game (Pistons) while another squad played a full slate with five (Warriors). LeBron James finally beat the Heat in Miami, his first win since leaving the franchise in 2014 and Damian Lillard continued his season by logging his NBA-leading third 40-point game. On the flip side, both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson lost their three-point touch, with Durant hitting 3-of-21 treys during his five-game week while Thompson clunked 13-of-50 triples. The Warriors went 1-4 this week, only managing to beat the lowly Hawks. Maybe now we can stop arguing about whether Durant or Curry is more important to the Warriors’ success.
A big bad Bear beats a big bad Wolf
Marc Gasol had been an afterthought in many drafts this season, often falling to the turn of the third and fourth rounds. On Sunday the 33-year old showed off his dynamic game against the best young center in the league and emerged on top. Gasol’s 26-point, 13-board double-double produced his most tantalizing box score of the year with four triples, three blocks, two steals and three assists added in for good measure. Only his 6-of-10 shooting from the stripe prevented this from being his best fantasy performance of the season. Gasol’s effort was bolstered by Mike Conley and Jaren Jackson Jr. in the 100-87 victory over the Wolves. Jackson Jr. blocked three shots with 13 points and a triple while Conley scored 18 with eight assists and two triples. Kyle Anderson and Shelvin Mack managed to maintain value as well.
Gibson Cries Wolf
Taj Gibson continues to start but his time as a consistent contributor on your fantasy team is likely coming to an end. With Coach Tom Thibodeau refusing the play Gibson as a backup center to Karl-Anthony Towns up to this point it seems like Gibson and Dario Saric will have to split the power forward minutes evenly. This has led to Taj playing fewer minutes than Dario in the last two games and it seems like Dario might overtake Gibson as the starter as soon as next week. On Sunday Gibson only managed 19 minutes, five points and four boards while Saric scored 14 points with four triples, three boards and an assist in 29 minutes. We might see Thibs show some flexibility by removing Gorgui Dieng from the rotation completely while giving Gibson the 10 minutes he played on Sunday. That said Thibs has been frustrating with his rotations, only playing Derrick Rose across multiple positions on Sunday. Not to be forgotten, Karl-Anthony Towns was solid on Sunday, scoring 15 with 20 boards and a block on 6-of-10 shooting. It also seems like Thibs is happy with his new Jimmy Butler-lite in Robert Covington who logged 37 minutes on Sunday, trailing only Towns in minutes played.
Nurk-Alert! Wizards barely avoid being triple-dubbed
The Blazers haven’t had a player log a triple-double since Nicolas Batum left the team. On Sunday night, Jusuf Nurkic came close with 13 points, 14 boards and eight assists. Had the Wizards played better in the early portion of the game Nurkic would have likely reached the plateau but he ended up sitting for an extended period to start the fourth quarter as the Blazers nursed a lead. Only two other Blazers scored in double-figures on Sunday, with Damian Lillard leading the way with 40 points, three triples, six boards, five assists and a steal on 12-of-29 shooting. Lillard is leading the league in 40-point games with three on the season. He was on the injury report earlier in the week with a knee issue, which seems to be in the rearview mirror. C.J. McCollum was the other Blazer who delivered against the Wizards, hitting 9-of-16 shots for 25 points, three triples and seven boards. The rest of the Blazers were effective but didn’t jump off the box with Jake Layman, Zach Collins, Evan Turner, and Al-Farouq Aminu all delivering enough value if they were used as streamers in a 12-team league.
Dwight Howard might just be the only reason that Scott Brooks is still coaching the Wizards. The amazing thing is it’s his missed games that are helping keep Brooks in the coaching seat. Brooks has failed to help his players reach the next level year after year and 2018 has started off as bleak as it gets. The Wizards have now dropped two straight games and with Howard sitting out the second half of the matchup with the Blazers due to glute-soreness there could be a five-game losing streak on its way with the upcoming week featuring the Clippers, Raptors and Pelicans, three teams with imposing bigs. Some of the bright spots for the Wizards on Sunday were their guards and swingmen, with John Wall scoring 24 points with three triples and three blocks while Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 19 while filling the box with two triples, two blocks, a steal and four assists. Otto Porter had an okay game with 13 points and a triple while Bradley Beal scored a dozen points, pulled down four boards while swatting a shot and logging a swipe. If Brooks is fired look for Otto Porter to normalize his shooting and minutes, Brooks has been a drain on his value this season.
A Magician? A Unicorn? Nope, just a Vooch
Nikola Vucevic is a top-12 value through 17 games in 8-cat leagues after he barely missed logging his second triple-double of the season in the 131-117 drubbing of the Knicks on Sunday. Vooch delivered a gem with 28 points, 10 boards, nine assists, two triples and two blocks on 10-of-15 shooting, he also hit all six freebies. Currently, the Magic are playoff bound in the East, settling into the seventh seed currently. With teams like Brooklyn, Miami, and Washington on the outside looking in, it’s very possible that the Magic might actually make the postseason. This realization might hurt Mo Bamba this year as both Vucevic and Aaron Gordon are ahead of him in the rotation and both should log over 30 minutes a game. On Sunday the Magic delivered a team-wide performance, with six players scoring in double figures. Gordon led the team with 31 points while Evan Fournier and Jonathan Isaac both scored in the teens while filling up the box. Orlando’s top-6 was rounded out by D.J. Augustin who scored 12 points with seven assists while Terrence Ross stayed relevant off the bench with 10 points and two triples.
Timmy Treys 30 & Trey Burke’s 30
If you played basketball for the Knicks on Sunday and your first name starts with a “T,” you scored at least 31 points. Trey Burke continued his resurgence into relevance with 31 points in 29 minutes off the bench. He hit 11-of-20 shots and added two steals and two assists in a blowout loss that allowed him extra time as he got hot while the Knicks tried to mount a comeback. Tim Hardaway Jr. was the other top-performer on Sunday with 32 points on five triples, three steals and two assists. In an unfortunate turn, Michell Robinson only logged nine minutes but this was due to his foul trouble, he finished the game with five. Keep this in mind next time the Knicks matchup with a team that has a big-bodied center who enjoys posting up and scoring. To counter Robinson’s inefficiency Enes Kanter started the second half and finished the game with 21 points, 19 boards and a block on 8-of-16 shooting. It will be frustrating to own Kanter this season but he will continue to deliver value as long as he logs 24 minutes a night. Kanter is a top-70 value in 8-cat with upside to do more.
LeBron knucks off the buck in Miami
LeBron James has had a historic week by passing Wilt Chamberlin in scoring earlier in the week and possibly more important for him he got his first win in Miami since leaving the Heat in 2014. With the Lakers winning 113-97 the rotations were slightly off due to the constant double-digit lead that the Lakers maintained. LeBron recorded his first 50-point game as a Laker, with 51 points on 19-of-31 shooting and 6-of-8 from deep. He added eight boards, three assists, two steals and a block while finishing +20 while he was in the game. With Rajon Rondo out there’s been a Laker stepping up, surprisingly its been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who now has five straight games with double-digit scoring after delivering a season-high 19 with three triples, a steal and a block. In other news Lonzo Ball continued to struggle, scoring two points on Sunday after failing to score on Saturday against the Magic. The Lakers didn’t need much from Ball so don’t worry too much. Hopefully his shot returns soon, he’s shot under 23 percent this week. Kyle Kuzma added 15 points while Brandon Ingram scored 13 points with seven boards, the rest of the Lakers took a back seat to LeBron’s hot shooting.
Josh Richardson ejected in a shoe-throwing tantrum
I’ve never seen a player toss his shoe three times in a game. On Sunday that’s exactly what Josh Richardson did, with each toss increasing in force until the third effort landed in the crowd and Richardson landed in the locker room early. He finished the game with 17 points, six boards, a steal and a block. Check if he will have any further discipline before starting him next week, the Heat only play three times next week. Wayne Ellington drew the start with Goran Dragic missing the game after being labeled questionable heading into the game. Making the most of the opportunity, Ellington hit 7-of-14 shots to score a team-high 19 points with five triples and two boards. Ellington was joined by two more teammates who scored in the teens, Tyler Johnson and Rodney McGruder, who combined for 31 points, four triples, 13 boards and seven assists. Unfortunately, the rest of the roster struggled to deliver against LeBron’s imposing performance, although James Johnson did make his season debut with 15 minutes, eight points and two triples.
LaMarshmallow chews up Looney, Jones, Bell, emerges LaMonster
LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t always take advantage of a mismatch but he’s been incredibly solid against the Warriors. On Sunday he scored 24 points with 18 boards, two blocks and three assists while only attempting one triple. Draymond Green often struggles against LaMarcus. Tonight with him out, the Warriors were completely outclassed with the Spurs winning 104-92, after taking the lead in the first frame and holding it the entire game. DeMar DeRozan continued his progression as a savant in Gregg Popovich’s offense, he’s a top-20 option in 8-cat and he’s averaging a career high in assists. He finished the game with 20 points, nine assists and six boards. He failed to add any counting stats but that’s where Rudy Gay came into the box score with 19 points, three triples, three blocks and five boards.
What do you call a Warrior without a three ball? A loser
The Warriors went 1-4 while playing five times this week, they were missing Curry for all five games and Draymond was only able to play in two games. Despite the two All-Stars missing games, the Warriors still had plenty of talent with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant on the floor. All shooters go through slumps, right now Thompson and Durant are experiencing two of the worst slumps of their respective careers. Shooting a combined 16-of-71 from deep this week Durant and Thompson are shooting under 23 percent from deep. Even with these struggles, Durant scored 26 points on Sunday, with 10 boards, six assists, two steals and a block. Klay scored 25 points, with two boards, two assists and three made triples. Quinn Cook continued his impressive play with Curry out, scoring 16 points with eight boards, two assists, a steal and a triple on 7-of-12 shooting. The Warriors now get two games off as they come off a three-game road trip where they failed to capture a single win. All three games next week will be at home with the Thunder, Blazers and Kings visiting Oracle. Look for Draymond Green to be ready to return while Curry could be an option for the Kings game, as it’s unlikely that he’ll play in the back-to-back set with the Blazers.
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