• The All-Star hangover is over, and now it’s back to the grind for the final few weeks before the fantasy playoffs.  There were five games on Sunday, and I’ll break them down after a word from our sponser…

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    PISTONS – 98 AT HORNETS – 114

    The day started with the Detroit falling farther out of the playoff picture while at the same time giving the Charlotte a glimmer of hope.

    Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists on 10-of-18 from the floor and he’s maintained his value with his new team.

    Andre Drummond has maintained his value as well, racking up another double-double with 14 and 14. The most significant knock on his production has come in the assist department, as Griffin is handling more of the distribution.

    Reggie Bullock scored 14 points and added five dimes and three rebounds, and has solidified his role with the starters as their deep threat.

    Ish Smith went 6-of-11 from the floor for 13 points and added eight assists and a couple of steals, and should find a way to hold some value even after Reggie Jackson returns from injury.

    The Hornets spread the scoring around and had seven players hit double figures, led by Dwight Howard with 17 points and 12 boards. Unfortunately, he didn’t chip in any other stats.

    Kemba Walker also had 17 points, and he supplemented his line with six assists, one rebound, two 3-pointers and a block. He and Howard are the focal points of this team, and fantasy owners should be able to count on both down the stretch.

    Nicolas Batum rebounded from an 8-point game to put up 15 with nine assists, five rebounds, four 3-pointers, three steals and a block. He’s been inconsistent this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect.

    Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller had good games off the bench, each chipping in 13 points to the Hornets win, although neither is productive on a regular basis.

    Jeremy Lamb played 21 minutes and scored 11 points with five assists and three triples while Michael Carter-Williams contributed 10 points, six dimes, three rebounds, three steals and one block.

    PELICANS-123 AT BUCKS – 121

    New Orleans needed overtime to get the win in Milwaukee, and they got a massive game from Jrue Holiday, who went 16-of-31 from the floor and nearly triple-doubled with 36 points, nine rebounds, six dimes, a steal and a block.

    Anthony Davis scored 27 with 13 rebounds and added one assist, two steals and two blocks and as long as he stays on the court will be in the conversation for fantasy MVP come season’s end.

    Rajon Rondo flirted with a TD himself but ultimately came up two boards shy and finished with 16-12-8-2 on 7-of-11 from the floor. He’ll have games like this one, but he’s too inconsistent to be counted on outside of deep leagues.

    E’Twaun Moore scored 11 with three rebounds and two steals, but he too only has value in the deepest of leagues, while Emeka Okafor got another start at the five but only managed two points in 16 minutes.

    Nikola Mirotic played 37 minutes off the bench and put up 14 points on 5-of-15 with six boards, one assist, one steal and four blocks. It looks like he’s going to be coming off the bench for the foreseeable future but is going to get plenty of minutes.

    Milwaukee had three players hit the 20-point mark, with Middleton scoring a team-high 25 on 8-of-16 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the line with five rebounds, three assists and a steal.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 20 with six dimes, four rebounds and two steals on 6-of-18 from the floor and hit 8-of-10 from the line. He’s going to continue to put up top-tier fantasy numbers the rest of the way.

    Eric Bledsoe had a near double-double with 20 points, nine boards, five assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. He’s looking more and more like the top-25 player he was when at his best in Phoenix.

    John Henson had a solid 12 and seven game with two blocks while Jabari Parker scored 18 with six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 24 minutes off the bench. He’s still working his way back from injury but could rejoin the starting lineup sometime next month.

    SPURS-110 AT CAVS – 94

    San Antonio came out strong in the second half and outscored Cleveland 34-20 in the fourth to ice the win on the road.

    LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs once again with 27 points, six rebounds, three assists and a block on 9-of-20 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the line. Look for the stats to keep on coming as LA tries to lead the Spurs to the promised land.

    Danny Green came off the bench for 22 points on 6-of-11 with 5-of-9 coming from long-range while Bryn Forbes chipped in 12 points in his 20 bench minutes.

    Dejounte Murray had an all-around game with 13 points, nine boards, five dimes, four steals and three blocks and he should continue to develop as he gets more comfortable running the Spurs offense.

    Patty Mills started at shooting guard and finished with 11 points, five assists, two rebounds and a steal while Pau Gasol scored 10 with seven rebounds and three assists.

    Kyle Anderson continued to rack up the defensive stats with three blocks and two steals to go with his 10 points, six rebounds and four assists and should be picked up in most leagues for his defense alone.

    Cleveland’s supporting cast was invisible in this one, and LeBron James was the only starter to score more than six points. He finished the game going 14-of-25 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line for 33 points with 13 rebounds and nine assists.

    He’s going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting as the Cavs battle for playoff position so the fantasy numbers should continue to roll in.

    Jordan Clarkson had the second highest point total with 17 on 7-of-14 shooting with two rebounds and three triples in 23 minutes off the bench.

    Jeff Green came off the bench for 21 minutes and scored 14 with two rebounds, one assist and one steal while Rodney Hood struggled in his 28 bench minutes and only managed six points on 2-of-6.

    The four Cavs starters not named LBJ combined for 14 points and will have to do much better if they want to advance in the playoffs.

    SIXERS – 94 AT WIZARDS – 109

    The Sixers lost in the nations’ capital as Bradley Beal continued to step up in John Wall‘s absence and put in 24 points with eight assists, five boards, one steal and seven turnovers on 9-of-14 shooting.

    Otto Porter scored 23 of his own and added two steals, three assists, seven boards and three 3-pointers on 10-of-16 from the floor. He’s been every bit the player we thought he would be and should continue to benefit from Wall’s absence as well.

    Marcin Gortat double-doubled with 13 and 10 and added a couple of assists and a block while Markieff Morris shot just 3-of-6 and finished with eight points.

    Tomas Satoransky didn’t shoot much and made just 2-of-3, but that’s because he was busy handing out 10 dimes and grabbing seven boards.

    Kelly Oubre had his best game in a month and finished with 19 points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks in 32 minutes off the bench. He gets starter’s minutes but unfortunately doesn’t do much with them.

    The Philly starters also didn’t do much with their minutes, except for Joel Embiid who scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-20 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the line with 12 rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers, two steals and one block.

    Ben Simmons was decent and he scored 16 with eight dimes, one steal and a block on 6-of-12 and 4-of-6 from the line but J.J. Redick made just 2-of-10 from the floor and finished with only six points and four assists.

    Dario Saric shot 5-of-17 from the floor and 1-of-2 from the line for 13 points with two 3-pointers, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal and continued his solid play as a compliment to the superstars.

    Robert Covington was terrible again, going 2-of-7 from the floor for nine points with two rebounds, two steals and an assist and this writer still has no idea what people see in him.

    The bench didn’t get involved much as Marco Belinelli scored 10 in 27 minutes and Richaun Holmes saw just 12 minutes and finished with seven points and a couple of boards.

    ROCKETS – 119 AT NUGGETS – 114

    Houston withstood a fourth-quarter surge in Denver to hang on for the victory, thanks to a solid game from Trevor Ariza who hit 3-of-3 from deep and finished with 14 points, six rebounds and a steal in his second game back from injury.

    Chris Paul finished the game with 23 points, five boards, six dimes, two steals and two 3-pointers on 6-of-14 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the line.

    James Harden went ballistic again and had the high-score of the night with 41 points and tacked on eight boards, seven dimes and one steal on 11-of-20 from the field and 13-of-16 from the line. Hot take: he’s pretty good.

    Clint Capela struggled in this one as he only managed six points with seven boards and two blocks on 3-of-6. We’ll call it the Jokic effect.

    Speaking of the Joker, Nikola Jokic just missed another triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block on 7-of-18 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the line.

    Gary Harris struggled mightily in this one and made just 2-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-5 from the line to finish with six points, two boards, two assists, a block and five steals, but he’ll be fine.

    Jamal Murray scored 19 with three triples, five dimes and two rebounds on 8-of-13 while Will Barton scored a team-high 25 on 10-of-15 with seven boards, six assists and three steals.

    Wilson Chandler scored 10 on 5-of-10 from the floor and added three rebounds and three assists, and Trey Lyles played 23 minutes off the bench and contributed 12 points with four rebounds and four assists.


    That’ll wrap up another week in the NBA.  Thanks as always for reading and I’ll catch you next week.

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