• Paul George had himself a weekend, leading the Thunder to wins on Friday and Sunday, the latter game without teammates Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams.  There was more injury news this weekend as Rudy Gobert is set to miss 4-6 weeks with a bone bruise in his knee. Dereck Favors will see a boost in minutes and Thabo Sefolosha could be a help in steals.  D’Angelo Russell looks like he’ll be missing at least a few games as well with a knee injury, with Spencer Dinwiddie likely getting those minutes, although he’s nursing his own hamstring injury.  Kyrie Irving suffered a minor facial fracture and will be fitted for a mask but looks to only be missing one game, while Kawhi Leonard looks to be a few weeks away still.  It’s been that kind of season, and we’ll break down another Sunday below.


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    Raptors – 94 at Celtics – 95

    In all the years I’ve watched the Raptors I have the Celtics as their biggest rival.  They’ve had a ton of great regular season battles over the years and Sunday was another one, with Boston scoring 33 in the third and holding on for the one point win.  Kyrie Irving missed this game with a facial fracture and is DTD.  Al Horford did play in this one an led the way with 21 points while rookie Jason Tatum added to the balanced Celtic attack with 13 and seven.  Marcus Smart got the start in Irving’s absence and scored 14 with nine assists and Terry Rozier also saw an uptick in PT and responded with 16-6-3-1, while Jalen Brown picked up the scoring with 18 of his own.

    If the Raptors want to compete with Boston and Detroit (and Orlando?) at the top of the East, this was a game they had to win.  They squandered a golden opportunity to get a W over a Irving-less Boston team by getting nothing in the way of complimentary scoring.  DeMar DeRozan got his 24-3-4 and Kyle Lowry contributed 19 and seven dimes, but the other three starters combined for 14.  Jonas Valanciunas played just 18 minutes and scored six, Serge ibaka managed only eight and six and Norman Powell was held scoreless in seven minutes.  There’s not much fantasy value outside of the backcourt in Toronto until they figure out what to do about that frontcourt.  You have to keep the big men, but it’s hard to trust them and the SF spot can be avoided for now.


    Heat – 103 at Pistons – 112

    Detroit continues to look legit as they defended home court on the back of 25 and seven from Tobias Harris and 24 with six boards from Avery Bradley.  Andre Drummond has been struggling from the field lately and today managed just seven points but did pull down another 17 rebounds with four dimes and made 2-of-4 from the line. The shots will start falling in again.   Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith continue to be a good combo at the point with 17-4-4 for Jackson and 11-4-7 on 5-of-7 shooting for Smith who has been looking standard league relevant lately. Reggie Bullock got the start at the three but did nothing in 20 minutes so Luke Kennard came in for 27 minutes and went for 14-5-3 and could be worth a speculative add in deep leagues.

    Miami looks like they’re going to be a .500 team for most of the season and there’s fantasy goodness to be had.  Josh Richardson had a nice game with 15-5-4-1-1 with two 3-pointers and zero turnovers and this is why we said to be patient.  Hassan Whiteside got another double-double with 20-10 and a couple blocks while Goran Dragic added 18 and seven dimes and both players should return value right around where they were drafted.  Dion Waiters scored 18 and James Johnson had a quiet game with 10-3-2-1 but not as quiet as Kelly Olynyk and his 8-2 line in 16 minutes.  Olynyk Is still a hold for now, but should probably be benched for a more productive player in weekly formats.


    Rockets – 118 at Pacers – 95

    Houston is definitely legit and they kept on rolling with a win in Indiana. Victor Oladipo led the Pacers in scoring again with 28 and four boards but Myles Turner is going to have to do better than 13 and eight boards if Indiana wants to compete in the Central division.  Domantas Sabonis saw 23 minutes and scored 17 with five rebounds and two assists and keeps finding ways to be productive after Turner’s return.  Thaddeus Young went scoreless and the backcourt didn’t do any better with Bojan Bogdanovic scoring five and Darren Collison managing just 9-2-2.

    Clint Capela had a big game for Houston with 20 and 17 and is putting up top-tier fantasy center numbers this season.  Eric Gordon scored 20 points again and actually added two steals and a block and could be a good sell-high candidate when Chris Paul gets close to returning.  It was five 3-pointers that made up all Trevor Ariza’s scoring and he grabbed five boards and a couple steals.  James Harden couldn’t even get to 30 points and finished with 26 and 15 dimes with only five boards and two steals.  He’s good.


    Mavericks – 99 at Thunder – 112

    The Mavs continued to be bad and Harrison Barnes led the way with 22 and a season-high 13 rebounds, beating the record of 12 from the last game.  We wouldn’t expect the rebounding to suddenly become elite but even a small increase would make Barnes way more useful.  Dennis Smith Jr. scored 15 with 5 boards and three dimes while Yogi Ferrell played 34 minutes as a starter and scored 18.  He’s worth adding in mid-to-deep leagues if he’s going to see minutes this high.

    The Thunder have gotten off to just a 5-7 record, but they got a win tonight over a team they’re supposed to beat.  Steven Adams missed his second straight game and Carmelo Anthony was a late scratch, so Paul George stepped up with his second big scoring output in as many games.  He followed up his 42 in the last game with 37(in a row?), adding eight boards, five assists, two steals and seven 3-pointers this game and looks like he’s enjoying playing with Russell Westbrook just fine.   Westbrook didn’t get a triple-double but did go for 27-6-5-3 and Jerami Grant got 10-8-3-1 filling in for Melo in the starting five and has some value in deep leagues for his blocks.

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