October 22, 2017, 10:00 pm
Back in 1997, super producer Timbaland and his partner in crime Magoo dropped their first single, “Up Jumps Da Boogie.” It featured Tim’s own Super Team-mates Missy Elliott and Aaliyah. Unfortunately Aaliyah died in 2001, or she would’ve been right beside Missy and Tim who went on to dominate Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop music for the better part of the next 15 years, dropping smash solo albums while Timbo made beats for everyone from Jay-Z to Bjork and produced entire albums for Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake.
Fast forward 20 years, to where DeMarcus Cousins and HIS partner in crime, Anthony Davis, are one of a handful of Super Teams that are taking over the NBA. The league has stratified into the teams that have two, three or in some cases four elite players, and then everyone else. On a light Sunday card we had a trio of games that featured two Super Teams facing off, one Super Team having a practice game against one of the not-so-super teams, and a couple of the teams that are just a showdown of the downtrodden.
We’ll break down all three games below, headlined by Boogie and The Brow in Hollywood, as well as hit on some quick news headlines, but first a brief word from The Architect:
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QUICK NEWS AND NOTES:
Unfortunately, this weekend brought us a few more injures to key players. Jonas Valanciunas, Milos Teodosic and Dennis Schroder all left their games with injuries. It appears that the Teodosic injury is the worst if the three, as he was seen in a walking boot after the game. Valanciunas is game-to-game and at the time of this writing the severity of Schroeder’s injury is unknown.
Coach Earl Watson was fired as bench boss of the Suns and he’ll be replaced in the interim by former Raptors head coach and Canadian native Jay Triano. The news broke just minutes after a tweet from Eric Bledsoe came through reading simply “I don’t wanna be here”.
Hawks 104 at Nets 116
The first game of the day featured two teams many expect to be at the bottom of their respective divisions.
Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder was having himself a nice game, posting 17 and eight dimes before leaving with the ankle injury. Kent Bazemore had 16, with half coming from the line as he still isn’t shooting particularly well. Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon had quiet games, scoring nine and seven points respectively, but their starting spots are secure. Marco Belinelli had 19 off the bench and has now alternated good and bad scoring games. Rookie John Collins had his best game as a pro, scoring 14 with 13 boards and a block off the bench. He’ll supplant Ersan Ilyasova, who had nine points with seven boards, soon enough.
On the Brooklyn side, D’Angelo Russell defended his new home court with a 16-10 double-double with seven boards. The kid is pretty good. Another new Net, DeMarre Carroll, chipped in 17-3-2-2-2 and looks like he’s happy to be back in the US. Allen Crabbe, yet another new Brooklyn resident, dropped 20 to go with Trevor Booker’s 14 off the bench. Finally, Caris LeVert rounded out a solid team effort by scoring 16 with three steals and looks ready to fill in for Jeremy Lin, whose season was cut short by a knee injury. This new look Nets team won’t be good, but maybe they won’t be as terrible as we all thought.
Then again, this game was against the Hawks.
Wolves 115 at Thunder 113
In sharp contrast to the first game, the middle game of the day featured the first of four meetings between two teams that could win the Midwest division. This marquee match didn’t disappoint as it went down to the wire with Hoodie Melo nailing a 3-pointer with four seconds left only to be outdone by Andrew Wiggins, who nailed a buzzer beater to seal the road win.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for Minnesota with 27 and 12. He’s as sure a top tier fantasy asset as there is. Jimmy Butler, who’s still getting acclimated to his new team, got 15-6-6 and should get better as the season progresses. Wiggins had a good night himself and finished tied with KAT in points, and actually contributed in other categories, pulling down seven boards to go with four dimes and a couple steals. Jeff Teague orchestrated the offense with nine assists to go with his 19 points. Taj Gibson joined the other starters in double figures with a 13 and 10 double-double and looks to be solidified in the first unit.
Oklahoma City was led in a losing effort by Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, who combined for 54 points. Westbrook added 10 assists and Melo added four steals. Paul George‘s shot wasn’t falling, so he played facilitator with eight assists and was aggressive on defense with four steals. Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton both had 12 points off the Thunder bench, but neither is fantasy relevant outside of the deepest of leagues. Finally, one of this writer’s favorite sleepers heading into the season, Steven Adams, had a huge first half and finished the night with 17 and 13 and added three dimes, two blocks and a steal to round out his line.
Pelicans 119 at Lakers 112
The prime-time game saw the Pelicans heading to So Cal in search of their first victory. This started out as expected, with the Twin Towers 2.0 having their way with the Lakers front court. L.A. did battle back to take the lead in the fourth but came up short in the end.
New Orleans superstar Boogie Cousins continued his torrid start to the season with 22-11-8 and a couple of blocks, making his case to move up the rankings to early first round value, especially in points leagues. Davis is no one’s sidekick though, as he led all scorers and stuffed the stat sheet with 27-17-3-4-3 and is a lock for top-tier value as long as he stays on the court. Jrue Holiday contributed 14 points with five boards and six assists, while E’Twaun Moore was the third highest scorer on the team with 19 and could have some deep league value until Rajon Rondo returns. Ian Clark led the bench with 14 and newest Pelican Jameer Nelson played 24 minutes and scored five points with five dimes, but both aren’t really fantasy relevant outside of maybe 30 man leagues.
The star of the show on the L.A. side was Jordan Clarkson, who exploded off the bench for 24 points and five assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the starters with 20 points and is settling in as a go-to scorer. Brook Lopez struggled against the N.O. front line and only managed seven points with six boards. Rookie Lonzo Ball struggled with his shot again shooting 3-of-13 and to make matters worse turned the ball over five times, but salvaged his night with 13 dimes and eight boards. Fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma added 20-6-2-1 and should be scooped up if he’s available in your league, while Julius Randle chipped in 11 of his own as the Lakers’ bench was the only reason they were in this game at all.
It was a hell of an end to a hell of a first week, and there’s a lot more basketball to come.
February 21, 2019, 10:42 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in their 98-97 win on Thursday against the Celtics with 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting while adding 13 rebounds, six assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer.
Antetokuonmpo started off the game slow and neither team could buy a bucket in the first quarter, but he was able to finish the game strong and lead his team to another win. While other players are tearing up the box scores in streaks, the Freak has consistently carried the Bucks to the best record in the league with averages of 27.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks on .581 shooting. If we're going by the best player on the best team then Antetokounmpo is without a doubt the MVP.
February 21, 2019, 10:41 pmMalcolm Brogdon - G - Milwaukee Bucks
Malcolm Brogdon continued chugging along with 15 points, six boards and four assists against the Celtics on Thursday.
Brogdon is consistent and consistently good for fantasy owners. His workman-like numbers night in and night out have put him on the fringes of the top-50 which was not really in the picture at the start of the year. Keep him in your lineups. This should be a smooth ride.
February 21, 2019, 10:38 pmNikola Mirotic - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Nikola Mirotic made his Bucks debut on Thursday and scored eight points on 3-of-7 shooting with two 3-pointers and three rebounds.
Mirotic only logged 14 minutes and it was his first game in action with a new team after missing the prior 11 contests. He's still a bit rusty and needs to get his conditioning back to speed, but the fact that he launched six shots from deep is great and the fit is perfect for him to continue his mid-round value. If there's a panicking owner you can sneak a buy-low and reap the rewards come playoff time.
February 21, 2019, 10:37 pmKhris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton scored 15 points (5-of-14 shooting) and pulled down 13 boards as the Bucks beat the Celtics on Thursday night.
It wasn't an efficient night for Middleton, who also turned the ball over five times. He has stretches of brilliance where he approaches top-20 value, but this Bucks roster is deep and talented, meaning Middleton just doesn't have to be incredibly good every night.
February 21, 2019, 10:36 pmBrook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks
Brook Lopez scored 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting while adding eight rebounds, an assist, two blocks and two 3-pointers on Thursday.
Lopez does not care what the matchup is and will continue to launch from deep. Al Horford was able to keep up with him on the perimeter which is what limited him to 2-for-7 shooting from range, but the blocks and boards were still there.
February 21, 2019, 10:34 pmAl Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics
Al Horford dropped a monstrous 21-17-5 line to go with three blocks, two steals and two 3-pointers on Thursday against the Bucks.
Big Al is as consistent as they come and he upped his production tonight against a stingy Bucks defense. Tonight's line was an all-around gem and after several consistent lines you'll get an eruption like this from Horford. He might seem like a boring player to own in fantasy, but nights like this remind you otherwise. Horford is the engine that keeps the Celtics running and always turns it up against elite competition.
February 21, 2019, 10:32 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points on 9-of-27 shooting with five assists, a rebound, four 3-pointers, two steals and two blocks on Thursday.
Irving hadn't topped 20 points since the game against the Lakers on February 7th which was a bit concerning considering he was dealing with a knee strain prior to the All-Star Break but he finally broke through tonight. He missed a tough floater at the end which would have won the game and there definitely could have been a foul called, but overall he'd rather forget tonight.
February 21, 2019, 10:31 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum scored 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting with a 3-pointer, 10 rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block on Thursday.
It was a solid line for Tatum, who started off the game slow, and it doesn't really matter whether or not Gordon Hayward plays as Tatum's value remains constant. He's a low ceiling and high floor type of player who delivers on a consistent basis.
February 21, 2019, 10:12 pmHassan Whiteside - C - Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside struggled again in Thursday's 106-102 loss to the Sixers, with four points, five rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes.
Whiteside is an annoying player to own in fantasy. The rebounds and blocks make him a must-own player, but he just isn't an exciting name when silent games like this become too frequent.
February 21, 2019, 10:08 pmDion Waiters - G - Miami Heat
Dion Waiters scored 18 points on Thursday and added five rebounds and three steals.
This is another good outing for Waiters, who has struggled with injuries this season. If he can stay healthy, there's a good chance he can have real deep-league appeal as a volume scorer.