October 27, 2017, 11:57 pm
It was a fairly quiet day in the NBA on Friday, with most teams dormant on the news wire aside from relatively minor injury updates. The biggest impact of the day came for Minnesota, who responded after two ugly losses sans Jimmy Butler with another big win over the Thunder. We’ll get to tonight’s marquee game in a bit.
Out East: Hassan Whiteside was ruled out of Saturday’s game. Look for more of Bam Adebayo, who started at center in Miami’s last game… The Cavs will retool their starting five again, plugging Tristan Thompson back in at center while Jae Crowder moves to the bench. Not a great sign for someone who has already struggled to produce for fantasy owners, but he’s still a hold for now… Nikola Mirotic would prefer a trade from the Bulls, in one of the least surprising stories of the season so far. Something’s got to give between him and Bobby Portis here, so we’ll see who the Bulls end up choosing. Kris Dunn may make his season debut tomorrow… Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to sell a 49 percent share of the Nets to Joseph Tsai of Alibaba fame… Richaun Holmes was cleared to return to limited practice and will be reevaluated next week. The Sixers are also looking for a trade partner (again) for Jahlil Okafor, who is officially out of the rotation.
Out West: Meyers Leonard will miss 4-6 weeks with a nasty ankle sprain… Marquese Chriss got in a limited session at practice and could play on Saturday. The Suns are rumored to be going small if he sits, rather than turn to Dragan Bender… Anthony Davis is questionable for Saturday. If he sits, look for DeMarcus Cousins to devour the opposition yet again… Tony Parker is still targeting a late-November return but would be willing to return as a backup point guard.
Spurs 87 @ Magic 114
The Spurs had duds across the board in this one as they got rolled by Orlando. Danny Green was 1-of-6 from the field with five turnovers, Rudy Gay finished with just two points and Manu Ginobili shot 1-of-9. At least Gay was able to produce something of note with seven rebounds, four dimes and four blocks. On the positive side, Dejounte Murray picked up seven points, four dimes, four rebounds and two assists while Pau Gasol double-doubled with 12 points and 11 boards. As expected, LaMarcus Aldridge continued to run the show on offense and racked up 24 points, 11 rebounds, a 3-pointer and a block while shooting 9-of-14. He can be counted on for top-50 numbers while Kawhi Leonard is out, so keep riding that wave.
The Magic have been a very underrated story so far this season and sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 record after picking up a huge blowout win over a very tough opponent. The fact that they had this one in hand early meant the minutes were out of whack, with Nikola Vucevic (15 points, three triples, two blocks, 23 minutes) and Aaron Gordon (16 points, six boards, two threes, one block, 26 minutes) hurt most by their early nights. Evan Fournier thrived on the other hand, shooting 10-of-12 in 27 minutes to post 25 points, four triples and five rebounds. D.J. Augustin had a serviceable low-end line in another start and should continue producing while Elfrid Payton is out. Watch out for the depth chart here, as Terrence Ross notched two points in 24 minutes while Jonathon Simmons scored 17 points in 23 minutes off the pine. Ross is a drop candidate, depending who’s on your wire.
Rockets 109 @ Hornets 93
No CP3, no problem. The Rockets have last year’s offense to fall back on and James Harden unsurprisingly crushed it with another triple-double. 27 points, 10 boards, 11 dimes and four threes in another ho-hum night for The Beard. Eric Gordon stayed hot with 26 points and six triples of his own while Ryan Anderson canned a half dozen himself on the way to 21 points. Houston went with an 8-man rotation tonight, so guys like P.J. Tucker (37 minutes, nine points, 13 boards, three triples) and Luc Mbah a Moute (40 minutes, eight points, 12 boards, two threes, two steals, three blocks) got some extra run. Tucker is the preferred add of the two but both are on the deep league radar while Trevor Ariza is out. Clint Capela posted a stinker with seven points, six rebounds and five fouls in just 17 minutes but he’ll be fine going forward.
He racked up those fouls trying to stop Dwight Howard, who continues to toy with opposing rebounders. It was another big double-double for Howard, who finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and an unsightly 5-of-15 mark from the free throw line. You knew what the deal would be with him. Kemba Walker scored 26 with four triples while Jeremy Lamb dropped in 20 of his own on 8-of-16 shooting, adding five cash counters just because he cares. It wasn’t pretty elsewhere, with Marvin Williams scoring three points in 26 minutes, Frank Kaminsky shooting 3-of-11 and Malik Monk shooting 3-of-9. Charlotte’s big names are fine but the rest of the squad will send you on a bumpy ride.
Nuggets 105 @ Hawks 100
Paul Millsap authored no revenge game tonight, finishing with a modest 16 points, six rebound, two steal and one block performance. The Nuggets are still fitting the pieces together but The Sapper remains a safe top-50 guy. The heavy lifting fell to Nikola Jokic tonight, who dropped 18 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and a steal in 33 minutes. He’s rebounded quite nicely from that scoreless outing. The Joker said that the only people who care about his stats in victories were fantasy owners – he may not be wrong, but we’ll also accept his apology in the form of his last two box scores. Gary Harris and Will Barton each chipped in 18 points while Emmanuel Mudiay picked up 16-4-4. He’s making a case for more minutes as Jamal Murray continues to struggle. The Blue Arrow was 3-of-12 in 20 minutes in Atlanta and now has shooting numbers that are too ugly to post here. If this was a merit-based situation, the depth chart would be flipped. Hold Murray, but watch out for that and know that Mudiay might be worth a speculative add in the meantime.
The Hawks were led by Hoop Ball Six chairman and CEO Taurean Prince, who delivered 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a trio of treys. Buckle up. Dennis Schroder scored 20 points in his return from an ankle injury, adding six assists and committing zero turnovers in 33 minutes. If he can keep cutting the turnovers down it’ll be huge for his 9-cat value. He’s already got top-50 upside in 8-cat formats. Dewayne Dedmon double-doubled with a three and a block while Marco Belinelli stayed hot with 15 points and five treys off the bench, but the rest of the Hawks were underwhelming. Ersan Ilyasova and Kent Bazemore each scored seven while rookie hotness John Collins shot just 2-of-11 in 14 minutes. The touches are there at least, so he’s still worth a speculative add in standards to see if he can get back on track in the next one.
Nets 86 @ Knicks 107
The Nets were riding high after upsetting the Cavs in their last game but fell flat in this one. Kenny Atkinson tried a bunch of stuff to get things going, and it resulted in the Nets using 13 players with nobody logging more than 27 minutes. The high man tonight? Joe Harris. D’Angelo Russell was alright with 15 points and six assists in 18 minutes while Spencer Dinwiddie dished out 11 assists in 22 minutes of his own. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll and Caris LeVert all fizzled in a plus matchup, combining to shoot 5-of-21 with 19 points. Allen Crabbe was somehow worse, finishing with zero points and only two field goal attempts in 20 minutes. It’s been a very troublesome start to his Brooklyn tenure, and he’s a drop candidate at this point. He still has great upside and could kick into gear at any time however, so be mindful of that if you cut him loose. Flush this one from the usually fantasy-friendly Nets.
The Knicks got their first win thanks to another 30-point outing from Kristaps Porzingis. He’s flourishing as a true primary option and shot 13-of-24 tonight while adding nine rebounds and three swats. It’s going to be a top-20 year, guys. Jarrett Jack came through the time warp to make the start at point guard and finished with a neat little 8-7-5 line in 26 minutes, putting him on the deep league radar. Frank Ntilikina returned from his ankle sprain and picked up nine points, five dimes, a steal and a triple in 23 minutes while Ramon Sessions was a DNP-CD. Cut that cord unless you’re in a deep league. In the frontcourt, Kyle O’Quinn picked up 12 rebounds, a steal and a block in 18 minutes while Willy Hernangomez posted four points, four boards and two steals in 13 minutes that didn’t all come in garbage time. Enes Kanter picked up 12 and six with two blocks in just 16 minutes in another start. Hernangomez has to play more, and the Knicks seem to be figuring that out slowly but surely. Keep holding on there.
Thunder 116 @ Timberwolves 119
Jimmy Butler cures all of what ails Minnesota, clearly. The Wolves played an ugly pair against Indiana and Detroit but rebounded to pick up their second win over the Thunder, thanks in no small part to the return of a still-ill James. G Buckets. He posted 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists while hitting 7-of-10 from the floor and 11-of-13 from the charity stripe. His lack of freebies in the early going was never a real concern, but it’s still nice to see him get back to the usual tonight. Karl-Anthony Towns got cooking, finishing with 33 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks in what’s sure to be one of many eye-popping lines in a top-5 fantasy campaign. Jeff Teague double-doubled with 17 and 10 while Andrew Wiggins chipped in three triples, two steals and two blocks to make up for a quiet 14 points. On the bench, Gorgui Dieng played just 12 minutes with six points and two rebounds. Let the man play, Thibs. We’re begging you.
OKC got big lines from a number of players tonight but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Wolves. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points with a 1-1-1 in the cash counters while Paul George posted a versatile line of 23 points, five boards, four assists, two steals, a block and three triples. Russell Westbrook was up to his old tricks as well with 27-8-9, two steals and eight turnovers. Those might come down this year but that obviously wasn’t the case tonight. Steven Adams also had a nice night, shooting 8-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line en route to 20 points, eight rebounds and a block. He’s not an offensive force but is a strong middle-round fantasy play. Further down the roster, Andre Roberson played just 10 minutes, allowing Jerami Grant to shake loose for a steal and three blocks in 27 minutes while Patrick Patterson played a season-high 19 minutes.
Raptors 101 @ Lakers 92
The Raptors came back from a 17 point deficit in the first half, finishing with a relatively smooth victory in the middle of their West coast road trip. DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 24, adding five boards, five assists and three steals while Kyle Lowry fought through another tough shooting night to post a 10-10-12 triple-double, adding three triples and two steals for good measure. Serge Ibaka had a solid 18 points and eight rebounds but didn’t do anything else (seriously). Norman Powell continued to struggle and was benched for C.J. Miles down the stretch, while Toronto’s young guns continued to impress. Jakob Poeltl delivered seven points, seven boards and two blocks while Pascal Siakam shot 8-of-10 to end with 18 points, five boards, a 3-pointer and two steals. He got a few easy buckets by running past the Lakers for wide open layups and both of those young bigs will maintain deep league value as long as Jonas Valanciunas is sidelined. Both have passed Bebe Nogueira at this point, and they should stick as bigger parts of the rotation even after JV returns.
As you might’ve guessed from the Siakam note, the Lakers got really sloppy once their lead ballooned to 17 in the second quarter. The Raptors quickly capitalized on turnovers and bad shots to cut the deficit to six by the half, and you never got the sense that L.A. could hold off what would be coming in the second half. Lonzo Ball shot 2-of-7 and finished with five points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in 31 minutes while Brook Lopez disappeared after a strong start, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks in just 24 minutes. His workload is worth monitoring, as the Lakers have kept his minutes low in three straight now. The rest of the starters didn’t do much, though Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle were effective off the bench. Possibly the two best Lakers tonight, Kuzma picked up a 15 and 10 double-double while Randle notched 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block on 6-of-8 shooting. He’s worth picking up if an impatient owner already cut ties, and hopefully this is the start of a turnaround for him. Both of that pair should be owned in standard leagues right now.
Wizards @ Warriors
The Warriors came back from another deficit at home and seem hell bent on reversing fortunes from their opening night choke job against Houston. Both Toronto and Washington have held leads only to crumble under the sheer talent that the Warriors possess. Draymond Green was ejected for a tiff with Bradley Beal before halftime, burning anyone who rolled with either in DFS. The Splash Brothers combined for 38 points and five triples while David West rose from the grave to score 16 on 8-of-9 shooting. Kevon Looney also took advantage of joining the active roster, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds and a block in 12 minutes. Kevin Durant did Kevin Durant things with 31 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four triples, a steal and two blocks on 9-of-20 shooting. Good luck, everyone.
The Wiz got some huge performances but couldn’t put this one away, even missing a chance to tie things up on the final possession. That’s two close losses on this road trip now so watch out for them to come out angry in the next one. John Wall had a big double-double with 20 points and 14 assists while Kelly Oubre stepped up with 19 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks and four triples in 39 minutes. He’s playing in the thirties with regularity, so go pick him up if he’s available. Marcin Gortat had a nice game for a big against the fleet-footed Dubs with 18 points and two swats while Mike Scott picked up 14 and seven in a surprise outing off the bench. Otto Porter was the star here, however, with a simply magnificent performance. OPJ played 34 minutes and cooked up 29 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block while committing zero turnovers. He also shot 11-of-16 from the field and an immaculate 7-of-9 from 3-point range. Porter is worth every penny of that max contract and will be an elite fantasy asset for years to come.
Keep an eye out for further discipline for Beal and Green, the only damper on what was a fantastic game.
That’ll do it for Saturday’s Dish. Keep it locked in with us for all your fantasy needs, and I’ll see you right back here next week.