November 20, 2016, 6:31 am
Due to the machinations of the NBA scheduling algorithms the Bucks got to play the Warriors in the exact situation they did last year when they ended the Warriors glorious winning streak. The Warriors came into Milwaukee on the second night of a back to back and this time they scraped their way through Milwaukee’s freakish wingspan and pulled out a 124-121 victory. The Bucks are of course missing Khris Middleton but Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker displayed what is sure to be one of the most dynamic forward partnerships in the years to come for the NBA. The Bucks attempted to out small ball the Warriors of all people, and the scary thing is they almost succeeded. There’s a bright future in Milwaukee. Saturday had some great games, and some games that were utterly abominable. Time to drink your morning coffee and dive into the Dish!
Jazz 102 Rockets 111
George Hill missed his seventh game in a row with a thumb issue. Gordon Hayward struggled to shoot the ball and says his finger on his off hand continues to swell and and cause pain for him. Hayward has been good so far and it shouldn’t be a concern. Trey Lyles scored 21 points with five boards and two 3-pointers, he should be owned everywhere while Derrick Favors has knee problems. Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood are getting all the run they can as the Jazz suddenly lack depth due to injury. I would expect Hood to actually keep up his top 70 nine-cat pace going forward.
Ryan Anderson posted another ugly shooting game and is now at 38% from the field on the year. He’s actually struggling from inside the arc (34% on two point shots) as opposed to outside of it (41% on 3-point shots). That makes him a big candidate for positive regression. Clint Capela was great and scored 20 points with eight boards, five assists and a block. Eric Gordon scored 20 points with seven boards and six assists as the sixth man role seems to be even better for him than the starting one.
Hornets 116 Pelicans 121
Kemba Walker continued his all-star campaign by pouring in another 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He struggled with his shot in this one though and only went 10-of-25 from the field. Nic Batum also struggled from the field but scored 13 points with seven boards and six assists. Marco Belinelli lost his fool mind and dropped 22 points, 10 boards, five assists and seven 3-pointers. He’s a spicy one, and worth a pickup after playing 33 minutes.
Omer Asik was monstrou- ha just kidding. He scored zero points 13 minutes and was the lowest plus/minus on the team with -14. Terrence Jones was quiet in 20 minutes, and you just have to take the good with the bad. Anthony Davis continues to dazzle as he threw down 38 points with 16 rebounds on 15-of-27 shooting. I’m hearing a lot of sell high on Davis this year. I understand the past injuries, but he’s not going to spend his entire career inside a full body cast. Roll with AD folks. Jrue Holiday played his second game back and scored 22 points with nine assists off the bench. You should be trying to acquire him everywhere as he has easy top 30 upside.
Celtics 94 Pistons 92
Al Horford returned and was pivotal in the road victory for the Celtics. He scored 18 points with 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, three blocks and two 3-pointers. That’s the type of versatility and elite production owners expected in the second round. Jae Crowder scored nine points in his return and only played 26 minutes, he’ll come along. Marcus Smart stilled played 30 minutes off the bench which is great, but he scored two points on 1-of-9 shooting in that time. Isaiah Thomas has his eyes set on the all-star game and dropped another 24 point game with eight assists.
Marcus Morris scored 24 points with five rebounds, two assists and four 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. He’s been solid this year, but he fell off majorly in the second half of last year and I’m expecting that to happen again. Stanley Johnson straight up didn’t play and I doubt that we’ll see him involved much at all this year unless an injury arises. KCP was the only dud in the starting lineup as he went 1-of-7 from the field and just wasn’t feeling it.
Mavericks 87 Magic 95
Jonathan Gibson came off the bench and logged 32 minutes in the backcourt while scoring 26 points with six boards, three assists, and five 3-pointers. That’s a huge line but Rick Carlisle is going to roll out plenty of Justin Anderson and Dorian Finney-Smith so I’m not buying this outburst yet. If you have room go ahead and speculatively add him. Seth Curry played 35 minutes and was mediocre as he scored 13 points with 4 assists on 4-of-12 shooting. Anderson scored nine points in 22 minutes. Harrison Barnes and Wes Matthews each struggled with their shot and scored 11 and 13 respectively. This team is just a mess and sadly the game wouldn’t have been close without Gibson’s massive night.
Serge Ibaka continues to improve by scoring 15 points with nine rebounds, three blocks, and two 3-pointers. It’s hard for me not to see him improving to at least the middle rounds but I also wouldn’t be comfortable betting higher than that. Nikola Vucevic got a team high 16 shots but only hit five of them on his way to 12 points and 12 rebounds. I think he’s the guy to target as a buy low as he’s currently 153rd in nine-cat, and he’s one of their few offensive options. Jeff Green is a thing, at least to Frank Vogel, and his minutes are going to continue to directly hamper Aaron Gordon, who only played 25 minutes and scored five points.
Heat 114 Wizards 111
Hassan Whiteside did his thing by scoring 18 points with 18 boards and three blocks. Goran Dragic scored 22 points and is much more comfortable with the ball in his hands in Miami. Dion Waiters played 29 minutes and started at shooting guard as Josh Richardson shifted to the starting small forward spot while Justice Winslow battles a wrist injury, he may miss a few more games. I fully expect the Waiters show to come to a halt once Winslow returns. Tyler Johnson played 25 minutes, but I fully expect him to be a late-middle round player going forward, or better. Give James Johnson a look while he’s getting run, but don’t expect much.
Markieff Morris exited the game after nine minutes with a right ankle injury. X-rays were negative and the Wizards hope he can practice Sunday so look for updates. Wizards starters are being forced into massive minutes due to the teams lack of depth and thats to Bradley Beal and John Wall’s benefit as each of them dropped 34 points with plenty of supporting stats. Beal played 40 minutes and Wall played 37. Marcin Gortat got in on the action with 10 points and 16 boards in 37 minutes. It’s all fun and games now but I doubt there’s anyway in which Beal and Wall make it through an entire season at this minutes pace.
Suns 105 Sixers 120
T.J. Warren sat with an illness but should be ready for the Suns next game, and they clearly need him after this abysmal performance. Eric Bledsoe was the only Suns player that had a good night, he scored 27 points with six assists on 12-of-24 shooting. Devin Booker was terrible, he scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting with four turnovers and was benched after 17 minutes for Brandon Knight, who was only moderately terrible. The Suns went 12 deep in the rotation and there’s just not much to take away from a loss to the Sixers.
It’s the Joel Embiid show in Philadelphia every time he’s out there. Embiid scored 26 points with seven rebounds, two block and two 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting…in only 20 minutes. He’s special. Nik Stauskas scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting (5-of-6 from three) and if that isn’t an indictment on the Suns I don’t know what is. Robert Covington had a “left side contusion” but was “available to return” after playing 17 minutes. My bet is he got benched.
Wolves 71 Grizzlies 93
It was an ugly game for the Wolves. Only two starters scored in the double digits: Karl Anthony-Towns scored 17 points and Zach Lavine scored 22. Neither had any peripherals worth mentioning. Kris Dunn’s best statistic was personal fouls, he racked up six in 17 minutes. There’s nothing to take away from a game like this.
The Grizzlies side wasn’t much more exciting, as it was a bunch of role players that punked the Wolves so badly. JaMychal Green scored 19 points with eight boards, a steal and a block. Zach Randolph scored 18 points with seven boards off the bench. James Ennis scored 11 points with seven rebounds. Marc Gasol struggled from the field and ended with six points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks. Mike Conley had an equally unenthusiastic line. I’m falling asleep reading this box score.
Warriors 124 Bucks 121
Kevin Durant lead the way with 33 points, six boards, five assists and five 3-pointers. He was nearly matched by Klay Thompson’s 29 points with another five 3-pointers. Stephen Curry scored 20 points with five boards and five assists. Curry is still a first round stud this year, but not the unanimous run away best fantasy player. Draymond Green continues to rack up defensive stats as he had another three blocks and two steals. He’s capable of sustaining his 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks all year certainly, but it’s something I still expect to come back down to normal ranges.
It was the full on Giannis and Jabari show in Milwaukee. Giannis scored 30 points with four rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. He played some center minutes with Jabari tonight as well. Jabari scored 28 of his own with five rebounds and two steals. John Henson started and played 17 minutes at center. Every fantasy guru wants Henson to succeed, and I understand the upside, but it’s a pipe dream. Henson is simply too skinny and can’t rebound to play center full time. No Bucks starter had more than six boards. Greg Monroe is officially a ghost as he played only two minutes and all owners can do is pray he finally finds a trade.
Bulls 95 Clippers 102
Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade led the way by scoring 22 and 28 respectively with plenty of supporting stats. Rondo nearly triple-doubled in 35 minutes with 10 boards, nine points, and eight assists. He was a dismal -16 in plus/minus, easily the lowest on the team, and I wonder if Fred Hoiberg ever has the willpower (or authority) to bench him. Nikola Mirotic was a no show in 16 minutes and it becomes increasingly more difficult for me to endorse him. Bobby Portis played 20 minutes and did a whole lot of nothing. Portis doesn’t do anything well on an NBA court at this point and it’s baffling to me why he’s gotten this much run so far.
It was business as usual for the Clips. Blake Griffin posted a monster 26 points, 13 rebound, five assists with a steal on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and he was 10-of-10 from the line. Off season reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Chris Paul dropped in 19 with eight assists and owners continue to profit from people passing on him for splashier newer names. There was a Marreese Speights sighting, the big man version of Jamal Crawford contributed 16 points.