• Hey folks! I’m back with Thursday’s Daily Dish and I’m covering an eight-game  slate from Wednesday night.

    There are several news talking points and I wanted to focus on those and break down their fantasy basketball impact. It was an event-filled night, with a couple of guys getting back into action after missing some time due to injuries, while a high-value asset goes down with a back injury.

    Milwaukee Bucks 102, Cleveland Cavaliers 113

    Cleveland was without both Kevin Love and J.R. Smith in this one and as expected LeBron James (29-9-6) and Kyrie Irving (31-6-13) stepped up and filled in the void. Love is not expected to miss too many more games, while Smith is reported to require surgery on his thumb and will be missing 4-6 weeks.

    DeAndre Liggins started for Smith, while Richard Jefferson came in for Love. Neither guy projects to be relevant in standard leagues any time soon. Iman Shumpert did log 29 minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points, hitting three triples and handed out four assists. Shumpert is worth considering as an add in deep leagues, but his low ceiling prevents him from pinging in standard league radars.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker led the charge the Bucks and combined 56 points. John Henson had a quiet 19-minute outing, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots.

    Minnesota Timberwolves 92, Atlanta Hawks 84

    The Hawks saw Dwight Howard miss his second straight game with a back problem, but it doesn’t sound too serious. The Hawks adjusted by starting Paul Millsap at the five and while a trio of wing players in Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, and Kyle Korver tried to make a small-ball lineup work. By the result, it didn’t and Korver was cycled out quickly in favor of Mike Muscala. Muscala, who hit three treys en route to his 16 points, should continue to provide decent short-term value while Howard is out.

    Bazemore had a lackluster nine-point game, with four boards and four blocks to round out his night. He’s been a marginal stash so far this season, but unless there’s an amazing find in the FA pool, Bazemore’s upside helps him earn his slot on fantasy basketball team benches.

    Karl-Anthony Towns had a nice game with 17 points, 18 boards, and five assists. It was easy for him to thrive without Howard to contest him in the paint. KAT has been slowly ramping up his production and is headed in the right direction.

    Memphis Grizzlies 98, Detroit Pistons 86

    Marc Gasol carried the Grizzlies with 38 points, five rebounds, four assists, two threes, two steals, and two blocks. Yeah, he pretty much did a lot of everything. Gasol has been posting some of the best fantasy lines of his career this 2016-17 and is easily returning first-round value. He was so dominant in this game, Andre Drummond couldn’t out-muscle him into submission. In fact, it was quite opposite as Gasol ran rings around the bigger Drummond.

    Mike Conley is still clearly not 100% and will need quite a bit of time before he returns to his pre-injury form. Be patient with him for now, and hopefully 2017 will bring out some of his better games once again.

    Reggie Jackson gave his owners a scare as he headed to the locker room with an apparent leg injury, but was able to return and finish with 18 points and seven assists.

    Andre Drummond had a field day on the glass and pulled down 19 rebounds to go with his 13 points. Jon Leuer was once again a productive little soldier, quietly chipping in 18 points, six rebounds, and a block in 30 minutes off the Pistons’ bench. He’s got standard-league appeal right now and is a great asset in rotisserie formats.

    Washington Wizards 107, Chicago Bulls 97

    The Wizards were able to pull off this win, despite losing Otto Porter Jr. to back spasms. He played just 12 minutes and finished with eight points. We’ll keep you posted on his injury status. Should he miss time, Kelly Oubre could provide some decent short-term value as he gets an uptick in minutes and usage.

    After fading for a few games, Taj Gibson bounced back for the Bulls with a solid night. He dropped a double-double on the Wiz with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. This has been Gibson’s best season of his career. The once low-end big now has decent fantasy relevance and has earned some patience from his owners after being a decent source of those big-man stats.

    Oklahoma City Thunder 121, New Orleans Pelicans 110

    Anthony Davis  and Jrue Holiday both looked good and more importantly, healthy. That’s always a good thing to hear/read, especially when it comes to these two blokes. Davis dropped a Davis-esque line with 34 points, 15 rebounds, a steal, and two blocks. Holiday chipped in a double-double with 23 points and 10 assists.

    Terrence Jones played starter’s minutes (34 minutes), with Alexis Ajinca disappearing with only five minutes. Jones had 21 points, a steal, and a block for the night. Even if you disregard last night’s performance, TJ has already been worth a stash as a handcuff for the injury-prone Davis. Games like this just make the wait a bit more bearable.

    Russell Westbrook did “Russell Westbrook things” and carried the Thunder to victory with his 42 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Enes Kanter showed up with a nice 14-14 double-double as well. The Thunder were missing Victor Oldadipo (wrist), but Dipo is not expected to be out much longer, giving his owners many happy returns to look forward to this holiday season.

    Sacramento Kings 94, Utah Jazz 93

    Despite the absence of both Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi, plus a lackluster performance from Darren Collison (eight points, one assist); the Kings managed to squeak through with the win. DeMarcus Cousins had a decent post-explosion game with 21 points, eight boards, and three assists. Ty Lawson stepped up for the slumping Collison and he delivered 19 points off the bench. No, it’s not time to go and add him, and neither is it time to dump Collison either. ‘Tis the season for giving, so let’s give Darren a pass and hopefully see a better and brighter 2017 from him.

    As usual Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert did their thing, each dropping double-double performances in their own fashion. As far as the Derrick Favors watch goes, the big man was still on a minutes limit and scored four points, got four boards, a steal, and a block in 16 minutes. It’s a good thing the Jazz are bringing him along slowly. It’s better than him suffering a setback. He should get much better in the coming weeks as he works his way back up to 100 percent health. Speaking of health issues, George Hill (toe), who missed yet another game is reportedly nearing a return. Despite this bout of injury woes, Hill is having the best season of his career and should be owned in all leagues.

    Houston Rocket 125, Phoenix Suns 111

    Montrezl Harrell drew the start for the injured Clint Capela (broken leg). Harrell responded well with 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in 28 minutes. That’s a good line, even for standard leagues, making him worth a serious look. He’s already a must-add, must-own guy in deeper leagues at the moment. His competition for minutes, the aging Nene Hilario, scored 12 points in 18 minutes. This could have been a match-up decision with Mike D’Antoni expecting Harrell’s younger legs to able to keep up with the Suns’ running style of offense, but based on upside, Harrell remains to be the better and more secure asset moving forward.

    Speaking of pace, Tyson Chandler put up a low-end performance with three points and six rebounds for the Suns. Again, a likely product of the match-up. Chandler’s usage has been pretty high in recent games and the rebounding specialist should be cleaning up on the glass soon enough.

    Phoenix’s starting backcourt duo of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker combined for 44 points and 13 assists.

    Dallas Mavericks 96, Portland Trail Blazers 95

    Don’t look now, but the lowly Mavs just snuck one by the Trail Blazers, reminding Portland that their defense does need a hell of a lot of improvement.

    Deron Williams (23-5-5) and Harrison Barnes (28-7) did the heavy lifting for Dallas, while Dwight Powell was a sight for sore eyes with his fantasy-friendly line of nine points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Powell has been a deep-league asset while the Mavs await the return of Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles), but could be a post-All-star breakout guy, so keep him on your watch lists.

    J.J. Barea had an off night with just two points in nine minutes of action. He’s still a hold for now, but a healthy Deron is not good news for his value. That said, when it comes to Deron’s injury-riddled history, Barea’s stock can shoot up just like that at any given time.

    Al-Farouq Aminu returned to action and was back in the starting lineup for the Blazers. He was quiet in 30 minutes of action with five points, six boards, and two steals. The 30 minutes are an encouraging sign. He’s a potential 1-1-1 guy, and is worth an add in deep leagues. He’s not standard-league ready just yet, but his multi-cat contributions make him at least a watch list candidate.

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