• With eight games on tap we had yet another eventful night in the Association.  LeBron ended the Pelicans’ winning streak, Jimmy Butler burned the Hornets to the ground and Nikola Jokic did it all in just 25 minutes.  With that, here’s Tuesday’s Daily Dish.

    Cavs 90, Pelicans 82

    With Kyrie Irving continuing to nurse a sore hamstring, the Cavs relied even more than usual on LeBron James.  The King did not disappoint, playing 39 minutes on his way to 26 points, seven boards, six assists, two steals and one block.  He wasn’t particularly efficient tonight, but put the team on his back in the final two minutes to seal the win…  Kevin Love (illness) didn’t look right all night, and went to the locker room with about seven minutes left in the game before being ruled out for good.  He finished with 12 points, 11 boards and three assists, and we’ll consider him questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Bulls.

    Anthony Davis started the game on fire, but couldn’t hit a shot in the final six minutes to keep the Pelicans within striking distance.  Still, he finished with 20 points, 17 boards, two assists, one steal and three blocks.  His scoring has been down since moving to center full time, but he’s still a top-3 asset every time he suits up…  Buddy Hield got hot, hitting four threes on his way to 20 points, while Jrue Holiday double-doubled with 11 points and 13 assists.  It’s worth exploring a trade for Holiday while his value is still depressed by his scoring numbers, but Hield is little more than a 3-point specialist for those in deeper leagues.

    Bucks 98, Thunder 94

    Giannis Antetokounmpo again led the Bucks in points, assists and rebounds, carrying the Bucks to their second straight win.  He scored 26 points with 10 boards, five assists and one of each in the money categories.  GiAnt has been an absolute monster this season, and is now up to 53.6% from the floor on the season despite his expanded usage rate…  After recording his first career triple-double on New Year’s Eve, Malcolm Brogdon returned to earth on Monday, scoring 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting.  He still looks like a legitimate threat to Matthew Dellavedova’s playing time, as the team has significant interest in developing him alongside their established starters.

    Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams were rock solid for the Thunder, but the team was ultimately undone by its supporting cast…  Coming off a string of high impact games, Enes Kanter was one of the busts of the night, scoring just 2 points on 1-of-6 shooting.  He’s still worth owning in standard leagues, but tonight was a reminder of his volatility.

    Magic 115, Knicks 103

    Don’t look now, but Aaron Gordon has now strung together three nice performances in his last four games.  On Monday he dropped 22 points, six rebounds, six assists, three 3-pointer and one steal, and he looks increasingly comfortable from the perimeter in Frank Vogel’s strange offense…  Jodie Meeks exploded for 23 points with six threes, while Serge Ibaka submitted a defense goose egg despite scoring 22 points.  Ibaka should remain an early round asset, but Meeks is more of a streaming option in standard leagues.

    With Kristaps Porzingis (Achilles) sidelined the Knicks were a mess offensively.  Carmelo Anthony dropped 19 points with plenty of extras and Derrick Rose scored 18, but the rest of the roster was missing in action.

    Jazz 101, Nets 89

    Gordon Hayward absolutely erupted against the Nets’ porous defense, scoring 30 points with four rebounds, three assists, three 3-pointers, two steals and a block.  He was efficient in all facets of his game and continues to return top-30 value in standard leagues…  Shelvin Mack, Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood all scored 15 points, but it was Gobert who stepped up offensively in the absence of George Hill (concussion).  Gobert added 16 boards, two assists, one steal and three blocks and has developed into one of the league’s most devastating pick-and-roll bigs.

    Isaiah Whitehead again struggled while filling for Jeremy Lin, scoring 12 points with very little else.  Even with the increase in playing time he hasn’t been worth owning…  The Net’s bigs were solid, however, as Trevor Booker double-doubled with 17 points and 15 boards, while Brook Lopez chipped in five total money counters.  They’re about the only consistent fantasy assets on the entire roster.

    Rockets 101, Wizards 91

    Nothing was going to live up to James Harden’s stunning 53-16-17 line on New Year’s Eve, but the Rocket’s guard again triple-doubled on Monday.  He’s so brilliant that even a 23-10-10 line feels like a bit of a let down…  Eric Gordon has been a fantasy revelation this season, and poured in another six 3-pointers against Washington, finishing with 31 points.  Only injuries can derail his comeback season…  Montrezl Harrell continues to find ways to contribute, and on Monday he dropped 14 points, nine boards and two blocks.

    The Wizards performed almost exactly as they have all season, as Bradley Beal rained fire from downtown and John Wall again double-doubled…  Otto Porter was a bit of a disappointment, scoring just eight points, but continues to make a positive fantasy impact with his diverse game.  He grabbed a steal and a swat tonight to salvage his line.

    Bulls 118, Hornets 111

    Wow, Jimmy Butler.  Just wow.  He’s been dynamite all season, but Monday might have been his best performance to date.  He dropped 52 points with 12 boards, six assists, one three, three steals and one block, as the Hornets simply could not prevent him from getting into the lane and drawing contact.  Butler took 22 free throws and sunk all but one of them…  Newly minted starter Michael Carter-Williams scored 10 points with nine boards and not much else.  He’s an interesting add as long as he’s seeing minutes in the thirties, but his inefficient game is far from ideal for those in roto formats.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist completely disappeared in this one, scoring six points with one steal and virtually nothing else.  He’s been worth owning thanks to his contributions in boards, steals and blocks, but he makes a risky DFS play given the feast-or-famine nature of his game…  Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum did all they could to keep the Hornets afloat.  Walker dropped 34 points, 11 boards, four assists, six treys, one steal and one block and Batum chipped in across the stat sheet.

    Clippers 106, Suns 98

    No Chris Paul (hamstring), no problem.  The Clippers dismantled the Suns behind strong offensive performances from Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick.  Crawford dropped 18 points with seven boards, five assists and one block, while Redick chipped in 22 points with three 3-pointers…  DeAndre Jordan was a man possessed while protecting the paint on Monday, swatting three shots and pulling down 20 boards.  If you’re able to punt free throws he’s been a top-20 asset thus far.

    Eric Bledsoe and T.J. Warren were the only real bright spots for the Suns, as Bledsoe nearly triple-doubled and Warren scored 24 points with one steal and one block…  Unfortunately, the good news ended there.  Devin Booker again couldn’t find his shot, going just 4-of-15 on his way to a measly 13 points.  He simply doesn’t do enough for your fantasy team outside of scoring to be this inefficient at doing so.  He’s currently returning value outside the top-150, which is not what one would expect from a player drafted in the fifth or sixth round.

    Warriors 127, Nuggets 119

    The Nuggets hung tough, but were simply overwhelmed by the Warrior’s starting unit.  Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each finished with 20+ points and plenty of extras.  Yeah, they’re pretty good…  Elsewhere, Draymond Green notched yet another triple-double with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 boards.  He’s flourished as a passer for the new look Dubs, but it was a bummer to see him come up empty on the defensive end on Monday.

    Hoop Ball hero Nikola Jokic flashed his diverse game on Monday, scoring 21 points with 13 boards, five assists, one trey and one steal in just 25 minutes.  He stayed out of foul trouble tonight and was able to flourish running the offense.  Just wait until his defensive numbers start to tick up…  Wilson Chandler  also showcased his diversity on Monday, chipping in across eight categories…  Finally, Jusuf Nurkic finally saw some extended run filling in for Kenneth Faried (back).  Nurkic could have some real value if he sees consistent time backing up Jokic, and the 21 minutes he got tonight are a positive sign for his value going forward.

    That’ll do it for this Tuesday’s dish.  Follow @HoopBallTweets for up to the minute updates or hit me up on Twitter (@AbyssAlsoGazes) if you have any questions.  See you all next week.

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