December 19, 2016, 8:41 pm
With five games on tap we had yet another eventful night in the Association. The Pistons embarrassed themselves, Russell Westbrook raged against the dying of the light and Nikola Jokic just missed a triple-double against the Mavs. With that, here’s Tuesday’s Daily Dish.
Pacers 107, Wizards 105
This was a win powered by Indiana’s three studs (or something resembling studs). Jeff Teague double-doubled with three steals, and Paul George dropped 27 points with nine boards, two assists, two threes and one steal. George has been a top-15 talent so far this season and should return that value going forward… Myles Turner recorded five blocks to go with his 20 points and eight boards, and if he continues to drain the 3-ball while racking up swats he should be a second round pick for a long, long time.
For Washington, John Wall double-doubled (yet again) and Bradley Beal continued his 20 point tirade, but it was the Wizards’ supporting cast that bears mentioning… Otto Porter again produced like an early round asset, scoring 17 points with nine boards, two threes, one steal and three blocks. He does a little bit of everything, and it’s made him a top-20 value in standard leagues… While Marcin Gortat surface level stats look good (21 points and 13 boards), his lack of production beyond the popcorn categories was a bit of a letdown in an otherwise impressive performance.
Bulls 113, Pistons 82
It was a well rounded effort for the Bulls, as all of their starters (as well as Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott) finished in double figures. Jimmy Butler led the way with 19 points, six assists, three boards, one trey and two steals, continuing his fantastic season… Mirotic turned in one of his better lines (filled to the brim with money counting stats) and we also saw the more positive side of Rajon Rondo, as the mercurial guard double-doubled with three steals.
Jon Leuer might have been the only bright spot for the Pistons, as Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and the rest of the starters disappointed. Leuer scored 16 points with five boards, and has maintained a respectable 8th round value through the team’s first 28 games.
Wolves 115, Suns 108
Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins carried the Wolves on Monday. Wiggins scored 26 points, and chipped in three steals to round out his line. His lack of production in scarcer categories limits his fantasy upside, but he sure can score… Towns looked great for the second night in a row, finishing with 28 points, 15 boards, three assists, one three and two blocks, but the impact of Tom Thibodeau on his offensive output remains a concern. There’s no reason to doubt the talent, but I’m worried he’ll be a bit up and down as the Wolves stagnate on that end of the floor.
For the Suns, Eric Bledsoe filled up the box score and Brandon Knight dropped 21 points in 29 minutes, but the offense looked generally disjointed… Devin Booker continues to disappoint fantasy owners that took him in the fifth or sixth round, too, as he can’t find his shot or contribute much outside of the scoring column.
Hawks 110, Thunder 108
The Hawks withstood an absolutely breathtaking performance from Russell Westbrook to escape with a victory. Paul Millsap poured in 30 points with 11 boards, three 3-pointers and the game saving block against Russy… Dennis Schroder, who’s been on fire lately, scored 31 points with eight assists and five boards. Over his past five games he’s averaging 21 points, two 3-pointers and 7.2 assists, returning 3rd round value in that time frame. He won’t be quite that good, but his arrow is definitely pointing in the right direction.
The aforementioned Westbrook turned in yet another stunning fantasy performance, but got close to zero help from his teammates. Westy finished with an eye-popping 46 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three treys and one steal on reasonably efficient shooting (16-of-33 from the field, 11-of-13 from the line). The other Thunder starters, however, combined for just 24 points. Yuck.
Nuggets 117, Mavs 107
If you’re tired of listening to the Hoop Ball crew crow about Nikola Jokic it’s time to get out while you still can. He was phenomenal again, and this time out the minutes finally matched the talent. Jokic led the Nuggets in scoring with 27 points, and added 15 boards, nine assists and one 3-pointer in 38 minutes. He stayed out of foul trouble, allowing coach Michael Malone to keep him on the floor, and if Jokic can do that more consistently we could be looking at a second round asset in the making.
After Jokic, Gary Harris might the player most critical to the Nuggets success. He was locked in on defense tonight, spaced the floor nicely and even saw more work out of the pick-and-roll as a ball handler. That noise you just heard was the buy-low window slamming shut on both the Nuggets young guns… It’s just a two game (which is to say virtually nonexistent) sample size, but Emmanuel Mudiay has looked significantly better since the Nuggets have committed to their new starting lineup in earnest. The combination of Harris’ shooting, playing smaller at the four and Jokic’s passing have opened things up for him immensely.
For the Mavs, Deron Williams got whatever he wanted running the offense, and Harrison Barnes continued his quest to captain the empty calorie All-Stars, but there wasn’t much else to report… Trendy sleeper Salah Mejri was absolutely tortured by Jokic, earning several non shooting fouls against the sophomore big, which limited Mejri to just two points and two boards.
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.