• Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Hoop Ball Daily Dish!

    I’m Erik Ong, an editor here at Hoop Ball, and at it again with yet another iteration of the Dish. In this latest version, I’ve added the ‘Lines of the Night” and “Duds of the Night” sections as additional content in lieu of a full rundown of the games. The LotN has the top-3 best lines in 9-cat scoring, while the duds are the three lowest lines from notable and relevant players.

    Lines of the Night

    1. Rudy Gobert (1.51) 13 PTS, 14 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 7 BLK, 85.7% FG, 50.0% FT
      Seven blocks that accompany a hefty double-double can easily land anyone the best line of the night. Gobert was able to easily handle manhandle the young and rebuilding Thunder squad. He schooled the kids in the ways of elite rim protection and he did so with extreme prejudice.
    2. Paul George (1.21) 36 PTS, 4 3PM, 7 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 52.0% FG, 100.00% FT, 5 TO
      George led the charge tonight with Kawhi Leonard (sore right foot) out. He put up an incredible performance and carried the Clippers to a 126-115 win over the Pacers. George, who is dealing with a sore toe of his own, has recently credited a fresh mindset for his recent successes. We’ve learned from recent history, that it’s a mental game when it comes to George. And as long as he’s got himself squared away in the right headspace, expect more top-10 caliber lines like this moving forward.
    3. Luguentz Dort (1.19) – 42 PTS, 7 3PM, 7 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL, 51.6% FG, 42.9% FT
      Dort was the top scorer out of all the players that played tonight and yes, his 42 markers were a career-high, just in case you weren’t aware. His explosive performance brings to the forefront the fact that the Thunder players, in the absence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, have been taking turns dropping big games. In the last game, Darius Bazley was the one who played well. And while it’s like throwing darts on the board at this point in time, trying to determine which Thunder player will be next in line to blow up, it’s best to go with whoever has shown the most consistency given either a 7- or 14-game sample size, depending on your tastes. After tonight’s game, expect Dort to be on both of those lists.

    Special Mention: Nicolas Batum – 14 PTS, 2 3PM, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5 BLK, 50.0% FG

    Duds of the Night

    1. Jaylen Nowell (-1.75) 3 PTS, 3 REB, 10.0% FG, 50.0% FT, 16.8 MIN
      Nowell has not been himself since returning from his right tibia contusion injury. He had an opportunity to shine vs. the shorthanded Nets in the absence of his team’s Alpha, Karl-Anthony Towns. The moment passed him by and instead, he fell flat, despite trying to put up points on the scoreboard.
    2. Darius Bazley (-1.70) – 7 PTS, 1 3PM, 1 REB, 33.3% FG, 0.0% FT, 28.7 MIN
      Bazley was awful tonight and what makes it worse, is that tonight’s dud came on the heels of a team-high 17-point performance on Saturday. The Thunder players, as mentioned, are tough to predict from night to night and it seems like it’s almost random who plays well and who ends up falling off the proverbial fantasy basketball cliff. Bazley remains a high-upside guy ROS, but you should expect some poor shooting percentages along the way – because that’s a part of his game that he’s still working on.
    3. Mikal Bridges (-1.32) – 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0.00% FG (3 FGA), 20.2 MIN
      This was literally rock-bottom in fantasy hoops for Bridges in his career. Considering he’s been able to flirt with top-50 value all season, ’tis easy to say to give him a pass and chalk it up to a bad game. However, this already Bridges’ second scoreless outing in his last five games. It’s a good thing he’s been able to fill the gap of those poor showings with a 15-point and a 20-point game, reinforcing the notion that we’re just seeing the lowest end of his production spectrum at the moment and that he should be able to average things UP soon. Keep the faith folks. Trust the guy. He’s earned it.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Isaiah Roby, F/C, OKC Thunder

    Roby returned to action tonight after clearing the league’s concussion protocols. He had a quiet outing but was still active on the glass, recording nine rebounds. It’s already clear by now that the Thunder players will be like a crapshoot moving forward, including but not limited to the likes of (former) favorites Darius Bazley and Moses Brown. Roby could be a low-end producer of multiple categories and someone whom the Thunder may want to continue developing now that he’s up and running again.

    Drop Zone

    Markieff Morris & Doug McDermott

    Let’s simplify things and call these two guys members of the “Sprained Ankle Club.” Neither forward was playing at an eye-popping level prior to them spraining their respective ankles, which makes it that much easier to part ways with them. They were playing up to fringe 12-team value and that was that. Whether they will return soon or not, their upsides simply do not warrant a hold given the risk of their sitting out their next games.

    Injury Report

    Nets

    LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) – out
    James Harden (right hamstring strain – out
    Kyrie Irving (personal) – out
    Joe Harris (right hamstring strain) – available

    Wolves

    Karl-Anthony Towns (personal) – out

    Hawks

    John Collins (left ankle sprain) – out
    Danilo Gallinari (right foot soreness) – out
    De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness) – out
    Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) – out
    Tony Snell (right ankle sprain) – out
    Trae Young (left calf contusion) – out

    Raptors

    DeAndre’ Bembry (right hamstring tightness) – out
    Kyle Lowry (rest) – out
    Fred VanVleet (left hip flexor strain) – out

    Pacers

    Myles Turner (left ankle sprain) – out
    Doug McDermott – sprains ankle during game

    Clippers 

    Patrick Beverley (left hand fracture) – out
    Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness) – out
    Kawhi Leonard (sore right foot) – out

    Hornets

    Gordon Hayward (right foot sprain) – out
    Malik Monk (right ankle sprain) – out
    Terry Rozier (left knee tendinitis) – out
    P.J. Washington (right ankle sprain) – out

    Lakers

    Andre Drummond (left elbow impingement) – available
    Marc Gasol (left hamstring soreness) – available
    Markieff Morris (left ankle sprain) – out
    Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain) – available
    LeBron James (right ankle sprain) – out
    Anthony Davis (right calf strain) – out

    Thunder

    Aleksej Pokusevski (right arm soreness) – out
    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right foot plantar fasciitis) – out
    Mike Muscala (right ankle sprain) – out
    Josh Hall (concussion) – available
    Isaiah Roby – available

    Jazz

    Jordan Clarkson (right ankle sprain) – out
    Joe Ingles (left knee soreness) – out
    Royce O’Neale (rest) – out

    Celtics

    Evan Fournier (health protocols) – out

    Heat 

    KZ Okpala (health protocols) – available
    Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) – out
    Gabe Vincent (right knee soreness) – out
    Jimmy Butler – hurts ankle during game

    Suns

    Abdel Nader (right knee soreness) – out

    A Rested Development

    It’s here. Crazy season. More teams are beginning to rest key players with the intention of keeping them fresh for the playoffs or just because they want them to avoid serious injury.

    Kyle Lowry, Royce ‘Oneale, Joe Ingles were all rested tonight.

    We’re already quite used to the regular missed games by the likes of Mike Conley and Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George just to name a few.

    The scary thing for us fantasy GMs is that we should expect more of these to occur and more often. Soon, players on the wrong side of 30 will take their time on the sidelines like say, Thaddeus Young, for example.

    There’s nothing we can really do about it. Really. This is just me sounding the trumpet that it’s time to be more vigilant and keep an eye out on the injury reports and already earmark those who are likely beneficiaries from these impending absences.

    Be smart. Pick your spots. Optimize to those league moves.

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