February 14, 2018, 2:04 am
Before we begin, I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. As cheesy and commercial Valentine’s Day might be, the symbolism of such a holiday is still something to celebrate with the partner’s and loved ones in our life. I hope you pamper yours. I know I will!
Speaking of love, Kevin Love remains out for the Cavs and shouldn’t be back until sometime in March at the earliest. It didn’t matter, as the new look Cavs are rolling over solid teams. Did you like my Valentine’s Day tie in?
Tuesday night featured a six-game slate, chocked full of teams jockeying for playoff seeding and some #TeamTank separation games. Let’s get you caught up on the action.
NEW LOOK CAVS WIN SECOND STRAIGHT AGAINST CONTENDER
The Cavs won their fourth straight game and second straight with a roster overhaul in a 120-112 win over the Thunder on Tuesday. LeBron James went off, shooting 14-for-23 from the field for 37 points with eight boards, eight assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes. He is playing with a different hop in his step now that he is surrounded by hungry teammates.
Larry Nance Jr. shot 5-for-10 from the field for 13 points with nine boards, two assists, one steal and three blocks in 24 minutes on Tuesday. His scrappy skill set shows up in boxscores. He should be owned.
J.R. Smith caught fire again for 18 points (all of six threes) with six boards, three assists and one steal. He can still be ignored on the waiver wire, but used as a Sunday add if you need threes.
The Thunder’s four-headed monster all put up useful fantasy lines while scoring in the 20’s.
Steven Adams had a strong game, scoring 22 points (8-for-12 FGs) with 17 boards, one assist, two steals and one block in 42 minutes. He has blossomed in to an early-mid round center this season and it’s fun to watch.
Paul George led the Thunder in scoring with 25 points, adding four boards, six assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 39 minutes. The initial all-star snub woke him up.
Russell Westbrook dropped 21 points (7-for-19 FGs) with seven boards, 12 assists and two steals in 38 minutes. He looks completely healthy.
Carmelo Anthony gave it a go as well, shooting 10-for-22 from the field with 24 points, seven boards, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. The four-headed monster played heavy minutes but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the new-look Cavs.
RAPTORS FINALLY PLAY FOURTH QUARTER
For the first time since February 4th, the Raptors had their starters out on the court in the fourth quarter. They finally had an interesting game, taking the Heat to the wire and winning 115-112 at the end of regulation.
DeMar DeRozan shot 11-for-25 from the field for 27 points with two boards, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes. He was only 1-for-7 from beyond the arc, but the great thing this season is that he is shooting them.
Kyle Lowry dropped a 22-4-8-2 line with four 3-pointers in 32 minutes. It was a miracle to see him cross the 30-minute mark. He sure can be productive with a full load of minutes. With all of the blowouts and low minutes, he has fallen out of the top-30 this season. Depending on the opponent and minutes played, Lowry can still post fantasy numbers as good as any of the best guards.
As for the Heat, all-star guard Goran Dragic did his damage with 10-for-19 shooting from the field, posting 28 points with two boards, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. It’s a nice rebound for Dragic after going 1-for-11 for six points in the Heat’s last contest.
Hassan Whiteside (10-10-1-2-1 in 22 minutes) sat out the fourth quarter again, proving that the trend is in full motion. Bam Adebayo played more minutes, logging 11 points with five boards, three assists and one block in 25 minutes. Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) will be out until the all-star break and possibly beyond, so Adebayo should be owned in standard leagues.
ROCKETS TOO MUCH FOR WOLVES
In a matchup of two Western Conference contenders, the Rockets showed that they are on another level with a 126-108 win. James Harden dominated with 34 points (10-for-20 FGs), six rebounds, 13 assists, one block and six 3-pointers in 36 minutes. He is flawless in 8-cat leagues.
Chris Paul added 13 points, eight boards, seven assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. After a rough start to the season and injury woes, CP3 has started to live up to his high ADP.
Ryan Anderson broke out with 21 points, four boards, one assist and six 3-pointers in 26 minutes. If your team is great at threes, he should be in your backup center spot.
Karl-Anthony Towns beat up the Rockets once again, as he has routinely had his biggest nights against them. KAT shot 12-for-16 from the field for 35 points, 12 boards, three assists, one steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. He is a top-five fantasy player and should continue to get all the minutes he can handle down the stretch.
Jeff Teague had one of his more efficient nights, shooting 10-for-15 from the floor for 25 points with five boards, eight assists and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He stole some usage tonight from Jimmy Butler, who was 5-for-13 from the field for 15 points with seven boards and six assists.
The Rockets are now 0.5 games behind the Warriors for the top seed in the West, while the Wolves remained in the fourth seed, 0.5 behind the Spurs.
JOKIC TRIPLE-DOUBLES TO BEAT SPURS
The Nuggets were just 0.5 games ahead of ninth place coming in to Tuesday night, so a date with the Spurs was a big one. Nikola Jokic rose to the occasion, posting a 23-13-11 triple double in 32 minutes. It’s already the big fellas second trip-dub in February.
Will Barton was all over the floor for the Nuggets, putting together a 20-5-6-2 line with two 3-pointers on Tuesday. He led the team with 42 minutes on Tuesday.
Jamal Murray, who came in questionable with breathing and chest soreness issues over the weekend, started and came up big all night. Murray finished with 17 points (6-for-9 FGs), five boards, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes.
The Spurs played victim to playing in Denver on the second-leg of a back-to-back, which is always very tough. LaMarcus Aldridge (knee) sat once again but should be good to go for all-star weekend and beyond.
The depleted Spurs were led by Joffrey Lauvergne, who broke out with 26 points (12-for-15 FGs), 11 boards, two assists and one block in 23 minutes off the bench. He filled in for LMA and got extremely hot, so you can leave him on the wire. Nothing to see here.
Dejounte Murray, who came in with an ankle issue, played in both back-to-backs so that’s a great sign. Murray put up 12 points with six boards, two assists, two steals and three blocks in 27 minutes. He is an excellent source for rebounds and defensive stats at the point guard position.
With the win, the Nuggets slid all the way up to 6th in the West, tied with the Blazers at 31-26. The Spurs remain in the third seed at 35-24, only 0.5 games ahead of the Wolves.
HAWKS AND MAVS LOSE, WIN TANKATHON ON TUESDAY
With both the Kings and Mavs tied to be dead last in the NBA coming in to Tuesday night’s game, the stakes were high, but someone had to win (lose). The Kings did just that, tossing their “youth movement” plan out the window again and putting together a 114-109 victory over the Mavericks.
Zach Randolph, 36 years young, led the way with 22 points (10-for-15 FGs), seven boards, three assists and two 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Vince Carter, 39 years young, finished with eight points, four boards, seven assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Garrett Temple, 31 years young, put up 13 points and two assists in 19 minutes. So much for a youth movement.
The Mavs did what they have been doing all season – staying competitive in games but tanking to get great lottery balls. J.J. Barea led all scorers with 19 points, 13 assists, five boards, one steal and five 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He should be owned in all leagues.
The Hawks also stayed competitive with the Bucks, but made sure to stay at 18 wins with the Mavs, Suns, Magic, Kings, Grizzlies and Magic. Woof.
Dewayne Dedmon posted a second solid game in a row, double-doubling with 13 points, 10 boards, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes. His owners should be happy there was no move at the trade deadline.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. Check me out on Fantasy NBA Tonight ($) where we talk fantasy in a live format where you, the readers and Hoop-Ballers, can ask me questions and we can converse back and forth. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallFantasy. Have a great rest of your week!!