January 17, 2017, 10:29 pm
Tuesday nights have been loaded lately, so it was a relief to see just five games on the schedule this time around. It was wishful thinking, as the basketball world learned that Chris Paul (thumb) will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. Anytime your first round pick goes down for longer than one or two weeks, it’s obviously a big deal so I feel your pain. Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton are your immediate adds, in that order. For owners struggling to make the playoffs in matchup leagues, it would be wise to trade CP3 sooner than later. Test the waters as soon as possible.
It is clear that the Clippers are cursed as a franchise. Tiny Archibald back in back in ’77, the Danny Manning injury, drafting Michael Olowokandi back in ’98 (okay that’s not a curse, that’s just plan stupid), Loy Vaught’s injury, and now we have the many untimely Blake Griffin and CP3 injuries. It never ends.
Amidst the panic, owners trudged on to a light five-game slate in the NBA. Let’s check out how it all went down.
RAPTORS 119, NETS 109
Every star deserves a day off. The Raptors decided that it was Kyle Lowry‘s turn. With Lowry out, the Raptors turned to backup point guard Cory Joseph in a starting role. They did skip a beat, as Joseph showed why he is one of the premier backup point guards in the NBA. Joseph hung 33 points (15-for-22 FGs) on the Nets, with four boards, four assists and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. If Lowry ever goes down, dive to the computer as fast as you can.
DeMar DeRozan was a stud in Lowry’s absence as well, shooting 13-for-28 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line for 36 points with 11 rebounds, six assists and one steal in 37 minutes. He will hover around third-round numbers all season.
It was a short night for Lucas Nogueira (concussion), who left after seven minutes with a blow to the head. He went to the locker room and was immediately entered in to concussion protocol. He hit a rare 3-pointer before leaving the game, ending with three points and two boards. Consider him day-to-day as he goes through protocol.
The Nets fell to a depressing 8-33 record with the loss. Brook Lopez was the only bright spot as usual, finishing with 28 points (11-for-23 FGs, 6-for-6 FTs), eight boards, two assists, and two blocks in 32 minutes. He came up lame in the final minutes and showed a slight limp, so watch his status in the coming days. With the Nets far into tank mode, you have to wonder if BroLo will last all season. I’m betting against him.
Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points a piece with similar lines off the bench. Watch both closely as the Nets will not hesitate to give their young players a deeper look as the season wears on. Keep both on your watch list.
HEAT 109, ROCKETS 103
The shorthanded Heat stunned the Rockets in a close finish on Tuesday night, despite James Harden‘s triple-double. Goran Dragic was fantastic, shooting 8-for-15 from the field with 21 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes.
Hassan Whiteside double-doubled with his token big man stats, shooting 5-for-8 from the field for 14 points with 15 boards, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. He’s a machine.
The bench rose to the occasion for the Heat in a game they should have had a big disadvantage. James Johnson was a force, scoring 15 points (6-for-14 FGs) with eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and one 3-pointer. He should see more nights like this moving forward as the Heat are in a lost season. Tyler Johnson shot 6-for-17 from the field for 16 points with two rebounds, three assists, three steals and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. He will stay a top-100 player all season as long as the minutes are there.
The Rockets welcomed back Clint Capela (knee) from a 15-game absence on Tuesday. It was a bit of a buzzkill for owners, as Capela only played nine minutes with five boards and one block. Owners will still take it. His minutes should increase as he gets up to game speed over the next week.
James Harden shot 12-for-30 from the field and 12-for-13 from the line for 40 points with 12 boards, 10 assists, two steals and four 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Harden is much more good than bad, but his poor shooting and six turnovers surely didn’t do owners any favors. They are used to that by now.
Eric Gordon (ankle) left for a brief moment during the game, favoring his right ankle. He returned and finished the game, but his status is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Bucks. Ryan Anderson (illness) was out on Tuesday and is also questionable on the second leg of a back-to-back on Wednesday. The Rockets clearly need some days to get healthy.
MAVS 99, BULLS 98
The Mavericks got sweet revenge over Dwyane Wade yet again after Wade missed the game winner as time expired. Mavs fans will never live down the 2006 Finals, so any victory against Wade is a big accomplishment. Harrison Barnes led the way with 20 points, four rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He has a shot to finish with top-50 numbers this season. I’ll buy it.
Seth Curry got his third start in a row, replacing Andrew Bogut (hamstring) once again as the Mavs go small. Curry shot 7-for-10 from the field for 18 points with two boards, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Curry is posting ownable numbers with J.J. Barea (12 points, six assists in 18 minutes) back in the mix. I’d hold and see what role he develops in a lost season for the Mavs.
Add Jimmy Butler to the list of studs with a fat line in a loss on Tuesday. Butler shot 5-for-12 from the floor and 14-for-16 at the line for 24 points with nine boards, 12 assists and one steal in 40 minutes. He is living at the line these days.
Wade was off on Tuesday, shooting 8-for-21 from the field and 1-for-3 from the line (you have to account for those numbers against Dallas) for 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and one block in 35 minutes.
Robin Lopez channeled his inner Brook, shooting 10-for-15 from the floor for 21 points with five boards and one block in 36 minutes. He has his pitfalls, but ride RoLo as a top-100 center. Taj Gibson (ankle) was out on Tuesday, but it was just a precaution. Expect him back for the Bulls’ next game Friday in Atlanta.
SPURS 122, WOLVES 114
An uncharacteristically high scoring affair landed the Spurs 122 points over the baby Wolfpack on Tuesday night. That’s music to fantasy owners’ ears. Kawhi Leonard was not human as usual, shooting 12-for-17 from the field and 8-for-9 from the line for 34 points with seven boards, five assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes. He will stay in the top-6 all season.
Kawhi’s running mate LaMarcus Aldridge was all smiles as well, shooting 12-for-20 from the floor for 29 points with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. He gets to toy with the Nuggets on Thursday.
The Wolves played just eight guys in the rotation, spreading fantasy goodness all around. Ricky Rubio had one of his best games of the year, shooting 4-for-9 from the field and 13-for-14 from the line for 21 points with 14 assists, two boards and two steals in 39 minutes. Rubio is on a roll right now. If your team struggles with assists and you have Rubio, trade him fast. Build on your strengths.
The big man came to play despite the final score. Karl-Anthony Towns continued to thrash opponents, shooting 10-for-18 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line for 27 points, 16 rebounds, one block and two 3-pointers in 43 minutes. KAT is looking like that KAT of last year. He is who we though he was!
Gorgui Dieng was a force down low, shooting 6-for-12 from the field for 17 points with six rebounds, three assists, one steal and four swats in 29 minutes. Coach Hoiberg has to love this kid.
NUGGETS 127, LAKERS 121
The great thing about fantasy sports is every game is relevant. The Nuggets and Lakers put on a fantasy show and owners were happy, for the most part. Gary Harris (ankle) was ruled out before the game, giving Will Barton a spot in the starting rotation. Barton stepped up huge, shooting 9-for-16 from the field for 26 points with four rebounds, eight assists and five treys in 35 minutes. He will take a backseat to Harris when he’s back, back it’s nice to see all the trade assets the Nuggets have to offer.
Nikola Jokic continued his tear through the fantasy community, shooting 12-for-22 from the field for 29 points with 15 boards, one assist, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. The kid will continue to improve as the season moves, whatever that looks like.
In a bizarre five-game week, those who took a chance on the Manimal are reaping the rewards beyond their expectations. Kenneth Faried shot 9-for-10 from the field for 20 points, seven boards, two assists and one steal in 30 minutes. If he was dropped, pick him back up. The Nuggets are showcasing him.
The Lakers were a great case study with weird lines all around. Swaggy P led the way with 22 points on four 3-pointers and three steals. Nick Young can hurt you or help you. He certainly helped on Tuesday.
It was a painful game for D’Angelo Russell owners, who saw the young fella shoot 2-for-9 from the field for five points, two rebounds, three assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 17 minutes. He didn’t have it tonight. I would buy low if you are punting field goal percentage. He’s solid despite his shooting woes.
Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson did well in backcourt relief, making up for Russell’s shortcomings. Williams dropped a team-high 24 points with four rebounds, seven assists, one block and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes. Clarkson chipped in with 19 points, three assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. Both are top-100 guards flying under the radar off the bench.
Luol Deng (wrist) was surprisingly ruled out prior to the game, then it was announced that he was out indefinitely with a sprained wrist. Brandon Ingram got extra minutes in his place and performed well in his absence (is that a theme tonight? Backups everywhere unite!). Ingram shot 6-for-14 from the floor for 15 points with five boards, four assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He was already getting a good opportunity, but Deng’s absence will elevate his usage slightly.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. As if I wasn’t doing enough on a Tuesday night while I’m blurbing breaking news, check me out on Fantasy NBA Tonight ($) where I breakdown the happenings of Tuesday’s action 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 @HoopBallTweets. Thank you for reading. Happy Hump Day!!