March 14, 2017, 10:37 pm
The five-game slate on Tuesday night had a little bit of everything. Predictably, injury scares to Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis made headlines. More on that below. We had a pair of triple-doubles by two MVP candidates, a few blowouts made for lazy boxscores and one unexpected nail-biter while you were sleeping. Let’s check out Tuesday’s action.
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CAVS DISMANTLE PISTONS IN BLOWOUT
The Cavs scored a team-record 44 points in the first quarter and 74 in the first half, ending the game with a 26-point lead by halftime. The bench understandably got a lot of run to end the game, but not before LeBron James earned his 10th triple-double of the season in just 28 minutes. James shot 6-for-12 from the field for 16 points, 11 boards and 12 assists. He has five triple-doubles since the All-Star break. He is a man on an MVP mission.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs in scoring with 26 points on four threes, with one board and six assists in 30 minutes. He has been on fire over the last month, averaging 28.5 points per game. The Cavs play a back-to-back this weekend and the Lakers are on the back end, so stay tuned.
The Cavs supporting cast got hot as well, hence the scoring explosion on Tuesday. Iman Shumpert was 8-for-13 from the field for 18 points, five boards and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Richard Jefferson was 5-for-9 from the field for 16 points with two boards, one assist, two steals and four 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Neither are worth owning.
Larry Sanders checked in to the game in the waning minutes of the second half to get his first action in years. It will take him some time to get acclimated to an NBA level. Ignore him.
The Pistons also spread minutes throughout the team in the blowout, so the stat lines didn’t pop much as no Piston played over 27 minutes. Tobias Harris continued to make his mark in the starting lineup, shooting 6-for-11 from the field for 17 points with two boards, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes. He has sent Jon Leuer (eight points, seven boards) to the drop zone.
Andre Drummond was highly inefficient, shooting 4-for-12 from the field for eight points with 14 rebounds and one assist in 27 minutes. He will shoot much better than this almost every night.
Both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11-2-2-1) and Reggie Jackson (6-1-6-1) were letdowns as well due to low playing time. KCP has been in a funk lately and he looked to pick it up tonight, but the blowout ended his chance to makeup for lost stats. The Pistons play three more games this week, so hang on to your starters.
WESTBROOK RECORDS HIS 33RD TRIPLE-DOUBLE IN BLOWOUT OVER NETS
It was business as usual for Russell Westbrook, who is expected to record a triple-double almost every other game these days. That he did, as Westbrook posted another monster line. He shot 6-for-18 from the field and 11-for-13 from the line for 25 points with 12 rebounds, 19 assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes on Tuesday.
Victor Oladipo has been terrific since he suffered from back spasms and Tuesday was no exception. Dipo was 9-for-15 from the field for 21 points with three rebounds, four steals and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. Despite the light schedule for the Thunder, Dipo is the only non-Westbrook Thunder you must hang on to if you are desperate.
The Thunder front court was a bag of mixed feelings. Steven Adams was better but still not himself on Tuesday, shooting 4-for-5 from the field for 11 points, five boards, one assist and two steals in 29 minutes. If you are desperate and he doesn’t fit your mold, Adams can go. Taj Gibson was terrific in 24 minutes, shooting 8-for-17 from the field for 17 points with eight boards, one block and one steal. Enes Kanter added added 17 points with five boards, two assists and one steal in just 19 minutes. It’s Thunder roulette with the big men. Take your pick on any given night.
The Nets have been a mess for the past few seasons and Tuesday was no different. Sean Kilpatrick left the game with a hamstring injury and scored just two points in seven minutes. That opened up some playing time for the rest of the line of Nets guards.
Jeremy Lin shined in his best game of the season, shooting 8-for-15 from the field for 24 points with two rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. That’s a major improvement over his putrid shooting display (3-for-14) on Sunday. He should be owned in all formats until he gets hurt again.
It was the best game of Caris Levert‘s rookie season, as he scored 16 points with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and one 3-pointer in 23 minutes. He is on and off quite a bit this season. I’d still stay away, but he has my attention.
What an odd season it has been for Brook Lopez, who everyone thought would be resting by this time of the year. Lopez is playing and Kevin Durant is not, go figure. That’s fantasy basketball for you. BroLo is undeniably great in fantasy when he plays. He shot 9-for-15 from the field for 25 points with six rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. As usual, he is a DNP candidate any day now. Fortunately, the Nets play four games each of the next three weeks so a benching doesn’t hurt as bad.
KNICKS WIN DESPITE PORZINGIS’ EARLY DEPARTURE
The Knicks finished off a desperate Pacers team 87-81 on Tuesday, even without the fourth-quarter services of Kristaps Porzingis. KP hurt his ankle at the very beginning of the fourth quarter and did not return, finishing with 11 points, three boards, three assists, one steal and three blocks in 25 minutes. For now, he is questionable for Thursday’s game. With the Knicks playing just one more game this week against the lowly Nets, you can safely drop Porzgod to save your matchup for someone who plays three games. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Willy Hernangomez is always the benefactor of a Porzingis injury, so he stepped up and played 31 minutes on Tuesday. Hernangomez was 6-for-12 from the field for 13 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. It was a monster performance, but his schedule should keep him on the wire. No hard feelings.
With one game left, you can safely cut any Knick not named Carmelo Anthony, for that matter. Melo double-doubled with 22 points, 13 boards, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 41 minutes. Hold on to him for Thursday, if he goes against the Nets. He is worth nothing the rest of the week after Thursday, so if you are desperate, again, I wouldn’t blame you to move on.
The Pacers were wildly inefficient, shooting 36.8% from the field as a team. Paul George was a major reason, as he shot 9-for-22 from the field for 22 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes. He also had six turnovers and no defensive stats. It’s not a good start to a three-game week for the Pacers’ stud.
Myles Turner was the most efficient Pacer, shooting 8-for-17 from the field for 17 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks in 31 minutes. He’s a tier below being a top notch big man.
The inefficiency continued with Jeff Teague, who shot 4-for-15 from the field for nine points, eight boards and six assists in 32 minutes. His seven turnovers weren’t doing 9-cat owners any favors either.
With the Pacers playing just one more game after Wednesday, you can safely drop Thad Young (four points, six boards, one steal) or C.J. Miles (two 3-pointers, four boards) for a three-gamer between Thursday-Sunday and add two games in one move. Move it or lose it.