• The top five teams in the East were on display in a five-game slate on Tuesday. They didn’t disappoint. The Cavs knocked off the Raptors in a close finish. More on that below. Meanwhile, Kemba Walker continued to dominate his way in to the fantasy elite dinner table after another great line. Let’s get to all of the action and more in Wednesday’s Daily Dish.

    CAVS 121, RAPTORS 117

    The Cavs narrowly edged out the Raptors in a rematch of June’s Eastern Conference Finals. Channing Frye (21 points, five treys) hit the go ahead 3-pointer with 59 seconds left. That’s two nice games in a row now for Frye and his ownership is kicking up a notch. I’d say he is worth a look in deeper leagues at this point, but I can’t have confidence in his standard league value.

    LeBron James narrowly missed a triple-double, scoring 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting with 14 assists, nine boards, one steal and two 3-pointers. Kyrie Irving followed suit with 24 points on 10-for-20 shooting with four assists, five boards, two steals and two 3-pointers of his own. The stars came out to play tonight.

    The frontcourt was just as effective for the Cavs. Kevin Love poured in a double-double, scoring 19 points and 13 boards with one assist, three swats and one trey. Tristan Thompson double-doubled as well, scoring 15 points with 11 boards and a block in 30 minutes. He’s a rebounding specialist who is getting it done if you need him. He will have peaks and valleys like all other late-round assets.

    The Raptors got nice lines from their bread and butter players, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Cavs from scoring 121 points. Kyle Lowry led the way with 28 points with five boards, nine assists, four steals and four 3-pointers. He is producing steady numbers and owners should be pleased. DeMar DeRozan shot 10-for-27 from the field with 26 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. He has taken the next step as an early round asset this season.

    Jonas Valanciunas shot 5-for-9 from the field for 14 points with nine boards and two assists in 34 minutes. This is the most minutes he has seen since opening night. Lucas Nogueira got in to foul trouble early with three fouls in three minutes, so he only played 10 minutes at the center spot. The Raptors could have used his presence down the stretch. If you picked him up, hold tight for a few more games to see what kind of role he carves out. We’ll chalk tonight’s bagel (0 points, four rebounds, one block) up to foul trouble.

    Norman Powell got the start for DeMarre Carroll (rest) and did well in his place. Powell shot 4-for-7 from the field for 12 points with three boards, three assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Powell has held significant value before and is officially on the watch list if he can keep rolling. Keep an eye out.

    HAWKS 93, HEAT 90

    The Hawks hung on in another Eastern Conference nail-biter on Tuesday night. They managed to play eight players over 20 minutes a piece in the win. Paul Millsap improved on Saturday’s nightmare outing with a decent line. Millsap shot 7-for-17 from the field for 15 points with six boards, four assists and two steals in 35 minutes. His recent struggles have been well-documented, but Tuesday’s like is a step in the right direction. Stay the course.

    Dwight Howard (left quad contusion) missed the fourth quarter after he went to the locker room and was ruled out within minutes. With the Hawks playing on a quick turnaround Wednesday evening, consider Dwight highly questionable. He finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and three steals in 25 minutes. If Dwight misses more time, Mike Muscala (14 points, five rebounds, four assists) is your add.

    Kyle Korver disappeared with four points, two rebounds and one block in 29 minutes. This was easily his worst fantasy performance of the young season. Better days are ahead.

    With Goran Dragic (ankle) sitting this one out, the Heat turned to Hassan Whiteside to be the force within. Whiteside narrowly missed a 20-20 night, scoring 19 points with 25 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 38 minutes.

    Josh Richardson got another start at point guard and made the most of his opportunity. J-Rich shot 8-for-14 from the field for 19 points with four rebounds, two assists, two steals, three blocks and one 3-pointer in a full line. With Dragic due back soon, Richardson is sure to take a back seat, but he may be able to carve out a rotational role that is good enough to remain an asset in standard leagues.

    Coming off of a career 3-27-2-3-2-3 night, Dion Waiters followed up his best outing with a respectable one. Waiters was cold as he shot 5-for-18 from the field for 11 points with one board, two assists, three steals, one blocks and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes. His defensive stats and plethora of minutes make him worth a hold.

    HORNETS 115, WOLVES 108

    The Hornets improved to an impressive 7-3 record with a close win over the Wolves. Kemba Walker kept his top-15 value rolling with the line of the night, shooting 12-for-19 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line for 30 points with five boards, six assists, five steals and two 3-pointers. He has been an excellent early round investment for owners in the first month of basketball. Keep it up Kemba.

    Nic Batum played 36 minutes, scoring 16 points with five boards, seven assists, three steals, one block and four 3-pointers in the win. Tuesday marks Batum’s third straight game with a block. The defensive stats are rolling in and his value is rising to where he was drafted to be.

    Underrated Cody Zeller remained efficient, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 14 points with nine rebounds, one assist and one block in 31 minutes. He is worth a look in standard leagues if you need a big man.

    Frank Kaminsky broke out for 20 points with four boards, five assists, one steal and one block with three 3-pointers in 27 minutes. He’s had similar outbursts, but his inconsistency is not worth adding just yet. Keep him on the watch list for now.

    The Wolves employed a top-heavy rotation on Tuesday, playing all starters over 32 minutes each. Andrew Wiggins maintained his breakout quest to the tune of 29 points with two rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 42 minutes. He is posting mid-round value and is visibly better than he was last season.

    Ricky Rubio was solid in the loss, scoring 11 points with eight boards, eight assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. There is no doubt he has full control over the point guard duties when healthy. Zach LaVine (knee) got hot for five 3-pointers, scoring 19 points with two boards and two assists. He looked fine after sitting a game for his knee injury. He is one of the best values in fantasy so far this season.

    It remained a cold start for Karl-Anthony Towns, as he shot 9-for-23 from the field for 21 points with eight boards, four assists, one block and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes on Tuesday. He shot 10 3-pointers, which would explain his inefficiency. He is still an absolute beast but owners have to feel a bit underwhelmed with his top-25 numbers since they paid such a high price for him. Keep the faith.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard was unstoppable while leading the Blazers to a 139-129 victory over the Pacers on Sunday, totaling 50 points (14-of-23 FG, 14-of-16 FT), 13 assists, six rebounds, eight 3-pointers and one steal.

    This will go down as one of the best fantasy lines of the entire season. Lillard has gone for 61, 47 and now 50 points over his last three games. Despite C.J. McCollum returning to help lighten his load, Lillard still dominated over 38 minutes. He just keeps getting better, and if he can do this all season he is going to be in the conversation for a top-5 selection next year.

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb woke up from his recent stupor of mediocrity in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, notching a team-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and a full line.

    Lamb rounded out his line for the night with two rebounds, one assist, two 3s, two steals and one block. He combined for 31 points over the last four games prior to tonight's gem. After this rampage on the stat sheet, you can consider his buy-low window officially slammed shut.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside was fantastic vs. the Pacers on Sunday, registering 21 points (9-of-11 FG), 14 rebounds and six blocks.

    This was a high scoring affair, and it will be interesting to see if Whiteside can continue averaging 15 points a game alongside a fully healthy roster now that C.J. McCollum returned to the lineup. Either way, Whiteside is indispensable as long as Jusuf Nurkic (leg) remains out. Until Nurkic is back in action Whiteside is going to keep beasting with early-round value.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis dropped a huge line in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, erupting for 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, 11 dimes and one blocked shot.

    Sabonis is a beast and that beast was unleashed tonight in the absence of Myles Turner (illness). While his line was not enough to carry his Pacers to victory, the stats he put up in the box score were huge in the fantasy arena.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire for the Pacers on Sunday night, making six triples en route to a 19-point performance on 7-of-11 shooting with one rebound and one assist.

    Streaky 3-point shooting specialists like McDermott are almost always worth riding out until their hot streak ends. He's making it rain over his last couple of games, so keep rocking him for a boost in that specific category.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum (left ankle sprain) had a successful return against the Pacers on Sunday, putting up 28 points (11-of-21 FG), six 3-pointers and five assists.

    McCollum jumped right back into the swing of things after missing the past three games and played nearly 36 minutes in this one. It's terrific to see no restrictions and that he was happy initiating the offense. Damian Lillard is on fire, but he more than happy to have McCollum chipping in, and you can count on his scoring abilities delivering mid-round value.

  • Jakarr Sampson
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Jakarr Sampson drew the start for an ill Myles Turner on Sunday and saw just 17 minutes with an unremarkable three rebounds and two points on 0-for-3 shooting from the field.

    Sampson obviously is not worth your time right now, so move on.

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Facing the Grizzlies on Sunday, Devin Booker continued his scorching hot play in defeat, going for 36 points (11-of-24 FG, 9-of-10 FT), five 3-pointers, five assists and one block.

    The broader line was a bit thin, but it is tough to complain about Booker's ability to wrack up infinite amounts of points on strong shooting. The sky is the limit assuming the Suns can hang around the playoff race, although it would be quite the feat to see Booker shoot over 50 percent from the field for an entire season. On the other hand, Ricky Rubio struggled in this game, with five points (1-of-10 FG), five rebounds, three assists and three steals. At least Rubio still delivered those steals and a 3-pointer to save this performance from being a total disaster.

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Deandre Ayton shot poorly while totaling 17 points (7-of-19 FG, 3-of-5 FT), but also produced 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

    The shooting was underwhelming but Ayton received nearly 40 minutes on Sunday, and that kind of opportunity is bound to produce massive double-doubles. Ayton's block-rate has advanced well this season, averaging 1.4 per game, and if he maintains that rate he will have no problem delivering early-round value for the remainder of the season.

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Kelly Oubre Jr. had a strong across the board performance on Sunday against the Grizzlies, going for 27 points (9-of-10 FT), nine rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers.

    Oubre received 38 minutes in this matchup, and it looks like he is gradually rounding back into form after missing a couple games due to a concussion. The steals and blocks have not been rolling in since Oubre's return, but the points and rebounds have been there, and he should return to mid-round value in no time.