January 4, 2017, 8:24 am
First off, Happy New Year to everyone! We are just over three days in to the new year and players are still hungover, ill, having face injuries, and can’t seem to stay on the court. No worries! We will work though it, that’s what we are here for. Tuesday night was robust with an eight-game slate. A lot of chipiness to get in to, as well as big lines from unknown players. Who is Willie Reed again? More on that below. Let’s check out a “Bruski Breakdown” of sorts in a loaded Daily Dish!
EMBIID STARS IN SIXERS WIN OVER BABY WOLVES
The Sixers-Wolves game was like watching an NBA futures matchup of stars under 25 years-old. Robert Covington (13 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) made a last-second layup at the buzzer to break a 91-91 tie in a thrilling finish, giving the Sixers their ninth win of the season. They are now officially ahead of the eight-win Nets.
Joel Embiid stole the show with 25 points (8-for-20 FGs, 8-for-11 FTs), eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in just under 30 minutes. With the Sixers schedule spaced out this week and no back-to-backs, expect the Process to continue to play all week.
Coach Brett Brown talked up “force feeding” Embiid and Nerlens Noel in Tuesday’s game, but Noel ended up only playing 11 minutes. Noel shot 4-for-5 from the field for eight points, one rebound and one steal. He is still worth a stash, but the low amount of playing time on Tuesday is frustrating for owners. If you need to move on, you can probably get something worthwhile in return.
The Wolves fell short despite a nice line from Karl-Anthony Towns, scored 23 points (9-for-22 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) with 15 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes.
Zach LaVine had his patented scoring outburst with 28 points (11-for-20 FGs, 3-for-4 FTs), three boards, one assist, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes. He is having a fine top-50 season.
It was a rough night for Andrew Wiggins owners, who watched Wiggins shoot a putrid 2-for-15 from the field for eight points with five boards, three assists and one steal in 37 minutes. It was just an off night, I’m not worried.
THE PIZZA MAN ALWAYS DELIVERS
The Celtics halted the Jazz’s four-game win streak with a 115-104 lesson on Tuesday night. Isaiah Thomas shot 10-for-18 from the field for 29 points with 15 assists, four boards, one steal and five 3-pointers in 35 minutes.
Both Jae Crowder (five 3-pointers) and Al Horford (three 3-pointers, five boards, four assists) posted 21 points each, proving to be an offensive problem for the Jazz on the perimeter.
Gordon Hayward led the sluggish Jazz on the back-end of a back-to-back set with 23 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Rudy Gobert shot just 3-for-8 from the field for eight points, 13 rebounds and one block in 34 minutes. The Jazz have five-games this week, so head-to-head owners won’t mind the status quo.
After being benched to start the second half last night, Derrick Favors started and played 29 minutes. Favors shot 5-for-10 from the field for 12 points, six boards and seven assists. It is very encouraging to see Favors post a productive line on a back-to-back set. Hopefully whatever the issue was on Monday is long gone. He looked much better on Tuesday.
Joe Johnson made noise in the fantasy community with a 7-for-11 game, scoring 17 points with three rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 21 minutes. Ignore the old-timer.
PAUL GEORGE LIFTS PACERS TO KEY WIN OVER PISTONS
With the Pacers and Pistons just 1.5 games apart in a tight Eastern Conference race, the Pacers secured a big road win on the back of Paul George. PG-13 shot 10-for-17 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the line for 32 points with six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Nothing could stop him on Tuesday.
Fantasy owners were happy to see Jeff Teague give it a go with his sore ankle. Teague shot 5-for-8 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line for 17 points with three baords, eight assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. He was questionable coming in to the game but stuck it out with the injury in a solid line. Keep an eye on his status until he looks 100 percent. I’m not concerned.
Myles Turner also poured in 17 points (7-for-12 FGs) with seven boards, one assist, two steals and two blocks. He is still performing as a fantasy first rounder. What a steal in drafts!
If Monta Ellis was dropped in your league, take a flier on him if you have the luxury. He was 6-for-6 from the field for 16 points and three assists in 20 minutes. He is streaky and is working back from injury but has performed in the top-75 before. The upside is there if you can afford to wait.
It was a good fantasy night for all relevant Pistons players. Andre Drummond was ultra-efficient, shooting 9-for-16 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 20 points with 14 rebounds, two assists, one steal and two swats. It would be nice to see more games like this out of the big fella.
Reggie Jackson also double-doubled with 20 points (8-for-18 FGs), 12 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers. He is white hot for owners and could put together a big start to 2017. If you held on, kudos.
LOWRY DISAPPEARS AS SPURS BLOWOUT RAPTORS
A battle between two inter-conference contenders took place on Tuesday, but it wasn’t even close. The Spurs rolled over the Raptors 110-82 and had the luxury of playing nobody over 30 minutes. Kawhi Leonard posted most of his gaudy stats by halftime, but it was worth a full game of studliness. Kawhi shot 8-for-12 from the field for 25 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, three blocks and five 3-pointers in 28 minutes. The defensive stats had owners drooling.
LaMarcus Aldridge also got his stats in under 30 minutes, shooting 11-for-16 from the field for 23 points with eight boards, six assists, one block and one 3-pointer. LMA and Kawhi are a lethal combo.
The Raptors were loaded with awful fantasy lines across the board. Kyle Lowry was a top-five player last week (against my fantasy team, of course) but put up his biggest dud of the season. Lowry was 2-for-9 from the field (0-for-7 3PTs) for six points, four rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. He will be just fine.
Jonas Valanciunas posted yet another dud as well, shooting 1-for-5 for two points with six boards. The buy-low window is open for business. I still believe in his talent. He will turn it around.
The only Raptor worth much on Tuesday was DeMar DeRozan, who shot 12-for-21 from the field for 26 points with four rebounds and two assists. Besides the scoring, I’d still want to see more from him. He is still a solid early-round asset.
MAVS SMALL BALL THEIR WAY TO WIN OVER WIZ
The Mavs decided to move Andrew Bogut to the bench and Dorian Finney-Smith into the starting lineup. While neither is worth owning in fantasy basketball, the move worked well for the Mavs on Tuesday.
Harrison Barnes moves to the power forward spot and fared very well, scoring 26 points with seven rebounds, five assists, one block and two 3-pointers. On what started as a lost season, Barnes is getting all the playing time he can handle. That bodes well moving forward.
The big German Dirk Nowitzki trudged along for 11 points and nine baords with one 3-pointer. He is still efficient but it is evident that Father Time is knocking at his doorstep. Dirk should still be owned in standard leagues.
Deron Williams got hot for 21 points with six assists and four 3-pointers. Keep an eye on the Mavs playoff chances. He is a rest candidate like Dirk if they fall by the wayside.
All five of the Wizards starters scored in double figures, but the bench was no help. John Wall shot 10-for-19 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line for 27 points with four boards, eight dimes, three steals, one block and one 3-pointer. These are the lines you get excited about as a Wall owner.
All eyes were on the status of Bradley Beal coming in to the game, as he was suffering from a minor ankle injury. He looked to be well past it, scoring 25 points (10-for-26 FGs) with four boards, six assists and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes. His fragile legs are still intact.
I’d be remiss not to mention a dirty line from Marcin Gortat, who is one of my favorite lunchpail centers. Gortat shot 5-for-11 from the field for 12 points with 16 rebounds, four assists and one swat. He is a mid-round asset who goes to work every single day. Rock steady.
KINGS GET SEASON-HIGHS FROM COLLISON AND KOUFOS IN DENVER
With Rudy Gay (hip) ruled out for the ninth time in 10 games, the Kings were once again looking for complimentary scoring next to DeMarcus Cousins (31 points, six rebounds, six assists, three 3-pointers).
Darren Collison stepped up in a big way, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor for 26 points with two rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. With Ty Lawson (blurred vision) sitting this one out, Collison earned the opportunity to show that he can perform at the same clip he did in the 2015-16 season. If given the minutes, he can turn the corner and be a top-75 asset in the blink of an eye. Hold on to him.
Kosta Koufos added a season-high 18 points, shooting 8-for-9 from the field and grabbing five boards and one steal. Leave him on the wire.
The Nuggets fell short in an important game from a standings perspective. Danilo Gallinari is still standing upright, and when he does he is a top-60 fantasy player. Gallo scored 24 points (8-for-12 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) with four rebounds, three assists, one block and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes. I’m still trying to move him before the Nuggets fall out of competition.
Nikola Jokic scored 18 points (7-for-12 FGs, 3-for-3 FTs) with seven boards, five assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes. It took him a while to warm up but not he is rolling along.
Nurk alert! Jusuf Nurkic is playing again, and playing well. Nurk shot 6-for-8 from the field for 16 points with six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 18 minutes. As long as he is playing over 15 minutes, he should be rostered.
WILLIE WHITESIDE NOT ENOUGH TO TAKE DOWN SUNS
With Hassan Whiteside (retinal eye contusion) sitting out, the Heat were forced to insert steamin’ Willie (Beamin’) Reed at center. He did his best Whiteside impersonation on Tuesday. Willie Reed shot 11-for-16 from the field for 22 points with 18 rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 32 minutes. Consider him a very short term play with Whiteside out. You obviously can’t expect these numbers to continue.
The Heat were happy to see Goran Dragic (back) return free of back pain. Dragic shot an efficient 9-for-18 from the field for 24 points with nine assists, three rebounds, two steals and one 3-pointer. With the Heat at only 10 wins, you have to wonder if he is a shutdown candidate down the stretch? Owners have to hope Dragic is shipped elsewhere or miraculously lasts the whole way in a potentially lost season. He’s not for me.
On the winning side, Devin Booker led the Suns with 27 points, two boards, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. He is having an up and down season but the talent is there to shoot his way back in to the top-115. I’m betting he will.
Mr. Jekyll and Hyde himself, T.J. Warren went full Jekyll on owners again. After a full line with 24 points in his last game, Warren was 1-for-3 for two points with one block in 17 minutes on Tuesday. He is a roller-coaster of extremes right now and can’t be trusted on a nightly basis. The best guess on his output is a happy medium. I can’t see him establishing consistency anytime soon. If you are sticking with him, expect the average of two extremes.
Tyson Chandler grabbed 20 rebounds and swatted two shots on Tuesday night. He has the potential to win you rebounds in head-to-head leagues with big nights like this. Consider him a specialist. Marquese Chriss posted a nice line, shooting 7-for-11 from the field for 18 points with six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. As I mentioned on Fantasy NBA Tonight ($), I have to see a few more games like this to warrant an add. He is on my watch list, nothing more.
JULIUS RANDLE TRIPLE-DOUBLES TO BEAT GRIZZ
The never dull dynamic duo of Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell got hot from beyond the arc to stun the Grizzlies in a 116-102 upset. Young took all of his shots from deep, shooting 6-for-11 from down town for 20 points with two assists. Russell’s line had a bit more substance, as he scored 18 points (on six threes) with four boards, six assists and one steal in 32 minutes.
Julius Randle posted the shiniest line for the Lakers, as he triple-doubled in 37 minutes. Randle shot 9-for-15 from the field for 19 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists and one steal in 37 minutes. He is a budding star on this young Lakers team.
The Grizz couldn’t hang with the young Lakers, but it wasn’t Marc Gasol‘s fault. Gasol shot 8-for-15 from the field for 22 points with six boards, seven assists and one steal in 35 minutes. He is hands down a top-25 player.
Mike Conley contributed 21 points (7-for-16 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) with four assists and three 3-pointers. Him and Gasol almost always show up. It’s the rest of the squad who the Grizz are worried about.
It was a quick night for JaMychal Green, who was nailed in the face and had to leave early to go to the locker room. Green finished with three points, six boards and one steal in 21 minutes. His eye looked very swollen after the game. Consider him day-to-day. This could be a great buy-low opportunity on a player under the radar if you want a cheap but effective big man. Zach Randolph (11 points, nine rebounds, one steal) will pick up minutes in his absence.
Chandler Parsons was irrelevant again in 15 minutes, shooting 1-for-6 from the field for two points with two rebounds and one assist. If you own him, I urge you to sell-high if he has a good game. Admit it, you lost.
Whew! 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 New Year!!