• It’s the eve of Thanksgiving and tomorrow the NBA will take a break, so this will be last hoops action we’ll be breaking down for a while. In the spirit of the season and the holiday ahead, I’m going to highlight players and performances I’m thankful for.

    Last week, the dish was filled with a woeful air of despair over DNPs and injuries. So that you readers don’t feel like all we do here is gripe, whine, and then give fantasy advice; I’m laying on the table some things to feel joyous about.

    Portland Trail Blazers 125, Cleveland Cavaliers 137 – “What the world needs now, is Love, sweet Love”

    What better way to kick off the spirit of Thanksgiving, than with some Love? Kevin Love, to be specific. Tonight he gave us a fresh reminder that he’s one of the premier stretch fours in the league. The man was loving the hoop last night, scoring 34 of hs 40 points in the first quarter alone! That’s what happens when K-Love feels it and gets hot from downtown. The Blazers had no answer and were on the back-foot from the moment he started firing away. Love eventually finished with 40 points (12-of-20 from the field, 8-of-12 from deep, 8-of-8 from the line), eight rebounds, three dimes, a steal, and a block.

    He will always have his haters, critics, and detractors; but today I am thankful for LeBron James and his 31-10-13, triple-double performance. Besides, who isn’t ever thankful for trip-dubs? The “King” also nailed two triples and got three steals to add to his awesome game.

    I’m thankful for Damian Lillard and his valiant effort to keep his team in the fight and even helping them claw from a much deeper deficit than the final score reflects. He went for 40 points, seven boards, 11 assists, five treys, and some solid shooting efficiency overall.

    What I’m extra thankful for: Channing Frye – The vet played 14 minutes, but gave me 14 points, four triples, and a block in one of my deep leagues. Huzzah! Oh yeah, give him a look if you need threes in a roto format.

    Atlanta Hawks 96, Indiana Pacers 85 – A home for Howard

    First of all, I’m thankful for the return of Paul George. I don’t own him in any leagues this season, but I am nonetheless thrilled to see him back on the court. He had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals for the night. He struggled with his shot, but that’s okay because you can chalk that up to a bit of rust.

    I’ve never been a fan, but I’m happy for Dwight Howard. It’s nice to see him fit in with a team and see him merge almost seamlessly into the chemistry they had going before his arrival. He had a monster 23-20 game. The absence of blocked shots can be overlooked in this game, since he did the rebounded the ball as much as two big men last night.

    Of course, I’ve got to be thankful for my man, Paul Millsap for brightening up the stat sheet with another gem of a game. 18-11-3-5-4, yup his game is almost like a lottery ticket, now time to find which is a the powerball!

    Despite his burning me in several leagues last season, I’m thankful that I decided to keep trusting Jeff Teague. He’s having a career year so far… Wait, I don’t want to jinx it. My boy Jeff did a bit of everything with 11 points, six boards, eight assists, five steals, and two blocks. I’m also thankful that the ankle ding he got last game was nothing serious and he’s back in action.

    What I’m extra thankful for: Thabo Sefolosha. He was dropped in several leagues, and the roto-head in me was thrilled to grab him off the wire. He’s a steals specialist who doesn’t really hurt your team anywhere. His low scoring tends to keep him underappreciated in most leagues.

    Boston Celtics 111, Brookly Nets 92 – Holidays are for relaxing and enjoying a good Booker.

    Trevor Booker has been one of the more pleasant surprises this season and I’m thankful I was able to grab him in at least five leagues. The Nets were easily crushed in this one, as expected, but Booker soldiered on and turned in a sweet double-double with 18-12, a trey, and four steals.

    I wish I had more teams with Isaiah Thomas this season, but I guess three leagues will do I suppose. He gave my teams a lift with his 23 points, five dimes and five treys.

    I’m thankful to have Jae Crowder back this week. He’s been gone a while with his nasty ankle sprain. He logged 22 minutes and had 15 points and three triples. Definitely a good sign that he’s getting back to 100 percent healthy.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hurt his ankle and did not return to the game after logging 15 minutes. I’m thankful the Nets will get a couple of days of rest and that the X-rays came back negative.

    Miami Heat 84, Detroit Pistons 107 – When “D” stands for “Drummond”

    Andre Drummond had one his best games of the season in this one. He sure showed Hassan Whiteside what elite big man numbers are really like. Drummond blew up for 18-15 with four steals and four blocks. His blocks haven’t been there prior to this game and I and the rest of his owners are thankful he finally dropped those money stats. Big time!

    The Heat were just owned by the Pistons in this game and their starters left a lot to be desired. On the bright, what I am extra thankful for is that I picked up James Johnson in several leagues for Miami’s four-game week. He rewarded my trust with a turkey-like stuffed stat sheet, with 15 points, four rebounds, two treys, two steals, and two blocks. I was after a steal and a block tonight, so I guess the rest was just gravy (pun very much intended).

    San Antonio Spurs 119, Charlotte Hornets 114 – Kemba, “Walking on Sunshine”

    Kemba Walker was a board shy of notching a double-double, but I’m not going to complain about his 26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and 4-of-4 shooting from downtown. He’s been cooking since the start of the season. Sell high? Nah, I’m a buyer!

    I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but this is the first season that I’ve ever owned Kawhi Leonard. That said, I’m happy that I own him in a least one league. His 30-5-4-1-1 line was a beauty for sure. He’s fantastic and you’ll have to pry him off his dead owners’ fingers if you’re going to make a move for him.

    What I’m extra thankful for is being able to grab Frank Kaminsky prior to this game. Frank gave 13 points, eight boards, five dimes, and a trey. Yeah, I know Cody Zeller was still out in this game, but I think Kaminsky has earned enough to brownie points to merit a permanent spot in the Hornets’ rotation. When Zeller does return, expect Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert to take the big hits in value first.

    Memphis Grizzlies 104, Philadelphia 76ers 99 (2OT) – I’ll have an extra helping of overtime please!

    While Mike Conley (25-9-9) and Marc Gasol (27-4-4-3-3) did the heavy lifting for Memphis, THREE (3) Sixers players came through with double-double performances.

    Ersan Ilyasova had a solid 22-12 night. Joel Embiid was displeased with his minutes limit for the game, but still managed to score 12 points and grab 11 rebounds for the night. Robert Covington was the fantasy basketball gift that kept on giving, and giving, and giving. He went bonkers for his owners and thoroughly stuffed the stat sheet in this game. Ro-Co blew up for 19 points, 10 boards, four treys, three steals, and three blocks. He did commit six turnovers, so I’d imagine his owners in 8-cat leagues are a tad more thankful than his owners in 9-cat leagues, for sure.

    Jerryd Bayless is officially back in action and he logged 30 minutes. Bayless was solid with 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Grab him wherever you can. Sergio “Spanish Chocolate” Rodriguez played 21 minutes and had a quiet night with seven points and five dimes.

    Phoenix Suns 92, Orlando Magic 87 – Bledsoe’s bright side

    The Suns heated things up in this game and saw six players hit double figures. Yes, that included Marquese Chriss (10-3-1-1-1). Eric Bledsoe did a bit of everything with 16 points, nine boards, five assists, a trey, a steal and a block. He’s strung together a few games now and if you don’t trust he can keep it up, now would be a good time to sell high on the guy if you so desire.

    T.J. Warren is out “indefinitely” and it looks like Brandon Knight will stick with the starting lineup until his return. Knight had 12 points, two treys and three assists.

    Serge Ibaka has been an inconsistent conundrum so far this season. I’m thankful he still played 32 minutes despite his 5-4-3 performance. The trust is there, clearly. We just need to see some consistency from him moving forward.

    What I’m extra thankful for is holding on to Evan Fournier in some of my shallower leagues. He had a solid 25 points, three treys, and three triples in this game.

    Toronto Raptors 115, Houston Rockets 102 – Not too early for Christmas (DeMarre) Carrolls

    DeMarre Carroll looked good as he took advantage of Houston’s porous defense and had his best game of the 2016-17 season. He knocked down two treys en route to his 20-point night. Carroll brought the “D” last night and got three steals and four blocks. He did come off a zero-point dud of a game, so we’d like to see another game like this one before recommending a grab in standard leagues or shallower.

    Jonas Valanciunas had a nice double-double with 15 points and 16 boards. I’m dead last in a roto league, and I need him to drop more games like this one in order for me to claw my way up.

    James Harden had the ugly kind of triple-double with 29 points, 15 assists, and 12 turnovers. He did shoot well, going 7-of-13 from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, which was kind of a meager consolation.

    What I’m most thankful for is Patrick Beverley and his double-double of 10-10-4-2. I grabbed him in a couple of leagues and so far his understated games are getting better and better.

    Los Angeles Clippers 124, Dallas Mavericks 104 – Dirk is back and he has a pineapple pen!

    The Clippers have been dominant, impressive, and virtually unstoppable so far this season; so it comes as no surprise that they would easily dispatch with the Dallas Mavericks. None of the Clippers’ starters logged more than 26 minutes in this one, so the reserves got to bring a little extra something-something for deep league owners.

    Case in point is Mareese Speights, who has been a per-minute beast this season. The extra slack on his leash tonight resulted in him dropping a 16-12-1-1-1 line, much to the delight of his deep league owners. Give him a look if you’re in need  of a big man in 18-man leagues or deeper.

    Last season, was probably the last fantasy-relevant season we would get out of Dirk Nowitzki. That’s said, my favorite German power forward, has won me more than a few gold trophies in fantasy basketball over the years. He returned from injury tonight, and for that I am thankful. He had a quiet night with 10 points and six boards.

    If that made you chuckle or smile, you’re welcome! No “thanks” necessary.

    Denver Nuggets 83, Utah Jazz 108 – George Hill, back with a vengeance!

    I’m heavily invested in George Hill this season and I’m sure thankful that he’s finally back in action. It was good game back for one of this season’s sleepers. George logged 29 minutes in this easy win and had 22 points, three treys, three dimes, and two steals.

    Rudy Gobert had himself a nice double-double with 19-13-2. I had to play him in the 30-Deep experts league despite Utah’s 2-game week, so I’m thankful for these kinds of numbers.

    The Nuggets’ starters were no-shows in this stomping. Well, Danilo Gallinari was literally a DNP, because of a sore thigh. The other guys, were just a hot mess. Juancho Hernangomez started in his place and he had a respectable nine points, six boards, two steals and three blocks. Deep-league managers should keep an eye on him, should Gallo miss more games.

    What I am extra thankful for is being able to grab Jamal Murray in two  leagues. He’s officially on fire! I mean scorching! He was the lone bright spot for the Nuggets with 23 points, four boards and five triples. I’m riding his hot streak for as long as it lasts.

    Minnesota Timberwolves 96, New Orleans Pelicans 117 – “Jrue” is my favorite Holiday!

    The Pelicans have not lost since the return of Jrue Holiday and despite tonight’s quiet 7-point, 8-assist output, he has showed up strong and is a must-start guy moving forward.

    I’m sure Anthony Davis’ owners are thankful for his 45-point outburst. He filled up the stat sheet with 10 boards, three assists, two steals, two treys, and a block. He got the best of Karl-Anthony Towns who managed a less impressive albeit serviceable line with nine points, 11 boards, three assists, a steal, a triple, and two blocks.

    What I am extra thankful for is Terrence Jones’ ability to post a fantasy-relevant 17-7-1-1 line despite Davis going off like he did. It’s a good sign.

    Los Angeles Lakers 106, Golden State Warriors 149 – Finally, the Warriors win over the Lakers! Say, what?

    No more upsets. The “Dubs” are finally getting in sync and are turning on their auto-pilot in “destroy” mode. I’m thankful I own have Stephen Curry (31 points, nine assists, seven 3-pointers) in two leagues and Draymond Green (5-9-11-1-1) in two as well.

    The unfortunate news that came out tonight was that D’Angelo Russell is set to miss the next couple of weeks as he recovers from treatment for his sore knee. Jose Calderon started in his stead and had seven points and six assists. Is Calderon worth an add? Only in deep leagues, and only if you’re desperate for a small bump in assists and treys.

    Oklahoma City Thunder 101, Sacramento Kings 116 – On a Collison course for big numbers!

    Despite Russell Westbrook doing “Russell Westbrook things” with 31 points, 11 boards, and nine assists; and Victor Oladipo showing up with 18 points, six boards, and three treys, the Thunder could not pull off a win.

    Matt Barnes must have eaten his turkey a little early as he was as good asleep in this one with no points, four boards, and five dimes.

    DeMarcus Cousins had an offensive game to be thankful for with 36-13 and three treys.

    What I am extra thankful for is that Darren Collison was officially handed back the reigns of the starting point guard duties in this one. I own him in two important leagues and his 21-point, six-assist outing is just a taste of more great games to follow.

    Whew! That’s it folks! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Enjoy that post-meal food coma. Remember, “everything in moderation, except for counting stats in fantasy basketball!”

Fantasy News

  • Luke Kornet
    PF-C, Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls have officially announced the signings of Luke Kornet and Shaquille Harrison.

    Kornet can provide threes and blocks as a backup big for the Bulls. He is currently behind Lauri Markkanen, Thaddeus Young and Wendell Carter Jr. but may be able to carve out some minutes for deep-league owners. Harrison will be fighting for minutes with the Bulls' plethora of point guards at the moment. If he can find some minutes during the season, he can be a source of steals as a player to stream or for deep leagues.

    Source: Bulls.com

  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Raptors.

    Hollis-Jefferson's deal was originally reported as a minimum contract however it is now a $2.5 million contract which comes out of the Raptors' non-taxpayer mid-level. He will likely play some minutes behind Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. He is capable of defending multiple positions and might be able to provide some deep-league value in rebounds, steals and blocks.

    Source: Jeff Siegel on Twitter

  • Mike Muscala
    PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Mike Muscala has signed with the Thunder on a two-year, $4.31 million deal with a player option.

    Muscala could step in with the Thunder to be their stretch four behind Danilo Gallinari or back up Steven Adams. He could potentially earn some minutes especially with Jeremi Grant no longer on the team. He averaged around 20 mpg in his last two seasons with the Lakers and Hawks, providing threes and blocks that were useful to deep-league owners.

    Source: OKC Thunder Wire

  • Russell Westbrook
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Mike D'Antoni "would be disappointed" if Russell Westbrook didn't improve his 3-point percentage this season.

    D'Antoni added, "I think we can do that. I think that just by knowing that that's kind of how we play and him having the green light to (shoot) and not worry about it." Westbrook shot just 29.0 percent from deep last season and has been under 30.0 percent in four of his last five campaigns, so there is definite room for improvement. It's possible that Westbrook will find more catch-and-shoot looks available next to James Harden, and moving away from pull-up threes could help him improve his efficiency, but we won't be able to tell for sure until we see the duo take the court in preseason. Improving his deep shooting would definitely help, but there are serious questions about the rest of Westbrook's stat set. Rebounds and assists may not be as available in a system that isn't specifically tailored to him, and free throws and turnovers still look like problem areas. It's not a bad on-court fit but Westbrook seems unlikely to return to his former top-30 glory.

    Source: Salman Ali on Twitter

  • J.J. Barea
    PG, Dallas Mavericks

    J.J. Barea (torn right Achilles) will be cautious in his recovery and will not play for Puerto Rico at the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

    Barea expects to be ready for September's training camp but has decided that rushing back to play high-level international hoops would be a step too far. The tournament opens less than eight months after Barea sustained the injury, and he will instead focus his attention on getting ready for another season in Dallas. With the additions of Delon Wright and Seth Curry, it's unlikely that Barea plays enough to be worth your time in fantasy.

    Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter

  • Matt Thomas
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors have officially signed shooting guard Matt Thomas.

    Thomas will join the Raptors on a three-year deal after emerging as one of Europe's top shooters with Valencia last season. The Iowa State product hit 48.5 percent of his 3-pointers last season and is at a clean 47 percent in his two seasons in Spain. He should factor into the shooting guard rotation with Danny Green gone and is someone to monitor in deeper formats for his 3-point potential.

    Source: Toronto Raptors

  • Tyson Chandler
    C, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have announced the signing of Tyson Chandler.

    Chandler is looking like the backup to Clint Capela and could be called on more in certain matchups, though he doesn't figure to play enough to support any worthwhile fantasy value. It's possible that Chandler holds appeal in deeper leagues as a rebounding specialist but that should be about it.

    Source: Houston Rockets

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    The Raptors are planning to claim Kostas Antetokounmpo off waivers, per Eurohoops' Nikos Varlas.

    Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports that the Raptors were interested in adding Antetokounmpo last season, but had their plans dashed when Dallas took Antetokounmpo with the final pick in the draft. He's incredibly raw still, but has the physical build that the Raptors seem to love in their developmental projects.

    Source: Nikos Varlas on Twitter

  • B.J. Johnson
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings have waived B.J. Johnson.

    Johnson had a decent showing in Summer League but never seemed likely to last in Sacramento given the team's depth at forward. After making seven appearances on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Hawks last season, Johnson will look to find more concrete footing in the league this season.

    Source: Jason Jones on Twitter

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    The Mavs have waived Kostas Antetokounmpo, per Shams Charania.

    The youngest Antetokounmpo was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2018 draft but only appeared in two games with the Mavs last season. Dallas opens up a two-way contract slot and will likely find a more NBA-ready player on the market, while Antetokounmpo will look to latch on with another team for camp. Perhaps the 21-year-old can make it a family affair, with both of his older brothers playing in Milwaukee.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter