• 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

  • Jacob Evans
    SG, Golden State Warriors

    Jacob Evans (concussion) will be absent from Monday's game against the Blazers.

    That makes three consecutive games that Evans has been forced to sit out. He has not been able to crack the Warriors depleted rotation for a consistent role this year, and it is safe to assume that it is not going to happen anytime soon. Evans is only worth owning in the deepest of fantasy leagues when he is healthy.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Abdel Nader
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Abdel Nader will miss Monday's showdown against the Rockets due to a left ankle sprain.

    That'll be Nader's fourth straight game on the sidelines. He's been receiving minutes in the mid-teens lately and does not make much of them. Best to not bother wasting your fantasy memory space on Nader.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Chandler Hutchison
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Chandler Hutchison is probable to play against the Bucks on Monday due to a sore right shoulder.

    The injury has not cost him any games yet, although there were some concerns when it first arose back on Wednesday. You should feel comfortable including him in your lineup if you own him. Hutchison has been on a roll in the steals department lately.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Ryan Arcidiacono
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Ryan Arcidiacono (right elbow discomfort) is probable to face the Bucks on Monday.

    Arcidiacono receives this designation all the time but does not seem to have any issue playing through it. You can assume he'll be out there on Monday, but he is not going to do much stats wise.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb was able to play through his bruised left hip on Monday against the Nuggets, but it led to horrendous results with zero points (0-of-7 FG), one rebound, one assist, one block.

    While it was nice to see Lamb play through the injury, this is not what we had in mind. Things will get tougher for Lamb once Victor Oladipo returns, but it is best to tackle that logjam once it becomes an issue at this point. For the time being, Lamb is worth having in your lineup in standard leagues.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis had a great performance to lead the Pacers to victory over the Nuggets, notching 22 points (10-of-16 FG), 15 rebounds, 10 assists and five turnovers.

    The left knee soreness does not appear to be much of a factor right now for Sabonis, and it is a relief to see a swift bounce-back from the stinker he had against the Wolves on Friday. He played nearly 41 minutes against Nikola Jokic in this one and put up a nice imitation of the triple-double performances we've come to expect from the Serbian. Keep deploying Sabonis with confidence.

  • Malcolm Brogdon
    PG, Indiana Pacers

    Malcolm Brogdon continued his strong play on Sunday vs. the Nuggets, going for 22 points (8-of-17 FG, 4-of-4 FT), eight assists, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and two turnovers.

    Brogdon has been excellent since returning from strep throat and lower back soreness. He is resembling the early-season production that had him returning early-round value, and while that may be too much for Brogdon to do over an 82-game campaign, he is going to be a mid-round asset, even when Victor Oladipo rejoins the fold for the Pacers. Justin Holiday had a decent line off the bench, going for 14 points, four rebounds, three 3-pointers and one block. The Pacers have a number of options off the bench, making Holiday more of a 16-team play.

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    TJ Warren had a solid outing on Sunday versus the Nuggets, totaling 22 points (7-of-13 FG, 8-of-8 FT), three rebounds, one assist and one block.

    Thank goodness Warren had a solid night from the field and free-throw line to keep this line productive. Then again, that is the rub with Warren, who makes his living as a mid to late-round player thanks to his healthy scoring average (18 PTS) in combination with his strong percentages (.509 FG) (.813 FT) for the season.

  • Michael Porter Jr.
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Michael Porter Jr. put up 10 points with eight boards in 23 minutes of action in a loss to the Pacers on Sunday.

    Porter Jr. has been gaining some serious hype since he has started getting more minutes in the rotation. He has put up top-100 value over the past two weeks and should be picked up in all formats as he should see over 20 minutes per game for the remainder of the season.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire down the stretch on Sunday against the Nuggets, leading the Pacers' comeback with 24 points (9-of-10 FG), six 3-pointers, two rebounds and two assists.

    This was McDermott at his finest as a sharp-shooter from long range, but we also saw the emptiness he is known for as he did barely anything beyond the 24 points and six 3-pointers. He is still just a 3-point specialist on a deep Indiana roster. He was able to snatch some minutes from Jeremy Lamb tonight thanks to his hot streak.