NBA is back! And so was James Harden, Eric Bledsoe, Spencer Hawes, Enes Kanter and Brook Lopez. Unfortunately we were without Chris Paul, Jameer Nelson, Kyle Korver, Nene, Tony Parker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tobias Harris, Caron Butler, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Jeremy Lin. We also lost Jose Calderon to an ankle injury, of which there is no word on severity yet. And Ersan Ilyasova played only 12 minutes due to a hamstring strain.
FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
Jrue Holiday, PG, New Orleans Pelicans:
20 points (8/13 FG, 3/4 FT), 1 three, 7 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover
Holiday really showed his former home fans what they are missing, although I’m sure they are pretty happy with his replacement, Michael Carter-Williams so far. J-rue had 20 points, seven rebounds, 13 assists, three steals and one block, in a masterful performance.
Honourable Mentions: Wes Johnson, Shawne Williams
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Wes Johnson, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers (2% owned):
27 points (8/11 FG, 3/4 FT), 6 threes, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 3 blocks, 2 turnovers
Johnson has been up and down of late, but today he was way up! He’s actually been a top 30 player in the last two weeks and merits serious consideration as a pickup in standard leagues. Especially if you want threes and blocks.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Bobcats:
10 points (3/10 FG, 3/4 FT), 1 three, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 6 turnovers
Kemba has been woeful of late and this is a perfect time to try and grab him. He is ranked 120 for the season, well below where he was drafted. He’s only shooting 37% from the floor and this is a major part of his downfall. Hopefully he can turn it around, because when he is on, he is a fantastic player.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
With Caron Butler out again, Khris Middleton got another start and added nice peripheral stats of three steals and two blocks, but he’s only a deep league consideration. John Henson got his customary 24 minutes, but excelled with six blocks. He should probably be owned in all leagues and when Larry Drew finally wakes up and plays him over 30 minutes, his value should skyrocket. Brandon Knight had his best game finishing with 17 points but only two assists. O.J. Mayo had another dud and he has been maddening this season and probably can be dropped.
Al Jefferson feasted on the lack of NBA calibre players on the Bucks with 23 points and 12 boards on a very efficient 18 shots. He is starting to get it going now which is a relief. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out with plantar fasciitis, but his value was down the toilet anyway. Jeffrey Taylor started in his place but only scored four points. Gerald Henderson scored 19 and is in the midst of a nice streak, but he just doesn’t contribute in enough categories to be an upper echelon player.
MIAMI HEAT @ TORONTO RAPTORS
LeBron James was his usual productive self, but did hurt his finger, back and ankle, so that’s worth monitoring over the next few days. Chris Bosh had another bad game and this is the time to try and buy low on him and owners must be getting frustrated. Mario Chalmers shot poorly, but at least was able to give us eight assists, three steals and two threes. That’s a good sign for his owners and I still think he should be owned in most, if not all, leagues. Dwyane Wade bears mentioning, for he had a great line across the board, save the five turnovers. He added 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas are officially in the tank at the moment, with Johnson being droppable and Valanciunas closely approaching that status. They both played less than 20 minutes and you’d think against a small Heat lineup, they’d be able to exploit that on the offensive end. Tyler Hansborough is getting an unexplainable amount of minutes, cutting into Amir and JV’s value and that is enough to make you tear your hair out. Kyle Lowry continues to be the Raptors best fantasy option, with six assists, two threes, two steals and 15 points. At some stage soon, he’s going to get injured, so maybe see what you can get for him in a trade while he is this hot. Another guy who is hot is DeMar DeRozan, who poured in another 25, but in a twist, he grabbed seven boards and shot 50%. He has actually been producing better non-scoring stats this season compared with his career and has been a surprise. Rudy Gay backed up his poor field goal shooting with a 2-of-7 performance from the free throw line. He did add 11 rebounds and two blocks with 21 points, but his shooting woes continue.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ ORLANDO MAGIC
Both teams starting point guards were rules out of this game, Tony Parker sitting due to an ankle injury. Corey Joseph started in his stead and had a nice game in yet another Spurs blowout. Joseph had 14 points and four assists. Marco Belinelli hit four threes for 19 points and limited Manu Ginobili to 19 minutes. Ginobili still had 11 points and five dimes and he is still productive in small minute performances. Tim Duncan had a great line considering he only played 23 minutes. He had 19 points and nine rebounds, with a steal and a block. Danny Green scoring woes continued, but he did add two threes, three assists, a steal and two blocks.
With Jameer Nelson not playing due to the foot injury he suffered on Wednesday, E’Twuan Moore got the start. He struggled mightily and for however long Nelson misses, Victor Oladipo is going to be the main beneficiary. VO blocked a career high three shots, with 15 points and two assists and only two turnovers. I expect him to keep getting better and better as we progress in this season. Arron Afflalo didn’t hit a three, but still had 17 points, but this isn’t anything to worry about.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS @ DETROIT PISTONS
The surprising Lakers got another win, with amazing performances from Shawne Williams and Wes Johnson. Both guys hit six threes and played over 30 minutes. Johnson had three blocks, six rebounds in his 27 points whereas Williams had nine boards, two steals and a block to go along with his 20 points. Steve Blake scored a measly two points, but did save his night with 10 assists and his point guard backup, Jordan Farmar continued his run of good form with another 13 points. The big loser in this game was Jordan Hill who only played 13 minutes and sat a lot due to Williams hot streak. Pau Gasol left the arena with strapping on his hand, but it doesn’t seem to be serious.
Andre Drummond battled foul trouble, played 16 minutes and still double doubled with 13 points and 11 rebounds, a steal and a block. He also hit three of his four free throw attempts. He is the best fantasy option of the Detroit ‘Big Big Three’. Josh Smith had one of the strangest lines of the year, scoring only 8 points, but grabbing 19 boards, handing out eight assists, stealing five and blocking two. As per usual his 25% from the field and 0-of-4 from the line are killers though. Rodney Stuckey scored another 22 points and is on the hottest of hot scoring streaks and you need to ride him while it keeps going. Lost in all these games, were solid performances from Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS @ BOSTON CELTICS
Along with the Bucks, the Cavs must be the biggest mess in the NBA. Dion Waiters had his second 20 point game in a row and Kyrie Irving scored 17 points, but apart from that it was dismal. In fact, Irving’s night was very ordinary as well, getting only three assists and shooting badly from the field and the line as well and to say his year has been a disappointment is a huge understatement. Anderson Varejao got a double double off the bench and added two steals and rookie Sergey Karasev started instead of Matthew Dellavedova, but had no impact.
Courtney Lee was forced to miss with his knee sprain, opening the door for Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley to have big night. Bradley responded with 21 points and is scoring a lot more this year than in seasons past. He hit 8-of-11 shots from the field with three threes. Jordan Crawford continued his breakout campaign with a triple double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Jeff Green scored a season high 31 points, but his shooting let him down from the line, In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, he is actually outside the top 130 in value and the high points total could enable you to get value for him in a trade. Jared Sullinger hit four threes which is fantastic for a big man and Brandon Bass blocked two shots and these two seem cemented into their starting roles now after a lot of early uncertainty.
DALLAS MAVERICKS @ ATLANTA HAWKS
As my brother put it, Dallas put on a Michael Hutchence style choke job to lose this game to an Al Horford game winner. Before injuring his ankle Jose Calderon, had hit four threes in his 16 points with three assists. Given his injury history, it should be expected that he will miss some time, and there will be an assist boost for Monta Ellis as well as more minutes for Vince Carter, Gel Mekel and Shane Larkin. DeJuan Blair grabbed an insane 18 rebounds in his 26 minutes and his is such an intriguing guy, but is of real value in a punt points league. Samuel Dalembert is as well and they seem to be in a full time share. Sammy Dal blocked two shots, but only had four rebounds. It was Shawn Marion who lead the way, with 15 points and 12 rebounds and his remarkable season continues.
With Kyle Korver still out, Lou Williams moved into the starting lineup alongside Jeff Teague. The five starters had all of the value and Williams is getting close to being a must own guy, but there are still going to be minutes limits and days off, but if you can stomach that, go ahead and grab him. DeMarre Carroll had close to a double double with nine points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Teague had 25 points and six assists. Teague has been assisting and scoring at a great rate so far, but he is let down in a lot of over categories, pushing his overall value down. If you can spare the assists, he might be someone worth dealing away to get some value in the other categories.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS @ PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Lots of Pelicans played well in fact and they blew the Sixers out again. Eric Gordon had seven assists of his own with 26 points, Ryan Anderson continued his tear with four threes and eight rebounds, and Anthony Davis flirted with a 5×5 again, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks. Tyreke Evans has picked up his play a lot recently and if you can buy him low still I’d do it now, as that window is closing rapidly, if not already closed.
Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young both returned to the starting lineup and picked up where they left off. Both guys hit two threes, while Hawes had three blocks and Young grabbed 12 rebounds. Evan Turner continued his efficient and mildly spectacular season. I wouldn’t be trying to sell high on him, as the Sixers don’t seem in a rush to move him. Michael Carter-Williams struggled shooting in all phases, but did add 10 assists.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS @ INDIANA PACERS
The Pacers shut keep shutting teams down and did it tonight against the Wizards. John Wall was kept to eight points and nine assists in a disappointing outing. Martell Webster cooled off as well, but a lot of these performances can be attributed to the opponent rather than the players themselves. With Nene sitting out, Jan Vesely got the start and played 20 minutes, going scoreless. He has zero relevance. Marcin Gortat continued his strong run of form and looks to be settled right in to the Wizards gameplan.
Lance Stephenson had a strange double double of 11 rebounds and 10 assists and got close to a quadruple double, adding seven points and a garish eight turnovers. Paul George had another fantastic game with 23 points, three threes, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Roy Hibbert has cooled off slightly from his red hot start but is still a very solid mid range player.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Last time these two met, we had an apparent Russell Westbrook nullified by a game winner from Andre Iguodala. Not in this game though as Russ was able to take all the glory in a miraculous finish, hitting a three from the corner with 0.1 seconds remaining to take a one point lead. Fantasy wise, there were some very nice performances. Stephen Curry hit four threes in his 32 points and had 11 assists a well while Andrew Bogut blocked four shots. Harrison Barnes took full advantage of his minutes increase, scoring 26 points in his 41 minutes. Klay Thompson hit 26% of his 19 shots , but did finish with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds.
This was a Westbrook game of old, scoring 34 points, with seven assists and five steals. He had been quiet of late, so this was pleasing to see. Kevin Durant was off target from the field, but did hit 11 of his 12 free throws. He added 13 boards as well. Also with 13 boards was Serge Ibaka. He blocked four shots and is really humming now. It should be noted that Jeremy Lamb played 27 minutes. He only scored eight points, but the minutes are nice and he is someone to keep your eye on. Steve Adams grabbed seven rebounds in his 14 minutes off the bench.
BROOKLYN NETS @ HOUSTON ROCKETS
Brook Lopez returned, but the Nets were still terrible. Lopez played the most minutes of the starters with 21, the rest of them playing in the teens. This led to guys like Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic and Tyshawn Taylor getting extended minutes. They all played really well in those minutes however, but the chances of that sort of rotation happening again is slim to nil. Teletovic has been decent in a couple of games recently and is worth keeping an eye on.
This game was such a blow out that minutes were all over the shop for the Rockets as well. Chandler Parsons continued his great year, hitting six threes in his 21 points. Aaron Brooks, Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi made the most of the blowout and all played well. Brooks has been very good recently, but with James Harden back, he will be challenged to keep it up. Jeremy Lin is out for the next two weeks however, so that should provide more opportunity for him and Patrick Beverley. Speaking of Beverley, he has been disappointing of late, but I’m giving him one or two more games to redeem himself.
NEW YORK KNICKS @ DENVER NUGGETS
The Knicks played a small lineup the majority of this game and looked better than they had been looking in recent times. Iman Shumpert was able to provide 11 points and seven rebounds and Carmelo Anthony had his customary 27 points with seven rebounds and two blocks. Raymond Felton played 37 minutes and looks fully recovered. He only added eight points but did give you seven assists.
J.J. Hickson was able to take advantage of the missing Knicks D, but he killed his value with poor shooting from the field and the line. He finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kenneth Faried played 21 minutes and had to leave the court with a thigh contusion. It’s not know how severe it is and if it will cause him to miss any time. Timofey Mozgov and Darrell Arthur would benefit if he misses any time. Nate Robinson scored 16 points in 18 minutes and is scoring at a terrific rate recently. He doesn’t give much else though. Wilson Chandler had a nice, well spread line with 13 points, two threes, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Randy Foye was able to go off for 17 points with three threes and continues to start. I still think Evan Fournier is a better option, but Coach Shaw doesn’t seem to agree with me. Funny that.
PHOENIX SUNS @ UTAH JAZZ
Eric Bledsoe finally returned much to the relief of his owners. He played 28 minutes off the bench, scoring 19, with six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Markieff Morris also had a nice night off the bench, with 23 points, a steal and a block. Miles Plumlee recaptured a little of his early season form with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a block. He has been getting dropped recently, but if you can I’d scoop him up as he appears unchallenged for minutes. After his best game of the season, Channing Frye had a nice game, with 13 points and three threes but was light on for boards with two but added a block. Even with Bledsoe back, Gerald Green and Goran Dragic both still had good games. Green hit three threes and Dragic had nine assists and 19 points.
Enes Kanter returned from his ankle sprain, but came off the bench and played only 18 minutes. Replacing him, Marvin Williams had another big game, scoring 18 points with two threes and grabbing seven rebounds. Williams has some standard league value for the short term. Gordon Hayward had a nice game with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Trey Burke had 13 points in another start but only three assists. Hopefully the dimes start coming soon.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS @ SACRAMENTO KINGS
Chris Paul’s sore hamstring forced him to miss this game, with Darren Collison starting in his place and playing 40 minutes. If Paul was to suffer a long term injury, Collison is the very definition of must own. He scored 15 points in this one, but most of the playmaking went to Jamal Crawford. Crawford has 11 assists, seven rebounds three threes and 31 points in by far his best performance of the season. DeAndre Jordan came close to triple double with 10 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks. He also missed all five of his free throws. J.J. Redick injured his wrist and played only 16 minutes. Jared Dudley and Crawford will get the big boost if he misses any time.
Derrick Williams looked super athletic in his Kings debut. He had 12 points and six rebounds in his start at SF and what felt like about 10 alley oops. He is a must own now and just see how it all plays out. Ben McLemore looked good here, getting 14 points and two steals. Isaiah Thomas only played 17 minutes as Greivis Vasquez was on fire. He had 11 points and seven assists and looked in control. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast. He had 25 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. The PF position is still a nightmare. Jason Thompson started and had six points and four rebounds, while Patrick Patterson had seven points and nine rebounds off the bench. Patterson is the better fantasy option and if he can wrest control of the bulk of the minutes he will be a worthy add.
GAMES ON SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER
Each day after looking back on the games of the day, I will spend a little time looking forward, prognosticating if you will, what to look for in the coming day’s games.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies vs Brooklyn Nets
Conley is a top point guard in his own right, but going up against the undermanned Nets with no Deron Williams, he should have a field day.
Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets
Manu has quietly had a decent season, after being written off by a lot of people following his disastrous playoff run last season. Against the SG sieve named James Harden, he should be able to really exploit and the good thing with Ginobili is that he can do his damage in 20-24 minutes, so even if he gets “Pop’d”, he’ll still be able to have an impact.
DeMarre Carroll, SF, Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards
The Wizards have been a boom for opposing SF and Carroll is the best fantasy player no one has heard of. On a shortish night, he is definitely worth an add to your lineup to give some threes and boards.
Carlos Boozer, PF, Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
With Kyrie chucking up bricks and the Cavs not providing much defense inside, Boozer is primed to have a big night. The Cavs are the worst team matching up against power forwards and Boozer is already having a decent season.
Marcin Gortat, C, Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks
While Al Horford is a great offensive talent and has increased his blocks numbers this year, he is still not a dominant big man in the defensive paint. Gortat has been on a roll and should continue that form against the Hawks, especially with Nene hurting.
PLAYERS TO PICK UP FOR SPOT START DUTY
If you need points: Dion Waiters, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls
Waiters has scored 24 and 21 points in his last two outings and against a Bulls team without Jimmy Butler to guard him, should be able to do it again.
If you need threes: Mike Dunleavy, SG, Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland is allowing a whopping extra 48% of threes to opposing SG so far this season, so Dunleavy is in a great spot to take advantage of that. Even if he splits the time with Tony Snell, he should still be able to give you a couple of treys, which could make all the difference in your matchup.
If you need rebounds: Kosta Koufos, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies vs Brooklyn Nets
The biggest beneficiary of Marc Gasol’s unfortunate injury is Koufos. He’s only 10% owned so should be around to plug and play and it’s not like Brook Lopez is a rebounding savant. Koufos should probably be must owned so if you do pick him up for this game, I’d let him stick and see what happens.
If you need assists: Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are a mess defensively and they are giving up an extra 30% above average to opposition point guards in terms of assists so far on the year. Hinrich is the unquestioned point man now for the Bulls, especially with Marquis Teague looking horrible in his mop up duty.
If you need steals: Tony Allen, SG, Memphis Grizzlies vs Brooklyn Nets
Allen’s value lies entirely with his steals and against a Brooklyn team that turns it over a lot, he is primed to given you close to a handful of steals.
If you need blocks: Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Gibson is only averaging a block a game so far, but the Cavs (I’m sorry this sounds repetitive, but it’s true, they suck) give up an additional 49% on top of average in blocks to opposing power forwards. Gibson will probably only play 20 minutes, but two to three blocks isn’t out of the question.
Today was fun, 13 games and they always seem more fun after a day with no games. As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below or on Twitter, @redrock_bball