One more day left on the Kobe return countdown clock and all the NBA world is abuzz. Meanwhile, nine games were played today and there were some phenomenal performances.
SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
Brandon Jennings, PG, Detroit Pistons:
33 points (12/22 FG, 4/4 FT), 5 threes, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
Jennings was hitting shots from everywhere in this blowout of the Bulls and is playing well as a distributor this season. He is still shooting below 40% from the field for the season, a number which is troubling.
Honourable Mentions: Dirk Nowitzki, Brook Lopez
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Jordan Hamilton, SG, Denver Nuggets @ Philadelphia 76ers (0.0% owned):
13 points (4/5 FG, 2/2 FT), 3 threes, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
I’m shocked that Hamilton is listed as 0.0% owned in ESPN leagues as he has been putting up some nice games and even outplaying Wilson Chandler in a number of games. He’s not a standard league guy, but as a deep leaguer, he has quite a bit of value.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves:
1 point (0/4 FG, 1/2 FT), 0 threes, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 6 turnovers
Rubio’s offensive game is just not coming around, but at least he was able to provide boards, assists and steals. The six turnovers are brutal though and hopefully when you drafted him, if wasn’t for points.
DENVER NUGGETS @ PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Ty Lawson was a scratch from the game with a sore hamstring and Andre Miller drew the start. Miller had seven assists and eight points, while Nate Robinson took on the scoring load, scoring 20 points backing up Miller. Kenneth Faried played only 14 minutes and finished with six points and six rebounds and is really struggling at the moment. I’m not averse to dropping Faried. J.J. Hickson had a double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, but shot poorly from the line.
With Michael Carter-Williams out again with a knee infection, Tony Wroten started and scored 20 points. He is a must own as long as MCW is out. Evan Turner had a disappointing performance with six points and five assists. If you had James Anderson and hadn’t dropped him yet, it has to be done now. Hollis Thompson, starting in Anderson’s place, had 10 points with nine rebounds and two threes and is coming along nicely in the starting role. Thaddeus Young played through a sore glute to put up a decent, well rounded line, but he hasn’t been able to fully recapture his form from last season just yet.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS @ CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
DeAndre Jordan had another dominant performance before injury the arch of his foot. There is no word on the extent of the injury or whether he will miss any time due to it. He had 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks and if you are punting free throws, he’s a top 10 player this season. Chris Paul, aside from his poor shooting, was superb, getting 13 points, seven rebounds and 15 assists. Jamal Crawford had 19 points off the bench and Blake Griffin just managed a double double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds, playing a lot of centre in the fourth quarter when Jordan was off the court.
The Cavs pulled off the upset against the Clippers in large part due to the performance of their big men. Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 13 boards, Andrew Bynum had 18 points and six rebounds while Anderson Varejao had 17 rebounds in just 22 minutes of playing time. Bynum is looking like he should be owned in all leagues now, but the chance of him sitting games and playing limited minutes is still a risk. Kyrie Irving was able to actually score a point, finishing with 20 and six assists, but he did have seven turnovers and shot poorly yet again. Dion Waiters backed up his 30 point performance with a three point dud in 29 minutes.
DETROIT PISTONS @ CHICAGO BULLS
The Pistons blew the Bulls out in the third quarter, leading to Josh Harrellson playing 12 minutes and hitting two threes and swiping three shots. Deep leagues only need consider him. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe put up near identical lines, scoring eight points each, two blocks each and 14 and 12 rebounds respectively. Rodney Stuckey hurt his knee early and was forced to leave after after nine minutes.
The Bulls were a mess without Luol Deng who was forced to sit out with Achilles swelling. Taj Gibson moved into the starting lineup and continued his good run. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds with a block and should be owned in all leagues until this run ends. Kirk Hinrich scored only three points, but he was able to add four boards, four assists and four steals. Joakim Noah had four blocks and nine rebounds but only two points and was taking a lot of long jump shots. Mike Dunleavy hit two threes in his 16 points, also adding six rebounds and four assists. His play has been a little sporadic, but he continues to have value with Jimmy Butler and Deng out.
MIAMI HEAT @ MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
In another blowout, the Heat were still able to deliver some useful fantasy lines. LeBron James came close to a triple double with 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Dwyane Wade returned and scored 19 points, but there’s a chance he doesn’t play in tomorrow’s game, making him super frustrating to own. Mario Chalmers struggled again but at least was able to give three steals to his owners. Rashard Lewis played 28 minutes off the bench hitting two threes and getting two steals. He’s not worth owning except in deep leagues.
Kevin Love missed due to a death in his family, forcing Luc Mbah a Moute into the starting lineup. He is not a fantasy relevant player, even when starting. Kevin Martin added four steals to his 19 points, but shot poorly. Nikola Pekovic had a good line of 18 points and 12 rebounds on the surface, but he had nothing else and had terrible percentages from the line and floor for a disappointing overall line.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS @ MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Stephen Curry equalled Chris Paul for most assists on the night with 15, adding that to his 22 points and six rebounds. His backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, had 30 of his own points, with three threes, bouncing back after struggling yesterday. David Lee had a nice night with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut had 12 rebounds, eight points and two blocks in a typical line.
Ed Davis was forced to miss with his ankle injury, meaning Jon Leuer would get more minutes as the only healthy backup big. Leuer had 15 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes. Kosta Koufos continues to dominate, getting 10 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks, and hopefully his ownership is going to rise above 50% sooner rather than later. Mike Conley was disappointing, only getting two assists to go with 12 points, while Mike Miller hit two threes to finish with 16 points and five boards. Quincy Pondexter started for the injured Tony Allen and played only 12 minutes and was a non-factor.
BROOKLYN NETS @ MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Still without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez took the Nets on his back and dragged them to victory. He had 32 points, seven rebounds and two blocks and is a fantastic fantasy centre. Andray Blatche was also good off the bench getting 11 points and eight rebounds in only 19 minutes. Kevin Garnett was terrible yet again, but did add eight rebounds and two blocks. Alan Anderson started for Paul Pierce and scored 13 points with two threes, but he is only of value as a spot start.
Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton both back up solid performances with disappointing ones. Knight still should be owned, but Middleton isn’t someone you need to hang onto. John Henson again was the Bucks best big man, with 18 points, seven rebounds and a block. Ersan Ilyasova continues to struggle with only four points and five rebounds in 29 points off the bench. His current form suggests he should be dropped but you just know he is going to turn it on soon and go on a run of 20/20 games.
INDIANA PACERS @ SAN ANTONIO SPURS
The Pacers flipped the switch midway through this game and reversed a double digit deficit turning into a double digit lead within what seemed like a matter of minutes. Paul George was his usual self, hitting four threes for 28 points, four rebounds and six assists. David West had a nice well rounded line with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Luis Scola had a double double off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Watson had 12 points off the bench as well. George Hill scored 12 points but only dished out one assists, a disappointing total for a starting point guard.
Tiago Splitter lasted only eight minutes before having to leave with a calf injury. His status for the Spurs next game is unknown. Kawhi Leonard had 18 points, two threes, three rebounds and three assists in his best game, at least scoring wise, for a while. The Spurs other disappointment, Danny Green, continued stinking, playing only 16 minutes for two points. Safe to say, he should be dropped. Manu Ginobili played only 18 minutes, but was able to score 16 points including four threes, proving yet again, he doesn’t need many minutes to be productive.
SACRAMENTO KINGS @ UTAH JAZZ
Isaiah Thomas did it again off the pine, scoring 26 points and dishing eight assists, whilst grabbing four steals. He is playing a lot better than Greivis Vasquez, who struggled again. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast and had a great line with 28 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks. Ben McLemore backed up his nice game from yesterday with 15 points and nine rebounds and has had top 100 value the last week. Keep him on your watchlist.
Trey Burke closed in on his first triple double, but fell just shy, ending with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He shot abysmally, taking 19 shots to get his 19 points, but the overall performance will leave you smiling if you were able to snap him up off the wire when an impatient owner dropped him due to his preseason injury. With Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams both out, Enes Kanter had another start, getting 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. If he’s floating on your wire, he’s worth a grab and stash in hope he can turn it around. Jeremy Evans manned the other frontcourt spot and got eight points and nine rebounds with two blocks in 29 minutes. He will be someone who could have definite value if he could play close to 25 minutes a game, but that’s not a guarantee. Alec Burks has played himself back into 10 team leagues, scoring 19 points with five assists off the bench.
DALLAS MAVERICKS @ PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
In an absolutely amazing finish, Monta Ellis hit the game winner as time expired, after Damian Lillard had tied it up with a three pointer. Ellis had 22 points with four assists and continues his fantastic season. Dirk Nowitzki had a monster performance and is playing like the Dirk of old. He had 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists, including three threes. Jose Calderon chipped in with seven assists and 15 points in one of his best distributing performances for the year. Samuel Dalembert was invisible with zero points and two rebounds in 11 minutes, while DeJuan Blair who started for Dalembert, had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Damian Lillard was masterful with five threes in his 32 points, shooting great percentages as well. Robin Lopez continued his great season with 14 points and 14 rebounds and two blocks. He should be owned in all leagues as he is a great source of boards and blocks. Wes Matthews was quiet with only four points, but did add seven rebounds and four assists. Nicolas Batum hit four threes in hiss 22, with five rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.
GAMES ON SUNDAY 8TH DECEMBER
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
Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Orlando Magic @ Houston Rockets
The Rockets fast pace and sometime lax defense should allow Oladipo, who has been playing exceedingly well lately, to have a big night.
Arron Afflalo, SG/SF, Orlando Magic @ Houston Rockets
As with Oladipo, James Harden’s defense will allow Afflalo a lot of latitude to go off yet again, and he’s been doing that with regular abandon this year.
Rudy Gay, SF, Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Lakers
Who takes more shots? Gay or Kobe? Regardless of his propensity to hoist an inordinate amount of shots, Gay should be able to take advantage of the Lakers porous wing defense and go close to a 20 & 10 game.
Amir Johnson, PF/C, Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Lakers
With Tyler Hansborough injured and Amir playing really well his last two games, he should be in line for a big night against the soft L.A. frontcourt.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Lakers
As with Johnson, the Lakers D is not great against big men so hopefully JV can get himself a double double.
PLAYERS TO PICK UP FOR SPOT START DUTY
This section highlight guys who are available in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and are a decent option if you are looking to stream a guy in for a day to give you the boost to put you over the edge in your matchup.
If you need points: Glen Davis, PF, Orlando Magic @ Houston Rockets
As much as I don’t like Davis, he should be able to exploit the Rockets to score around 15 points.
If you need threes: Ray Allen, SG, Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons
Ray Allen is still available in a lot of leagues and is a good chance to hit multiple threes, particularly if Dwyane Wade sits as expected.
If you need rebounds: Jordan Hill, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers vs Toronto Raptors
Even though he has tailed right off, he has still been getting decent rebound numbers in his limited minutes.
If you need assists: Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons
Chalmers has struggled of late, but the Pistons do allow more assists than average to opposing point guards, so five to six assists shouldn’t be out of the question.
If you need steals: Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons
Like Patrick Beverley, Chalmers is an elite thief and will populate this field often until his ownership rises above 50%.
If you need blocks: Chris Andersen, C, Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have allowed an additional 31% of blocks to opposing centres and Andersen is already averaging over a block a game so two blocks shouldn’t be too much to ask for.
As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below or on Twitter, @redrock_bball