Much to the disappointment of pundits chomping at the bit to argue whether the Lakers play better without LeBron, L.A. lost again Friday night, 120-114 to the Kings, because De’Aaron Fox maneuvered about the roost like the sly creature he is, feasting on chicken defenders and dropping bags of leftover bones through the net left and right. Fox finished with 32 points (13-19 FG, 2-5 3pt, 4-5 FT), 7 boards and 12 assists. He’s averaging about 25-5-6 with a steal and just under 3 turnovers to start the season. His 3-point shooting (36%) has been slightly better than years past, as well as from the line (86%), but it’s inside the arch he’s been lethal, converting 63% of 2-point shots. Also, mark the “Clutch” checkbox next to Fox’s name on the stat sheet, as he led the Kings to victory with 10 fourth-quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting and three rebounds, four assists and a crucial steal.
On the Lackers side (see what I did there?) Anthony Davis finished with a ho-hum-for-him 24-14-3-2-3 stat line. Russell Westbrook had 21 points and 11 assists while hitting 4-of-7 from deep, and a couple not-so-great plays down the stretch.
Al Horford dropped 6-of-8 from behind the arch as the Celtics denied Denver any of their lucky charms in a 131-112 victory. Horford has started the season 22-of-46 from the 3-point-line. He’s shot over 40% from deep only once in his career, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he sustains a higher level of marksmanship through the season as he is fully into his “old dude at pickup game dropping bombs over the young guns” part of his career. Jayson Tatum (34-8-5) added to his MVP campaign and Jaylen Brown made his first 10 shots from the field, finishing 11-of-15 (3-4 from 3pt.) for 25 points to go with 8 boards and 8 assists.
With Bones Hyland sidelined, Bruce Brown produced off the bench for the Nuggets, actually leading the team in minutes (37) and posting a 16-10-6 line with 2 steals. Nikola Jokic had a bit of a “slow” night with 29 points, 8 boards, 3 assists.
Bol Bol produced 13 points and 15 rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting, 3-of-3 from deep (and is now 1,321 points short of passing his old man on the all-time scoring list) and continues to be a fun fantasy story on a fun Magic team, who beat the Chris Paul-less Suns, 114-97. Wendell Carter, Jr. posted a clean 20-15-10 game with two threes and good percentages. If he can increase those d stats just slightly he’d be a Top 50 player at the moment.
Another clean stat line was courtesy RJ Barrett, whose 30 points (10-17 FG, 3-7 3pt., 7-8 FT), 5 rebounds and 5 assists helped lead the Knickerbockers over Detroit, 121-112. Jalen Brunson had 4 steals, after going five games without one, to go with 26 points and 7 assists.
Killian Hayes had a season-high 34 minutes off the bench for Detroit, as Cade Cunningham had the night off. The shot wasn’t working (4-12FG) but he pitched in 6 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals to go with 11 points, and is a good streamer to watch for when one of the Pistons’ backcourt rests.
Jalen Williams has maybe the oddest stat of the night, dropping 11 dimes, when his previous game high was 3 (once). He shot 5 of 5 from 2pt, but 0 of 5 from 3pt., and is creeping up the ranks toward standard league value. I still think it’ll take a Lu Dort trade for him to get the usage rate up to be an every-night guy, but the rookie is definitely trending in the right direction.
The Thunder had eight guys score double-digits, taking advantage of a flat Raptors night in a 132-113 win, and continue to be a Merry-Go-Round of fantasy activity. Eugene Omoruyi had a team high 22 points and shot 5-of-6 from the 3-point line. Aleksej Pokusevski had 4 blocks to go with 14 points and 5 boards. Chris Boucher led Toronto off the bench with a 20-12-1-2-1 line
The Spurs seem to have become one of the more fantasy-friendly teams out there. Filling in for the injured Zach Collins (who’s scheduled to return in 2-4 weeks and then be injured again 3-6 weeks after that), 2021 2nd-round pick Charles Bassey had 14 rebounds and 4 blocks off the bench as San Antonio beat a shorthanded Bucks. Keldon Johnson hit 5 threes (29 points) and finished 9-of-17 from the field, as did Devin Vassell (22 points), who I’m hoping has a few down nights so I can pounce on a buy-low opportunity.
I somehow missed that Jevon Carter has been starting all season. With Jrue Holiday and the Greek Freak again sitting, he followed his 36-4-12 line with a 21-2-6 and has hit 10-of-17 from deep in his last two games. He also has at least 1 steal in all 12 games.
Ant-Man faced Bane in an NBA version of a D.C. / Marvel crossover, but Ja Morant determined himself to be Mor-Ant Man than Anthony Edwards, nearly posting a triple-double (29-10-8 with 2 steals) and Memphis beat Minnesota, 114-103. Edwards had a great game going, but the mess that is the current Timberwolves took over and suddenly the offense was flowing more through Kyle Anderson (11-7-4-1-1) than their superstar in the making. Edwards finished with 28 points (10-16 FG, 3-4 3pt., 5-7 FT), 6 boards, 6 assists and just 1 giveaway, and it won’t be long for that buy-low window to be slammed shut. D’Angelo Russell had 8 assists and little else, and I’m wondering if he’ll even be standard-league roster-worthy in a few weeks. Foul trouble (again) limited Karl-Anthony Towns, and the Rudy Gobert-Towns experience/adjustments continued.
Draymond Green had a very Draymond Green like stat line, with 2 points, 9 boards and 13 assists. Steph Curry landed a string of late-game daggers to oust the Cavaliers, 106-101, shooting 15-of-23 from the field (6-11 from deep) for a 40-burger, with 4 boards and 5 assists on the side. Jordan Poole made a better splash in this game with 18 points (6-13 FG, 4-8 3pt., 2-2 FT), 4 boards and 3 assists.
Donovan Mitchell posted a huge 29-10-9-2-1 line, but Cleveland struggled to finish games in three straight road losses. The offense went stagnant down the stretch in this one, marked by Darius Garland’s ongoing shooting woes (5-19 FG, 1-5 3pt.). I drafted Garland in RazzJam in the mid second round thinking he may lead the league in assists this year, but he’s only averaging about 8 per game thus far.