The third Friday night of the NBA season was jam-packed with action. There were three come-from-behind wins from the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Clippers. Richaun Holmes was the fantasy star of the night after posting a massive 23-point, 20 rebound game in a win over the Hornets.
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Memphis Grizzlies(5-4)at Washington Wizards(6-3)
The Washington Wizards continue to surprise the NBA, moving to 6-3 on the season with a 115-87 blowout victory. Montrezl Harrell continues to be a force off the bench for the Wizards with a team-high 18 points tonight. The Wizards were all about spreading the wealth on Friday night, having seven players score in double figures. The main Wizards should have better fantasy days ahead in closer games. Raul Neto is a name to watch in deeper leagues after scoring in double digits in back-to-back games. He has been a solid all-around contributor on offense this season. He should receive extra minutes in games where Spencer Dinwiddie misses for rest, which are built-in for him after his ACL injury last season.
One of the more exciting teams in the NBA was disappointing on Friday night. The Grizzlies shot 35.4% from the field tonight and 19.4% from the three-point range. These are both season lows for the Grizzlies, so this game should not reflect the solid start to their season. All 15 Grizzlies players logged at least seven minutes in the blowout loss. The game script led to underwhelming fantasy performances from all the Grizzlies except for Jaren Jackson Jr., who managed to salvage a solid fantasy performance with 13 points and nine rebounds. There will be better days ahead for the Grizzlies, who have suddenly turned into one of the most captivating teams in the league.
Brooklyn Nets(6-3) at Detroit Pistons(1-8)
The Brooklyn Nets snuck away with a 96-90 win against a Detroit team they should beat in their sleep. After figuring out how to exploit the foul rules last Friday, James Harden has struggled to get to the free-throw line lately, and it has shown, both on the court and in the box score. Harden walked away with a triple-double last night, posting 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. His nine turnovers tonight were a massive blemish on what should have been a productive fantasy night. Kevin Durant provided another big night for fantasy managers with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Durant was underwhelming against the Pistons earlier in the week but bounced back, providing managers with great stats across the main three categories.
The Detroit Pistons were a surprise last night as they kept the game close with the powerhouse Nets. Jerami Grant did nothing but hurt the Pistons as he failed to make a shot from the field, while only scoring five points at the free-throw line. Cade Cunningham played in his first back-to-back as an NBA player and has seemed to be getting more comfortable in each game, posting a team-high 17 points. Kelly Olynyk had a respectable fantasy performance off the bench posting 14 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double on the season. The Pistons will continue to be a team to watch for fantasy as they could opt to rest their older players some nights to open up playing time for the younger core.
San Antonio Spurs(3-6) at Orlando Magic(2-8)
The Spurs won the battle of the rebuilding teams 102-89. Dejounte Murray continues to grow right in front of our eyes, with another stellar performance. Murray is a stat sheet stuffer, posting 20 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. Murray has taken another leap in his production and he should continue to be a triple-double threat, which is an excellent sign for fantasy managers. Derrick White posted a double-double as well last night and likely be the number two fantasy option on the Spurs because, like Murray, he can stuff the stat sheet in all categories. These two should continue to carry the load, especially with Jakob Poeltl in health and safety protocols for the next few games.
The Orlando Magic continues to have solid fantasy producers despite only winning two games this season. The Magic are committed to playing their young players as they are in full rebuild mode. Cole Anthony led the way last night with 21 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Anthony showed some flashes in his rookie season and has shown many signs of improvement early on this year. Fantasy managers can continue to expect great stats in the main three categories but some negatives in his turnovers and shooting percentages.
New York Knicks(6-3) at Milwaukee Bucks(4-5)
The New York Knicks sparked a comeback on the shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks behind a massive bench performance from Derrick Rose, winning 113-98. This is not a vintage performance from Rose, but instead, the new Derrick Rose, who has been able to reinvent his game off the bench. Rose scored 23 points and was a game-high +31 off the bench. Julius Randle added a 32-point performance in the win after struggling to score in the past few contests. Randle will continue to be the main performer, and the offense will run through him almost every night. Randle has been an elite player in category leagues as an all-around producer who can even produce on the defensive end.
The Bucks welcomed back Jrue Holiday who came off the bench playing a limited 20 minutes in the loss. Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled for his high standards, mainly because the Knicks put all of their focus on him defensively. He scored 25 points but only managed seven rebounds and four assists, both below his season averages. Grayson Allen stepped up last night and added 22 points. Outside of these two, the Bucks were pretty disappointing from a fantasy perspective. The defending champions will have better days, especially as they get healthier in the coming weeks.
Cleveland Cavaliers(6-4) at Toronto Raptors(6-4)
In one of the more exciting games of the night, the Cavaliers came from behind to win 102-101 on some game-winning free throws from Darius Garland, who led the Cavs in scoring with 21 points to go along with eight assists. He has been a great producer of points and assists throughout the first few weeks. He has taken over as the main ball-handler this season and his assist numbers have jumped because of it to almost eight assists per game. Jarrett Allen added 16 points and 15 rebounds while playing 39 minutes for the shorthanded Cavs. Allen appears to still have the edge on rookie Evan Mobley for fantasy with three straight double-doubles.
The Raptors welcomed back Scottie Barnes last night, and he went right back to work as a great all-around producer. He scored 14 points to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. OG Anunoby continues his breakout campaign with a 23-point performance. He has been another solid all-around contributor for the Raptors. If you need steals in your leagues, look to see if Gary Trent Jr. is available as he took over the lead for the league leader in steals with six steals tonight.
Los Angeles Clippers(4-4) at Minnesota Timberwolves(3-5)
The Clippers played two completely different games tonight. They lost the first half, 57-47, and looked nothing like the Clippers from last year’s playoff run. Ty Lue got his team together for the second half, and they ended up winning by 20 points, 104-84. The Clippers will have to find a spark like this most nights if they want to have a good chance at making the playoffs. Paul George struggled but mustered 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. The only bad part about George’s night was the 4-20 shooting, which can be excused because of the all-around performance. Ivica Zubac added 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win and was a huge factor in limiting Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Timberwolves struggled in their second game without D’Angelo Russell in the starting lineup. Anthony Edwards scored 17 points and added three blocks and two steals to salvage his fantasy day. Karl-Anthony Towns only scored 20 points as he struggled to get it going against Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein.
Charlotte Hornets(5-5) at Sacramento Kings(5-4)
The Sacramento Kings won 140-110 last night behind a stellar performance from the fantasy star of the night in Richaun Holmes, who posted 23 points to go along with a career-high 20 rebounds for a monster fantasy night. He should continue to be a double-double threat every night as long as he can stay out of foul trouble and ejections, his only issues in the young season. The King’s rookie Davion Mitchell is a name to watch moving forward, scoring 19 points in last night’s win. Mitchell has played 20 or more minutes in all but one game this season and has been a solid producer in multiple categories. Keep an eye on Mitchell as a streaming option, with immense upside if any King’s players were to miss games.
The Hornets have been one of the league’s most exciting teams and one of my favorites to watch in the early parts of the season. After a hot start to the season, Miles Bridges finally came back down to earth, scoring just ten points in the loss. There were some bright spots for the Hornets, as LaMelo Ball scored 24 points which he paired with 13 assists. This game is an excellent sign for fantasy managers as it is his first game with double-digit assists this season. LaMelo Ball should continue to be a great all-around producer with immense upside on any given night.
Indiana Pacers(3-7) at Portland Trail Blazers(4-5)
The Trail Blazers were able to sneak away with a 110-106 win on a very underwhelming night from Damian Lillard, who only scored four points as his shooting struggles have hit an all-time low. Lillard’s four points tied a career-low as the All-Star guard is still trying to find his footing this year. CJ McCollum continues to lead the Blazers through Lillard’s poor performances. McCollum finished with 27 points, five rebounds, and six assists in their narrow win. He has been an excellent all-around producer, with above-average shooting, which bodes well for fantasy managers.
The Pacers played last night’s game without Malcolm Brogdon, who was ruled out later in the day for an illness. Even without their starting point guard, they managed to stay in the game and had a chance to win down the stretch before giving up an 18-5 run towards the end of the fourth quarter. The Pacers have not played at full strength once this season, so they will look to turn things around when healthy. They were led by TJ McConnell with 19 points and Domantas Sabonis with 15 points and 12 rebounds. When healthy, this team should have plenty of offensive producers, which hurts their fantasy values. Sabonis will continue to be one of the better options because of his upside in the main three categories.
New Orleans Pelicans(1-9) at Golden State Warriors(7-1)
The Warriors once again look like a legit contender after blowing out the Pelicans by a score of 126-85. They have been stellar on the defensive end and look like fans will be in for an exciting season once they get Klay Thompson and James Wiseman back from injury. Jordan Poole scored 26 points in the blowout win and continues to look more comfortable as a starter. The downside of Jordan Poole is that he only produces in the scoring category, which limits his upside.
The Pelicans are an absolute mess to start the season without Zion Williamson. Brandon Ingram has now missed the past four games with a hip injury. Jonas Valanciunas has been soaking up the usage and producing with another double-double yesterday. He should continue to be a great producer even when Ingram returns. The Pelicans struggled as a whole tonight with no noteworthy fantasy performances outside of Jonas Valanciunas.