I’m all for switching it up and trying something new to win. And while I think Hack-a-Shaq can work in the right situations, the Rockets took Hack-a-Whoever way too far. The Rockets fouled Andre Drummond repeatedly, giving him 36 free throws! At one point, K.J. McDaniels intentionally fouled Drummond 5 times in 9 seconds! (McDaniels finished the game with a very Jan Vesely-ish line of 1 minute, 5 fouls).
Drummond made only 13 of his 36 free throws, but it didn’t matter, as the Pistons still defeated the Rockets by 9. The 23 missed free throws was an NBA record for the most missed free throws in a game.
So you’re telling me the intentional fouling was effective in limiting the Pistons’ possessions, but somehow the Rockets still lost? How? The Rockets are definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the season and really need to turn it around if they’re going to make a splash in the playoffs.
While Drummond owners will be screwed in FT%, he still managed to post 17/11 with 1 steal and 1 block. Now onto the other highlights from Wednesday night’s games:
Ersan Ilyasova – Ilyasova has scored in double figures in 4 straight games and has started to produce like he did in his breakout 2011-12 season. On Wednesday, Ilyasova posted 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 threes, and 1 block and steal each. He’s not from Kazakhstan, but very nice!
Marcus Morris – While his twin is in the Suns’ doghouse, Marcus has been consistently producing for Stan Van Gundy: 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 threes.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Like Morris, KCP also scored 22 points, adding 3 steals and 3 threes as well.
Reggie Jackson – Brandon Jennings (5 points and 4 assists) ain’t hurting Jackson at all. 17 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds for R-Jax on Wednesday.
Clint Capela – Capela started alongside Dwight Howard for 1 minute, after Howard rolled his ankle and was forced to depart from the game. Without Howard, Capela played 28 minutes, going 10 and 13. Terrence Jones came off the bench to score 18 points, block 2 shots, and knock down 2 threes. If Howard is going to miss any more time, Capela and Jones would see a boost in value.
James Harden – Without Howard, Harden did his best impersonation, by cleaning up the glass like Howard, but actually hit his free throws. Harden messed around and got a triple double in the process with 33 points (9-22 FG, 12-12 FT), 17 rebounds, and 14 assists. And the Rockets still lost?!?
Ty Lawson – Lawson started for the Rockets, with Patrick Beverley out with a sprained ankle. Lawson had his best game of the season with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Maybe starting is the key to fixing Lawson’s woes.
Luol Deng – Dwyane Wade sat on Wednesday with shoulder soreness, pushing Gerald Green into the starting lineup. Green played poorly (4 points on 2-10 shooting), but Deng and Tyler Johnson helped provide some spark on offense. Deng, who has taken a back seat in the Heat’s offense this season, knocked down all 3 of his threes on his way to 16 points and 8 rebounds. He left late in the 4th quarter after getting poked in the eye, but should be fine going forward. Johnson provided 14 points and 5 assists and has seen 30+ minutes in the last 6 games, making him a deep league waiver wire add.
Chris Bosh – Hassan Whiteside left the game early with a strained oblique, on a non-contact play, leaving Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire as the only healthy big men. Bosh played slightly below his usual averages (18/4/2), while Amar’e used the extra minutes to post 11 points and 3 rebounds off the bench. No word on how long Whiteside could be out for, but considering it was a non-contact injury and how much pain he was in, he may be out for a little while. More should be known in the coming days.
Nene – It was against a depleted Heat team, but the Wizards provided lots of fantasy friendly stats. Nene looked back from the dead, with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals. He still seems to be limited to about 25 minutes a night, but Nene could be a waiver wire add for deep leagues, while he’s healthy (knock on wood).
Bradley Beal – Also on a minutes’ restriction, Beal continues to come off the bench to keep his legs fresh. He was productive on Wednesday, posting an 18/3/2 line on 7-13 shooting.
Ish Smith – Smith has been a great pickup and continued his strong play of late with 13 points and 11 assists. He even shot 6-11 from the field!
Robert Covington – Now that Covington has been reinserted into the starting lineup, expect his numbers to increase. On Wednesday, he shot poorly (2-8 from the field), but managed 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Jahlil Okafor – You wish your big man would rebound more (only 5 rebounds), but owners can’t complain about the 20 points on 9-17 shooting.
Jerami Grant – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 5 blocks. These are great numbers, especially out of position at the small forward. However, he just isn’t consistent enough to be trusted in most leagues yet.
Elfrid Payton – The Weeknd’s doppelgänger posted a monster double-double with 21 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals in a whopping 41 minutes. Victor Oladipo sat for the second consecutive night with a sprained right knee. Payton will continue to receive tons of minutes, as long as Oladipo is out.
Kevin Love – Now that’s more like it: 17 points and 18 rebounds. That’s a stat line reminiscent of his T-Wolves days.
Tristan Thompson – Solid game for the big man off the bench (14 points and 10 rebounds), but owners wish he would block more shots.
Brook Lopez – More of the same for Lopez: 16 points and 10 rebounds on 8-15 shooting.
Donald Sloan – With Jarrett Jack out for the season, it was unclear who would step up for the Nets. Well after a solid start to 2016, Sloan has taken the starting point guard job. He posted 12 points and 9 assists and should be a solid pickup for any owners needing assists. Shane Larkin posted 7 points and 7 assists off the bench, but has been outplayed by Sloan lately.
Gordon Hayward – Very effective night for the Butler grad: 27 points (8-19 FG, 10-10 FT), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Rodney Hood – Hood has really turned it on lately and should be picked up in all leagues (64% ownership). Against the Knicks, he posted 29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 threes. That sounds like he’s startable in every league to me.
Kristaps Porzingis – Did you know that Porzingis is 4th in jersey sales this season? Well now you do. And its games like this (16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 threes) that are making NBA fans grab his jersey.
Carmelo Anthony – Anthony missed an ugly floater at the end of regulation, but led the Knicks to victory in overtime. He scored 30 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out a team high 9 assists.
Derrick Williams – Williams used the overtime period to boost his numbers: 18 points and 6 rebounds. He’ll grab some rebounds and points each game, but shouldn’t be relied on in most leagues.
Robin Lopez – Brook wasn’t the only Lopez brother to grab a double-double. Robin posted 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks, besting his brother.
Jae Crowder – Or as the Boston fans call him, ‘Jae Chow-dah.’ (Actually, I hope they don’t call them that.) Whatever they call him, he’s producing. 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 threes for Crowder on Wednesday.
Isaiah Thomas – More of the same for IT: 21 points, 10 assists and 3 threes (7-19 FG, 3-7 3PT).
Kelly Olynyk – On a night when Amir Johnson (2 points and 4 rebounds) and Jared Sullinger (3 points in 13 minutes) played poorly, Olynyk received 31 minutes off the bench posting a 18/4/4 line with 3 threes. Unfortunately, the crowded frontcourt has capped the impact of each guy.
Avery Bradley – He’s picking up his scoring, after missing 3 games in early January. On Wednesday, Bradley scored 19 points on 9-14 shooting.
Jonas Valanciunas – Winter Storm Jonas is set to hit the Mid-Atlantic this weekend, but Valanciunas has already been terrorizing Boston. He was a perfect 9-9 from the field on his way to 19 and 12 against the Celtics.
DeMar DeRozan – Back to back 30 point games for DeRozan. He also chipped in 6 assists.
Kyle Lowry – Lowry shot 4-11, but all 4 of his makes were from beyond the arc, giving him 14 points, 8 assists, and 3 steals on the night.
Luis Scola – Scola had a productive night for the Raptors, scoring 18 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, while shooting 8-12 from the field and 2-4 from deep.
Kemba Walker – There wasn’t much going well for the Hornet starters, but Walker provided 21 points, 2 threes, and 2 steals for owners.
Frank Kaminsky – Off the bench, Kaminsky poured in 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. His last 4 games are making Michael Jordan look like a genius…well maybe not a genius, but at least Frank the Tank is playing better.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – More of the same for the Thunder duo: 26/5/5 for KD and 16/15/8/5 for Westbrook. The Thunder are playing really well, but no one cares with the great starts by the Warriors and Spurs.
Steven Adams – 10 points and 10 rebounds for the New Zealander.
Karl-Anthony Towns – Monster game for Towns: 27 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 6 blocks, and 1 three. Outside of Harden’s triple double, not sure there was a better fantasy line for the night.
Andrew Wiggins – Not quite as studly as KAT, but Wiggins held his own with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Shabazz Muhammad – Muhammad continued his strong play off the bench with 14 points and 7 rebounds in 35 minutes. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t contribute elsewhere enough to be a strong fantasy recommendation.
Chandler Parsons – Parsons is slowing rounding into form. He scored a season high 30 points in a season high 46 minutes. He’s yet to do this consistently, but this is the best he’s played all season.
Charlie Villanueva – Dirk Nowitzki missed Wednesday’s game with knee swelling, his 4th missed game of the season, giving Villanueva a spot start. In 28 minutes, he scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, but went 0-4 from downtown. The Mavericks are unsure when Dirk will be able to return to the lineup so there may be more of Villanueva in the near future.
Mavericks backcourt – With the game going into overtime, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, and Devin Harris were all able to have productive nights with 30+ minutes of playing time. Williams went 12/7/4, Matthews contributed 15/6/4/2, and Harris added 15/4/4 off the bench. Raymond Felton sat after being poked in the eye on Monday, while J.J. Barea had another off night in 18 minutes (0 points, 0-5 shooting, and 2 turnovers).
Draymond Green – Green left the game briefly in the third quarter after getting a Taj Gibson palm to his forehead. He returned after passing concussion tests and finished with 6 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Stephen Curry –25 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Oh, and he also added 2 steals, 1 block, and 3 threes. Is there anything Curry can’t do?
Klay Thompson – 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. These Warriors are special.
Harrison Barnes – Barnes played like he wanted to be a Splash brother, knocking down 3 threes en route to 19 points and 3 rebounds.
Derrick Rose – Rose started off strong and never let up, scoring 29 points (on an efficient 12-22 FG) and dishing out 2 assists. Despite the great shooting, he’s still a sell high for me.
Jimmy Butler – While I’d look to trade Rose, Butler is everything you want in a fantasy stud. He continued his fantastic season with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Bobby Portis – The game was a blowout so Portis took advantage of the garbage-time with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block. The upside is there, but half of his points came in the 4th quarter with the game already in hand.
Rudy Gay – Anytime you get 6 blocks out of your small forward, you have to be very happy. In addition to the blocks, Gay also added 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 threes for a fantastic fantasy line.
DeMarcus Cousins – Monster double-double for Cousins: 36 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Willie Cauley-Stein – Cauley-Stein had one of his more productive games of his rookie season on Wednesday. He finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Rajon Rondo – Another One (DJ Khaled voice). Rondo dished out double digit assists again, this time with 17 assists, 11 points, and 5 rebounds. That’s 9 games played in a row with double digit assists.
Brandon Bass – There wasn’t much to see for the Lakers in this blowout, but Bass contributed nicely off the bench, posting 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks.
D’Angelo Russell – The rookie contributed a 14/5/2 line in the 19-point loss to the Kings.
Paul Millsap – Millsap led the Hawks in scoring, while contributing his usual across the board production: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 threes.
Kent Bazemore – Bazemore blazed Portland, knocking down 8 of his 15 shots. He finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 threes.
Jeff Teague – I get a lot of questions about Teague each week. Sure he’s underperformed where you drafted him, but he’s still producing enough to be owned in all leagues. On Wednesday, he posted 14 points and 6 assists.
C.J. McCollum – McCollum shot the ball well (12-23), but only hit 2-7 from beyond the arc. Otherwise, his 28/3/3 line might have been even better.
Damian Lillard – Lillard may have been left off the USA Olympics roster, but that’s not going to stop him from producing for the Blazers, with 18 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Aminu continues to do a little of everything: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block/steal/three each.