Five game slate on a rainy Tuesday evening. Well, might not have been raining in your neck of the woods. I hate ice storms more than I hate this year’s Bulls squad and watching LeBron James complain about every game mattering, the refs screwing us, and then resting the next game so he can break a scoring record later on TNT.
Lakers over Knicks in OT, nonetheless.
Yadda yadda yadda, Lebron James had a triple-double and the Lakers won, and the refs didn’t miss a call at the end of this fun game on TNT. The game of course is secondary, so I’m going to highlight some interesting playing time decisions here.
For the Knickerbockers, RJ Barrett was playing terribly and got benched in the fourth and OT. I’m wondering, with that important trade deadline, if he’s becoming trade bait. The contract is enough to balance a big pickup of some sort. Knicks are looking for a star wing player, and RJ seems to be falling out of favor.
Immanuel Quickley picked up the extra minutes forming an electric backcourt with Quentin Grimes. Quickley had 19 points and 8 assists while Grimes contributed 12 points, four boards, 3 dimes, and a couple of steals. Keep an eye on these guys, as they could pick up minutes going forward, lose minutes due to an addition, or be traded to a better situation. They both can play for sure and are worth monitoring, and adding if you have the need.
At center, Isaiah Hartenstein picked up the lion’s share of minutes over Jericho Sims. Add anywhere you need a center, as the guy played very active basketball and looked like he’s finally figured out how to please Ol’ Thibs. 16 points and 13 rebounds will help with that kind of situation.
For the Lakers, Rui Hachimura has cemented a prominent role. Guy hit 40 minutes, 19 points, 9 rebounds, and looked like a natural fit along the rest of the OG Lakers. Another interesting starting lineup change is Troy Brown, Jr. Good deeper league pickup for now with potential for more. I added him in the Writer’s League after he had 9 points and 5 boards. When you play with LeBron, you get a lot of open shots, obviously. Brown is in a great spot to produce.
The stupid Bulls lose a stupid game to the Clippers and I hate them
Bulls blew another 19 point lead, but again, that’s just time for me to vent about things. Just a few takeaways.
Patrick Williams is not a great player, and probably will not live up to being the 4th overall pick, ever. However, the guy can lock up an individual. Saturday, he forced Paolo Banchero into 3-14 shooting. He’s kept Jayson Tatum below 40% shooting on the year. Last night, Kawhi Leonard was only 11-24 with Williams as his primary defender. It may be worth evaluating if your star wing will be hampered by the PAW. 11 points, 6 rebounds, and a block for a guy that the Bulls “Big 3” just won’t let play very much.
Patrick Williams hammer pic.twitter.com/a7w5xEwHVg
— ✶ Ⓜ️𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕦𝕤 ▶️ ✶ (@_MarcusD3_) February 1, 2023
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine totaled 14 TO, and had this play at the end of the game, so hopefully they can get right again.
I hate owning Clippers. They all get like 20-25 minutes, and you never know who’s going to play in a given night. I refuse to analyze anyone on this mess.
Heat over the Cavs in an Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
For the first time in forever, the Heat fielded a full starting lineup. Caleb Martin had a heater, shooting 8-9 on the night with 18 points and 9 boards. He’s okay to own, but be prepared for some bagel games. Not an efficient shooting night for Jimmy Butler (6-15 from the field, 10-15 on free throws) but 3 steals helps salve the sunburn with sweet aloe lotion.
I get the feeling the Heat may make a move also. If they add someone, Kyle Lowry would be a good salary filler/buyout guy/value destroyed even though he is a “has none” type of player
For the Cavs, Donovan Mitchell came back from an absence and predictably struggled with his shot. He’s still a keeper. Do not cut him you fools. Ricky Rubio had 8 points and 5 assists and would be a solid streamer when Mitchell or Darius Garland miss time as they are wont to do. No, “wont” isn’t a typo. It’s classy, isn’t it?
Bucks barely try and beat the Hornets
Deer getting stung by a bee. That is the opposite of what happened in this game. Of course, the internet is lacking in videos of a deer actually stinging a bee, so I had to settle for this just because it makes me happy.
The Bucks have their three guys going, for most part. Khris Middleton only played 19 minutes, but had 18 points and is starting to round back into 3-4th round level of play again. Bobby Portis is out with an MCL injury and will return in a week or 3. Pat Connaughton seems to be picking up the minutes if not the production. 1-8 on 3 pointers will put a damper on some expectations but they shouldn’t, as he’s just not worth picking up in most standard leagues to me.
The Hornets are in #TANKWATCH and could flip Mason Plumlee, PJ Washington, and Gordon Hayward at any time, not to mention Terry Rozier. If/when this happens, look for LaMelo Ball‘s already poor efficiency to plummet. 10-26 last night shooting but did have a triple double, 3 steals and 3 blocks so maybe I’m just a cranky old guy.
Mark Williams is the guy to watch for me. He’s bouncy, plays hard all the time, and could be the Hornets center for a decade catching alley oops and LaMelo airballs for dunks. 5 points and 7 boards against the Bucks front line is actually solid for a young rookie. Good stash as he’s virtually guaranteed for big minutes down the stretch with a good percentage, boards, and blocks.
The Pelicans lost their Nugget
All five of the Nuggets score in double figures. Nikola Jokic led the way with a great triple-double (26-18-15) and is of course the top fantasy asset in the game. Jamal Murray is back, scoring over 22 in the past four games. His minutes have jumped up into the high 30s, so enjoy the ride you waited in line for. It probably felt a little bit like Hollywood Studios, every ride there is like over an hour, but hey, you got to the fun part so enjoy now. He’s back to what he was before the knee injury.
For deep leagues, Christian Braun‘s spunky little self hit 14 minutes and is ahead of Bones Hyland in the rotation. Braun could return Grayson Allen value at his peak.
The Pelicans just can’t get everyone clicking and healthy right now. Brandon Ingram‘s shooting ability went away with his toe injury as he hit 5-17 shooting. 8-22 the previous game, and 4-18 the game before that. Better times are coming, so keep rolling him out there.
I’m wondering if Herb Jones gets traded, which would solidify Trey Murphy in the rotation. Guy had 14 last night, and just looks like a solid long term NBA player. Pelicans are elite at identifying talent. I inherently trust them and their players to perform in whatever minutes they get. With the deadline next week, we’ll see who is still around and who will keep getting minutes. Right now, it’s a crapshoot, so just watch the rumors and add accordingly.
Thanks again for the honor of reading my stuff!