Monday night’s heavyweight match between the two best teams in the league mostly disappointed. Sure, Stephen Curry and the Warriors were fun to watch, but the Spurs were mostly a no show, losing 120-90.
On Wednesday, the Spurs returned home to host the Rockets. They took all of their rage out on the self-destructing Rockets, destroying them 130-99. Do you think the Spurs were mad about losing by 30 on Monday night?
Scoring only 5 points on Monday, LaMarcus Aldridge rebounded to lead the Spurs with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. Danny Green knocked down 6 threes to post 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. That’s more like it Aldridge and Green!
Kawhi Leonard (18 points) and Tony Parker (15 points, 7 assists) got in on the fun too, as Tim Duncan sat another game, while the Spurs await the MRI results on his knee. If Duncan misses substantial time, the Spurs will roll with a combo of Kyle Anderson (7/3/1), David West (4/2/2), and Boris Diaw (0/2/3), depending on matchups.
I would really love to see more of Boban Marjanovic, but I think he’s a little too big to see much more than 20 minutes a night. The dude’s 7’3” and weighs 290, with ears that give Barack Obama a run for his money, but his hands are crazy big. They make normal people’s hands look worthless, Ray McCallum’s head small, and a gallon of ice tea look like a juice box. Thanks to the blowout, Marjanovic posted a 13/10 double-double in 17 minutes.
Now onto the other nightly notables:
Dwight Howard – Howard returned to the starting lineup, after missing two games with a sprained ankle. He was on a minutes’ restriction, but it didn’t matter with the blowout anyways. He played well in 23 minutes, going for 13/8 with 2 blocks and a Steve Nash-esque 7-8 from the FT line.
James Harden – Harden continued his free throw dominance, knocking down all 9 of his attempts from the line. He also contributed 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Josh Smith – If you ignore his percentages and turnovers (which is a lot to ignore), Smith had another solid game as a Rocket. In 25 minutes, he contributed 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal/block/three each off the bench. That’s more valuable than Terrence Jones (11 points, 3 rebounds on 3-10 shooting) or Clint Capela (5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, but 3-10 FT) have been able to contribute lately.
Kevin Love – You have to love Kevin’s line from Wednesday: 21 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 3 threes.
LeBron James – Whether James was the reason Blatt was fired or not, James is King. 21 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds, before sitting out much of the 4th quarter.
Kyrie Irving – Although 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals is useful, it’s still not what you expect out of Irving. It’s still taking some time for Irving to come back from his knee injury, but that makes it a perfect time to buy low, especially with Tyronn Lue insisting on upping the Cavaliers pace.
J.R. Smith – Another good game by Smith: 18 points, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 4 threes. While Smith has been playing well in January, owners should contemplate selling high before he gets into another shooting slump and Irving takes away some of his usage.
Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin – With Eric Bledsoe out for the year and Brandon Knight ailing, Booker and Goodwin are must own players. Booker scored 16 points (4-9 FG, 7-8 FT) and dished out 5 assists, while Goodwin contributed 12 points (3-10 FG, 5-6 FT) and 5 assists. They will both continue to see starter’s minutes for the foreseeable future and should be picked up in all leagues.
P.J. Tucker – Tucker has also been a strong pickup over the last week (43% ownership). The individual numbers don’t stand out, but it’s his ability to do a little bit of everything that makes him interesting. Wednesday night shows why: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 threes.
Markieff Morris – Morris has been a frustrating player to own, but rewarded owners with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block/steal/three each. That’s now back-to-back 20+ minute nights so perhaps he’s out of the doghouse (or is being showcased for a trade).
Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder – Johnson and Crowder had very fantasy friendly lines, thanks in part to their defensive stats. Johnson finished with 9 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, while Crowder contributed 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Avery Bradley – Isaiah Thomas had an off night (5-13 shooting, 4 turnovers), but Bradley stepped up to lead the Celtics in scoring. He finished with 27 points, 4 steals, and 5 threes, on 5-13 from downtown.
Kelly Olynyk – He shot only 6-14 from the field, but averaged a point per minute. He finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in only 17 minutes.
Danilo Gallinari – Gallo continues to quietly be very good for the Nuggets. 23 points and 7 rebounds on 8-16 shooting on Wednesday, as they lost to the Celtics.
Kenneth Faried – After missing Saturday’s game and putting in a poor performance on Monday, Faried bounced back to post a 15/15 double-double with 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Will Barton – Gary Harris (15 points and 7 rebounds) is still starting over him, but Barton is the better fantasy play with 23/5/4 with 3 threes. Barton has been a little inconsistent in January so perhaps you can pry him away from an impatient owner.
Nerlens Noel – Jahlil Okafor (gastroenteritis) sat out another game, giving Noel ample opportunities to run the pick and roll with Ish Smith (13 points, 6 assists) and dunk on Andre Drummond. Noel hit 9 of his 11 field goal attempts on his way to 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Okafor should be back soon so Noel’s scoring should be considered an aberration.
Jerami Grant – Another guy known more for his defensive stats, Grant posted 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, and 1 three. Now if only he were a little more consistent.
Andre Drummond – Drummond rebounded from two disappointing games to post 25 points, 18 points, 2 steals, and 1 block. He didn’t hurt your FT percentage as bad as last week either, knocking down 7-12 from the charity stripe.
Reggie Jackson – Jackson did his usual thing, scoring 27 points to go along with 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 threes.
Stanley Johnson – Johnson flashed his potential, dropping a 18/3/3 line off the bench, but remains too inconsistent to trust in most leagues.
Russell Westbrook – The triple double watch was on, but Westbrook fell just 2 rebounds shy. He finished with a disappointing 24 points, 15 assists, and 8 rebounds. What a scrub.
Kevin Durant – A night after scoring 44 at Madison Square Garden, KD put up 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. If the Thunder lose early in the playoffs, it won’t be Westbrook or Durant’s fault.
Enes Kanter – Kanter exploded for 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks off the bench. Now if he could only do that every night.
Gorgui Dieng – The Timberwolves did the right thing, by inserting Dieng into the starting lineup, while Kevin Garnett is out. Nikola Pekovic (1 point, 1 rebound, and 3 assists) started the last game, but came off the bench on Wednesday. Dieng responded to the start with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 steal/block each. The Timberwolves still lost, but he was way more effective than Pek. Hopefully the coaches noticed.
Karl-Anthony Towns –19 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. Between KAT and Kristaps Porzingis, we’ve been getting spoiled with very good fantasy rookies. Next year’s class will have a lot to live up to.
Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine – Rubio continues to rack up the double-digit assist games, with 10 assists, 4 points, and 3 steals. LaVine came off the bench to score 35 points on 14-17 shooting! Now if you could only combine the two of them, you’d have a complete player.
Andrew Wiggins – Speaking of complete players (kidding), Wiggins contributed his usual 20 points with very little else. He shot an effective 8-14 from the field for 20 points, but only collected 4 assists and 1 rebound in the other statistical categories.
DeAndre Jordan – Attempting to match Andre Drummond, DeAndre grabbed 19 rebounds, scored 13 points, and knocked down 7-12 from the free throw line. It’s not great, but is better than his usual 40% rate.
Chris Paul – Cliff Paul’s twin brother dished out 10 assists to go along with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Jamal Crawford – J Craw had scored double-digits in 12 straight games, prior to having 2 poor shooting performances on Sunday and Tuesday. He bounced back on Wednesday, starting a new double-digit streak with 21 points on 9-16 shooting.
Wesley Johnson – Usually I won’t talk about a guy who shot 3-12 from the field, but Johnson made up for it with 7 points, 6 swipes, 6 rebounds, and 1 block. Deep leaguers in need of threes, steals, and blocks could do worse.
Paul Millsap – Another day at the office for Millsap: 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, and 1 three.
Al Horford – It’s not typical for your big man to lead the team in assists, but Horford isn’t your typical center. He posted 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists for the Hawks.
Kent Bazemore, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver – The rest of the Hawks’ starting lineup brought their A-games too. It was the bench and turnovers that cost the Hawks the win. Bazemore went for 12/5/2, Teague contributed 16/3/2/2 and Korver knocked down all 4 of his threes for 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Gordon Hayward – Hayward had his way with the Hornets, scoring 22 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 3 threes.
Rodney Hood – 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Hood’s ownership level is at 69%, but should be much higher.
Rudy Gobert – Gobert grabbed 12 rebounds to go with 3 blocks and 6 points. The Jazz will want to bring him around slowly, but soon, Derrick Favors (12/3/2) will be joining Gobert in the starting lineup.
Nicolas Batum – Batum returned to the lineup, after missing 3 games with a toe injury. His shooting was poor (2-9), but he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. Batum should be back to his normal stat lines soon.
Kemba Walker – It was mostly a forgettable night for the Hornets, but Walker continued his strong play of late with 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Klay Thompson – Stephen Curry (14 points, 9 assists) took a backseat to his fellow Splash Brother, as Klay went off for 45 points and 5 rebounds. He nailed 14-20 from the field, including 7-12 from downtown and 10-10 from the line.
Chandler Parsons – Parsons did his best trying to match Thompson, but just wasn’t enough for the Mavericks, who were without Dirk Nowitzki (rest). Parsons scored 23 points to lead the Mavs, chipping in 7 rebounds and 4 threes also.
J.J. Barea – The diminutive point guard helped Parsons off the bench, adding 14 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds.