Did you know that the title for every episode of the USA series “Monk” started “Mr. Monk …” As in, “Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus”; “Mr. Monk Joins a Cult”; and who could forget, “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus”?
I feel like the Kings should be working up a cross-promotion deal to revitalize the series (originally set in the Bay Area), but set up the road in Sacramento and with Malik Monk casted as Tony Shalhoub’s sidekick. Or maybe that’s just the cabin fever settling in since I am in Oregon, where anything more than 3 inches of snow causes mass hysteria and shuts everything down.
Friday’s episode could have been titled “Mr. Monk and the Insane Game.” Or, “Mr. Monk Throws Daggers at L.A.” Or, “Mr. Monk and His Fox Go Hunting.” Or, [just let the people get on with their day already.] [Fine.]
Malik Monk put a career-high 45 points on the scoreboard Friday night in the second highest score-fest of an NBA game in league history: in which the Kings outlasted the Clippers 176-175 in double overtime. That. Was. Fun. Monk hit 6-of-12 from the 3-point line, 15-of-24 overall, and 9-of-10 from the field. That. Was. Efficient.
As I’ve discussed before, Monk would be a Top 100 player if he wasn’t getting stat-blocked by Kevin Huerter (11-4-3 with 2 steals). He is No. 173 in per game fantasy value, but No. 87 in Per 36 value, with 22-4-6, a steal and nearly 3 threes per 36, shooting 45% from the field and 90% from the line. I have both Monk and Huerter on my #RazzJam squad, and it’s been quite the juggling act all season. I hoped the Kings would play the two more together, but it’s evident they plan to stick with Barnes and Murray together – and given how well they’re playing, who can blame them. The situation is worth monitoring. Perhaps Monk takes some minutes away from Huerter down the stretch, but most likely it remains the situational night-by-night juggling act.
De’Aaron Fox put up a monster line of 42 points (17-27 FG, 2-4 3pt, 6-11 FT), 5 boards, 12 assists and 5 steals. Mr Clutch it good.
Kawhi Leonard is [checks notes … flips a couple pages … sees bold font] also good. Very good. Like the No. 2 player in all of fantasy basketball since Christmas good. In the loss, Leonard had 44 points (16-22 FG, 6-9 3pt, 6-6 FT), 4 boards, 4 dimes, 3 steals and 2 blocks. And just 2 turnovers. I looked up the definition of efficiency in the dictionary and a hand extended out and slapped me and said, “Kawhi Leonard, stupid!” Russell Westbrook posted 17-5-14 with 7 giveaways on 7-of-13 shooting, getting 39 minutes of run. I definitely like the fit better with the other L.A. team. But it’s still Russ, so we all know what you get. Mason Plumlee has had his first game as a Clip, posting a 10-10-4 double-double. But, don’t get too excited, as Ivica Zubac was sidelined. I could see the two big men trading off a lot of rest games for the remainder of the season.
Here’s what else happened on a busy post-break night in the Association:
But first, time for a Bruce Chanel sing-a-long break:
“Haaaaaaaaaaay, Haayya, Gordo …. I wanna know-ow-ow, are you back for good?”
Not my best form, but Gordon Hayward has been in his best form, returning to Top 30 form by averaging 22-6-5 with nearly 2 steals and threes each, shooting nearly 60% from the field … and if I had any shares I would be on the corner trying to huck them for the pennies they’re actually worth. Ok, that’s harsh. Hayward posted 27-10-5-2-1 (and LaMelo Ball posted 32-10-8-2-0) to lead the Hornets over the Timberwolves, 121-113, Friday night. Charlotte is pretty settled into the No. 4 lottery spot, so it’s likely they stick with the starters and hope to build momentum into next season. Still, Hayward can only shake those hips like a 20-something for so many games in a row.
Ugly loss for the Timberwolves, despite another solid performance from Anthony Edwards, who posted 29-8-5-2-2 with 3 threes. Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks and a steal in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Naz Reid posted 16-8-2 with 2 blocks and 2 threes. All Naz needs is 20 minutes again to have standard league value, (he’s No. 65 in fantasy value per 36 minutes) but I just don’t know he gets that moving forward.
Speaking of having no idea about minutes played, Alperen Sengun played 24 minutes in the Rockets’ 116-101 loss to Golden State, checking out with 4:10 left in the third quarter and not returning. In related news, Stephen Silas is now Top 3 all time for most hated coach by fantasy players. TyTy Washington Jr. started at point guard (as Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green remain sidelined) and produced 15 points (5-12 FG, 3-6 3pt, 2-3 FT), 2 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals in 34 minutes. TyTy can put up numbers as long as the minutes are there, albeit with typical low rookie percentages. One game into the “will Jabari Smith Jr. have a solid post-break” quandary: No (13-9-1 on just 4-16 shooting).
Klay Thompson had himself a lovely game of darts, hitting 12 bullseyes in 17 attempts to finish with 42 points, along with 7 boards and a dime.
Cam Payne sure looked happy to be back on the floor. He scored an efficient 14 points (5-9 FG, 3-5 3pt, 1-4 FT) in 16 minutes, along with 4 boards and a steal, in the Suns’ 124-115 win over the Thunder. With the Suns guard depth thinned out from the Durant trade, Payne could have value in all leagues as Chris Paul’s main backup. The forward positions are a different story and I don’t foresee any other role players have a consistent impact once Durant gets going.
Another productive night for the JALEN and JAYLIN show. JALEN Williams had 22 points (8-14 FG, 1-3 3pt, 5-6 FT), 6 boards, 4 dimes and a steal; while JAYLIN Williams had 10 points with 2 threes, 5 boards, 5 dimes and an assist. JAYLIN has played 25+ minutes in three straight games and now has his starting role secured. Pokusevski is due for a re-evaluation soon, but I imagine the Thunder won’t be rushing back a young 7-footer from a leg fracture. Isaiah Joe got to shine as Gilgeous-Alexander took the night off, hitting 6 threes on his way to 28 points and 7 boards. Josh Giddey posted 7-4-5 on an off-shooting-night; Lu Dort 17-10-1-1-1; and the crazy OKC Carousel O’ Fantasy is finally on a steady track.
Kevin Love served up love – the tennis kind – in his Heat debut, missing all four shots attempted in 22 minutes as a starter of Miami’s 128-99 blowout loss to the Bucks. Love hadn’t played game minutes in a month, so some rust is to be expected, and he did contribute 8 boards, 4 assists, a steal and a block. Love isn’t a perfect answer at the 4 for Miami, but he’s at least an answer. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him stick with the starters.
Giannis Antetokounmpo walked off after six minutes with a knee injury. Seemed like a normal knee-knocker, but his fantasy owners hold their collective breath while waiting for more info. Bobby Portis returned and produced a double-double off the bench (18 points, 11 boards). Death. Taxes. Portis dub-dubs off the bench. Jae Crowder played 16 minutes off the bench for his new team, while Khris Middleton remained on restriction, playing 17 minutes, yet producing 12-4-5 with a steal.
Mitchell Robinson was his usually self in his first game back in six weeks, posting 10 points (5- FG), 12 boards a block and a steal in 28 minutes as the Knicks beat the Wizards, 115-109. Isaiah Hartenstein got 20 minutes of run off the bench (4 points, 10 boards) while Jericho Sims drew the DNP-CD designation (where he should remain until he apologizes for his final dunk contest attempt). Julius Randle finished with 46 points (16-29 FG, 7-14 3pt, 7-7 FT). Josh Hart came down to Earth with a simple 5-6-4 line, but I’m sticking with him for now, especially in Roto.
Wish I could say the same for Daniel Gafford, who played one less minute (12) than Taj Gibson (13) Friday night. Deni Avdija posted 11-7-5 with a steal on 5-of-7 shooting in 27 minutes, and is rosterable in all leagues; but every five games he plays just 15 minutes, which is frustrating. Delon Wright also had a solid game off the bench, hitting 5-of-7 from deep and posting 15-3-2-2-2, and is quietly a Top 75 player per game in 9-cat this season, in part to his 2 steals a game average.
Not much to take away from the 131-87 running of the Nets by the Bulls – except newcomer Patrick Beverley (8-5-4) replaced Patrick Williams in the starting lineup. And that might now be a bad thing for Williams, who’s yet to fulfill his fantasy potential despite getting 30 minutes per game. Williams finished with 17 points (5-8 FG, 2-2 3pt, 5-8 FT), 6 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals. His USG was 21, 5 marks better than his season average. If that sustains, Williams could be a nice buy low for the fantasy playoffs – and if he’s on waivers, definitely snag him to see how this plays out.
Similar blowout story in Atlanta, as the Hawks jumped all over Cleveland (playing the second of a back-to-back) and cruised to a 136-119 win in their first game sans Nate McMillan. Trae Young posted 34-2-9 with a steal while hitting 4-of-7 from deep and Dejounte Murray had 25-9-8 and a steal while shooting 11-of-19. Onyeka Okongwu posted 13-11-2-2-3 in 25 minutes; Clint Capela had 10-4-2 with 3 blocks in 21 minutes. And Saddiq Bey played well in his first game as a Hawk, scoring 19 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 3pt, 2-2 FT) to go with 4 boards, an assist and a steal. John Collins didn’t play, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Bey snags the starting SF spot as playoffs near – at the least, takes enough minutes from De’Andre Hunter to make him even less valuable in fantasy than he already is.