Might as well still be Halloween because it was monster box score madness on Monday. Two players in the 20s for rebounds, several triple-doubles, and one very confusing win streak. Let’s dive right into it. 

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Hornets vs Bulls

Serious question, is Miles Bridges cursed on Mondays? I watch the games on Monday, barely notice him, get prepared to write a “don’t believe the hype” piece, then check his stats to see that he’s averaging 20 points and seven rebounds, coming off a 22-point performance last Saturday. Other than his underperformance, the stars were as advertised. Gordon Hayward put up 20 points, LaMelo Ball dished out 14 assists, and Scary Terry Rozier produced 31 points. The bench was very limited for Charlotte last night, showing that outside of the starting lineup, Coach James Borrego only seems to have faith in Kelly Oubre and Jalen McDaniels.

This was the night Nikola Vucevic needed, a 30-point, 14-rebound domination of a team weak at the center position. For owners of Vucevic, this was a welcome boost in performance, but for everyone else, I would wait to see if this is the start of a higher usage rate or just a flash in the pan against a small-ball lineup. I seem to say this every week in some fashion about the Bulls but the rest of their players performed as advertised, which on the one hand speaks to their consistency but on the other is very hard to write about. 


Thunder vs Rockets

With a young rebuilding team you never truly know who is going to take over on a given night. Last night it was 20-year-old Tre Mann’s turn to take over. Selected with the 18th pick in this past year’s draft Mann finally got the chance to shine, playing 30 minutes and putting up 17 points. Forward Isaiah Roby also had the chance to shine tonight putting up 17 of his own in 27 minutes of playing time.  The one certainty on the Thunder, other than losing games and acquiring draft picks, is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being an offensive weapon. Shooting Westbrick level splits, SGA put up 22 points on 20 attempts, with five attempted free throws. 

Houston has won three straight games, bringing their record this season to an astonishing 4-16. The tank job was going perfectly. Why did Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. have to ruin it like that? Wood grabbed an astonishing 21 boards this game. That puts Andre Drummond to shame. Oh, and don’t forget about KPJ, he just put up a triple-double (10-11-11). No big deal. With John Wall expressing his desire to come back and play for the Rockets, it’ll be interesting to see if the organization prioritizes tanking over basketball in the next few games.


Pacers vs Timberwolves

So last week I ranted about how the Timberwolves should blow the team up, how Karl-Anthony Towns would never work with this core, and how the pieces around him and Anthony Edwards were inconsistent and unreliable. The team has now surged to 11-10, currently sitting 6th in the West with a close win over the Pacers last night. Was I too harsh perhaps, too impatient, too demanding? I’m here to say, absolutely not. This still isn’t proof that this will work over the long haul. In order for something to be inconsistent, it has to occasionally be good, otherwise, it would just be bad. As for the supporting cast for Minnesota, D’Angelo Russell put up 21 points and eight assists, Malik Beasley replaced the flu-stricken Jarred Vanderbilt and put up a respectable nine points and seven rebounds. But this proves nothing to me yet, I’ll see you next week Minnesota.

Speaking of disappointing teams, Pacers, what are you doing? Domantas Sabonis put up a career-defining night with 25 rebounds, 10 assists, and 16 points! Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 of his own and they still lost to Minnesota? On paper, everything is there: an All-Star player, great complementary pieces, and a winning head coach. What do they need to break through and actually contend? Maybe it just isn’t gonna work out. Maybe it’s time to either sell incredibly high on Sabonis and tear it all down or sell Turner, commit to a big, and build a legitimate contender around Sabonis. 


Cavaliers vs Mavericks

Wow, just wow. Dallas, what happened to your depth? Ignore the final score (CLE 114, DAL 96), as this game should have been far uglier than it was. The Mavs should be grateful that the Cavaliers turned the ball over 20 times. Absolutely nothing went in for the Mavericks, as they shot 43% from the field, 33% from three, and 40% from the free-throw line! Shaq in Cleveland would have better splits than those! Dallas, make some moves at the deadline. I don’t care if it’s Simmons, Sabonis, Siakam, Dragic, Ross, or trading Boban for a photocopier. Do something, please! Also, Kristaps Porzingis had an X-Ray for his right ankle sprain and the results came back negative, so consider him day-to-day until further notice.

As for Cleveland, I’m slowly becoming a fan day by day. I said last week that they should buy out Kevin Love but seeing him actually play and interact, I don’t think that’s necessary. He’s embraced his role on a young, exciting team and, paired with Ricky Rubio, provides a veteran presence for this young core. What they do with Collin Sexton is a mystery, however, as he is out for the season recovering from a successful torn meniscus surgery. 


Wizards vs Spurs

The Kyle Kuzma bit is dead now. Everyone knows he’s good and has picked him up. Let’s move on. Montrezl “4th in the MVP Race, statistically” Harrell got clamped by Jakob Poeltl, only putting up six points, five assists, and six rebounds. Overall for the Wizards, it came down to their star player Bradley Beal having a bad shooting night, going 8-21 from the field. You simply can’t win basketball games with a stat line like that. 

The Spurs may be a mediocre team but they have some very intriguing pieces on their roster, and not just from a fantasy standpoint. As a Raptors fan, I wish we had Jakob Poeltl back on our roster, added as a sweetener in the Kawai Leonard trade. Poeltl is a reliable defensive center and he put up a stat line of 11 rebounds, 14 points, and one assist. The numbers don’t reflect his true value on the floor. Dejounte Murray is a star and should be selected as an All-Star this year if he keeps this play up. Putting up a near triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Also, shout out to Derrick White for putting up a team-leading 24 points. 


Trail Blazers vs Jazz

Anfernee Simons is one of the most underrated players this year and it’s sad that it’s taken me this long to even mention his name. On the season he’s averaging 13 points, two assists, and two rebounds. Not amazing numbers but he has tons of potential, and considering only 4.5% of users on ESPN have him rostered, he’s definitely worth a look in deeper leagues. Want a player that you should definitely have in your 12-man league? Jusuf Nurkic went off for 24 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Blazers in each category. Nurkic is a tricky player to gauge because he can have nights like these, but he can also be invisible on the floor some nights. Still, definitely worth rostering him in any league. 

Donovan “Spiderman” Mitchell lived up to his namesake contributing four steals in Utah’s win over the Trail Blazers. He also contributed 30 of his team’s points and assisted five other plays but that doesn’t fit the nickname as well, so it gets lower billing. Rudy Gay appears to have found his role with the Jazz, averaging 19 minutes per game and exploding for 22 points. Definitely worth a flag but the Jazz have so many options on a given night that Gay may get lost in the rotation. 


Magic vs 76ers

If you didn’t pick up Cole Anthony or Franz Wagner by now, you missed out. There’s no going back, there’s no trading for them, you missed the hype train and now you have to wait for the next one to arrive. Going into this season there was a debate over who the Magic should start at center, Mo Bamba or Wendell Carter Jr. With performances like last night, why not both? Carter Jr. grabbed 12 boards and Bamba grabbed 17 tonight with six blocks! If they can co-exist that frontcourt suddenly looks scary with a vaxxed Jonathan Issac set to return. 

As for the Sixers, what do you want me to comment on? The better team won. Joel Embiid was a bit slow coming back from injury but he still put up 16 points and 13 rebounds. Seth Curry and Tobias Harris put up points, Matisse Thybulle clamped everyone on defense but didn’t show up on the box score while Andre Drummond grabbed the ball a bunch off the glass, a typical night for the 76ers. 


Nuggets vs Heat

With the breaking news that Michael Porter Jr. is out indefinitely, new opportunities have risen for role players and rookies. Bones Hyland seems to be getting the green light from Michael Malone, getting 21 minutes of playing time last night. The real question is, with Jamal Murray and MPJ out for the season, does Denver try to tank this season? They are .500 right now and sitting out of a playoff spot. Even if Nikola Jokic wills them to the 7th seed is it even worth it just to be swept by a healthy team? We shall see. If they do tank, expect big minutes for  Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji.

With Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro out for this game, it’s understandable how the Heat lost. That being said, I want to take a look at Kyle Lowry this season. He’s been invisible from a fantasy standpoint, getting worse in every category. The nostalgia keeps his ownership percentage as high as it is, so if you have him find that one Raptors fan in your league and fleece him. If you are that Raptors fan, get fleeced and remember back to 2019, before everything went wrong. 


Pelicans vs Clippers

Ah, the other team I went off on last week. The Pelicans may have won last night but their record is still awful so I’ll count it as a win. Is Jonas Valanciunas the new number one option of this team? He may be averaging fewer points than Ingram, but he’s averaging more rebounds and has better shooting splits on less usage. With Zion Williamson cleared to come back we’ll see how they co-exist together in the paint, but it may be worth looking to trade Ingram instead. Also shout out to Josh Hart putting up 12 rebounds. Congrats on the boost if you had him rostered. 

Clippers, Clippers, Clippers, what to do with the Los Angeles Clippers? Your best player is out, your second-best player is having an amazing season, willing this team to an 11-10 record, and some depth pieces are working out like Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson. Sometimes a team just gets outplayed and outworked. As for the team from a fantasy standpoint, Paul George is a stud, Jackson is inconsistent, Bledsoe is consistent, and everyone else isn’t viable in a 12-man league.