Knicks vs Pistons
Looking at the score I thought to myself oh, what a low scoring affair. Julius Randle probably scored around 20, maybe even under. I know he’s been struggling as of late. Is RJ Barrett playing tonight? If so, most likely a disappointing night. Let’s just open up the box score to check. Meanwhile Alec Burks just played the best game of the season, putting up 34 points on just 17 shots. As for the young stars of New York, 15 for RJ and five for Julius Randle. He only played 26 minutes but to only put up five points is unacceptable for a supposed star player. As for the Detroit Pistons, Saddiq Bey continues to prove why he deserves a spot on your, no doubt fluctuating roster.
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Hornets vs Pacers
Injury Report: Miles Bridges, PJ Washington or Malcom Brogdon
With Miles Bridges out in health and safety protocols, Jalen McDaniels slid into the starting lineup and he performed well. He doesn’t quite have the same chemistry Miles has with LaMelo Ball but defensively he stood his ground. As I’ve said before, if any of LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges or Terry Rozier are available, pick them up because the Hornets play such a balanced system that any one of them could have an amazing night.
Even though the Pacers looked outmatched last night they kept pace with the Hornets right until the end. To do a miniature deep dive into the Pacers, how did the Hornets triple the paint points in the first half? Not only do they have the best center/forward on the floor in Domantas Sabonis, but the second-best in Miles Turner as well! It picked up in the second half, but the majority were from Caris LeVert layups! To dive even further into the numbers, do you know what player on the Pacers has the highest usage rate this season on offense? Caris LeVert, followed by Malcom Brogdon then followed by Sabonis. Miles Turner is ranked below rookie Chris Duarte and fellow big man Goga Bitadze. I’ve said in the past that the Pacers should rebuild around Sabonis however they don’t utilize him now so maybe trading him is the right decision after all.
Clippers vs Celtics
A low scoring affair in which both team’s best player were unavailable. For the Clippers, Eric Bledsoe is the only player I trust to be consistent on a nightly basis. The Celtics on the other hand have Al Horford and Robert Williams III who are both averaging high rebounding numbers this season, check if they’re available. The sun sets, the Earth turns, and Jaylen Brown has an inefficient game in which he took 36 shots. For context, the player with the second-most shot attempts on the Celtics was Al Horford with 14. Speaking of shot attempts the Celtics attempted 41 three-pointers, and made four of them, for a 9.5%.
Hawks vs Bulls
Trae Young is a sneaky good playmaker, averaging just over nine assists per game. That ranks him 3rd in assists per game across the entire league. A viable option for scoring/assist based CAT builds, as he isn’t just a scorer anymore. One thing that stands out about the Bulls’ offense is just how balanced it is. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 18 shot attempts but not far behind were Nikola Vucevic and Coby White with 14 each, finishing with Zach LaVine attempting 13. There’s only one ball and the Bulls are determined to share it
Lakers vs Memphis
Does LeBron James‘ style of play make his teammates worse? Looking back at his former teammates it’s kind of weird how many of them either fell off after playing with LeBron or left him. Kyrie Irving left him, Kevin Love went from an All-NBA player to an afterthought and Anthony Davis’s struggles have been well documented. While Russell Westbrook’s numbers have steadily improved since the start of the year he isn’t what he was with the Wizards last year. Even role players seem to either fall off or finally break out outside of LeBron, examples being JR Smith, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Derrick Rose, and Jordan Clarkson. What makes me so confused is that LeBron is an amazing playmaker but when you really think about it, the amount of evidence is convincing. No greater point here, just food for thought.
Ja Morant makes the Memphis Grizzlies such a fun team to watch. Surrounded by a cast of likable talent such as: Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane (who has been sneaky good this season), and steady center Steven Adams. It’s always a treat to watch this team. Especially when they beat the established talent of the Los Angeles Lakers!
Thunder vs Suns
You know how that one time a news station declared that “There was no news today” and broadcasted piano music for three hours? That’s how I feel writing about the Thunder last night. No one who played for the Thunder is fantasy relevant at all unless you’re in a 30-team league. In that case players such as Luguentz Dort are already taken and everyone else is too inconsistent to recommend. The Suns, on the other hand, provide at least a little bit to talk about. Devin Booker finally provided what fantasy managers who overdrafted him wanted from him, scoring. Putting up 41 points for a league high last night. Shout out to Jalen Smith for 14 rebounds, despite only averaging three on the year, so a nice holiday bonus for those 30-team leagues mentioned earlier.
Jazz vs Trail Blazers
Without star guard Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz still conducted an efficient offense with Mike Conley at the helm. Six assists, 15 points, and only two turnovers for your primary ball handler is solid work. Rudy Gay is finding a place in this Utah offense, proving once more that I am a fool. As for the Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard and Norman Powell tried their hardest with each putting up 32 points on very similar field goal percentages, 10-23 and 11-23. Dame played 37 minutes and Powell 43!
Mavericks vs Kings
Injury Report: Luka Doncic
Isaiah Thomas made his Mavericks debut last night, playing 13 minutes and putting up six points on 35% shooting. I don’t expect anything sustainable out of him, but it’s worth celebrating him getting an NBA contract. I know that Kristaps Porzingis’s defense is questionable and that he missed a mid range shot with four seconds left, but why would you substitute the 7’3″ guy on the last play of the game! Chimezie Metu, congratulations on your game-winning three and congratulations for grabbing eight rebounds. Can Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox exist together? Tyrese still had 10 assists but Davion Mitchell on the bench was way more efficient than Fox. I would trade Fox before both Tyrese and Mitchell but can a harmony be reached with everyone?