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Breaking Down A Busy NBA Wednesday


Wednesday night was action packed as the NBA had 11 games on its schedule. We had some enormous lines throughout the association. Some surprises, some disappointing.

To handle all the action, here's a special game-by-game rundown on the action, from the surging Knicks to The Process.

Let's break it down this massive slate.

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Utah Jazz 101 - 106 Knicks

Jazz guard Rodney Hood provided the offense Wednesday, dropping 30 points and six 3-pointers in the loss. He was efficient, draining 10-of-20 from the field. The Jazz will need him to score more with Rudy Gobert gone for the next month or so. He should flirt with mid-round value going forward. The red-hot Donovan Mitchell continued his strong play, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, and three dimes. He looks NBA-ready than most rookies, and is a must-own player going forward. Derrick Favors was solid with six points and 10 boards. He did have three blocked shots and five assists but had a tough time shooting over Kristaps Porzingis. Favors will be better next outing. Foward Thabo Sefolosha only saw 15 minutes of action, where I guess he is more of a deeper league option than a standard league add. He's a steals specialist after all, and he had two tonight.

Moving on to the Knicks we had Tim Hardaway Jr. go off again with 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. He would hit a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation to seal the game. The Knicks are taking care of business at home right now and Hardaway JR. is arguably option 1B next to Kristaps Porzingis. Speaking of Porinzgis, he did his thing as usual and had 22 points and 8 boards. The "Unicorn" added two blocks as well to continue his strong season. The Knicks are home cooking right now, where they are 7-3. The real test will be when they go on the road. I have no doubt Porzingis will keep this up, but it might not be a bad idea to sell high to see what you're able to get in return should the Knicks fall back to earth or the 7-foot 3 Latvian tweaks an ankle. It's something to to think about. Enes Kanter was quiet tonight and became a cheer leader tonight. It's worth monitoring what the return of center Joakim Noah might do to his minutes. Courtney Lee played well and scored 19 points, but he did tweak his hamstring late and could be out a couple of games. Rookie Frank Ntilikina played only 19 minutes and had seven points and two steals. He had six steals the previous game so take the good with the bad.

 

Washington Wizards 102 - 93 Miami Heat

All-Star John Wall did his thing with 27 points and six assists. He would chip in two treys, a steal, and two blocks. He's going to put up top-30 numbers all year. Otto Porter double-doubled with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Bradley Beal scored a team-high 26 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. They lead the way tonight and rallied back in the fourth-quarter to steal this game. You don't have to worry much about those three. Markieff Morris was solid with 15 points before getting ejected for picking up six fouls. You can blame that on Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Heat point guard Goran Dragic was solid with 21 points, but didn't have much else. He'll still be a top-50 player all year. Dion Waiters chipped in 19 points and 5 dimes, but shot 7-of-18 and committed five turnovers. These are the type of Dion Waiters type of stat lines that drags down his value. Center Hassan Whiteside was great with 14 points and pulled down 21 rebounds. Whiteside had only one block and took eight shot attempts tonight, otherwise he would've had a big night. Forward James Johnson was quiet with five points and not much else. Don't be discouraged, Johnson be solid next time out.

 

Sacramento Kings 80 - 126 Atlanta Hawks

The Kings are a mess, and it was game over from pretty much half-time. Power forward Zach Randolph continues to provide low-end numbers, finishing with 16 points and four rebounds.George Hill scored double-digits for the second game in a row, finishing with 12 points and three steals. He's worth a look if he was dropped in your league because he was so bad earlier in the season. Don't expect miracles though. Center Willie Cauley-Stein struggled again, playing only 20 minutes. He would finish six points and not much else. Don't give up on him yet, as I truly believe there's going to be a shake up in Sacramento soon. Cauley-Stein was a top-100 player after the All-Star break last season.

The Hawks coasted all night, and got 20 points and 14 boards from center DeWayne Dedmon. He would also spoil owners with five assists, two steals and two blocks on 9-of-10 shooting. He even hit a 3-pointer. Yes, Dedmon. Point guard Dennis Schroder wasn't needed at all, playing 25 minutes but still had 21 points and eight assists. This was a blowout special so all you really need to know the players to own in standard leagues from the Hawks are Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, DeWayne Dedmon, and rookie John Collins. Sharpshooter Marco Belinelli deserves a mention here and there, but he's streaky as they come.

 

Chicago Bulls 79 - 92 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Bulls never really had a chance, and the whole team was just awful. Rookie Lauri Markkanen looked healthy from that ankle injury he suffered last week and had 16 points and six rebounds. He would also chip in two steals and a block. Forward Denzel Valentine stepped it up and had 13 points, including 3 3-pointers. Valentine is more of a deep-league option but you can certainly add him in standard leagues if you have someone to drop. Both Jerian Grant and Kris Dunn were awful, where Dunn built a house with his 1-of-11 shooting and Grant went 1-for-5. They are likely going to cancel each other out on a nightly basis and the return of Zach LaVine will probably send them both to the waiver wire. Forward Bobby Portis played 20 minutes and had five points and nine rebounds. He's coming off three strong games, so hold him and see if he improves the next time out.

Forward Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup Wednesday for the Thunder, and he had a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards. He shot 3-of-10 from the field but made it for up hitting 11-of-12 from the line. Paul George didn't have a good shooting night, missing 11 of his 15 attempts. He would finish with only 13 points, but he was due for a bad game. The former MVP Russell Westbrook shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the line tonight, and is 24-of-26 over his last three games. The early struggles from the line was an obvious exaggeration. Westbrook would finish with 21 points, seven assists, and four steals. He's not going to replicate last season, but should start to work towards early-round value now that he's worked out his free throw struggles.

 

Indiana Pacers 116 - 113 Memphis Grizzlies

The Pacers got a whopping 30 points and eight assists from point guard Darren Collison. He's playing lights out basketball right now and should be viewed as a sell high candidate. His back-court mate Victor Oladipo chipped in 21 points, six dimes, three steals and two blocks. He's smashing expectations and should be viewed as a top-3o guy. Don't be fooled, he's one of the best two-way guards in the game. Myle Turner was quiet again with 10 points and three blocks. He'll get going soon enough, and I advise you to buy low right now before he posts top-20 numbers soon enough. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic hit four more 3-pointers tonight and had 16 points. He doesn't do much else, but he's worth owning as long as he's this hot.

The Grizzlies was without their starting point Mike Conley tonight, and could've felt better if they squeezed out a win. Conley is day-to-day, as he is dealing with a sore Achilles. Grizzlies would be wise to sit him out until he's fully healthy as they need him for a postseason run. Center Marc Gasol tried to will Memphis to a win with 35 points, 13 boards, five assists and five blocks. Unfortunately it wasn't enough but owners can't complain about this stat line. Sixth man Tyreke Evans continued to be hot with 18 points, six rebounds, nine dimes, and two blocks. He's on fire and he's up to third-round value on the year. He was likely plucked from the wavier wire before he went on this run, so he could be a waiver wire of the year candidate if he keeps this up. I have Evans in my leagues and I'm sticking with him because I truly enjoy watching him play. Power forward JaMychal Green returned from his ankle injury and played 17 minutes. He looked decent out there and he will be the starting power forward this season. Pick him up if you need a big man. He's worth owning in standard leagues.

 

Toronto Raptors 125 - 116 New Orleans Pelicans

The Raptors won again on a second night of a back-to-back behind All-Stars DeMar DeRozan's 25/9/6 and Kyle Lowry's near triple double of 22/11/9. Lowry's buy low window is all but closed as he's realizing the Raptors only have a chance when he's aggressive. Center Jonas Valanciunas held his own against the front-line of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis and had 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Forward Serge Ibaka continues to stand out near the 3-point line but still had 12 points and four boards. Ibaka isn't hurting you anywhere, but his upside is severely limited right now that he isn't rebounding or blocking as many shots. Normal Powell was out tonight due to a hip injury and owners can give CJ Miles a look if they need a boost in points and 3-pointers. Miles had 17 points with 5 treys on Wednesday.

The Pelicans got Rajon Rondo back and the point guard played 14 minutes, finishing with four points and eight assists. He will eventually get up to near 30 minutes and could be a mid-round guy if he's able to fit in. DeMarcus Cousins filled it up again and had 25 points, nine boards, five assists. He would add four steals and 3 3-pointers. "Boogie" becomes the 3rd player in NBA history to get 400 points and 200 rebounds in the first 15 games of the season, other two being Shaquille O'Neal and Moses Malone. Cousin's usage rate is massive on this team and is a lock to finish top-10 if he keeps this up. Anthony Davis didn't play to his brow standards as he only had 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He did rack up three steals and a block but this wasn't the typical Anthony Davis performance we were expecting to see. Don't get it twisted though, Davis has been a beast all season and is currently the #2 player on the year.

 

Detroit Pistons 95 - 99 Milwaukee Bucks

The Pistons came in hot, winning five straight before falling to the Bucks Wednesday. Combo guard Avery Bradley went off for 28 points, hitting six from downtown. Center Andre Drummond didn't have his best outing, but still finished with 13 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. He hit 5-of-8 from the line Wednesday, and is only shooting 44 percent from the charity stripe over the last five games. Apparently the early season props the media gave him messed up his mojo. Point guard Reggie Jackson was terrible, shooting 2-of-7 for only six points and two assists. Point guards tend to struggle against the Bucks, so he'll be better the next game.

The Bucks got a huge boost from Khris Middleton, who went off for 27/6/8. Middleton took 21 shots tonight, hitting 12 of them. Franchise star Giannis Antetokounmpo took a backseat and still dropped 21 points and six rebounds. As usual, he provided the goodies and swiped in three steals and blocked four shots. He's going to be a top-3 guy all year. Point guard Eric Bledsoe is still getting accommodated into the team, but still had an all-around game with 14/6/8. He would add three steals and two blocks as well. The Bucks are now 4-0 with Bledsoe and could be looking to challenge the East for a top-3 seed.

 

San Antonio Spurs 86 - 98 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Spurs just didn't have it tonight, as everyone in the team basically struggled. LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double with 15 and 10, while the Spurs continue to wait around for the return of Kawhi Leonard. It's hard to gauge the Spurs rotation and its value until Leonard returns. I would sell high on Aldridge in case anyone is asking.

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrated his birthday by picking up 26 points and 16 boards. He made Pau Gasol run in circles all night and is quietly putting up first-round value on the year. Just when Jimmy Butler was starting to figure it out, he would struggle tonight on 2-of-13 shooting. He still picked up three steals tho. Don't worry, he'll be okay. Shooting guard Andrew Wiggins didn't have to do much but had an empty line of 11 points and not much else. Point guard Jeff Teague was solid with 16 points, dishing out six assists and picking up two steals.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 115 - 107 Charlotte Hornets

LeBron James played like an angry king tonight as he took it out on the Hornets with 31/6/8. He would lead the Cavaliers to their third straight win, as they recover from their slow start. James claims he's in the best shape of his career, and he's proving it to be true because he's the fifth best player in fantasy right now. He's doing LeBron things, averaging 28.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.3 BPG on the year. He's also shooting 58 percent from the floor. Basically, he's doing it all and owners have to be excited at his outlook for the season as he will have to do a lot of heavy lifting for the Cavaliers to have a chance. The Eastern Conference is more competitive than recent years, and LeBron will not slow down until Isaiah Thomas returns from his hip recovery. Forward Kevin Love played well and had a double-double of 22 and 10. Shooting guard J.R. Smith is starting to figure it out and should be owned in most leagues as he had 10 points, five boards, three assists, and two steals in the Cavaliers win.

Forward Michal Kidd-Gilchrist was everywhere on Wednesday, as he put up 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting with a couple of steals and blocks. He was dealing with the death of his grandmother last month, and looks ready to play basketball now that's behind him. He won't be this good, but he's going to be solid all year as he will put up strong percentages while also giving you the peripheral stats. I expect mid-round value from Kidd-Gilchrist and that's what he's been able to provide from recent years. The Hornets also welcomed back forward Nic Batum as he returned from a shoulder injury. He played a surprising 32 minutes and had 16 points, five boards, and six assists. Batum looked great out there and this is a welcome sign of relief for owners who was expecting him to be gone for much longer. Point guard Kemba Walker did his usual thing with 20 points and seven assists. Dwight Howard was terrible and fouled out with eight points and five boards. His prime is behind him but he'll be better than this on most nights.

 

Orlando Magic 94 - 99 Portland Trail Blazers

Magic forward Evan Fournier was the lone bright spot for the Magic and scored 22 points. Power forward Aaron Gordon was quiet in 31 minutes, finishing with only 12 points and five boards. Center Nikola Vucevic double-doubled but only had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Elfrid Payton was decent with 14 points and five dimes in the losing effort. There is a buy-low window for Payton right now, but don't give up too much.

Blazers guard CJ McCollum blew kisses to Evan Fournier after they got into a scuffle. McCollum would then punish the Magic for 24 points on four 3-pointers. All-Star Damian Lillard also joined the party, hitting five treys of his own for 26 points, 11 boards, and seven assists. Backup point guard Shabazz Napier had 19 points, but this was a fluke. Center Jusuf Nurkic didn't do much tonight, finishing with a quiet 11/8/5. Look for Nurkic to bounce back.

 

Philadelphia 76ers 115 - 109 Los Angeles Lakers

Perhaps the line of the year goes to center Joel Embiid, who put up video game-like numbers on Wednesday night. Embiid went off for 46 points, 15 boards, seven assists, and swatted seven shots in the win. He shot 14-of-20 from the field, including 16-of-19 from the free throw line. According to ESPN, he's the first player with 40+ points, 7+ assists and 7+ blocks in a game since Julius Erving in 1982. The young center danced around the Lakers all night, as they just didn't have anyone to guard him. Point forward Ben Simmons had a game of his own as well, just missing a triple-double of 18/9/10 with five steals and a block. The Sixers are dangerous. #TrustTheProcess

The Lakers fought hard in this loss, and got a career-high 26 points and 11 boards from sophomore Brandon Ingram. Ingram was fantastic and chipped in two blocks as well. It's a reminder to owners who can't stand his off-nights. He's all upside and it's not bad for a guy you likely selected late in most drafts. Shooting guard Kentavous Caldwell-Pope was decent with 12 points, seven rebounds, to along with two steals and a block. He's arguably the most trusted Laker behind coach Luke Walton's wacky rotations. Rookie Lonzo Ball struggled again and got benched for most of the 2nd half, finishing with only two points on 1-of-9 shooting. He's just awful in percentage leagues right now, and I'm not sure if he'll be able to redeem himself this season. His shot just needs a lot of tweaking and he's appearing to hit the "rookie wall." He looked completely out of it tonight and didn't come ready to play. Backup guard Jordan Clarkson picked up Ball's slack and had 20/6/5. Perhaps the best rookie on the team is Kyle Kuzma, where he continues to show he's NBA ready by scoring 24 points and seven rebounds. He's not doing much in the peripherals department, but he's exceeded all projections. He's going to be massive down the stretch with top-75 upside. Not bad for a guy who you probably got from the waiver wire. Power forward Julius Randle played with energy all night but didn't show up in the box score, where he shot 2-of-12 from the floor for eight points and eight boards. Both fantasy owners and Randle himself can't wait for him to be traded somewhere he's able to get 30+ minutes a night. Center Brook Lopez struggled and couldn't defend against Joel Embiid (obviously). Lopez finished with only eight points in 15 minutes. This was just not a good match-up for him.




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