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Rotoballer NBA Recap: Three Young Studs Doing Some Major Work Recently


Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from the previous night's slate of games. Following the usual light schedule on Tuesday, there was a lot of action on Wednesday with 12 games on the docket. This is the 10th time this year that at least two-thirds of the league's teams have played a midweek game. Half of the 12 contests were decided by single-digits, including one overtime game and two contests that came down to one possession.

The Pistons and Raptors came back from double-figure deficits to pull out wins. Detroit outscored Minnesota by 20 points (51-31) over the last 17 minutes of the game to earn a 129-123 overtime victory while Toronto outscored Indiana 24-11 in the final stanza in their 96-93 win.  However, the most entertaining game of the night was arguably Houston's 136-118 victory over Washington as the Rockets set an NBA-record with 26 three-pointers. James Harden sank six of 11 three-point attempts and Chris Paul drilled five of nine tries. Eric Gordon (four), Gerald Green (four), P.J. Tucker (three) and Danuel House (two) knocked down multiple triples as well. Meanwhile, Michael Carter-Williams and Gary Clark each made one three-pointer apiece.

Paul George is RotoBaller's Fantasy Player of the Night as he scored 43 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and doled out seven assists for 62.9 fantasy points, per NBA.com, in the Thunder's victory over the Kings. George now has two 40-point games and 10 double-doubles. Russell Westbrook, who compiled a night-high 70.7 fantasy points, registered his eighth triple-double of the campaign with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and a season-high tying 17 dimes. Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jrue Holiday, De'Aaron Fox, Anthony Davis, Harden, Buddy Hield, Steven Adams, Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker and Bradley Beal each had 50 fantasy points. The rest of the article will look at a few young big men who are responsible for protecting the rim. Special shoutouts go out to centers Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, and Clint Capela. Adams registered his first 20-20 game of the campaign as he collected a career-high 23 boards to go along with 20 points.

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Robert Williams: Swats Away Career-High Five Shots

The Celtics are in a little trouble up front following the news that Aron Baynes will be out at least a month with a broken hand. Baynes played just two minutes in Wednesday night's loss to the Suns before leaving with the injury, although it was reported that he played a couple of possessions with the injury. The C's were already without Al Horford (knee) and Marcus Morris (knee) for the game. Horford, who has missed six straight games, did some "on-court work" yesterday. Morris is dealing with right knee soreness, however, that isn't expected to keep him out long.

With the status of Horford and Morris still up in the air going forward, Boston will have to make a decision on who starts at center. Even if Horford is able to return for Friday's game against the Bucks, he may not start. If the veteran does return to the starting lineup immediately, the Celtics will still need to decide who is his main backup basically deciding between Daniel Theis and Williams. Morris can also play the five when the C's go to their small-ball lineup.

Both Theis and Williams have some fantasy intrigue. Theis is a solid scorer who can contribute on the boards as well as a rim protector. His biggest asset may be his ability to stretch the floor. Theis has been in the Celtics rotation on a semi-regular basis this seasons as he has appeared in 20 games, including nine straight games where he is averaging 9.2 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the floor along with 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 2o minutes of action. The 26-year-old, who also has the ability to play the four position, has a plus-7.1 rating during this stretch.

However, Williams appears to have a slight advantage in fantasy value over Theis due to his shot-blocking ability as well as his prowess on the boards. The rookie totaled eight points, eight rebounds (five offensive), one steal, one assist and a career-best five blocks in 24 minutes against the Suns. He made all four of his field goal attempts.

Williams had seen sparse action until recently. Over the last five games, the 6-foot-10 center is averaging five points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in just 18 minutes of action. At this point, standard fantasy owners should at the very least monitor the status of the 21-year-old. If he is able to get a garner a fair workload (playing time consistently in the mid-20's), the Texas A&M product is definitely worth snatching up.

 

Larry Nance Jr.: Doing Some Work

Nance has taken advantage of Tristan Thompson's (foot) absence. Nance picked up his third double-double in the past four games by posting 10 points and 15 points in a loss to the Hornets. He also compiled seven assists, one block, and two steals while making four of seven shots from the field.

The 25-year-old has now pulled down double-digit rebounds in four of his last five outings and has totaled at least six assists in each of his last five games. While the fourth-year pro has always brought energy, pogo stick athleticism, defense and quality work on the boards, he has improved his perimeter shooting and passing this year. Nance has produced 9.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five games. He leads the Cavs in steals, blocks and is second in rebounds, behind Thompson, this year.

Thompson is expected to miss several more games, so Nance should have plenty of chances to continue to make an impact.

 

Deandre Ayton: Sets Career High In Rebounds

After a handful of ho-hum performances at the end of November and early December, Ayton has upped his game recently. The rookie compiled 23 points, 18 rebounds (eight offensive) along with one steal in the win over the Celtics. He also made 10 of 13 shots from the floor. The offensive rebounds and total rebounds were a season-best.

Ayton has now scored 20 or more points in back games for the first time since doing so in three straight games in late October. He has also produced a double-double in each of his last three contests and six of seven overall. However, he has only registered eight assists and four blocks over his last five games.

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