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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Hustle Westbrook Leads OKC


Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games.

Thursday night featured some mediocre games, but at least there were some solid fantasy nights to report from them.

  • Oklahoma City proved that even against an injury-ravaged New Orleans team, they can grind out the fourth quarter. The Thunder are good but have a habit of keeping games against bad teams close in the back half.
  • Portland played so well against Phoenix that the only starter that played in the fourth was C.J McCollum.
  • The Wizards backdoor covered the Warriors which is pretty impressive. Tomas Satoransky missed the cut for today's article but deserves a shoutout for his 20-10 double-double.
  • As a Lakers' fan, I'd rather not discuss their game against Minnesota. Not pretty. Please get healthy LeBron.

Anyway, let's take it away with the Thursday, January 24th recap with these fantasy highlights!

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Russell Westbrook: All Hustle, No Breaks

Nothing new here, just another triple-double...not like he's averaging one for the season (again). Russell Westbrook has been an enigma this season. Despite his atrocious nightly shooting efforts, he continues to provide some of the most remarkable stat-lines in NBA history. On Thursday, Westbrook had 23 points, 17 rebounds, 16 assists, and two steals. Just baffling numbers that are compounded together (maybe not the steals but they're worth mentioning).

Westbrook has made this normal and we, as a basketball community, have become numb to it. There is so much more to make of this 6'3" guard racking SEVENTEEN rebound, but we don't. Although some are gimmes that result from big-men boxing out, he grabs a fair share via his own herculean effort. Westbrook's athleticism is on display every other night. However, it is no longer must-see tv like it was two seasons ago when everyone wondered whether he could average a triple-double for the season or not. in 2019, it would be shocking if he didn't.

Yes, his shooting is very, very bad. A 42 percent field goal percentage is not bad if most of your shots are threes and they go in at a respectable clip. Unfortunately, for Westbrook, his 42 is not helped at all by his 24 percent three-point percentage. Not to mention his anomaly of a 65 percent free throw percentage. As long as he's shooting like this, the Thunder's ceiling is capped. There is no way a basketball team can win a championship in this Warriors' era while carrying a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer at this capacity.

Jrue Holiday: Holiday SZN

No Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, or Nikola Mirotic means plenty of Jrue Holiday. The New Orleans Pelicans were down their entire frontcourt rotation but still managed to stay within striking distance of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. Holiday put on an absolute guard clinic with 22 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds, four steals, one block, and three threes.

Given that his fellow starters were Elfird Payton, Solomon Hill, Darius Miller, and Jahlil Okafor, this stat-line is even more impressive. Holiday held his own as the primary scorer against a stout Thunder defense. His 9-for-19 shooting efficiency should not go unnoticed with the lack of help. Holiday prevails as arguably the league's most unheralded guard. He is a threat on both sides of the ball and provides incredible stability to a poorly built Pelicans roster.

Rajon Rondo: Ronning the O

With LeBron James and Lonzo Ball sidelined for the foreseeable future, Rajon Rondo is now in line to take up a chunk of the Lakers' ball-handling duties. Rondo was featured heavily in Thursday night's game against the Timberwolves as he played 37 minutes in his return from a finger injury. Rondo played extremely well in his first game back. He dropped 15 points, 13 assists, six rebounds, two blocks, and a steal while providing three threes.

Running an offense is second nature to the veteran PG. Rondo's impact was felt mightily while he was on the bench as the Wolves went on a run late in the game, taking advantage of the vulnerable Lakers. Rondo's usage should remain very high until LeBron returns and even then he will be the starting PG until Ball's return. Expect massive games like tonight often for the next month or so.

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