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Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games. Monday night featured eight games, with a clash between the Rockets and Nuggets highlighting the night. Houston won that one with a pair of 30-plus point performances from James Harden and Clint Capela, while the Nuggets continued to get good production from bench guards like Monte Morris and Malik Beasley but weren't able to come away with a win.

Elsewhere in the NBA, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich tied former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan for third place on the career wins list. San Antonio did it with strong games from DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, plus another good outing from Derrick White, whose continued strong play makes him a strong waiver wire target. And in news that's not quite as fantasy relevant, the Pelicans won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month, and Jahlil Okafor was an important part of it, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds. Anthony Davis was a more important part (36 points and 13 rebounds), and the Pelicans continue to play very well with Elfrid Payton active: they're now 7-1 when Payton plays at least 20 minutes.

Our three main fantasy takeaways of the night are still to come, so without further ado, let's take a deeper dive into January 7th.

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Clint Capela Has First 30-Point Game

Clint Capela is a very good NBA player, but until Monday night he'd never scored 30 points in an NBA game. That makes sense, because Capela's purely an interior big man on the offensive end, a guy who is 0-for-2 in his career from deep and has taken just 1.1 percent of his twos this year from outside of 10 feet. For Capela to score, he has to get the ball near the basket, and in 2019 that's not a recipe for scoring a boatload of points.

But Capela scored 31 points on Monday, breaking his career high of 29 points that he set on January 3rd. With Eric Gordon sidelined, Houston has had to find other ways of creating offense, and some of that has fallen on Capela. Against Denver, he was able to make plays at the basket against Denver center Nikola Jokic, and it was a big difference maker in the game.

Capela's recent usage has been a big part of the Rockets turning around a disappointing season, and that should continue for the time being, especially with Houston lacking many options behind Capela. While he's not been the same switchable defender he was last year, he's still doing enough to keep him on the floor, and he's blowing past his previous career high in minutes.

 

It's Time To Pay Attention To Rodions Kurucs

Someone in your league has picked up Rodions Kurucs by now, right? Brooklyn's second-round pick has now started 13 games for the Nets, and after some struggles as a scorer lately, Monday reminded us of why he'd carved out that role with this team.

Kurucs scored 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting and made five three-pointers. And while he didn't really make an impact in non-scoring fantasy categories, his performance should still open some eyes. With the Nets extremely short-handed on Monday and forced to give Shabazz Napier a start at shooting guard, Kurucs took control with D'Angelo Russell struggling and was Brooklyn's most important player on the night.

Maybe the big news from Kurucs is those five threes, though. Kurucs has struggled at times from behind the arc, but since 2019 started he's figured some things out, going 9-for-18 from deep across four games. It's a small sample size, but if Kurucs can start to consistently drain these shots from the outside, his entire outlook shifts. He goes from being a promising player with a few too many holes to a guy who fits perfectly with what head coach Kenny Atkinson wants to do. Keep an eye on how his shot develops.

 

What Do We Think About Donovan Mitchell?

A lot of people have taken to jokingly calling Donovan Mitchell "Monta Mitchell" on Twitter lately because Mitchell's been playing like the 2019 version of Monta Ellis instead of like the future star that he looked like after a rookie season where he finished as the runner up to Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year.

On Monday, we got to see the best and worst of Mitchell in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The second-year player was 6-for-12 from deep on Monday on his way to 26 points, but that also left him with just a 2-for-12 mark from two-point range. Mitchell finished with a field goal percentage of 33.3, his 11th time this season to shoot that mark or worse from the field. That happened 18 times during his rookie season, but 10 of those came in the 2017 section of the season as Mitchell got his shot together once he was used to the NBA game.

But this season, Mitchell's inefficiency has really reared its ugly head, and while fantasy owners are happy that his raw scoring seems to be returning, they've got to be worried about his field goal percentage, and about the fact that there's been no increase in rebounds or assists. Even Mitchell's free throw percentage is down this season.

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