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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Giannis Antetokounmpo Outshines James Harden In Head-To-Head Matchup Of MVP Candidates

The 13th Wednesday of the NBA season didn't provide too many intriguing matchups, as a result, only one of the 10 games on the slate finished within single-digits. But that one game was a doozy as early-season MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden went mano-e-mano as the Bucks outscored the Rockets by 15 points in the second half to earn a 116-109 come-from-behind victory over the Rockets. Both players posted double-doubles, but Antetokounmpo was the one that came up big when needed in this one.

Antetokounmpo scored five of the Bucks final seven points to secure the victory for the Bucks. His mini-spurt came after Harden connected on his final shot of the game, a seven-foot floater, to bring the Rockets to within three (109-106) with two minutes and 37 seconds left. Antetokoumpo, who tallied 16 points in the second half, finished with 27 points and 21 rebounds for his first 20-20 game of the campaign. The 24-year-old connected on eight of 16 shots from the floor and 11 of 14 from the charity stripe. He added five assists and one steal to go along with three turnovers. Meanwhile, Harden posted his 15th double-double of the year with 42 points on 13-for-30 shooting from the field along with 11 rebounds. He also had six assists, one block, and two steals as well as nine turnovers (six coming in the second half).

Despite Antetokounmpo's fantastic night, Anthony Davis is once again "Rotoballer's Fantasy Player of the Night" as he compiled 81.1 fantasy points, per Davis dropped in 38 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, doled out seven dimes, blocked four shots and came up with two steals while leading the Pelicans to a 140-124 victory over the Cavaliers. He was 11-for-17 from the field, 1-for-1 from three-point range and 15-for-16 from the charity stripe. Davis nearly outproduced the Cavaliers entire starting lineup, which contributed just 49 of the team's points. The rest of the article will look at my top three fantasy basketball takeaways from Wednesday, January 9th.

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John Collins Is Definitely Back

Collins has played extremely well since making his season debut in mid-November, but he has really stepped up his efficiency recently. The 6-foot-10 big man tied his season high with 30 points and hauled down 14 rebounds in a loss to the Nets. He was 12-for-21 from the field, 1-for-2 from long distance and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. It was his third straight double-double and 16th of the season overall.

While the Wake Forest product averaged 21.3 points and 12.2 rebounds last month, he has been more efficient over the first five games in January. He is currently producing 19.4 points, 11.2 caroms and 1.6 assists a game over this stretch despite attempting over three fewer shots than in December. Collins is shooting 60.7 percent from the floor (up from 57.3 percent), 66.7 percent from beyond the arc, as well as 75 percent from the free throw line (up from 64.7 percent). The second-year pro has made eight of 12 shots from long distance this month to give him 20 triples on the year, which is already four more than last year.

Collins recorded the eighth most fantasy points on the night with 48.1. He is a top-50 fantasy value overall.


Jordan Clarkson Fills Stat Sheet

The 26-year-old has been known as a scorer since entering the league five years ago, however, he has started to contribute a little more recently. Clarkson pumped in 21 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists, three blocks, three steals over 30 minutes off the bench in the loss to the Pelicans. It was the second time over the last three games that the fifth-year pro has filled every statistical category and the third occasion this year, although the first time (Oct. 19) he did make any of his two three-point attempts.  He shot 9-for-16 from the field and 2-for-5 from beyond the arc versus the Pelicans.

Clarkson has now topped the 20-point plateau in a season-high three straight games and reached double-figures in 14 consecutive games. Still, what has been most impressive has been his contributions on the defensive end over the last five games. The three blocks that he posted last night was a season-high while the three steals matched his best. He has now registered at least one steal and/or block in seven of the last eight contests. Clarkson has five blocks and 13 steals during this eight-game stretch.

The former Missouri star posted the 10th most fantasy points last night with 44.8. He is averaging 18.6 points, 2.4 assists, two rebounds, one block, two trifectas and 1.6 steals this month while shooting 51.4 percent shooting from the field as well as 37 percent from beyond the arc this month. Clarkson is borderline top-100 fantasy value.


Kyle Kuzma Pours In Career-High 41 Points

The 23-year-old Flint (MI) native was en Fuego against his childhood team as the Lakers improved to 3-5  without LeBron James with a 113-100 victory over the Pistons. Kuzma finished with a career-high 41 points as he made 16 of 24 shots from the field, including five of 10 from the three-point line, and four of six from the charity stripe. He had 19 points through the first two quarters before really heated up in the third quarter as he poured in 22 points by knocking down four triples and scoring on back-to-back goaltending calls.

Kuzma, who sat out the entire fourth quarter, joins Klay Thompson along with Stephen Curry, Harden and James as players to tally 40 points in three periods. He came into the game with just 17 points in the month of January as he had missed 19 of his previous 24 shots over two games, which included a dreadful a dreadful 4-for-20 shooting performance in Monday's victory over the Mavericks.

The former Utah Utes star was 12th in fantasy points last night with 41.4. Kuzma was terrific in December, averaging 22.1 points along with 7.1 caroms, 2.2 three-pointers, and 3.1 assists. He is a top-70 fantasy value.

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