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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Gordon Hayward Shoots The Lights Out


This was just the second time in 12 Wednesday night games that two-thirds of the league was not in action. Last night also had to be one of the least dramatic midweek set of games of the season as five of the nine contests were decided by double-digits. Two of the four games that ended up being single-digit games were the result of huge fourth-quarter comebacks by teams that eventually lost. The Suns put up  40 points in the final quarter and outscored the 76ers by 12 to make the final score 132-127 and the Pelicans basically did the same as they scored 13 more points than the Nets in the final stanza, but still fell 126-121.

The best game of the night was the Thunder's 107-100 comeback win over the Lakers. Trailing 85-80 early in the fourth with the Thunder's second unit on the court, OKC went on a 10-0 run over a three-minute period behind five points from Abdul Nader. Nerlens Noel added three points and Dennis Schroder had two during the run. Once the starters returned, Paul George took over as he scored nine of the team's next 12 points to push the lead to 103-92 with a little less than two minutes left. George finished with a game-high 37 points on 15 of 27 shooting to go along with four rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook picked up his 11th triple-double of the campaign despite missing 17 of 20 shots. Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart racked up a double-double in the loss.

Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid had monster fantasy games. Embiid earns the honor of "Rotoballer's Fantasy Player of the Night" despite compiling fewer fantasy points than Davis, per NBA.com.  Embiid, who was playing with a sore knee, scored 30 of his season high tying 42 points in the first half. The 24-year-old Cameroon native also grabbed 18 rebounds, dished out two assists, recorded three steals and blocked two shots. Davis finished the evening with 34 points along with a career-high 26 caroms. The rest of the article will look at my top three fantasy basketball takeaways from Wednesday, January 2nd. Honorable mention goes to Tomas Satoransky.

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D'Angelo Russell produces double-double as he dishes out night-high 13 helpers

Russell compiled the fifth-most fantasy points on the night with 55.5 thanks in large part to the 13 assists that he dished, which was the most on the night and tied the 6-foot-5 point guard's season high. He did most of his work in the first half, although his most important contribution probably came late in the opening quarter. After returning to the game with 3:23 left in the first, the fourth-year pro was responsible for seven straight points helping the Nets increase their lead from two points to 10 at end of the period. Russell scored five points, had one assist, grabbed two rebounds and registered a steal during this period. He recorded nine points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block in the first half.

The 22-year-old pumped in nine points in the third quarter to finish the game with 22 points, five boards, two steals, one block along with his assists as well as just one turnover. He was 9-for-21 from the field, 2-for-8 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. It was his second straight 20-point game, after missing Saturday's game against the Bucks, and marked the fourth time this season that he posted double-figure assists.

While the former Ohio State Buckeye's offense has been up-and-down this year, he is a top-80 player. Russell has a tough matchup against the Grizzlies. He had 26 points on 10 of 27 shooting from the floor, including five of 14 from beyond the arc, along with eight assists and eight turnovers over 45 minutes in the first matchup against Memphis.

 

Alex Len extends season-best double-figure streak to six straight games with a season-high 24 points

The 7-foot-1 center was the lone bright spot for the Hawks in their 114-98 loss to the Wizards. He scored a season-high 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds (five offensive) and three blocks for his fifth double-double of the season. Len, who posted the 11th most fantasy points on the night (45.9), made a season-best 11 field goals (19 attempts). It was the sixth straight time that he scored in double figures.

Len has been pretty good over his last six outings. The 25-year-old big man is averaging 16.2 points, 8.5 rebounds (4.5 offensive), 1.3 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 32.5 fantasy points during this stretch. He also posted two double-doubles in these six contests.  Len and Dewayne Dedmon have essentially split time at center and starts. Len has started 20 of 33 games while Dedmon has started 18 of 29 appearances.

While the sixth year's pro playing time and production will likely continue to fluctuate, he is worth an add in most fantasy formats. Len is also playable in DFS when Dedmon is not available.

 

Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward lead Celtics over Timberwolves

The Celtics ran over the Timberwolves (115-102) despite being without star point guard Kyrie Irving (eyes) as they got a combined 51 points and 10 assists from Rozier and Hayward. Rozier got things rolling for the C's as he scored 11 of the team's 25 first-quarter points. He made all five of his field goal attempts, including one three-pointer, as well as two rebounds, two steals and one assist while playing 10 and-a-half minutes in the period.

Hayward took Rozier's queue in the second quarter, making all four of his shots to finish with 13 points in the period. He hit two three-pointers and followed those with back-to-back buckets. The 28-year-old banked in an eight-foot floater and then recorded a dunk 30 seconds later. Hayward also scored 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the third quarter.

Rozier finished the game with 16 points, three rebounds, five assists, one block and five steals along with two turnovers. The 24-year-old was 6-for-10 from the field, including 2-for-5 from beyond the arc, and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. It was his second straight game of at least 10 points and five assists where he is 10-for-19 from the field and 6-for-11 from long distance over this stretch.

Hayward missed eight consecutive shots, including his first two shots in the opening quarter of the game, before he went on his run over the second and third stanzas. The ninth-year combo forward finished with a season-high 35 points on 14-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-7 on three-point attempts. He added five assists, one rebound, and two turnovers in 32 minutes off the bench. It was his second 30-point game of the season.

Both Rozier and Hayward finished in the top-16 in fantasy points last night with 43.1 and 41.7, respectively. Rozier is basically just a DFS option when Irving is out, otherwise, he is not really a viable option. In Hayward's case, he was aided by both the absence of Irving and Marcus Morris 'early departure with a neck issue, so fantasy owners should hold off on nabbing him off the waiver wire until he strings together a couple of solid performances.

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