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We had six games and a fun Thursday night in the NBA that saw Kevin Porter Jr. leave with an injury, Ja Morant continue his dominance and the Jazz remain undefeated. Here’s what you might have missed last night. Morant is here, people. Follow me on Twitter right here!
Grizzlies 104, Warriors 101 OT – Ja Morant hit 11-of-22 shots and two 3-pointers for 30 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals and five turnovers as the Grizzlies became the first team to beat the Warriors this season. Ja scored 18 points in the third quarter alone. Desmond Bane hit five 3-pointers and 7-of-16 shots for 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal, and Jaren Jackson Jr. hit just 5-of-16 shots and 3-of-10 3-pointers for 15 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a block in the win. De’Anthony Melton was the unsung hero tonight with seven points on 3-of-10 shooting, but he also had six rebounds, three assists, four steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer in the win. This is the reason we’ve been so high on Melton all year. Kyle Anderson came through with eight points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks off the bench and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when Dillon Brooks (broken hand) is ready to go. We (outside of Jared Johnson) have been cruel to Morant over the past year but the kid is ballin’ out and proving us very wrong. He leads the league in scoring at 30.5 points per game and congratulations are in order if you drafted him (thus far). The Grizzlies were outscored 37-20 in the first quarter and won the final three quarters to overcome a 19-point deficit in the win. The super-fun Grizzlies are 3-2 on the season.
For the Warriors, the broadcast crew said that Stephen Curry didn’t score in the fourth quarter of this game, nor had he done so in his previous two games, which is just weird. Curry finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, a steal and seven 3-pointers on 11-of-29 shooting. He hit 7-of-20 3-pointers on the night and the fact that he fired up 20 3-pointers is kind of mind blowing. Morant got the last laugh tonight, but Curry has been an early-season monster, as well. Andrew Wiggins, who was put in a blender by Morant late, had 16 points in 37 minutes, and Damion Lee was the only other Warrior in double-digit scoring with 14 points, six rebounds and four 3-pointers. If Lee is available in your league, think about grabbing him, as he’s scored in double figures in all five games thus far. Draymond Green scored just four points, but also had 12 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and five blocks in the loss. The Warriors fell to 4-1 and leave the Jazz as the NBA’s only remaining undefeated team.
So far, according to Basketballmonster.com, Curry is ranked No. 2 in fantasy, while Morant is No. 10. Morant finished at No. 206 last season. Right?
Wizards 122, Hawks 111 – Bradley Beal (27), Montrezl Harrell (25), Kyle Kuzma (21) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21) all scored in the twenties as the Wizards cruised to their fourth win of the season in just five tries against the Hawks. Harrell double-doubled with 13 rebounds, five dimes, two steals and a block on 10-of-16 shooting and will continue to thrive if Daniel Gafford is out. Grab him if he’s available in your league. He was an obvious DFS play tonight, and I talked about him in my podcast on Thursday, but somehow forgot to put him in my lineup. Beal almost triple-doubled with eight rebounds and eight assists, Kuzma has been playing very well in the absence of Rui Hachimura, and KCP broke out with eight boards and five triples last night. KCP isn’t a must-have fantasy player right now but is at least worth a look at this point. Beal, Harrell and Kuzma are all players who should be on any roster at this point. Spencer Dinwiddie sat this one out as they tread carefully after his knee surgery, allowing Beal to do his thing at point guard in this one.
The Hawks were led by John Collins’ 28 points, 12 boards and three assists on 14-of-16 shooting and Trae Young hit 6-of-17 shots and a 3-pointer for 15 points, three rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and a block. Cam Reddish was nice off the bench with 20 points, three boards, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 8-of-14 shots and got back on track after a dud in his last game. If you didn’t drop him after his five-point dud on Wednesday, hang in there with him. If he’s on your waiver wire, pick him up. Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter were quiet last night, but that just means both of them should bounce back against the Sixers on Saturday. Hunter might be more valuable in real life to the Hawks than in fantasy thus far, but he’s only going to get better with time.
Mavericks 104, Spurs 99 – Luka Doncic struggled on Thursday, committing seven turnovers and missing all three of his free throws, but he bounced back in the second half to lead the Mavericks with 25 points, three rebounds, five assists, a block and three 3-pointers on 11-of-19 shooting in a win in the battle of Texas. Luka just looked off tonight, but at least bounced back for a nice game in the second half, when he scored 18 of his 25 points. His free throw shooting had been much better this season, until tonight. Jalen Brunson came through again with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three 3-pointers off the bench and he’s a hot pickup. He’s the No. 92 fantasy player right now, according to Basketballmonster.com and has scored in double digits in three of his four games with impressive stats across the board. Kristaps Porzingis sat this one out with a sore back and Maxi Kleber picked up the slack with 12 points, 10 boards, four 3-pointers, a steal and a whopping six blocks off the bench. He’s not worth grabbing but is worth a spot play if Porzingis misses more time.
For the Spurs, Dejounte Murray stayed hot with 23 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting after he went off for 21 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists in his previous game. Murray is carrying fantasy teams right now. Jakob Poeltl had 14 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and two blocks, and Lonnie Walker added 14 points, two rebounds, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in the loss. Walker should be rostered as long as Doug McDermott is out with his knee injury (out at least two more games). Both Poeltl and Walker are worth rostering in all leagues at this point, while Keldon Johnson and Derrick White should also be on fantasy rosters. Devin Vassell has been a hot pickup but hit just 3-of-9 shots for seven points, five rebounds and two blocks. I also like stashing Vassell, despite last night’s line. Maybe I’m coming around, because there’s a lot to like about most of the prominent players for the Spurs this season.
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Sixers 110, Pistons 102 – The Sixers blew a 22-point lead, but Joel Embiid played through his sore right knee and had his first double-double of the season with 30 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the win. He’s playing through the knee problem, but the knee remains a concern for fantasy managers. So far, so good, but we’re all waiting for the other shoe to fall. Tyrese Maxey went off for 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 6-of-8 shooting so if you were listening to people telling you to drop him, listen to that stat line. He’s fine. Danny Green (zero points) is terrible. Don’t do it. And don’t look for Ben Simmons to come walking through that door anytime soon.
The Pistons were led by Saddiq Bey’s 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and four 3-pointers on 7-of-14 shooting and only Jerami Grant (4-of-14 shooting) and Kelly Olynyk (3-of-8 shooting) joined him in double figures with 14 points for the Pistons. Don’t give up on Isaiah Stewart, but he only played 18 minutes last night. Josh Jackson is intriguing but hit just 3-of-9 shots for seven points and not much else last night. The Pistons are 0-4 and it’s going to be another long season for Pistons fans.
Knicks 104, Bulls 103 – The Knicks improved to 4-1 by beating the previously undefeated Bulls by a point despite an off night by Julius Randle. Randle hit just 3-of-11 shots, but still almost triple-doubled with 13 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists and a steal. That’s the sign of a fantasy stud – having an off night and still racking up digits. Kemba Walker kept it going with 21 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and five 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting, but it’s just a matter of time before he gets hurt, right? RJ Barrett came through with a season-high 20 points, three rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer, but we need more from him on a nightly basis. Mitchell Robinson had nine points, six boards and two blocks, but also sprained an ankle late. Make sure he’s good to go on Saturday. The Knicks are suddenly a good team under Tom Thibodeau, but most of them are not exactly fantasy juggernauts.
The Bulls took their first loss of the year and Patrick Williams left early with a wrist injury, finishing with six points in 16 minutes. Drop him for a hot free agent. Zach LaVine, playing through a torn ligament in his left thumb, went off for 25 points, six rebounds, three assists, a block and two 3-pointers on 7-of-17 shooting, Nikola Vucevic racked up 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, and DeMar DeRozan had a fun line with 20 points, three rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 7-of-18 shooting. This may be your sell-high moment on DeRozan. Lonzo Ball was quiet with six points, six rebounds, four assists, a block and a 3-pointer on 2-of-8 shooting. He’s no LaMelo Ball but will be much better than this on most nights. Here’s to hoping LaVine’s thumb injury doesn’t cause him to miss time going forward. Alex Caruso is an intriguing waiver-wire pickup and had had 10 points, six assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes and if he’s going to get that kind of run, he’s worth a look. As for a pickup for Williams, I just don’t see one.
Jazz 122, Rockets 91 – The Jazz had the blandest box score of all time against a completely inferior team. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 19 points, Rudy Gobert double-doubled, Donovan Mitchell scored just 15 points and seven Jazz players scored in double figures. I don’t know that there was anything to learn from this game from a Utah perspective. Mike Conley was rough with six points and four assists on 2-of-7 shooting, but he’ll bounce back in the next one.
The Rockets lost Kevin Porter Jr. with a sprained left ankle and the Rockets have two days off for him to get right. KPJ had five points and one turnover in 19 minutes and if you want to cut him, feel free. Personally, I’m hanging onto him for another couple weeks, as he could easily turn things around. But his poor shooting and crazy turnovers have been a tough fantasy pill to swallow, and I won’t be mad at you if you drop him. But I’m not quite there yet. Christian Wood led the way with 16 points, seven rebounds, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, rookie Alperen Sengun had 14 points, five boards, three steals and a 3-pointer off the bench, and rookie Jalen Green had 13 points, a steal and a block on 3-of-16 shooting in the loss. It’s going to be growing pains with all these Rockets, who are now 1-4 on the season.
I’ll be at World Series Game 3 if you need me on Friday night, so please don’t call. The weather doesn’t look great, but I’m holding out hope I won’t be wearing a rain poncho, dealing with a rainout or catching pneumonia. Wish me luck.