11 of 13 scheduled games were played on Friday night in the association, and though nothing ‘crazy’ happened, there were some big-time performances that deserve recognition.
For the second time in three days, Collin Sexton and the Cavaliers beat Kyrie Irving and the Nets who were without Kevin Durant (rest) and simply refuse to play defense. Uncle Drew dropped 38 points but James Harden shot just 6-of-14 and only scored 19. Sexton paced the Cavs with 25 points and nine assists and was one of six Cleveland players to score in double figures. Watch out for this young team that’s top-five in scoring defense.
The Hawks played some solid defense vs the Wolves in their 116-98 victory, too. But it was Clint Capela and Trae Young who stole the show. Capela had 10 blocks in 30 minutes, joining Dikembe Mutombo as the only player in franchise history to accomplish such a feat. He finished with a 13/19/10 triple-double and over the last three games, he’s boasting an absurd 21 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks a game. Read that again. Meanwhile, ‘Ice Trae’ erupted for a season-high 43 points with four boards, five dimes and eight 3-pointers in 31 minutes, reminding everyone why he's one of the best players from the 2018 draft.
And for the love of God, why is Keldon Johnson still available in 26% of Yahoo leagues? He notched 17 points and hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds on Friday vs the Mavs and is posting a nightly 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds on 45% shooting this season. I’d pick him but he’s taken in all three of my leagues. What are you waiting for?
Here’s some of the good and the bad from Friday night’s action.
Jeremy Lamb - It was only Lamb’s second game back from an ACL injury that sidelined him since Feb. 23, 2020, but he looked like the Jeremy Lamb of old. In 28 minutes off the bench, he shot 7-of-14 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line, finishing with 22 points, seven boards, an assist and a steal in the Pacers 120-118 overtime win vs the Magic. He’s been picked up 20% in Yahoo leagues over the last week and rightfully so because his return comes at a time when the Pacers need wings with Caris LeVert (kidney) and T.J. Warren (foot) are out indefinitely. He’s going to play around 25-30 minutes a game and was on the floor in crunch time on Friday, too. Pick him up if your team is dealing with injuries or COVID protocols.
Kendrick Nunn - I wish I could’ve had as productive of a week and Kendrick Nunn has had since Monday. In Miami’s last three games, he’s averaging 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and two steals. He’s made 25-of-43 shots (58%) and eight 3-pointers and the Heat are 2-1 in that span. It’s easily his best stretch of the season and Erik Spoelstra must be relieved and happy that someone has stepped up in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley who are both currently out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. The team has also been without Tyler Herro (neck) who reportedly flew back to Miami and will miss Saturday and Monday’s games against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets. Nunn is a must-add player for the time being and I’d move quickly because he’s flying off the shelves, having been picked up over 30% in the week alone.
Jarrett Allen - The former Nets center was all smiles on Friday night against his old team, and the reason was simply that the Cavs were winning and also because he dunked on Joe Harris. Allen scored 19 points with six rebounds in 19 minutes in Cleveland’s 125-113 win over Brooklyn as the Cavs knocked off the villainous Nets for the second consecutive game. In those two contests, the first two of Allen’s career with the Cavs, he’s played 50 minutes off the bench, totaling 31 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, four blocks and a steal. He’s made 68% of field goals and 83% of his free throws and is doing all this playing behind Andre Drummond. I’m counting down the days when Drummond is traded so that the league’s best afro can slot into the starting unit full-time where he truly belongs.
Delon Wright & Wayne Ellington - The Pistons backcourt gave us a ‘flashback Friday’ against the Rockets on Friday night in Detroit. Wright had 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals in just 28 minutes. He hit 8-of-14 field goals including two triples and surpassed his scoring output from the last three games combined vs the Rockets. It was also his first time notching double-figure scoring since Jan. 8., and with rookie Killian Hayes (hip) out for at least two more months, Wright will be playing a ton and should be rostered in standard and deep leagues. He’s still sitting on 64% of waivers in Yahoo. Ellington, like Wright, tallied 18 points in the game as well with all his points coming from beyond the arc where he made six 3-pointers. The shooter has now recorded at least 16 points in three straight games and only 7% of fantasy managers are benefiting from his play. He’s a good source for threes for those in 9- and 8-cat and is worth a spot in deep leagues.
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Patrick Beverley - If players earned fantasy points for clapping from the bench, Patrick Beverley would provide top-10 value. But in reality, he ranks 117th and he showed why on Friday night vs the Thunder. He scored one point in 30 minutes. One. Uno. Half of two. He had eight boards, two assists and three steals so it was a somewhat decent showing, but he had four fouls, too. Pat Bev is known as the annoying pest type of player, but to me, he’s a bit overrated as a defender. According to Team Rankings, Beverley averages 3.64 fouls per game this season, tied for sixth-most in the NBA. For comparison, he only records a combined two steals (0.7) and blocks (1.3) per contest. That’s not too good for a ‘defensive specialist’ and for some reason, 21% of fantasy managers think he’s worth a roster spot at the moment. Leave him on the waivers.
John Collins - It was a forgettable night for John Collins on Friday vs the Wolves as he managed to score just four points on 2-of-8 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists and a block in 28 minutes. His poor performance comes just one game after he scored a season-high 31 points and it’s the second time in the past four contests that he’s scored less than 10 points. He’s been inconsistent this year and now with Danilo Gallinari back, he might be in a battle for minutes moving forward. Anyways, the night belonged to Trae Young and Clint Capela. Trae went for 43 points and eight 3-pointers and Capela recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 19 rebounds and a ridiculous 10 blocks.
DeMarcus Cousins - Don’t be fooled by Boogie’s 15 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks — he had a pretty bad game against the Pistons on Friday night. Starting in place of Christian Wood (ankle), he shot 2-of-16 from the floor, 1-of-6 from three, finishing with five points, and had five turnovers and four fouls in 33 minutes. In two starts this season, he has a total of 14 points on 4-of-25 shooting. But this isn’t the first bad outing Boogie’s had in 2020-21. He’s only scored in double figures once in 11 games and has just 19 points combined over the last four. Certainly not the DeMarcus Cousins we’re accustomed to seeing in years past which is disappointing to see. But he’ll get another crack it on Saturday because Wood is likely to sit out again. We’ll see if he can bounce back.