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Basketball Daily Dose

Steve Alexander looks at Wednesday's three-game night

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: December 31, 2021, 3:08 pm ET

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Thursday was a surprisingly quick night as all three games started at 7 p.m. and the late game (GSW @ DEN) was postponed due to COVID stuff. Here’s what you might have missed if you weren’t locked in your apartment watching hoops last night.

Sixers 110, Nets 102Joel Embiid did Joel Embiid types of things (34 points, three steals, three 3-pointers) and Tyrese Maxey bounced back from an off night with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five triples on 10-of-18 shooting. Maxey had just five points on 2-of-11 shooting on Tuesday but bounced back in a big way last night. Ben Simmons isn’t walking through that door anytime soon and Maxey is the guy you want to have in your lineup. Make sure he wasn’t dropped. Seth Curry had 17 points, six assists and two 3-pointers and Andre Drummond had 10 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block in just 16 minutes, but he’s only trustable when Embiid is out. Curry is worth a roster spot in most leagues but I’m not messing with Drummond as long as Embiid can walk.

Kevin Durant returned from protocols to go off for 33 points, six boards, four assists, a block and three 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He didn’t miss a beat. James Harden hit 9-of-20 shots for 33 points, 14 boards, 10 assists and two steals, and triple-doubled for the sixth time this season and his second time in his last three games. The fact he did it with the team mostly healthy is encouraging and not ever Durant can slow this guy down. Nicolas Claxton had 10 points, nine boards, a steal and two blocks in 33 big minutes and LaMarcus Aldridge was back and played 27 minutes, racking up 12 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and a 3-pointer. Patty Mills hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points in a start but takes a big hit now that the main cogs are back for the Nets. And in case you’re sitting on Blake Griffin, he played just 10 minutes and scored three points.

Bucks 136, Magic 118Giannis Antetokounmpo went off for 33 points, 12 rebounds, five dimes, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointers as the Bucks crushed the Magic on Thursday. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday also played well and DeMarcus Cousins somehow had 15 points, five boards and two blocks in just 16 minutes off the bench. Donte DiVincenzo and Wesley Matthews scored 11 points off the bench but I only trust the big names in Milwaukee. With Cousins’ emergence starter Bobby Portis (11 points, 9 rebounds) takes a hit in my book. I don’t trust anyone in Milwaukee but Giannis, Middleton and Holiday.

For the Magic, Franz Wagner once again led the way with 20 points and a couple 3-pointers, Wendell Carter Jr. had a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block, Gary Harris scored 17 points and three 3-pointers, and a guy named Tim Frazier stepped up with 13 points, five assists and three 3-pointers. Ignore Frazier for now but keep an eye on him. Hassani Gravett’s (protocols) return will hurt Frazier. Moe Wagner scored 19 points but didn’t shoot it well and RJ Hampton had 15 points, three boards, five assists and two 3-pointers in the loss. Hampton is going to get all the run he can handle down the stretch and is possibly the best stash in fantasy hoops right now.

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Wizards 110, Cavaliers 93 – Oh, hey. Kyle Kuzma is a baller and had 25 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, a block and a 3-pointer and should be rostered everywhere. I’m so happy he’s playing so well this season. Bradley Beal is back and had 29 points, six boards, 10 assists, a steal and two 3-pointers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came back for 12 points and four 3-pointers. Deni Avdija came off the bench and played 24 minutes for 13 points, a 3-pointer, six rebounds and one assist. As I said in today’s podcast, I’m just not sold on this dude, especially when he’s not stealing, blocking of three-ing.

As for the Cavaliers, Kevin Love led the way with 24 points, 11 boards and four 3-pointers and Evan Mobley added 21 points, five boards, a steal and two blocks in 32 minutes. My man Kevin Pangos (who I like to call Pancakes) started at point guard but hit just 1-of-8 shots for two points and six dimes in 24 minutes. The week’s not over yet and I’m guessing Pancakes has a big game soon. The Cavs play again on Friday and Sunday. Isaac Okoro was annoying with just 11 points and not much else in 31 minutes. He has nowhere to go but up.

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.