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Tuesday evening originally had four games scheduled, but the Bulls made that number three as Chicago has 10 guys currently in health and safety protocols. Steph making history is the main story, but Kevin Durant and Chris Paul did their thing in overtime wins as well.
Bulls vs. Pistons - Postponed
There were supposed to be four games on Tuesday night, but that number dwindled to three as the matchup between the Bulls and the Pistons in Chicago had to be postponed as an astounding 10 players on the Bulls are in health and safety protocols. They legitimately couldn’t have fielded a team if they tried, which is unfortunate, and it’s nice that the Lakers immediately canceled practice Tuesday morning when they found out Talen Horton-Tucker had also entered protocols, with Dwight Howard and Malik Monk joining them all as announced late in the evening. We should have a date for this game in the near future, but this is a big bummer for managers who utilized any Bulls in weekly lineups as they have just one game left on the schedule this week, and while at least Detroit has three more, the Pistons aren’t necessarily loaded with fantasy gold like the Bulls are.
Warriors 105, Knicks 96
Tuesday night was all about Stephen Curry, as he claimed sole possession of first place in all-time three-pointers made in the regular season, passing Ray Allen’s previous mark of 2,972. He drained five treys to bring him to 2,975 and counting, and I would be shocked if someone ever passes whatever number he reaches. Sure, Reggie Miller even admitted he didn’t think anyone would pass Ray Allen, but here we are, and with the NBA continuously moving towards higher three-point volume, I guess anything is possible. He’ll hit 3,000 in a just a few games, and it’s truly unfathomable how much he’s changed the game of basketball. It was a special and emotional moment as well, as the game came to a halt once he drilled his second and record-breaking triple just 4.5 minutes into the game as he was rightfully celebrated by many who were lucky enough to be present. Of course, he led the team in scoring in the win with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, while also adding three rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and five total triples in 35 minutes. The win just capped off an amazing night for Steph and the Warriors, who are now 23-5, and now Curry can stop focusing on the record and more so on the success of his team. Jordan Poole was next in scoring with 19 points, but he hit just 3-of-11 shots but did have career highs in both free throws made and attempted with 13 in each of those to salvage his line. He also added nine rebounds with three assists but that’s about it despite his three turnovers, and he’ll have some inefficiency issues here and there but has looked like a different player in the best way throughout the course of the season. Andrew Wiggins was fine with a 18/6/3 line with three triples and the assist on Steph’s record-breaking 3-pointer, Draymond did what he does with a 8/11/7/1/3 line with a trey and Nemanja Bjelica had one of his infrequent good games with 14 points, four boards, four assists and four threes on perfect shooting from the field, but missed both of his free throws.
The Knicks were hanging in this one for a while but ultimately fell short, losing their fourth straight to bring them to 7-15 in their last 22 after a 5-1 start to the season. They just don’t look right, and while Julius Randle is to blame at times, he fared very well in this particular game with a game-high 31 points (10-of-21 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, five 3-pointers and four turnovers in 37 minutes. Most of his numbers are down from last year which explains why he’s just a seventh-rounder, meaning he’s not paying dividends to those who invested a third-round pick in him, and I’m truly not sure how much better he can get if his team continues to look as bad as they do. There weren’t many other big performances on New York’s side, as Derrick Rose posted a 15/4/6 line with a steal and three treys, Immanuel Quickley scored 12 with a pair of threes, Alec Burks (personal) scored 14 in his return but went just 4-of-15 and the two bigs were pretty bad except for Nerlens Noel’s three swats.
Nets 131, Raptors 129
It was Steph’s night, but this overtime game was far more thrilling, as the Raptors took Toronto to an extra five minutes but ultimately fell short. This one was on the verge of postponement as well, as Kevin Durant (ankle) was questionable but played, and the list of Nets in protocols goes as follows: James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson, Paul Millsap, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter. They rolled with an eight-man rotation which turned out to be successful, with Durant of course leading the way with a triple-double (second of the season, 14th of his career) consisting of 34 points (12-of-29 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs), 13 rebounds, 11 assists, one block, two triples and four turnovers in 48 minutes. He’s the first player in Nets history to record a 50-point game and a triple-double in consecutive games, the first to do it since Damian Lillard in January 2020. He deserves the two full days off he gets before they suit up for a meeting with the 76ers on Thursday. Patty Mills also went off, hitting 50% of his shots for a season-high 30 points with four boards, two assists, one steal, seven 3-pointers and three turnovers in 43 minutes, and he’s arguably their second best player with the list above not active, and David Duke Jr. was awesome in his first career start with a 10/13 double-double with three assists, two steals, two blocks and zero turnovers, with his lack of threes and 4-of-13 clip from the field being his only negatives. Cam Thomas came off the bench and looked set to go off as one of Brooklyn’s main scoring options but flopped with just four points and three assists, and Kessler Edwards must’ve stolen his stats as he went for 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 44 minutes off the bench. Blake Griffin posted a 13/5/6 line with a pair of steals and three makes from range, Nick Claxton shot 8-of-10 for 16 points, seven boards and a swat and Day’Ron Sharpe (7/7 with a block) had to be mentioned because I mentioned everyone else and didn’t want to leave him out. This is honestly a fantasy disaster, as I would’ve said Claxton and Thomas were priority pickups before the game, but Edwards and Duke Jr. played better than those two. That could easily switch next game, but it’s truly hard to tell, but keep in mind that most guys in an eight-man rotation are set to post usable lines.
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The Raptors are far more healthy, but still somehow lost, but nothing should shock anyone when Kevin Durant is an opponent. The bad parts first: the bench was nearly invisible besides Yuta Watanabe’s three blocks, and four of the five starters played at least 42 minutes, with Chris Boucher being the only starter playing in the 30s (32) with an alright 9/9 line with one triple and two blocks. The other four all went off, with Fred VanVleet (who took an elbow from Patty Mills, but looked fine and kept playing) leading in scoring with a 31/4/9 line (10-of-23 FGs) with two swipes, six triples and four turnovers, and Scottie Barnes overtook Tracy McGrady as the youngest Raptor with at least a 20/10/5 game with a 23/12/5 line of his own with three triples. No defensive stats for Scottie, but he’s been throwing a block party lately so you shouldn’t worry about that. Pascal Siakam had a nice 25/6/2/1/1 line with two turnovers but no threes, and Gary Trent Jr. made it through 42 minutes without a single turnover as he accumulated 25 points (9-of-19 shooting), two rebounds, five assists, three steals and a FVV-matching six triples. These four guys have been incredibly solid fantasy assets for most if not all of the season, and even though the team is below .500, they have a shot and should stay competitive which should help this trend continue.
Suns 111, Blazers 107
Before game stats and news, this game has two key players who weren’t able to suit up that there have been minor updates for. Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, who’s dealing with a collapsed right lung, will undergo more imaging this week according to TNT’s Jared Greenberg. He’s still without a timetable, but we should get one shortly, with Nassir Little being one of the main beneficiaries for however long he’s out. On Phoenix’s side, Devin Booker (left hamstring strain) was able to do some on-court work ahead of Tuesday’s game, and he’s targeting a return for the game against the Lakers on December 21, but hamstrings linger, so we’ll keep an eye on this.
This was the second game out of just three on Tuesday’s slate that went into overtime, and the Suns came up on top behind yet another vintage game from none other than Chris Paul. He was two boards shy of a triple-double and finished with a season-high 24 points (10-of-19 FGs), eight rebounds, 14 assists, three steals, one 3-pointer and three turnovers in 41 minutes. Still, he doesn’t look like he’s aging and bounced back in an incredible way after a quiet 9/2/8 night in Monday’s loss to the Clippers, and CP3 continues to provide second-round fantasy value even though he’s 36 years old. Deandre Ayton was likewise awesome in his return to action after missing his previous two with an illness, as he went for a team- and season-high 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting with 13 rebounds, two steals and no blocks in 45 minutes. The minutes suggest he’s fine but the blocks still aren’t there, which is a big reason why he’s ranked multiple rounds lower than his ADP, but maybe he can take some notes from Jarrett Allen and start rejecting some shots. Ayton also said he lost 10 pounds in the last week with the illness and was gassed, but rightfully so. Cameron Payne led the bench unit with a 17/3/5 line with two treys and a steal with just one turnover in 34 minutes, while Cam Johnson went for 14 and eight on 4-of-14 shooting, with all his makes being triples. JaVale McGee returned to a bench role with Ayton active and played just eight minutes but still had seven boards, and he still has some value as long as he doesn’t play eight minutes every night.
Another night, another loss for Portland as they dropped their sixth straight game and now sit at a miserable 11-17 record on the season. Their playoff hopes are dwindling by the day and one has to think that something needs to change. Coach Chauncey Billups did make a change to the starting lineup two games ago which stuck in this one, as Larry Nance Jr. is now starting for Robert Covington for the time being. Nance had a decent 9/8/4 line with three steals in 28 minutes and that’s all he needs to play to have some sneaky value, but hopefully he doesn’t go 1-of-4 from the line again. Covington had eight points with seven boards and a block with two threes in 36 reserve minutes, and while that’s not fantastic, don’t cut him just due to the bench role. Dame went off for 31 points but needed 31 shots to get there, sinking just 11 of them and adding two rebounds, 10 dimes, one block and five 3-pointers in 47 minutes. His efficiency seems to have left him, and after a pair of promising games from the field in mid-late November, he’s converted on just 32 of his 93 attempts (34.4%) over his last five games and on high volume at that. Sure, he has time to fix it and it looked like he had for a second, but that’s not the case yet. Norman Powell is Portland’s No. 2 guy with C.J. out and played just that role with 23 points (9-of-17 FGs), six rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes, while Jusuf Nurkic also needs to take notes from Jarrett Allen as he didn’t block a shot and has also not been doing it at all this season. Nurk did still have a fun 17/13/5 line with a steal, at least. Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little both disappointed as the former scored eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, while Little started and was worse with just three points on 1-of-4 from the floor. I still like them as holds for now, especially Little for as long as C.J. is out, and Simons’ production will come and go but he’s been pretty solid for most of the season.