Ethan Norof

Saturday Dose

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Dose: Kyle Lowry's Cold World

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Kyle Lowry and John Wall are making serious bids to climb up the point guard ladder, and on a night where each sent an emphatic message, Chris Paul reminded everyone that he’s still very much alive and well.

 

Danilo Gallinari’s ankle injury will have ripple effects in Denver, but it’s not going to result in Jusuf Nurkic’s sudden return to the rotation. Nurkic has been an overrated stash all season, and there is no reason to keep holding as he racks up DNP-CDs.

 

Derrick Rose (hamstring) sat out again, DeMarcus Cousins boogied in another loss and D’Angelo Russell, who is averaging 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 triples since rejoining the starting five, is starting to resemble the player the Lakers believed they were drafting with the No. 2 overall pick.

 

Charlotte @ Indiana: Hornets 96, Pacers 95

 

Studs: Marvin Williams, Kemba Walker; Paul George

 

Duds: Nicolas Batum; Monta Ellis

 

Injuries: C.J. Miles (DNP, calf); Spencer Hawes (DNP, back)

 

Kemba Walker is a bad man, and clutch should be his middle name. With 22 points, 10 dimes, three triples and the game-winning layup, Walker is showing why Damian Lillard isn’t alone when it comes to All-Star snubs. Walker has been a borderline first-round value all season long, and there’s no reason to think that’s about to change as Charlotte has something to play for every single night.  

 

Marvin Williams has been remarkably consistent this season, and a stat-stuffing double-double with 26&13 (five 3s) on 9-of-13 shooting was an early submission for Line of the Night. The only other player in double-digit scoring was Cody Zeller, who continues to start and more run than Al Jefferson. Big Al is struggling to find a rhythm, but that’s understandable given what he’s been through this year. As a result, Zeller should stay relevant as a low-end big man for now.

 

In the third quarter, Paul George slammed his face into the floor on a loose ball play, but despite PG-13 taking a brief trip to the locker room, he returned with an R-rated performance. Although George did miss the potential game-winner, there’s no faulting him for this loss as his 32 points were more than twice Myles Turner’s 15, and the 19-year-old rookie was Indiana’s second-leading scorer. George Hill’s shot has recently gone MIA with averages of 7.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 triples on just 26% shooting, so while his elbow may still be an issue, now would be a good time to buy low on Hill, whose playing time will remain steady in the mid-30s and has been a sneaky top-75 value for the duration of the campaign. Rodney Stuckey’s return from an ankle injury is of no concern to Hill’s fantasy value.

 

Washington @ Philadelphia: Wizards 103, Sixers 94

 

Studs: John Wall; Robert Covington, Ish Smith

 

Duds: Bradley Beal

 

Injuries: Gary Neal (DNP, leg); Nerlens Noel (leg)

 

Where would the Wizards be without John Wall? Playing with banged-up knees, aches, pains and bruises, Wall again flirted with a triple-double (23/8/11) en route to Washington’s win. Even though his field goal percentage is down, Wall’s production is up virtually across the board in every other area of his game. He’s an absolute stud—both in real life and fantasy hoops—and it’s criminal that he’s not more often mentioned when dissecting the NBA’s best point guards.

 

Otto Porter had his best game since before the All-Star Break, but that’s not saying much and all nine of his points came early in the contest. Although Porter did manage 10 boards and three steals, it’s hard to believe he’s feeling as healthy as he was earlier in the year as he again battles hip issues. There’s no incentive to sell for pennies on the dollar, but this doesn’t look like the player we saw earlier this season, either. Adjust accordingly…Before the game, Randy Wittman suggested that Beal’s minutes restrictions makes it difficult to start him, so fantasy GMs should expect the bench role to stick around. Although he’s struggled with his shot over his last four games with averages of 14.0 points and just a single 3-pointer on 34.9% shooting, now is not the time to bail on Beal as he’ll need to play a big role down the stretch for a Wizards team clawing for the playoffs.

 

Robert Covington isn’t the most consistent player in the world—nobody on Philadelphia’s roster fits that description—but nights like Friday (12 pts, 12 reb, 3 stl, 3 blk, 3 triples) show why he belongs to be rostered in leagues with at least 10 teams. Jahlil Okafor’s 21 points led the Sixers in scoring, but RoCo easily had his team’s best fantasy line of the night. Though he’s still producing, those who sold high on Ish Smith (10/7/8) look great right now, as he’s averaging 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals on a lousy 36.4% shooting over his last five games. While his starter’s job isn’t in peril, it is worth noting Smith has played 30 minutes or fewer in four straight.  

 

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Orlando @ New York: Knicks 108, Magic 95

 

Studs: Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo; Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Arron Afflalo

 

Duds: Evan Fournier, Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova; Langston Galloway

 

Injuries: N/A

 

Remember when Ersan Ilyasova was a threat to Aaron Gordon’s minutes? Me neither. Air Gordon has now seen at least 30 minutes in four of his last five games, averaging 12.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 0.8 3-pointers since the All-Star Break. Meanwhile, Ilyasova played 11.5 minutes on Friday, and has now seen his role reduced in three straight contests. After Scott Skiles (again) teased fantasy owners with Brandon Jennings’ arrival, it appears as if Elfrid Payton (8/5/9) will keep the lion’s share of playing time. Even with some newfound security, EP is really just a dimes specialist, especially with Victor Oladipo more than capable of handling the ball. Evan Fournier has been on fire since Tobias Harris was traded; so giving him a pass in a tough matchup vs. Carmelo Anthony makes sense. Expect the champagne to again flow on Sunday vs. Philly.

 

The Knicks desperately needed a win, and New York got one after making a statement in the first half. Carmelo Anthony (19/11/6) struggled with his shot and failed to hit a three, and while the heavy playing time can be spun in either direction, Melo is now just 12-of-42 (28.6%) over his last two games and hasn’t played fewer than 35 minutes in any game since coming out of the All-Star Break. That’s probably not the best long-term formula for a guy who has admitted his surgically-repaired knee has caused him recent issues, but the Knicks really don’t have another choice.

 

Kristaps Porzingis played a clean game with 18 points, six boards, two steals and two blocks without a single turnover, but it was the contributions from the rest of the starting unit—including Arron Afflalo, who played through a thigh bruise—that made the difference. That’s not a sentence we’ve been able to say too often, and despite a positive night, both Calderon and Afflalo remain on watch as Langston Galloway, who struggled on Friday but has been a bright spot for most of this season, is a candidate to enter the starting five sooner rather than later.

 

Cleveland @ Toronto: Raptors 99, Cavs 97

 

Studs: LeBron James, Kevin Love; Kyle Lowry

 

Duds: Kyrie Irving; DeMar DeRozan

 

Injuries: DeMar DeRozan (flu-like symptoms); Mo Williams (DNP, knee)

 

Kyle Lowry stays crushing expectations. With an absolutely huge performance on a night where none of his Raptors teammates could really get it going, Lowry singlehandedly took down LeBron James’ Cavs, finishing with a career-best 43 points, five boards, nine assists, four steals and two triples on 15-of-20 shooting, including 11-of-15 from the charity stripe. Lowry has been a one-man wrecking crew all season, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down in his first five games after the All-Star Break, checking in with 26.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.2 triples on 55.1% from the field and 85% from the free throw line. Lowry is a bona fide stud, and he needs to be drafted as such next season.

 

Lowry’s starry night deflected attention from an otherwise ugly box score, including DeMar DeRozan struggling through flu-like symptoms on his way to just six points on 1-of-11 shooting. Jonas Valanciunas (chest) was forced to depart after a LeBron elbow to his midsection, but he was cleared to return shortly thereafter and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds in 28.5 efficient minutes. In any event where JV is forced to miss extended time, Bismack Biyombo becomes a player to immediately pluck from the waiver wire…One trend to watch in T-Dot: Patrick Patterson has seen his minutes steadily climb in February, and they’re coming at Luis Scola’s expense.

 

For Cleveland, James (25/8/7) and Kevin Love (20/9/5) were the only two players to show up, and Kyrie Irving got roasted on both sides of the floor. In addition to serving up Lowry’s 40-burger, Irving had more shots (11) than points scored (10), but he’s been very good this month and will certainly be motivated to bounce back with two of his next three matchups slated to come against John Wall. Iman Shumpert’s (shoulder) return was uneventful with two points in 22 minutes, and he really has no place on fantasy rosters. 


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