Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Monsters of Fantasy

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Tuesday was a night of the Process, King James, season highs and some injury news. Oh, and we also finally saw the season debut of Kawhi Leonard, who played 16 minutes. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

 

One of my favorite bands, Band of Horses, cleverly titled back-to-back songs on their debut album “I Go to the Barn Because I Like the…” and “Monsters.” And because Monsters is one of my all-time favorite songs, we’ll kick things off there. I go to the barn because I like the…

 

Monsters

 

Joel Embiid missed his last two games, was iffy for this one and then preceded to play a career-high 39 minutes against Karl-Anthony Towns, rack up 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, a block and a 3-pointer. He hit super clutch free throws to help send the game to overtime, hit a monster 3-pointer in OT to seal the win for his team, hit 11-of-12 free throws on the night, and committed just two turnovers. All that while his back was being treated throughout and he suffered a brutal shot courtesy of Taj Gibson. While I loved seeing him play 39 minutes and this game was a blast to watch, the minutes also scare the 'you know what' out of me. I just hope he’s ready to go on Friday against Steven Adams and the Thunder.

 

KAT had a nice game of his own with 19 points, 16 boards, two dimes, four steals and three blocks in 48 minutes. How both KAT and Embiid aren’t getting more shots each night is beyond me, but they each only took 16 shots in an overtime battle that was ‘centered’ around their matchup. KAT is coming on, averaging 22.7 points, 13.3 boards, 3.3 assists, 3.0 steals, 2.3 blocks and 07 3-pointers over his last three.

 

Remember when Jimmy Butler stunk earlier this season? That version of Jimmy Buckets is a distant memory, as he’s scored 30 or more in three of his last five and went off for a season-high 38 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers. And speaking of clutch, two of his triples came inside the final 47 seconds and he was nearly solely responsible for the game going to overtime, at least from the Wolves side. What a turnaround he’s had.

 

Kristaps Porzingis would like to get into the MVP mentions game and went nuts against the Lakers with 37 points, 11 rebounds, a steal, five blocks and five 3-pointers on 14-of-26 shooting. Not a lot of hype about that line last night, but his owners know how special it was, and he did that after racking up 30 points in his previous game. And because of the Unicorn, the Knicks are much better than they should be.

 

LeBron James clearly noticed James Harden’s 26 points and 17 assists line from Monday and tried to match it. Bron came up a point shy, but finished with 25 points, tied his career high with 17 assists, and added seven boards, two steals and two 3-pointers and ho-hummed his way to 11-of-13 shooting. I’ll admit seeing LeBron’s bald spot starting to shine through makes me feel old and sad, but he’s playing like a linebacker-sized teenager still. On a side note, Kyle Korver got revenge on the Hawks with 19 points and six treys, and Jose Calderon somehow had 14 points to tie his season high with Dwayne Wade (knee) not around to back him up at point guard. Give Korver a look, as he’s playing well, ignore Calderon, and hope that Wade’s rest was just a maintenance day, as this was only his second missed game of the season.

 

Kawhi Leonard is back, baby! He played just 16 minutes, but it sure was nice to see him out there for the Spurs, hitting 6-of-12 shots for 13 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal. I think he’s gonna be a bit of a mess for the next few weeks, with the Spurs carrying him around like a vase from the Ming Dynasty, but if he’s going to play for the Spurs, you want him in your lineup. Despite his return, Rudy Gay was great with 21 points, five boards, a steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting. Kawhi may eventually ruin him, but I plan on riding Rudy until the wheels fall off, as long as he’s healthy.

 

Taurean Prince hit 8-of-10 shots for a career-high 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers, Tyler Cavanaugh made his first career start (at center), and Kent Bazemore hit a career-high six 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, eight boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks for one of the best all-around games of his career. And the Hawks never got close to the Cavs. Prince and Baze should be owned everywhere, while Cavanaugh is becoming more relevant by the night, and is at least worth paying attention to – especially in DFS. At least until Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins are back from their injuries.

 

Young Lonzo Ball made his first appearance in the Garden and did Magic Johnson proud by hitting 6-of-13 shots, 3-of-6 3-pointers (what?) and 2-of-3 free throws on his way to 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. If Ball’s 3-pointers would fall regularly we’d see a lot more lines like this, and he became the first player to have a 15-5-5 game in his debut at MSG since Magic Johnson triple-doubled there in 1980.

 

Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting their Super Duel for a Difference contest this Sunday, where you can win tickets to the Big Game in Minneapolis! Support a good cause and compete for an unforgettable grand prize.

 

Wilson Chandler finally had a good game for the Nuggets with 18 points, four boards and a couple 3-pointers, while teammate Jamal Murray (you might have heard of him if you’re a Rotoworld regular) hit 11-of-19 shots and four 3-pointers for 28 points, four boards and three assists. Mason Plumlee started and had 10 points, 13 boards, a steal and a block, and Trey Lyles hit 7-of-7 shots for 20 points, four boards and three 3-pointers. Don’t look now, but Lyles has hit 16-of-22 shots for 45 points, nine boards and eight 3-pointers over his last two games. Nikola Jokic is nearing a return, so all of that goodness could be dismantled as soon as it happens. But if you want to take a flier on Lyles or Plumlee, go for it, while Chandler and Murray should be owned in most leagues already. I doubt Jokic plays tonight, but after that he could return at any time.

 

Caris LeVert stayed hot with 16 points, three boards, eight assists and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes for the Nets. He’s been rollin’, we’ve been hyping him and he’s averaging 16.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 3-pointers over his last four games. Teammate Spencer Dinwiddie hit just 4-of-14 shots and 1-of-11 3-pointers, but still had 11 points, six boards, 12 assists, two steals and a block. Jarrett Allen actually got 20 minutes last night, but had just 11 points, two rebounds and two blocks, while Tyler Zeller is starting and had 12 points, eight boards and a block. Zeller’s actually become relevant over the last three games, while Allen just continues to tantalize and ultimately disappoint, not that it’s his fault. Just beware that Jahlil Okafor is lingering in the background. See more on Jahlil and Emeka Okafor at the end of this column.

 


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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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