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Dose: Giannis & Co Beat LeBron

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


There were only three games on the schedule Tuesday evening, but we had quite a few impressive performances, including an epic showdown in Milwaukee between Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.


After recapping Tuesday night’s action, we’ll review the status of a number of players facing injury issues for Wednesday’s games.


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Sacramento Kings 101, Philadelphia 76ers 95:
Zach Randolph (rest) returned to action on Tuesday in the Kings surprising road win over the Sixers and remained red-hot. Z-Bo made 12 of his 19 field goal attempts en route to a game-high 27 points. He also pulled down five rebounds. Over the eight games Randolph has played in December, he is averaging 21.6 points (58.9 percent shooting), 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 treys and 1.0 steals… Buddy Hield also cracked the 20-point plateau for Sacramento. Hield finished with 24 points, five boards, two assists, three triples and three steals. It was Buddy’s first career game with at least 20 points, five rebounds and three thefts.


The only bad news for Sacramento was De'Aaron Fox re-injuring himself. Fox initially injured his quad last Thursday and was unable to play Sunday vs. the Raptors. However, he was back in the starting lineup Tuesday, but lasted only 11 minutes before heading back to the locker room in pain and was unable to return. He had two points and one assist before exiting. George Hill (illness) was ruled out of this contest as well, which left Frank Mason as the lone healthy point guard available. Mason scored a career-high 16 points (on 7-of-9 shooting), with one assist and two blocks in 22 minutes. The Kings play the back end of a back-to-back on Wednesday in Brooklyn. George Hill said that he is feeling better and expects to play Wednesday night. He’ll split PG minutes with Mason if Fox is unable to suit up.


Philadelphia was one of the league’s most pleasant surprises over the first six weeks of the season, but December has not been kind to the upstart Sixers. Philly has now lost three straight and seven of their last eight games. This was a particularly bitter defeat, as they blew a 16-point second-half lead. They certainly could have used Joel Embiid, but the stud big man missed his second straight game since logging a career-high 49 minutes last Thursday vs. Oklahoma City. Coach Brett Brown said Embiid’s back "is still a little bit sore." The Sixers next game is Thursday vs. Toronto. Hopefully, Embiid will be cleared to play by then. We’ll get an update on his status after practice on Wednesday… Amir Johnson started at center and finished with seven points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. Richaun Holmes had four points, six boards and two blocks in 26 minutes off the bench.


As if the Sixers didn’t have enough to worry about, J.J. Redick was forced out of the game with seven minutes left in the third quarter due to tightness in his right hamstring and was unable to return. If Redick misses any time, Timothe Luwawu, Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell would see an uptick in minutes.


Ben Simmons just missed another triple-double on Tuesday, tallying 13 points (on 5-of-6 shooting), 12 rebounds and nine assists. He also had three steals and four turnovers… Robert Covington scored a team-high 17 points but was incredibly erratic all evening. RoCo was just 5-of-19 from the floor, including 2-of-13. He is the first NBA player this season to attempt more than 12 3-pointers yet make fewer than three. Covington did have three rebounds, two assists and two blocks, but he also turned the ball over four times… Dario Saric finished with 11 points (on 3-of-10 shooting), nine boards, and three assists.

 

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Washington Wizards 116, New Orleans Pelicans 106:
Bradley Beal paced the Wiz once again on Tuesday. Beal poured in 26 points and added five rebounds, four assists, five treys, two steals and one turnover. He tweaked his ankle early on and appeared to be in pain, but returned to the game and lit up the Pels. Beal’s backcourt mate, John Wall, tallied 18 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, four triples and five turnovers in 33 minutes. Encouragingly, Wall has seen his playing time increase incrementally in each of the four games he's played since returning from his knee injury.


Otto Porter (hip) was ruled out of Tuesday’s contest, his second straight missed game. Kelly Oubre started in place of Porter but finished with only 10 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 30 minutes. Surprisingly, Oubre’s numbers have been better off the bench this season… Marcin Gortat was struggling coming into this game, but posted a solid double-double (10 points and 14 boards) and also added two assists and three blocks.


Mike Scott stayed scorching hot, finishing with a season-high 24 points (on 11-of-15 shooting), two 3-pointers, four rebounds and one assist in just 23 minutes. Amazingly, over his last six games, Scott is averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 treys, while shooting a ridiculous 70.3 percent from the floor. Scott has to come crashing back down to earth at some point soon, but keep rolling him out there in your starting lineup until he does.


The Pelicans got terrific production from their two frontcourt studs, but little else from the rest of the roster. DeMarcus Cousins stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Anthony Davis also posted huge numbers, finishing with 37 points and nine boards. However, first (stop me if you've heard this before) he gave his fantasy owners quite a scare. Davis injured his right wrist in the second quarter and needed X-rays on the wrist during halftime. AD missed the first four minutes of the third quarter, but then returned to the game and appeared unbothered by the injury.


Jrue Holiday was just 4-of-11 from the floor for 13 points, but did register six rebounds, five assists and two steals… E'Twaun Moore had 12 points, two boards and three assists…. The most disappointing line of the night belonged to Rajon Rondo, who failed to score a single point and finished with only three assists, two rebounds and two turnovers in 14 minutes. Rondo had his left knee wrapped in ice after banging it earlier in the evening. He sat out the final 17 minutes. The Pelicans don’t play again until Friday, so Rondo will have two full days to rest. If he is unable to suit up by Friday, Jameer Nelson and Ian Clark would see an uptick in minutes.


Milwaukee Bucks 119, Cleveland Cavaliers 116:
The Bucks almost blew a 20-point lead in the second half but did just enough to hold on and notch an impressive victory over the Cavs, who had won 18 of their previous 19 games. Unsurprisingly, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for Milwaukee. The Greek Freak did what the Greek Freak does, finishing with 27 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. He was 8-of-14 from the floor and 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. It was Antetokounmpo’s eighth game this season with at least 25 points, 10 boards and five dimes. The only player with more 25/10/5 games is King James.


Eric Bledsoe also played a crucial role in this win. Bledsoe scored 26 points (on 10-of-16 shooting) and chipped in five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers… Khris Middleton had 18 points and dished out 10 assists for the second time in a week… John Henson contributed 15 points (on 7-of-11 shooting), six boards, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes.


Tony Snell (left patellar tendinitis) returned from a five-game absence and tallied eight points, four rebounds, two 3-pointers and one steal in 23 minutes. The 3-ball he hit came with under a minute remaining and helped seal the victory for the Bucks... Matthew Dellavedova (knee) also made his return. Delly had been sidelined for five weeks, having last played back on November 13th. He drew the start but played just 11 minutes, finishing with six points and one steal.


LeBron James did all he could to carry his team to victory on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough. James finished with 39 points, seven assists, six 3-pointers, three steals and two blocks in 34 minutes. The only knock on LeBron this evening was that he had just one rebound and committed seven turnovers.


Dwyane Wade (rest) returned on Tuesday and looked solid. Wade tallied 14 points, four 3-pointers, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench… Kevin Love posted another strong double-double, finishing with 21 points, 10 boards, four assists and five 3-pointers… Kyle Korver had scored in double figures in five straight games, before missing six of his seven shots, and all four of his triple tries, on Tuesday. He ended the night with just two points, two rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.


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