Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Marquese Chriss crossed

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Isaiah Thomas and Damian Lillard are back, Austin Rivers is getting a second opinion, Lou Williams is unstoppable and Marquese Chriss suddenly looks like a potential fantasy stud.

 

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Cavaliers 127, Blazers 110Isaiah Thomas made his season debut and hit 6-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for 17 points and three assists in 19 minutes on Tuesday. It was a bit emotional seeing Thomas getting back in action after a rough year and he looked great despite the limited minutes. It could be a week or so before he’s up to speed, but owners have to be thrilled at his short stint tonight. The Cavaliers play again on Wednesday night, so Thomas will obviously be iffy for that one, and they go back-to-back again on Thursday and Friday, so owners will want to watch the news feed for that one too. But going forward, feel free to start Thomas if he’s playing for the Cavs. LeBron James did his typical LeBron things, Kevin Love had 19 points, seven boards and four 3-pointers, and Dwyane Wade was nice with 15 points, eight boards and three assists. The Cavs should be about ready to start wrecking the East again after losing their previous three games before Tuesday’s win.

 

The Blazers welcomed back Damian Lillard and he didn’t disappoint after missing five straight games with his hamstring injury, hitting 8-of-15 shots and six 3-pointers for 25 points, six assists and a steal. He also had a season-high seven turnovers, but we’ll chalk them up to rust. It doesn’t look like he’ll be restricted at all, so get him back in your lineup and hope that he’s able to go in next Tuesday and Wednesday’s back-to-back games. The bad news is that Shabazz Napier, who was absolutely a monster while Lillard was out, played just 14 minutes and missed all five of his shots, failing to score. It was fun while it lasted, and while Napier will have the occasional big game off the bench, it’s probably time to cut the cord. C.J. McCollum and Evan Turner both played well and Turner has been great over his last two games. I don’t know if he can keep it going, but he had 22 on Monday and 15 on Tuesday with solid stat lines, making him worth a look right now. Jusuf Nurkic hit 10-of-12 shots for 23 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals, and appears to be back, averaging 13.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five. Al-Farouq Aminu was bad, hitting just 1-of-7 shots, but it was coming off a season-high 24 points on Monday. He should be fine and has played at least 31 minutes in four straight games, hitting seven 3-pointers in his last three.

 

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Spurs 100, Knicks 91 – The Spurs got big games out of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, and it would appear that Leonard is good to go, although owners still have to make sure he’s in the lineup for tonight’s back-to-back against the Sixers, while they also go back-to-back on Sunday and Monday. Danny Green started, but didn’t score and didn’t play in the second half, and it sounds like the Spurs may shut him down in hopes of getting fully healthy. The headaches continue with Green and he’s just not worth it right now. And given that it’s the Spurs, the only trustworthy players are Aldridge, Leonard and sometimes, Pau Gasol. But because they’re the Spurs, owners always have to watch the newsfeed to make sure they’re actually playing.

 

Kristaps Porzingis hit just 5-of-19 shots for 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and is shooting just 36 percent since returning from a knee injury seven games ago for the Knicks. He’s a buy-low candidate right now and will look to get right against the Wizards tonight. Lance Thomas started again and scored a season-high 13 points with three 3-pointers, but he’s completely untrustworthy. Frank Ntilikina, who was coming on, played just 16 minutes for three points and one assist, but he reportedly wasn’t feeling well last night. It would have been nice to know that information before the game, instead of after. Jarrett Jack had 10 points, four boards, five assists and two steals in 33 minutes, and is much more trustworthy than Ntilikina right now, but I still think Ntilikina is going to take over the starting job at some point and makes for a nice stash, despite the setback. And then there’s Michael Beasley, who led the way with 18 points, nine boards, a block and a 3-pointer off the bench. He’s averaging 18.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, a steal and a block over his last three and should be a hot pickup, even with Porzingis back in action for the Knicks.

 

Suns 104, Hawks 103 – The Suns overcame a 12-point deficit in the final five minutes to steal a win over the Hawks. T.J. Warren hit 15-of-21 shots for 31 points and Devin Booker, who had 34 points and a fun line, hit three free throws after being foolishly fouled by Kent Bazemore to give the Suns the one-point win. However, it was Marquese Chriss coming up with clutch blocks, rebounds and three 3-pointers who stole the show. He finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two spectacular blocks and the threes, and is now averaging 12.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers on 60 percent shooting over his last five. Don't feel bad if you dropped him, because you're not alone. We loved him, held onto him, liked him, hated him, dropped him, picked him up, dropped him again and wrote him off, but he’s playing really well right now. And like I’ve said all along, it wouldn’t surprise me at all for him to put together a huge second half of the season. If he’s available in your league, pick him up. Again.

 

Ersan Ilyasova, Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore and Marco Belinelli all played well for the Hawks. The first three should already be owned in most leagues, while Belinelli’s scored 16, 14, 14 and 19 points in each of his last four games, shooting lights out and hitting seven 3-pointers over that stretch. He’s a low-end own in 12-team leagues again. Meanwhile, Taurean Prince hit just 2-of-14 shots for nine points, four boards, two assists, a steal and a block, while John Collins hit just 1-of-6 shots for six points, five boards, two steals and a block in 20 minutes. It just wasn’t their night, but Prince should be owned everywhere, and Collins should be unleashed by the Hawks sooner than later. Maybe you should cut Collins for Chriss, but in my mind they both should be owned at this point and that’s a really tough call if Collins is your worst player.

 


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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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