Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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NBA Opening Night a Success!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Here we go again! This is something like my 18th or 19th year of writing the Daily Dose. I can’t even keep track of how old I am, let alone how many Doses I’ve posted, but it’s a big number. In any case, I’m thankful to the NBA (and Rotoworld) for keeping opening night at just two games. Back in the day, there were 14 games on a Halloween opening night when I started this gig. So I’m not going to complain. I missed trick-or-treating with my now 23-year-old son to watch Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler play for the Bulls in the Halloween opener back in the day.

 

Celtics 105, Sixers 87 – Jason Tatum put on a show, despite playing in an incredibly deep lineup, and finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 9-of-17 shooting in 29 minutes on Tuesday night. Kyrie Irving never got it going tonight (2-of-14 shooting), so he ended up just looking for Tatum for most of the night. Boston is deep, as nine guys played at least 19 minutes, but Tatum looked like a man amongst boys. His offseason work with Kobe Bryant was on display, as he hit fadeaways off the dribble that were reminders of Kobe.
 
With Irving struggling (7 points, 7 assists), Terry Rozier finished the game and had 11 points, eight rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer, but Irving should bounce back in the next one. Terry’s a borderline own at this point, but last night was encouraging. Gordon Hayward returned from his broken ankle that took place on opening night a year ago, and looked tentative. He hit 4-of-12 shots and a 3-pointer for 10 points, five boards and four steals, but it could be a few weeks before we see him returning to form. I stayed away from him in all fantasy drafts, as the Celtics are just too deep for him to become a fantasy beast this season. I chose to let other people draft him, and nothing I saw tonight changed my mind.
 
Jaylen Brown had the SportsCenter highlight of the night with a jam attempt that turned into a perfect layup off the glass against a two-handed defensive play by Joel Embiid, but it was more lucky than good. Brown had 12 points, five boards and a 3-pointer, and Al Horford held his own against Embiid with nine points, four boards, two assists and five blocks on 4-of-7 shooting. Horford’s blocks salvaged his fantasy line tonight, and I’m guessing he won’t block five shots again this season. This is probably a sell-high moment on Horford. Marcus Morris picked up where he left off last season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting off the bench, and should probably be scooped up if he went undrafted in your league. I don’t really understand how Morris is still relevant on such a deep team, but he is. In case you’re worried about Irving and his rust, don’t be. He’ll probably go off in Toronto on Friday.

 

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For the Sixers, Joel Embiid lived up to the hype with 23 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 9-of-21 shooting, and Ben Simmons went off with a near triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks. He hit 7-of-14 shots and just 5-of-11 free throws, but he’s so good I don’t even care about his free throws at this point. He’s terrible-free-throw-shooting beast.
 
Starter Dario Saric hit 3-of-8 shots, starter Robert Covington hit 3-of-10 shots and starter Markelle Fultz hit just 2-of-7 shots. That’s why the Sixers couldn’t hang with the Celtics. Covington’s shooting scares me, as does Fultz’s, but Saric should be fine. If I drafted any of them, I’m not panicking after tonight, but I’m also not surprised. J.J. Redick had 16 points and two 3-pointers off the bench, but the Sixers are nearly as deep as the Celtics, and it could be a rough ride for guys not named Embiid and Simmons. But Saric, Covington, Fultz and Redick should all be owned, nonetheless.

 
Warriors 108, Thunder 100Stephen Curry hit 11-of-20 shots, 5-of-9 3-pointers and 5-of-5 free throws, and finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, a steal and just three turnovers in a win over the shorthanded Thunder. Kevin Durant added 27 points, eight boards, six assists, a steal, a block and 9-of-10 free throws in a solid performance. He somehow missed all five of his 3-point attempts, but if you own Curry or Durant, you probably have bigger problems to worry about than either of them.
 
Draymond Green hit just 1-of-6 shots and scored two points, but also had 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals. He also had six turnovers, but Dray gonna be Dray. His scoring is a fantasy buzzkill, but this should end up being his lowest scoring game of the season. This is a buy-low opportunity on Green. Perhaps the fantasy story of the night belonged to Damian Jones, who started at center for the Warriors. He hit 6-of-7 shots and had 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and three blocks, while Rotoworld-championed Jordan Bell played just seven minutes, finishing with zero points, two rebounds and a block. I’m not dumping Bell just yet, but it does appear that coach Steve Kerr is higher on Jones than Bell. If you need a big man, a move for Jones is in order. I still don’t think that DeMarcus Cousins will be back in full form any time soon, and I also still think that Bell has a chance to get some nice run and block a ton of shots. But if you need help right now, Jones is the guy you should grab. I’m not cutting Jordan Bell. Even though I kind of want to.
 
Klay Thompson had an off night, hitting just 5-of-20 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers, finishing with 14 points, four rebounds and nothing else. That was a tough DFS pill to swallow, but he’ll be fine. Andre Iguodala left with a calf injury and didn’t return, and SF Kevon Looney got loose for 10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks in just 18 minutes. That was the line I was hoping for from Bell, but if Iguodala is going to miss time, Looney is the way to go. Looney’s a great DFS option right now, as long as Iguodala is out, and is also worth a look in standard fantasy right now. We should know more on Iguodala’s status on Wednesday, but Looney should be one of the hotter pickups for now.
 
The Thunder saw Steven Adams start and play through a back injury, and rack up 17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, and he wasn’t even certain to play. Keep an eye out for news about his back, but for now it appears that Adams is OK. Paul George caught fire in the third quarter and hit 6-of-9 shots and scored 15 points, finishing with 27 points, five assists, four steals and four 3-pointers. He should be a beast as long as Russell Westbrook is out with his sore knee. Dennis Schroder was a fantasy hero tonight, hitting 7-of-19 shots and two 3-pointers for 21 points, a career-high nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 34 minutes. With Andre Roberson (knee) likely out until January, Schroder is going to get a ton of run for the Thunder. He should be owned everywhere.
 
Terrance Ferguson started at shooting guard, but didn’t score in 27 minutes, and Alex Abrines had eight points and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes off the bench. Neither guy is a must-own in fantasy, but I trust Abrines more than Ferguson. For the record, it’s really hard for me not to type Turd Ferguson every time I write his name, thanks to Burt Reynolds (RIP) and SNL. Lastly, Jerami Grant came off the pine behind Patrick Patterson, which I still don’t understand. Pat-Pat had seven points, five boards, a steal and a block in 19 minutes, while Grant had seven points, two rebounds, three blocks and a 3-pointer in 29 minutes. I’ll take the extra 10 minutes from Jerami Grant and roll with him in fantasy. He’s going to have a good year, while Pat-Pat has been a consistent disappointment for years. Oh, and Nerlens Noel played just 12 minutes for three points, seven boards, a steal and a block. A lot of people were on him last night because of Adams’ back injury, but as long as Adams can walk, you can forget about Noel.  
 
And that’s what you missed if you were watching baseball or out enjoying a night with your wife or significant other. Wednesday night is a different story, with a whopping 22 teams in action. I’ll be here again in 24 hours to wrap up all that action. The NBA is back baby! Let’s Go! Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!



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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