Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Cavs win, Cavs win!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


The Cavaliers got their first win under new coach Larry Drew, but Kevin Love’s going to be out for several weeks, Nicolas Batum broke out, Kawhi Leonard is back (again), the Kings are rolling, Alex Len went off, Kyrie Irving finally broke out of his slump, and the Wizards are a complete mess right now. Just another Tuesday in the NBA. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

 

Cavaliers 136, Hawks 114 – The Cavs rolled the Hawks for their first win of the season and got a balanced attack that featured seven players in double-digit scoring. Rodney Hood led the way with a season-high 26, Cedi Osman came through with 20 points and a full stat line, Tristan Thompson double-doubled, while George Hill, Sam Dekker, Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson all scored in double figures. Larry Nance had just nine points and one rebound in 16 minutes, which was surprising. Osman bounced back after four poor shooting nights, and Dekker had his first meaningful game of the season. And Hood may be heating up, scoring 17 on Saturday before tonight’s explosion.

 

If I had to rank the winners in the Kevin Love Toe Sweepstakes, I’d go like this:

Cedi Osman (must own)

Rodney Hood (coming on strong)

Sam Dekker (intriguing night against Hawks)

Larry Nance (going to play more center than PF, but still…)

Tristan Thompson (They’re going to need boards and big-man stats)

 

Additionally, the night by Sexton was exciting and maybe Larry Drew is going to give him more burn than he was getting under Ty Lue.

 

For the Hawks, they crumbled in the second half, but Trae Young must have seen what Luka Doncic did on Monday, and responded with 24 points, four assists and three 3-pointers on 9-of-13 shooting. That shooting line is the most exciting part of that last sentence. Alex Len went off for a season-high 22 points, nine boards, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer, and it would be nice if he could start being consistent. Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore combined for 16 points on 6-of-27 shooting (they’ll both be fine), Jeremy Lin had 12 points and eight assists (no thanks) and Kyle Huerter hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 points.

 

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Hornets 125, Heat 113Nicolas Batum finally scored some points with a season-high 20 and a full stat line. I had to drop him for a power forward in a league, but he should be owned everywhere. Malik Monk got loose for a season-high 20 points and four 3-pointers, so he’s starting to trend back up, and Cody Zeller is worth a look if you need a center in deep leagues. He had 11 points, four boards, a steal and three blocks, and I’ve been using him in DFS. And old man Tony Parker some how had 24 points and 11 assists for his first double-double since 2016. I’m not touching him.

 

It was old timers day in Charlotte, apparently, as Dwyane Wade led the team with 19 points, four assists and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. I’m not touching him either, but he’s been playing well in every other game thus far. But eventually, he could start sitting out every other game. Josh Richardson cooled off, but was still pretty great, Goran Dragic had a rough shooting night, Hassan Whiteside double-doubled, and Rodney McGruder was a bit quiet last night. Not much to see here.

 

Kings 107, Magic 99 – I’m going to see the Kings on Thursday (thanks, Bob) and they might be the hottest team in the league after winning four straight and five of their last six, and sitting at 5-3 on the season. My man Nemanja Bjelica had another killer night and should be owned everywhere, Justin Jackson drew a start and failed to score a point, Willie Cauley-Stein double-doubled again, De’Aaron Fox overcame foul trouble and a slow start for a solid line, and Buddy Hield stayed red hot with 25 points, a career-high 11 boards, and hit 9-of-15 shots. All of those guys are must-own players except for Jackson. I recommend holding Marvin Bagley, who had 10 points, nine rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes. While it doesn’t appear that anything can stop Bjelica right now, Bagley probably can.

 

Aaron Gordon’s line was fun, Nikola Vucevic did it again, and D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier and Jonathan Isaac were all a bit quiet on Tuesday. Terrence Ross had 17 points, three steals and three 3-pointers, and he had 21 points and five 3-pointers on Thursday and is officially worth putting on your watch list. And Mo Bamba had a career-high five blocks with seven points and seven rebounds, but he’s a tough guy to own while playing behind Vuc.

 

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Raptors 129, Sixers 112Kawhi Leonard was back with a big 31-point line and a bunch of goodies, Kyle Lowry had 20 & 12, Danny Green put up a fun line with 10 points, and Serge Ibaka had 16 points, eight boards, two steals and three blocks, but didn’t make a 3-pointer. Pascal Siakam was the surprise of the night with 15 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, three steals and two assists in a start. He had 22 points, eight boards and four steals in his previous game, but Kawhi was in street clothes for that one. I’m not ready to call him a must-own player, but if Siakam does it again against the Suns on Sunday, he’s going to be close. Jonas Valanciunas went nuts with a season-high 23 points, four boards, two blocks and a 3-pointer off the bench. The Raptors don’t really start a true center, so Valanciunas should play around 20 minutes whether he’s starting or coming off the bench every night. Oddly, he did all that damage in just 17 minutes tonight, thanks to foul trouble against Joel Embiid.

 

For the Sixers, Joel Embiid went off with 31 points, 11 boards, a block and three 3-pointers, Robert Covington added 15 points and a nice stat line, and Ben Simmons had a dubious triple-double with 11 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists, and 11 turnovers – thanks to the freakishly big and scary hands of Kawhi. Simmons should have an easier time operating against the Clippers on Thursday. Dario Saric seems to be milling about in no-man’s land right now, and had eight points, five boards and a 3-pointer on 3-of-9 shooting. He ‘s playing well enough to be held in most leagues, but the young Sixers around him have been squeezing him out of the box score goodies this season. And I don’t know when that will change.

 

Celtics 108, Pistons 105Kyrie Irving finally got it going, ripping off a season-high 31 points, five boards, five assists and four 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting. The shooting was the key for Irving tonight, and he thanked legend Tommy Heinsohn for calling him out to get in better shape. And a new haircut probably didn’t hurt. There wasn’t much else to see in Boston, but I’m glad I didn’t draft Gordon Hayward anywhere, as I was afraid of a slow start and not enough basketballs to go around. Hayward had just six points, four boards and three assists on 3-of-10 shooting, as he continues to work his way back from his broken ankle. It could be a long season for his owners.

 

For the Pistons, Blake Griffin bounced back with a big line against the Celtics with 24 points and 15 boards, after going for just 7 & 6 against them on Saturday. Andre Drummond double-doubled, Reggie Jackson was outplayed by Ish Smith, and Reggie Bullock scored 16 points with three 3-pointers. Bullock’s worth keeping an eye on as long as he’s starting, but he’s not a must-own player right now. Stanley Johnson is trying to be relevant, but he had just nine points, five boards, four assists, six turnovers and five fouls in the loss. He’s shooting just 40 percent over his last five games, and just can’t seem to get it going.  

 

Thunder 128, Clippers 110 – The Thunder picked up their second win of the season and got 32 points from both Paul George and Russell Westbrook, while Steven Adams (calf) returned for a solid double-double. Jerami Grant was solid in another start with 12 points, five boards, a steal and a 3-pointer, while Terrance Ferguson did nothing in another start. Dennis Schroder continues to be relevant, and had 15 points, three assists and a 3-pointer in 25 minutes, while Nerlens Noel, who went off in his last game, had two points, two boards and six fouls in just nine minutes last night. He went off for 20 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and a block on Sunday, but it was an Adams DNP-induced fluke.

 

Patrick Beverley continued his rivalry with Russell Westbrook and took another shot at his knees, prompting Westbrook to lose it and to pick up a technical, while Beverley got a tech and a flagrant foul on the play. He tweaked his ankle and had just four points, seven boards, six assists and a block in 26 minutes. If his ankle becomes a problem, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would see a big boost. SGA was quiet last night with just five points and three assists, as Beverley was focused on Westbrook. I’m still into SGA, but he really needs a Beverley injury to become a must-own in fantasy. Danilo Gallinari stayed hot with 27 points, two steals and three 3-pointers, and hit 10-of-10 free throws. It’s only a matter of time before he goes down, but as long as he’s healthy, he’s really reliable. Montrezl Harrell got 22 minutes, but had 10 points, four boards, a steal and no blocks. I’m still a big fan. And Boban Marjanovic played 10 minutes and had five points, two rebounds, three blocks and four fouls. I’ve moved on from being sucked into Boban Land. Avery Bradley had nine points, three boards, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, so just keep an eye on him in case he gets hot.

 

Blazers 104, Rockets 85Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins, Nik Stauskas and Evan Turner were all hot pickups this week with five games, but none of them really got it done on Tuesday. Collins was probably the closest with his seven points, four boards, three assists, one steal and two blocks, but the good news is that all of them have three more games to play this week. Jusuf Nurkic bounced back with a 22 & 10 Nurk Alert with a block, and he hit 7-of-10 shots, while Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both played well in the win.

 

Carmelo Anthony started again for the Rockets, but hit just 2-of-12 shots for eight points, four rebounds, a steal and two blocks. He was playing well coming in, but I don’t trust him and wouldn’t pick him up if you paid me to, out of principle. Clint Capela double-doubled and Chris Paul had 17 & 9, while Eric Gordon’s struggles continued to the tune of 4-of-18 shooting and 12 points. James Harden could be back from his hamstring injury on Saturday, which will likely send Gordon back to the bench, and will also hurt Melo. Marquese Chriss (ankle) made his season debut, but there’s nothing to see here.

 

Grizzlies 107, Wizards 95Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Garrett Temple were all great, and Temple’s worth a look again. He had 15 points on Saturday and 20 points, a season-high seven boards and four 3-pointers last night, and could be ready to heat up again. Kyle Anderson had five points, a season-high 11 boards and four steals, and could be ready to get hot. He’s been a huge disappointment, but he’s worth keeping a close eye on. Jaren Jackson Jr. was in foul trouble AGAIN and had just four points and three boards in just 10 minutes. Hang onto him if you can, but I wouldn’t be mad at you if you feel like you have to move on. Just don’t tell Jonas I said that. Shelvin Mack played well off the bench with 14 points and eight assists, so just keep an eye on him.

 

The Wizards would be 0-7 if not for an Otto Porter game-saving block on October 22, and most of them look pretty frustrated on the court. OPJ played well with 15 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and three 3-pointers, John Wall and Bradley Beal both did their thing, although Beal only hit 5-of-16 shots, and Kelly Oubre played through the flu and had 16 points, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer off the bench. He’s averaging 17.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers on 48 percent shooting over his last five, and is worth a pickup if he’s available in your league. Jeff Green started with Markieff Morris out with a concussion, but had just four points and five boards, and Oubre’s the way to go there. And Jason Smith played a season-high 24 minutes for seven points, six boards, four assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but he’s only worth a look for as long as Morris is out. The Wizards are just trying to tread water while waiting for Morris and Dwight Howard (back) to return, but by the time it happens, Scott Brooks may not have a job. The Wizards, Rockets, Suns and Cavaliers are the only one-win teams left in the NBA, while the Bucks are 7-0, the Raptors and Warriors are 7-1, and the Nuggets are 5-1. And the Kings, of all teams, are 5-3. The Wizards ship be sinkin’, or so it would appear.  



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.
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