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Steve Alexander

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Dose: LaMarcus drives Route 56

Friday, January 11, 2019


Nuggets 121, Clippers 100 – The 28-12 Nuggets are really good, and currently hold the West’s best record, which is almost unbelievable. Gary Harris was out again with his hamstring injury (I know, it hurts), but Nikola Jokic triple-doubled with 18-14-10 and two blocks (his 21st trip-dub), Jamal Murray had 23 points, six rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting, Malik Beasley came through with 15 points, five assists, two steals and three 3-pointers (did you use him in the five-game week?), and Torrey Craig kept it going with 14 points, four boards, three steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 6-of-8 shooting. Mason Plumlee, thankfully, came off the bench for a season-high 17 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and a block on 7-of-8 shooting, and Monte Morris added 14 points, two boards, four assists and two 3-pointers on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench. If you rolled with any of them in this five-game week, they at least came through tonight. Craig was at the bottom on my list, but is having a great week. But once this five-game week is over, I’m going to have a real hard time trusting Craig, Morris, Plumlee and Beasley. Juancho Hernangomez is dealing with some injury issues and it sounds like the Nuggets may shut him down at some point, which would work in the favor of Will Barton, who’s due back soon from his hip injury. But Barton is still at least a week away, so he’s still not a must-own player in my eyes, but he's an intriguing pickup if you can do it without hurting your team.

 

For the Clippers, Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris (11 rebounds) both scored 18, but were the only starters to do much of anything. If you haven’t already cut Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, he hit 1-of-4 shots for three points, and it’s time to move on. Montrezl Harrell continues to be a bright spot in L.A. and had 16 points, six boards and a block on 7-of-9 shooting, and Lou Williams added 19 points, five assists and a 3-pointer, filling in as the only point guard to own for the Clippers. Their box score is a disaster to look at, and only Gallinari, Harris, Harrell and Williams are trustworthy on this team.

 

Kings 112, Pistons 102 – Don’t look now, but the Kings are 21-21 and are having a surprising season, but are still 2.0 games from having a shot at the playoffs. If they get Enes Kanter, that could change, but it would also be bad news for Willie Cauley-Stein, who had 14 points, 14 boards, five assists and two blocks. Buddy Hield had 18 points and a couple 3-pointers, De’Aaron Fox had 12 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and an incredible block, and continues to play at an all-star level, despite the low scoring last night. Marvin Bagley (knee) returned from a one-game absence and had 10 points, seven boards and two steals, while starter Nemanja Bjelica had seven points, five boards, five assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer. I’ve moved on from Bjelica, but he’s always worth keeping an eye on. Iman Shumpert was back from his finger injury and had 13 points, two boards, two assists and two 3-pointers in the start, which hurt Bogdan Bogdanovic. Bogey had just six points on 3-of-9 shooting, but added three boards, four assists and two steals on 3-of-9 shooting in 21 bench minutes. I’m holding onto Bogey, but this Shumpert starting thing doesn’t do him any favors. Harry Giles blew up for a career-high 14 points, four boards, three assists, two steals and three blocks, and maybe Giles has finally replaced Kosta Koufos (DNP) in the rotation. Enes Kanter could show up and ruin the party, but at worst, Giles should be on everyone’s radar after the best game of his career.

 

For the Pistons, Blake Griffin got the night off for rest, so Stanley Johnson broke free for 16 points and a couple 3-pointer in 23 minutes off the bench. Luke Kennard started, but hit just 1-of-8 shots for five points, and I’m not messing with either of them. Griffin simply got the night off after grabbing just two rebounds over his last three games. How is that even possible? Andre Drummond had another weak double-double with seven turnovers, Reggie Bullock and Bryce Brown each scored 15, and Reggie Jackson hit just 3-of-11 shots for six points and two assists. The only Pistons I’m messing with these days are Griffin, Drummond, Jackson and possibly Bullock, but Ish Smith is nearing a return and will hurt Jackson, as if Jackson’s not already hurting himself enough. Simply put, the Pistons are a mess.

 

Get ready for a crucial nine-game Friday, which will likely decide a lot of fantasy matchups this week.

 

Bold Predictions

 

Victor Oladipo will break out against the Knicks, restoring his owners’ faith.

D’Angelo Russell will torch Kyle Lowry and the Raptors for a huge line.

The Rockets will destroy the Cavs and James Harden will rest during the 4th quarter.

Luka Doncic will do more crazy stuff and the Mavs will win in Minnesota.

Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram will go off and beat the Jazz in Utah.

Damian Lillard will best Kemba Walker for one of his best games of the season.

The Warriors will rest their starters (again) in the fourth quarter vs. the Bulls.

Joel Embiid will have his biggest line yet against the center-less Hawks.

Ian Mahinmi will once again outplay Thomas Bryant against the Bucks.



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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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