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Usually, blowouts are the last thing we write about in the Dose, as there’s generally not a lot to learn from them, the scrubs play a bunch of garbage time, and the box score can be ignored because it’s meaningless. But it is my honor to present the most lopsided game in the history of the NBA. There were four other games last night and a couple of them were good ones. But this morning, we’re starting with the blowout. And if you got stuck with Giannis Antetokounmpo in your lineup last night, I don’t know what to tell you.
Memphis Grizzlies 152, Oklahoma City Underwater Basket Weavers 79 – So yeah, it’s the most lopsided differential in NBA history and the +/- numbers are pretty mind-blowing. Ja Morant (knee) and Kyle Anderson (back) were both out with injuries and I’m about done with Slo Mo in 12-team leagues. Jaren Jackson Jr. led the way for the Grizzlies with 27 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks, six 3-pointers and just one turnover on 9-of-11 shooting and the Grizzlies were up 72-36 at halftime. Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane, who were both coming in hot, played 15 and 18 minutes respectively, and Tyus Jones came through with a fun line of 10 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a 3-pointer in 21 minutes. De’Anthony Melton led the bench brigade with a 19-6-5 line with three 3-pointers, some dude named Santi Aldama had a career night with 18 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block, John Konchar had a 17-4-4-3 line with three 3-pointers, and Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman and Jarret Culver all scored 11 points. There’s nothing to learn from this box score, as the benches were cleared early, but JJJ and Ty Jones were +42s, Steven Adams was a +39, Aldama was a team-high +52, and Melton was a +46. If you don’t know what that means, it means that the Grizzlies outscored the Thunder by that many points while that player was on the court.
For the Thunder, who were without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (concussion), Luguentz Dort scored 15 to lead the way, Tre Mann, Ty Jerome (who started for SGA) and Mike Muscala each scored 12, and Isaiah Roby had 11 points in 24 minutes. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had a -56, the second-worst +/- in NBA history, Lu Dort was a -53, and Mann, Jerome and some guy named Paul Watson were all in the -40s. JRE was 0-for-7 for two points and five boards in what will be the worst game of the season for him. Kenrich Williams also sat this one out with a sprained right ankle and we’re just going to put this one to bed. Oh, if you’re wondering who has the worst single-game +/- of all time, it’s a former Cavalier named Manny Harris, who gave up a -57 to the Lakers back in 2011. And to put the icing on the cake, his real name is Corperryale L’Adorable Harris. So, there’s that.
Suns 114, Pistons 103 – The Suns won their 18th straight game to set a franchise record and did so without Devin Booker, who is out with a hamstring injury. The Cams led the way for the Suns off the bench, as Cameron Johnson (7-of-11, four 3-pointers, 19 points, six rebounds, one block) and Cameron Payne (8-of-14, one 3-pointer, 19 points, six boards, three assists and a block) each scored 19 points off the bench. Mikal Bridges, who has played 41 minutes in three straight games, came through with 18 points, five rebounds, four steals and two 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting, Deandre Ayton had 17 points, 12 rebounds and a steal on 7-of-11 shooting, Landry Shamet, who started for Booker, hit four 3-pointers for 14 points and three boards, and Chris Paul had 12 points and 12 rebounds while only attempting seven shots. Eighteen straight wins! Cam Johnson, Shamet, Bridges and Payne are all going to feast for as long as Booker is out, and he’s expected to miss “a few games.” Cam Johnson has been one of the hottest pickups in fantasy and I’m guessing we’ll be discussing him at noon today in the Waiver Wired Live Podcast, so be on the lookout for that.
For the Pistons, Jerami Grant led the way with 34 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in one of his best games of the season and hit 12-of-14 free throws in the loss. The Pistons have lost eight straight games, but Grant is having a nice season, returning fifth-round fantasy value. Cade Cunningham hit 8-of-15 shots and three 3-pointers for 19 points, two rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block in 31 minutes and Isaiah Stewart was fun with 12 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and a block on 6-of-7 shooting. Nobody else on the Pistons did much but that makes back-to-back double-doubles for Beef Stew, and he might be getting ready to finally break out. And Cunningham seems to be figuring things out, returning eighth-round value over the last couple of weeks. Killian Hayes had 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 33 minutes, but still seems to be an afterthought in the Detroit offense.
Bulls 119, Knicks 115 – The Bulls got big games from DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine on a night when Lonzo Ball really struggled with his shooting and were able to beat the Knicks. DeRozan hit 12-of-19 shots for 34 points, six boards, three assists, a steal and a block, Vuc hit 10-of-18 shots and five 3-pointers for 27 points, seven boards, three dimes and a block, and Zach hit 9-of-18 shots and three 3-pointers for 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block in the win. Vuc had been struggling offensively all season long but scored a season-high 30 with 14 boards on Monday and then backed it up with his second-best game of the season on Thursday. If he keeps this going the Bulls are going to make some serious noise in the East. As for Ball, he hit just 3-of-14 shots and 2-of-10 3-pointers for eight points, but also had five rebounds, six assists, three blocks and just two turnovers to salvage his fantasy line. Alex Caruso scored just six points but had six boards, six assists and four steals in 31 minutes, and was a catalyst in the win with all of his hustle plays and smart basketball. This was a very good win for the 15-8 Bulls, while Coby White sat out due to protocols. I still think Caruso should be rostered everywhere.
For the Knicks, Nerlens Noel sat out with a sore knee and RJ Barrett was out with an illness, allowing my man Immanuel Quickley to start. Julius Randle led the way with 30 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks on 14-of-21 shooting, Alec Burks and a slumping Evan Fournier each scored 16 points with a combined seven triples, and Quickley got hot in the second half for 15 points, three boards, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 38 minutes. Thibodeau rode his starters hard, as Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Burks, Fournier and IQ all played between 30 and 43 minutes. Burks had a fun line with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, but hit just 3-of-10 shots. However, he also hit 9-of-10 free throws and committed just one turnover. He should be on every roster imaginable at this point. Robinson left early and went to the locker room with an undisclosed injury but was able to finish the game with nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 30 minutes. Derrick Rose remains relevant and had 16 points and six assists off the pine, as Kemba Walker sits and watches from the bench. The Knicks are 11-11, have lost two straight and can’t seem to put a winning streak together under Thibodeau.
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Raptors 97, Bucks 93 – The Raptors caught a break when Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t listed as a starter 30 minutes before tip-off, and it became clear he wasn’t going to play. Fred VanVleet went off for 29 points, five boards, four assists, a block and five triples on 9-of-17 shooting in the win. Pascal Siakam scored 20 with eight boards, four dimes, a block and a 3-pointer on 9-of-18 shooting, but also had an uncharacteristic six turnovers before fouling out of the game. Scottie Barnes filled the stat sheet with 13 points, seven boards, four assists, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers, and Gary Trent Jr. returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a calf injury but looked a little rusty by hitting just 3-of-16 shots and 2-of-10 3-pointers for eight points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block with just one turnover. The line was nice, outside of the poor shooting. OG Anunoby’s hip injury is healing slowly, and he hasn’t played since Nov. 15. Precious Achiuwa has been getting starts in his place but hasn’t exactly been blowing up and had six points, eight rebounds, a steal and two blocks in 35 minutes last night. The Raps are having a disappointing season at 10-13 and are just 3-8 at home, but still have time to turn it around. Anunoby’s return would certainly help their cause. And in case you’re wondering, Chris Boucher played 12 minutes and had six points, two rebounds and a block. I’ve dropped him in all my 12-team leagues.
Giannis reportedly sat because of right calf soreness but it looks more like a simple day of rest to me. A heads up would have been nice. Pat Connaughton started in his place and missed a potentially game-winning 3-pointer with five seconds left on the clock, and only had seven points and three boards on 2-of-7 shooting. Jrue Holiday scored a season-high 26 points with six rebounds, eight assists, a block and four 3-pointers on 10-of-19 shooting in the loss. He also had five turnovers, but otherwise had a big night. Khris Middleton came through with 22 points, eight rebounds, a block and two 3-pointers on 8-of-20 shooting in 35 minutes, so he got a boost without Giannis. Bobby Portis double-doubled with 15 points, 11 rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer and should be rostered everywhere, while Grayson Allen added 10 points and two 3-pointers in a hollow stat line. I fully expect Giannis to be out there on Saturday against the Heat, even though the Bucks probably won’t need him.
Spurs 114, Blazers 83 – The Spurs manhandled the Damian Lillard-less Blazers and fought off a late push from Portland to run away to an easy win. The Spurs got a balanced attack with all five starters scoring in double figures and Bryn Forbes leading the way off the bench with 18 points, two steals and three 3-pointers on 7-of-9 shooting in just 15 minutes. Doug McDermott played well and hit 7-of-13 shots and two 3-pointers for 16 points, four rebounds and three assists, but didn’t do anything else on the night. Dejounte Murray had a nice double-double with 15 points, seven rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl each scored 14, and Derrick White had 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. Poeltl had a fun night with nine boards, two assists, a steal and four blocks to go along with his 14 points, and Johnson added seven rebounds and two 3-pointers in his 34 minutes. Forbes simply got hot and is not worth grabbing, while Lonnie Walker continued to disappoint with his seven points in 15 minutes. Devin Vassell got hurt in this one and didn’t return after his thigh tightened up. He could miss a couple games and Forbes and Walker, along with Murray and White, would get a boost if that happens. The Spurs are still just 7-13 on the season but this was a good win, with or without Damian Lillard in their face.
Norman Powell was back in action for the Blazers after missing two games with a quad injury and finished with 16 points, four rebounds, one assist, a block and two 3-pointers, hitting just 3-of-13 shots. Rust was the name of the game for him last night, but at least he’s back. Powell should be a monster with Lillard on the shelf for 10 days and with Anfernee Simons going down with a sprained ankle last night. More on that later. C.J. McCollum got hot in the second half to finish with 16 points, two 3-pointers, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a season-high tying three blocks. The swats were a fluke, as he’d recorded just one of them over his previous seven games. Jusuf Nurkic (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Robert Covington (10 points, six rebounds, two 3-pointers) each scored 10 but neither of them had a steal or block, which is pretty annoying. The news for the Blazers, outside of Lillard being shelved for 10 days with his lingering abdominal strain, was that Anfernee Simons went down with a sprained right ankle after landing on the foot of Thaddeus Young. Simons played just 11 minutes and missed all three of his shots, failing to score (or do anything else). I’ve been championing him as a hot pickup, so this injury was a complete buzzkill last night. He was in a walking boot leaving the arena, which is not great news. With Lillard and Simons hurting, Dennis Smith Jr. is the next man up. DSJ played 19 minutes and hit 2-of-8 shots and a 3-pointer for six points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals last night. Ben McLemore hit three 3-pointers and had 11 points and a steal in the loss, and both of them are going to get run as long as Simons and Lillard are out. Both will be worth a DFS look against the Celtics on Saturday and DSJ might be a must-start. If we find out Simons is going to miss time, DSJ will be in the conversation as a pickup in standard leagues, as well. Outside of DSJ and BMac, the Blazers’ bench was useless.
Injury News & Notes
LeBron James has cleared COVID protocols and should be good to go on Friday. You know what to do.
Jimmy Butler (tailbone) is out again on Friday, and it doesn’t sound like he’s likely for Saturday against the Bucks, either. Hopefully, he can play against the Grizzlies on Monday, but I’m not holding my breath. Tyler Herro and Max Strus see a bump, and don’t forget about Dewayne Dedmon with Bam Adebayo (thumb surgery) out for the next couple of months.
Kevin Porter Jr. is listed as questionable for Friday’s game with his thigh injury, but there are also reports out there that he could miss several games. Jae’Sean Tate and Armoni Brooks are basically must-have players in fantasy at this point.
Christian Wood (right ankle) is somehow listed as probable for Friday’s game against the Wizards, which is great news for his managers. After leaving the game twice and leaving the arena in a walking boot on Wednesday, things were looking bleak. Hopefully, the report is accurate and Alperen Sengun and Daniel Theis will continue to watch Wood ball-out going forward.
Zion Williamson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a foot injury and while the Pelicans say it’s not a big deal, it feels like a big deal. As a person who rosters Zion in several leagues, I can only tell you not to get your hopes up for much from Zion this season. By the time he’s ready to play the Pelicans will be out of the playoff hunt. But yes, I’m keeping him around.
Enjoy Friday’s nine-game slate!