Fantasy basketball. Key games, stats, and themes for games on 12/16/2014.
#1 Versus #2; Grizzlies 105, Warriors 98
This was a match-up between the top two teams in the league record-wise, and the Grizzlies came on top, ending the Warriors 16-game winning streak.
Part of the reason was because Stephen Curry couldn’t get his shot going. He shot 9/25 from the field and 1/10 from long range to finish with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and four steals. Klay Thompson added 22 points on 8/16 shooting, including 4/5 from long range. Another reason was that the Warriors were without center Andrew Bogut. Speaking of which, backup Marreese Speight played well in Bogut’s absence, totaling 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 7/14 shooting and 4/4 from the line. Speights is definitely worth a pickup with Bogut’s knee injury lingering.
For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol totaled 24 points, 7 rebounds, and a block, while frontcourt mate Zach Randolph added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Conley produced 17 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals on 6/18 shooting.
Durant, Westbrook Pace OKC; Thunder 104, Kings 92
With their star players at full health, OKC is fast marching toward a playoff spot, with a winning streak of 7 games after their win over the Kings.
KD had 26 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists, while fellow superstar Russell Westbrook added 32 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals on 11/20 shooting and 9/12 from the line. Serge Ibaka chipped with 9 points, 6 rebounds, a three, and a season high 7 blocks. Though he has added the three pointer to his fantasy arsenal, Ibaka’s rebounding numbers have been off this year, but owners will just have to be patient.
In the absence of Demarcus Cousins(flu), Rudy Gay continued to pace the Kings with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block on a team high 20 shots.
Young Guns Impress; Pelicans 119, Jazz 111
A number of young guns impressed in the Pelicans win over the Jazz. For the Jazz, Gordon Hayward still remains in a bit of a slump. He did have a line of 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists(no threes or steals, 1 block) on 7/16 shooting, but on a whole he has had a slow December. Gordon is .397 from the field and hitting 1.1 three pointers a game in January as opposed to marks of .490 and 1.8 in November.
But, the 22 year old Enes Kanter impressed as he bulldozed his way to 29 points, and 7 rebounds(6 offensive rebounds) on 12/22 shooting. Kanter doesn’t contribute much in the threes/steals/blocks three-cat trio, but with Derrick Favors out, Kanter will be a great source of points and rebounds for owners. Meanwhie, the 19 year old Dante Exum had the best game of his young career, scoring 12 on 5/7 shooting while showcasing the athleticism that was so highly touted by scouts. Exum currently does not get enough minutes to be an effective fantasy player, but if the Jazz continue to lose and he gets an opportunity down the line, he may be a speculative add then.
For the Hornets, the 21 year old superstar Anthony Davis returned and continued producing fantasy’s top stat lines, with 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks on 12/15 shooting and 7/7 from the line. Ryan Anderson continued to a be a deadly source of threes, with 28 points on 10/15 from the field and 6/10 from three point range.
Wade Carries Heat; Heat 95, Nets 91
With Chris Bosh out due to a strained calf, the Miami Heat were once again Dwyane Wade’s team, and he paced them in their victory with 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, in 36 minutes.
For the Nets, the oft-trade-rumored Deron Williams double-doubled with 15 points and 11 assists – adding two steals, Joe Johnson scored 16 with 4 threes, and Mason Plumlee impressed with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Plumlee has a good opportunity, and is worth a short-term speculative add with Brook Lopez out.
Jabari Parker Out for the Year
Unforunately, the Bucks rookie will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He finished his rookie season with averages of 12.3 points, 5.5 boards, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals in 30 minutes per game.