Suns win 17th in a row to tie franchise record

·17 min read

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I never thought I’d be writing about Stephen Curry playing poorly this season, but spoiler, here we are. Five games on Tuesday, and plenty to unpack, so let’s do it.

Suns 104, Warriors 96

On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns tied the franchise record for most consecutive wins with 17 of them, this most recent one being extra special as it came against the second hottest team in the league in the Golden State Warriors. The last time they won 17 straight was in the 2006-2007 season, and we’ll find out as soon as Thursday if they can officially break the record. We’ll start with the bad first, as Devin Booker exited in the middle of the second quarter with a hamstring injury, finishing with 10 points, two rebounds and one dime in 15 minutes, but he was seen on the Phoenix bench relentlessly cheering on his team despite suffering an injury mid-game. He’s had some hammy issues in the past but he’s bounced back rather nicely, and basically everyone gets a small boost if he misses time, with Chris Paul being the next man up and go-to guy. CP3 tallied a 4x5 line to the tune of 15 points (7-of-13 FGs), six rebounds, 11 assists, five steals, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 39 minutes, and he just has not seemed to age and will remain in the first-round status that he held before this gem. Deandre Ayton feasted and was hustling up and down the court like nobody’s business, going for a team-high 24 points (11-of-19 FGs) with 11 rebounds (six offensive), two assists, one steal and two blocks with just one turnover to his name in 34 minutes. He’s still just top-60 on the season because he isn’t blocking shots, with the two tonight tying his season high, only accumulating that many on two occasions. Cam Johnson had a 14/4/2/1/1 evening with three triples and is probably the biggest direct beneficiary whenever D-Book is hurt, so feel free to stream him if Booker sits on Thursday against the Pistons (I see no reason why he wouldn’t get some extra rest even if he’s fine, given the opponent). Mikal Bridges had just two points but brought the defense with four steals and a block and tied Chris Paul with a team-high plus-21 net rating, and if he’s snubbed from an All-Defensive Team again, I would like a word with whoever’s voting. Jae Crowder hit two huge triples late to help clinch the win, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers, and while he’s just a late-round guy he’s yet another Sun that could get a bump if Booker is in street clothes for a couple games.

Jordan Poole was the star of the Warriors on Tuesday, scoring a team-high 28 points on 9-of-15 from the field while adding five rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block, six 3-pointers and four turnovers in 35 minutes. He netted 16 points in the first quarter alone, which is a career high for him in any NBA quarter, and he looks better than ever in every single aspect of the game. Klay’s return is bound to hurt him a bit, but he’s playing way too well and is too pivotal of a guy to not play 30 minutes a night. Stephen Curry finally struggled, but the fact that his team hung in there with the hottest team in the league by a wide margin with Curry playing like he did speaks volumes to the quality of these GSW role players. Steph hit just 4-of-21 shots for 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, three treys and two turnovers in his 36 minutes of action, and this was actually his worst field goal percentage of his career (19.0%) when attempting at least 20 shots. He missed some shots he normally makes, but the Suns get plenty of credit for making it a point to guard him wherever he can make a shot, which, as we know, is virtually anywhere on hardwood. The best part is that these two teams get a rematch this coming Friday, so not only does everyone get plenty of rest, but Steph is sure to bounce back. Andrew Wiggins was inefficient but had a half decent 10/3/2/1/1 line, Draymond Green posted an 8/11/5 line with a block and five of Golden State’s 22 turnovers and Otto Porter Jr. has been playing rather well with Andre Iguodala (knee, already unlikely to play Friday) sidelined and proved he’s worth rostering right now with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and four triples in 30 minutes.

Grizzlies 98, Raptors 91

It’s bound to be a low-scoring affair when two teams combine to shoot just 72-of-184 (39.1%) from the field, as was the case in the Grizzlies’ second straight win without Ja Morant (knee) on the court. Jaren Jackson Jr. has been awesome in these two, improving upon a 17/9 performance with two blocks on Sunday with a line of 25 points (8-of-14 FGS, 5-of-6 FTs), six rebounds, one assist, five blocks, four 3-pointers and two turnovers in 34 minutes on Monday night. He was just a point shy of his season high and while some may have thought he’d have to adjust to life without his star point guard, he’s really just making the most of an expanded offensive role and tied his season high in minutes as well. His fouls are still an issue, as he’s had five in three of his last four and four of them in the other one in that span, so his trajectory will only continue to point straight up if he can get those down, but he’s a beast regardless and is officially paying dividends to managers. Also, he had at least four blocks and four treys for the first time since his rookie year, which is an incredibly rare skillset to find, and he could keep it up. Desmond Bane continued his outstanding season with a full 23/7/2 line (8-of-16 FGs) with five triples and a swat, and if you were worried about Dillon Brooks affecting him, he’s proving all of his doubters wrong in a big way. Speaking of, Brooks stat line looked like usual with an awful 5-of-18 mark from the floor, but he did hit all six of his free throws on his way to 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, a season-high four steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. His first four games of the season were too good to be true, as he hit 46.0% of his shots in those as opposed to 34.8% in his most recent four, but we know efficiency isn’t his strong suit, so if he can end up anywhere in the 40s that would be considered a win. Tyus Jones was pretty quiet in his second start with just four points on 2-of-10 shooting with three boards and six dimes, but he did have three steals and I think he’s still a guy worth rostering for as long as Ja is sidelined despite his offensive game not being great in his two starts thus far. The bench was relatively quiet all in all, but De’Anthony Melton made a little noise with a near double-double consisting of an inefficient nine points, 10 boards, two assists and one steal in 17 minutes, and sadly he’s fallen out of the top-150 over the past week and could be a cut-candidate in shallower leagues.

What’s a Raptors game if you don’t talk about Chris Boucher? The most confusing man in fantasy hoops had six points, one board and two blocks in seven minutes, playing fewer minutes than all nine of the other Raptors who touched the floor, and it’s borderline laughable how much Nick Nurse despises a guy who was top-75 in just 24 minutes per game last season, and it’s not like the team has been overly healthy either. He’s a definite drop candidate, and while I wouldn’t blame if you wanted to hold on given the upside, I’ve given up. Pascal Siakam led the team in scoring with 20 points and a full line also including six rebounds, five assists, one steal, three blocks, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 30 minutes, and his 9-of-19 mark from the field rounded out a true 9-cat gem. Fred VanVleet was quiet for his standards with a 15/9/3 line with a steal with an unfortunate four turnovers, but he drained six of his 13 shots and has been so good lately and will be generally awesome despite a good chunk of inefficient shooting nights. Rookie Scottie Barnes added to the fun 9-cat party (more so 8-cat, given the four turnovers) with a stacked 19/7/3/2/4 line on 50% shooting, and he’s a top-100 asset with just 20 NBA games under his belt. Svi Mykhailiuk started for Gary Trent Jr. (calf) not in action, but had just seven points in 18 minutes and isn’t a streaming option even when he starts. Precious Achiuwa started for Khem Birch (knee) yet again but did a whole lot of nothing before fouling out in 29 minutes and is no more than a shaky option when Birch is sidelined, and Yuta Watanabe wasn’t bad with 11 points, six boards and three triples off the bench, but I’m comfortable staying away from him.

Nets 112, Knicks 100

This game appeared to be getting ugly with the Nets up by as many as 16, but a 24-6 Knicks run in the late-third and early-fourth quarters helped them make it competitive, only to fall by a bucket in a tough loss. James Harden’s offensive game finally looked to be flowing as he led the team in most categories (including turnovers, per usual) with 34 points (11-of-20 FGs, 9-of-10 FTs), 10 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, three 3-pointers and five turnovers in 40 minutes, and after a combined 8-of-28 showing in his last two games, this was quite nice to see. The Beard leads the league in turnovers and is converting his shots in the low-40s, but he’s doing everything else so well that he’s still a fantasy first-rounder. Kevin Durant struggled a bit in the sense that he went just 9-of-23 from the floor, but posted a nice 27/5/9 line with a block, and he rarely needs any analysis because he’s KD. Patty Mills struggled with just 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, as did LaMarcus Aldridge with eight points and four boards, but at least he had three blocks, but these two guys have been better than this most nights and are about as far as fantasy relevance goes on the nightly KD/Harden show that is the Brooklyn Nets.

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Alec Burks is officially starting for Kemba Walker (out of the rotation, per coach Thibs) unless we hear otherwise, and in case you needed some convincing that he’s a must-roster guy, his 25/5/5/2/1 line with four treys on Monday evening should do it. He will be rostered in far more than the 43% of leagues he currently is when you wake up in the morning, so go get him and do it quickly. Julius Randle was just behind Burks in scoring and nearly triple-doubled with 24 points (11-of-22 shooting), nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals and three turnovers in a team-high 40 minutes, and I’m liking the idea of Derrick Rose (16/5/9 with two triples off the bench) quite a bit more since the Kemba news. Evan Fournier had a big three late but sadly to no avail, and he had 13 points with three 3-pointers, two turnovers and not a single other stat to his name. He’s really not helping you anywhere except for his three-pointers (2.6 per game), so I’m fine with letting him go if your team is solid in that area. RJ Barrett exited the game after just nine minutes due to an illness and had just four points, which resulted in Immanuel Quickley playing 38 minutes on his way to 12 points, seven boards, two assists, one steal and two triples, and Quickley could be worth plugging into your lineup if Barrett misses any time, but don’t cut anyone of consistent value to get him since it was just an illness for RJ.

Lakers 117, Kings 92

The final score doesn’t depict as such, but this game sure was a rollercoaster. The Kings were up by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, and then L.A. proceeded to go on an extended 40-8 run from the early-third to early-fourth quarter to blow the game wide open. As you’ve probably heard, LeBron James entered health and safety protocols Tuesday morning and will be out for 10 days (the Lakers play four games in that span) unless he tests negative twice in a 48-hour period, but the quarantine seems a bit more likely given what we’ve seen from other sidelined stars this season. Anthony Davis was awesome with a 25/7/3/2/2 line on 12-of-22 from the floor and Russell Westbrook did his “thing” with a 23/5/6 line (9-of-21 FGs, 4-of-7 FTs), with a triple, a steal, and four more turnovers, but it was the non-stars that get a ton of the credit for the comeback and ultimately the win. Malik Monk was en fuego and went for 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and a season-high six 3-pointers in 33 minutes, and the non-LeBron factor may put at least put him on the fantasy map assuming LeBron is in fact out for the next four contests. Dwight Howard was utilized for a season-high 35 minutes and tried his best to try and stop Richaun Holmes, as D-12 came through with 12 points, 13 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and three turnovers, but this is just a once in a blue moon thing, and maybe he’s a DFS option against a traditional center like Holmes, but I don’t trust him to do it again anytime soon. Rajon Rondo gets a bit of love here as he had just four points with six boards and a dime, but really controlled the game in parts of the comeback to get to a net rating of plus-19 in just nine minutes of action. Wayne Ellington started and had three triples and three steals, and Talen Horton-Tucker also made the start but battled foul trouble and simply wasn’t playing as well as the other guys, finishing with a 2/2/2/1/1 line with three giveaways in 16 minutes.

There’s not a whole lot to talk about on the Kings’ side, and Alvin Gentry let them have it after another pathetic loss, speaking out post-game and saying that “[a]s the coach of this team I want to apologize to every Kings fan tonight, because you do not deserve this.” Ouch, and don’t be surprised if some major lineup changes are coming as Gentry is not one to mess around. Richaun Holmes returned from a three-game absence due to an eye injury and was nearly flawless as he converted on 12 of his 13 shots, scoring 27 points with nine rebounds, two dimes and two blocks in 33 minutes, and he was the best King by quite a bit. Chimezie Metu and and Terence Davis started for Harrison Barnes (foot) and Moe Harkless (knee), with Metu tallying his second career double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes, and he’s been good when given the opportunity but keep in mind that he racked up some DNP-CDs when Gentry first came into the picture, so just be cautious of this. Davis played just 15 minutes but was decent with a nice 8/6/1/1/2 line, which is pretty great given the limited floor time, but he’s just a low-end guy for as long as the two injured guys mentioned above are sidelined. De’Aaron Fox had a 17/5/5 line with two steals but seven turnovers and a team-worst tying minus-21 net rating, while none of Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Davion Mitchell could throw the ball in the ocean as the three combined to shoot 6-of-31 (19.4%) from the floor. Mitchell did leave briefly with an eye injury but returned, so we’ll keep an… eye… on that.

Trailblazers 110, Pistons 92

I didn’t do a great job of saving the best for last here, as Portland didn’t even have Damian Lillard (rest) and still had no issue taking care of Detroit. The Dame-less Blazers were led by none other than CJ McCollum, who recorded a game-high 28 points (11-of-26 FGs), four rebounds, six assists, two steals and four treys in 36 minutes, and his ceiling is a tad higher whenever Dame sits, so just something to consider for future DFS lineups. The next highest scorer was Ben McLemore (no, really) with 17 points and four triples, but this was beyond fluky and he had just 19 points on the entire season prior to this random eruption. Go ahead and ignore. Anfernee Simons started but was a bit underwhelming with 12 points (5-of-14 shooting), six rebounds, five assists, and a block in 36 minutes, but he wasn’t awful by any means, and even Dennis Smith Jr. got a little extra burn with an 11/4/3/1/1 line in 17 reserve minutes, but I’m ignoring him as well. Jusuf Nurkic was pretty good with a 13/8/5/1/1 line, and Robert Covington should’ve fared better with Nassir Little (ankle) sidelined but flopped with just eight points in 24 minutes.

Detroit lost their seventh straight game on Tuesday and are not a cohesive team by any means, but at least they can be excited about Cade Cunningham. Cade had the most efficient game of his young career, hitting 10 of his 13 shots (5-of-7 threes) for a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal, three blocks and six turnovers in 33 minutes, and he’s coming off of an absolutely brutal five-game stretch during which he shot 20-of-70 from the field (28.6%), so this was likely huge for his confidence. Jerami Grant did more bad than good with 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting and five turnovers, but he’ll be alright, and Isaiah Stewart finally doubled-doubled for the first time this season with 15 points, 14 rebounds and a swat in 33 minutes, and this was huge considering he was approaching drop territory as a 15th-rounder in standard leagues coming in. Killian Hayes had 11 points with six boards and a pair of dimes and Frank Jackson had 10 points of his own but little else as always, and that’s all she wrote for this poor Pistons squad.

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