We have a lot to talk about from Tuesday's slate of five games, but the biggest game of the night was between the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors. For the first time in NBA history, both teams entered the matchup with a win percentage of at least .850 and each with a seven-game winning streak. Additionally, this matchup features two of the five teams in the league who rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Every eye was on both teams' guards.
Stephen Curry played so poorly last night, but nevertheless the Warriors were able to compete for most of the game. Curry only scored 12 points on 21 shots, his second-worst point total in his career when he's attempted more than 20 shots.
For the Suns, Chris Paul delivered a classic performance. He has 10 assists in 14 games this season, five more than any other player. This was Paul's third game with 10 assists and five steals this season. Despite his age, Paul remains a top 10 fantasy talent.
Let's explore some of the highlights, lowlights, and takeaways below.
Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers: 2 points (1-3 FGs), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Suns center Deandre Ayton had 24 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks against the Warriors. If you remove his horrendous free throw percentage of 63%, he's a top-30 fantasy player.
For the Suns, Mikal Bridges remains a defensive threat. Despite only having two points, he had four steals and a block.
The Suns clinched the win with two crucial three-pointers from Jae Crowder late in the game. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and a steal. Crowder would benefit immediately if Booker missed time.
As Curry struggled for the Warriors, Jordan Poole stepped up with 28 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes. His eight 20 point games this season are one shy of tying his most 20 point games in a single season.
Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 25 points, added six rebounds, five blocks, and an assist for the Grizzlies. Kristaps Porzingis (6), Raef LaFrentz (5) and Brook Lopez (4) are the other three players to have four three-pointers and five blocked shots in multiple career games. Also, Desmond Bane had 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block for the Grizzlies. He made five three-pointers, tying his career-high.
With 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal, three blocks, and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes while shooting 47% from the field, Pascal Siakam had a stat line for the Raptors that had those participating in category formats salivating.
In 38 minutes for the Raptors, Scottie Barnes has 19 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists, three 3-pointers, and two steals. This is the first time this season he has recorded a block in three consecutive games and hit multiple three-pointers in back-to-back games.
In 40 minutes, James Harden had 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and three steals for the Nets. It was his third-most points in a game this season.
Nets point guard Patty Mills was underwhelming with just 10 points, but this is unlikely to signal a downward trend. The same can be said for LaMarcus Aldridge who only had eight points, four rebounds and three blocks.
Since Kemba Walker is out of the Knicks' rotation, Alec Burks should be rostered in all leagues (available in 83.7% of ESPN leagues). In 39 minutes, he tallied 25 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Walker's removal from the rotation also benefits Derrick Rose. In his first game back after nine days, Rose played a season-high 35 minutes off the bench. He is only rostered in 46.3% of ESPN leagues and scored 16 points, five rebounds and nine assists. Get him.
In 33 minutes, Malik Monk had 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, and a season-high six 3-pointers for the Lakers, putting him on your fantasy radar.
After missing three games due to an eye injury, Richaun Holmes returned and was superb. He scored 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had one assist and two blocks in 33 minutes, and he was the top King by a wide margin.
Cade Cunningham had the best game of his young career by scoring a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds, one assist, a steal and three blocks in 33 minutes for the Pistons, and this is coming after a rough five-game stretch in which he shot 28.6% from the field.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
It will be a busy night for fantasy managers on Wednesday with nine games and lots of players to choose from. Betting lines can help you tell what pace the game will likely have, how many possessions a team will likely get, and how many points they can expect to score if you are rattling your brain trying to make lineup decisions.
A basketball game has much fewer outliers compared to other sports. If you simply take the totals at face value, you can essentially interpret who will benefit from the pace and scoring. You need to account for the possibility of a blowout when making lineup decisions because odds and spread matter. You must be aware of the blowout and benching risk in the NBA, and Vegas offers exactly what you need to be prepared. For example, if Team A is 14-point favorite against Team B with a 240 total, you may consider benching multiple players from Team A. In addition to being useful in DFS, betting lines have value in season-long formats as well. One game you'll want exposure to on Wednesday's slate is between the Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks. The matchup has an over/under set at 229 points.
Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks: With Bogdan Bogdanovic out for two weeks with an ankle injury, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter out with wrist injuries, Huerter will be given all the minutes he can handle against the Indiana Pacers. He's a good value on DraftKings and FanDuel.