• The night began with the Hawks falling to the Jazz and their only lead of the game was at 2-0. The Hawks struggled mightily on offense without Trae Young, shooting 32.7 percent from the field while the Jazz finished at 48.4 percent. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz in scoring with 23 points off the bench with five treys while Bojan Bogdanović dropped 21 on 9-of-14 shooting with only one made triple. Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the rest of the typical Jazz performed well in the victory as the Jazz continue to boast the NBA’s best record. On the other side of the ball, the combined point guard duo of Rajon Rondo and Brandon Goodwin shot a combined 1-for-17 from the field for six points. Kevin Huerter was the only main guy who shot the ball better than 40 percent and he finished with 16 points, three steals, one block and a triple. It was a difficult matchup for the Hawks, especially without their star point guard, so we can expect better performances from Clint Capela, John Collins and company moving forward.

    Next up was the first of the nationally televised games for the day and it featured a matchup between Stephen Curry and the Warriors up against Luka Dončić and the Mavs. While Curry had a great night with 28 points (9-of-17) and six assists, Kelly Oubre stole the show with a career-night in the victory. He finished with career-highs in points (40) and triples (7) as the Warriors cruised to victory in the second half. The Warriors featured a frontcourt of Draymond Green (6’6″) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (6’6″) and yet Kristaps Porziņģis and the Mavs were unable to take advantage. Seemingly all nine available players performed well for the Dubs with Draymond notching a 15-assist double-double, JTA continuing to live up to the moment and excellent 3-point shooting off the bench from Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder. Andrew Wiggins was the only player who disappointed on offense but he definitely contributed on the defensive end by having some of the most difficult assignments. The Mavs, meanwhile, disappointed across the board with the exception of the little guy, Jalen Brunson. Brunson scored 18 points on nine attempts with four assists and he was crucial in keeping the Mavs in the game in the first half. It wasn’t a good night for the Mavs as a team and while Luka and Kristaps got their popcorn stats, their defensive intensity was horrendous and their offensive movement was lacking. They finished with 26 assists as a team and shot 41.3 percent from the field while they allowed the Warriors to total 37 assists and 57.3 percent from the field. It’s practically impossible to win a game with those kinds of stats working against you. The Mavs have better days in front of them as this was far from their best showing.

    The Warriors weren’t the only team to have nine active players on Thursday. The Blazers were without Damian Lillard and they’ve already been without two other starters in CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkić for a while, but the other players came through as the Blazers surged in the second half to take down the Sixers. They outscored Philadelphia by 21 points in the third quarter to pull away on very balanced scoring. Enes Kanter had a monster double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. led the squad with 22 and 24 points respectively. Rodney Hood and Robert Covington were productive starters as well while second-round draft pick CJ Elleby came through with career-highs across literally every single category. The Sixers were also shorthanded, with Ben Simmons a late scratch for the second half of their current back-to-back. They clearly ran out of gas in the second half but Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris did their best with 37 points for Embiid while Harris had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double. Seth Curry departed the game and could definitely be dealing with side effects from having COVID a few weeks ago. Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton pitched in off the bench for 15 and 12 points, but no other player was able to contribute as Furkan Korkmaz disappointed with his spot-start. It did look at one point like Embiid suffered a leg injury but he was able to return to the game so I guess it could have been worse for Sixer fans.

    Unfortunately, the next game needs to start with an injury. Christian Wood re-aggravated his right ankle on a drive to the rim at the end of the third quarter. Hopefully, it’s not as serious as it looked and Wood can get back out there soon as he is having a career-year. He had a solid 17-point, 10-rebound double-double prior to exiting with the injury. Jae’Sean Tate continues to impress in a starting role as he chipped in with 19 points (7-of-9) seven rebounds and five cash counters. John Wall and Eric Gordon didn’t shoot the ball well (35.3 and 38.9 percent) but were able to pour in 22 and 20 points respectively. They had productive nights off the bench from Danuel House and Sterling Brown and were able to start a new winning streak after the Thunder put an end to their seven-game streak the last time out. The Grizzlies were on the losing end on Thursday with rookie Desmond Bane leading the team in scoring with 16 points. They just didn’t have enough offensive fire power with just 51 points from their starters. It’ll be very helpful for the Grizzlies to get some healthy bodies back and Jonas Valančiūnas has to be at the top of the wish-list.

    The night cap was a doozy of a matchup as it featured a rematch of the 2019 Western Conference Finals with the Lakers once again taking down the Nuggets. Anthony Davis was productive on the defensive end with five defensive stats but did not find his offensive rhythm with only eight shots in 33 minutes and he missed half of his six free throw attempts. It didn’t matter though as LeBron James continued at his MVP pace with his second triple-double with 27-10-10. He must have had a bit of extra motivation going up against the triple-double darling, Nikola Jokić. Talen Horton-Tucker exploded off the bench with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting while Dennis Shröder poured in 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell also helped fuel the Lakers to a league-leading 17th win. JaMychal Green continues to produce with a starting nod as he produced 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Jamal Murray had 20 points (7-of-17) and five assists and Nikola Jokić was an inefficient 6-of-16 from the field but still had 10 rebounds and six assists. However, as a team the Nuggets shot 39.1 percent compared to the Lakers 56.8 percent. The Lakers also did a better job sharing the ball as they finished with 10 more assists than the Nuggets during the victory. Both of these teams are playoff-bound but it’ll be difficult for the Nuggets to overcome their toughest competition out west. They don’t really have anyone that can slow down LeBron James and Thursday gave us more evidence supporting that theory.

    Add(s) of the Night

    DeMarcus Cousins is probably on too many rosters for him to be highlighted but he’s a must-add player for as long as Christian Wood is sidelined with the ankle injury.  The player we are going to highlight is Juan Toscano-Anderson. It might be surprising to see him on this type of list as he is a two-way player who has never been fantasy relevant. However, he’s guaranteed to play big minutes while the Warriors are short-handed and can contribute across the stat sheet. It might be possible that he loses all that value when James Wiseman and Kevon Looney return from injury, but it’s also possible that he has played too well for head coach Steve Kerr to keep him off the court. He has great chemistry with Steph Curry which bodes well for his future minutes.

    JaMychal Green and Jae’Sean Tate were also in consideration but I had to lean into my hometown bias. He’s from Oakland and it’s impossible for a Warriors fan to not root for him.

    Drop Zone

    Those who enjoyed the early season surge from Kyle Anderson may be disappointed to see his name here but he’s struggled recently. He’s now outside the top-110 in 8-cat and outside the top-120 in 9-cat on the season in per game value and his minutes are heading in the wrong direction. While Anderson is not a clear drop, an intriguing player on the wire with upside might be more worthy of a roster spot than the veteran as Anderson has very little upside outside of some high assist performances.

    Injury Report

    Otto Porter (back) will be with the team on their road trip but is not expected to play on Friday vs. the Magic.

    O.G. Anunoby (left calf strain) continues to be sidelined on Friday vs. the Nets.

    Larry Nance Jr. (wrist) will sit out of Friday’s contest vs. the Bucks while Collin Sexton is questionable with a neck sprain.

    Juancho Hernangómez (reconditioning) is questionable to face the Spurs on Wednesday while D’Angelo Russell (quad) continues to be on the injury report as questionable. Karl-Anthony Towns (health and safety) remains on the shelf.

    The Thunder are hobbled as they will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (knee), Luguentz Dort (knee) and George Hill (thumb) on Friday.

    P.J. Washington (right foot sprain) is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Jazz and Terry Rozier (right ankle sprain) is probable.

    Goran Dragić (knee) is probable for Friday’s tilt vs. the Wizards while Avery Bradley (calf) has been ruled out for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Raul Neto (groin) continues to be sidelined on the other side.

    Wayne Ellington is questionable on Friday vs. the Suns with strained right calf strain while Jae Crowder is day-to-day with a sore foot. Abdel Nader is also questionable on the Suns side with a sore left ankle.

    Jaylen Brown (knee) is questionable for Friday’s matchup with the Clippers while Payton Pritchard is close to a return from his own knee injury as he is listed as questionable as well.

    Christian Wood suffered an ankle injury while Seth Curry left Thursday’s contest with an apparent illness. Monitor the news as we learn more about the severity, specifically Wood’s ankle injury.

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