Box Score Breakdown: Brook Lopez Lifts Off

There were 13 games, there were injuries, there were massive lines. Just a typical Wednesday in the NBA. Oh yeah, and Brook Lopez is pretty good at basketball and he’s close to the fantasy playoff MVP.

With a mammoth 13 games on, there was so much to digest from Wednesday’s slate, so I’ll try to attack it as succinctly and informative as possible in today’s Breakdown.

M.I.A.

These guys all sat out Wednesday’s action, for one reason or another.

  • Hornets
    • Cody Zeller (shoulder)
    • Brian Roberts (DNP-CD)
  • Pacers
    • Rodney Stuckey (calf)
    • Paul George (leg)
  • Wizards
    • Kris Humphries (groin)
    • Garrett Temple (hamstring)
  • Clippers
    • Jamal Crawford (calf)
  • Knicks
    • Tim Hardaway (wrist)
  • Magic
    • Evan Fournier (hip)
  • Bulls
    • Derrick Rose (knee)
  • Raptors
    • Kyle Lowry (back)
  • Heat
    • Chris Andersen (calf)
    • Hassan Whiteside (hand)
    • Dwyane Wade (knee)
  • Lakers
    • Carlos Boozer (DNP-Tanking)
    • Jordan Hill (DNP-Tanking)
    • Nick Young (knee)
  • Timberwolves
    • Gary Neal (ankle)
    • Kevin Martin (hamstring)
    • Ricky Rubio (ankle)
    • Kevin Garnett (knee)
    • Nikola Pekovic (ankle)
  • Rockets
    • Patrick Beverley (wrist)
    • Terrence Jones (lung)
  • Pelicans
    • Jrue Holiday (leg)
    • Ryan Anderson (knee)
  • Trail Blazers
    • Nicolas Batum (knee)
    • Chris Kaman (shoulder)
  • Jazz
    • Rodney Hood (illness)
    • Gordon Hayward (shoulder)
  • Sixers
    • Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder)
  • Nuggets
    • Darrell Arthur (calf)
  • Thunder
    • Kevin Durant (foot)
    • Andre Roberson (ankle)
    • Serge Ibaka (knee)
    • Nick Collison (ankle)
  • Kings
    • Carl Landry (DNP-CD)
  • Suns
    • Brandon Knight (ankle)

FANTASY LINE OF THE NIGHT

Surely, no-one envisaged Brook Lopez‘s end of season of explosion. I knew he was a very talented player and a potentially elite fantasy prospect if he could stay healthy, but even I, one of his biggest backers, could not have seen this. Another 34 points (16-26 FG, 2-2 FT) with 10 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in 39 minutes, brings his average over the last four games to 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 3.5 blocks, on 66 percent from the field and 95 percent from the line. Not only elite, but top three type production. Congratulations if you have Lopez and stuck it out through the Lionel Hollins madness mid-season, because Lopez is now driving you toward a championship.

ROTATION NOTES AND QUIRKS

Thaddeus Young lasted just 23 minutes before hyperextending his knee. He’ll be assessed Thursday, but he is definitely a drop candidate if it keeps him out for more than one game.

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Al Jefferson played through his knee soreness for a nice double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, with two blocks, allaying fears of his owners. He can be deployed as usual.

Roy Hibbert‘s box score is entirely depressing, going scoreless with five rebounds in 17 minutes, with only one foul. He’d been extremely valuable prior to this meltdown, so don’t overreact after one game, if you added him in the last seven days.

Brad Beal went down again, this time with a sprained ankle, playing only 10 minutes. As with most injuries, we need to hear his prognosis and can probably shift him to the bench on Friday with another 13 games, but if his prognosis stretches past Friday, Beal is droppable.

The Clippers registered a complete humiliation against the Knicks, so the minutes for both teams were suppressed and spread out. Nothing that happened needs to have a huge amount of attention paid to it, except that Shane Larkin, despite getting big minutes as a starter, isn’t worth the add in most cases. He had just two points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 30 minutes.

Tobias Harris made his return, but was pedestrian, scoring 14 points with two rebounds. He would’ve been dropped in a lot of leagues, but with only one more game this week, he’s not a must add yet, particularly if your matchup is on a knife’s edge.

The Bulls had all of their big men back, but Nikola Mirotic still managed 28 minutes and scored 15 points, while Taj Gibson played only 14 minutes. While the risk is there for Mirotic to drop off, this was encouraging and I now encourage you to hold Niko until the minutes swing against him.

The Heat were without basically everyone, so big minutes were there to be taken, with Mario ChalmersHenry Walker and Udonis Haslem, starting next to Goran Dragic and Luol Deng, the only regular starters. Haslem has a double-double of 12 points with 12 rebounds, adding three steals, but he doesn’t excite me enough to add anywhere.

Justin Hamilton returned from his migraine induced absence for Minnesota, but managed just nine minutes. He was performing at a superb level before falling prey to those migraine demons, and with the Wolves’ lack of healthy body, he may fight his way back into a solid role, but I wouldn’t be counting on it.

All of those injuries are forcing Andrew Wiggins into big minute and he has now played 98 minutes in his last two games, both overtime contests. When the Wolves were light on earlier in 2015, Wiggins was a top 20 fantasy player and things are trending in that direction again.

The biggest name returning to action was Dwight Howardwho made his first appearance since January 23rd. He played just 16 minutes, adding four points and seven rebounds and with the minutes and games restrictions, I’m not rushing to add Howard unless I’m in a deeper league and I can absorb a free throw percentage torpedo. I’d rather my opponent add him, kill their percentage and drop someone valuable.

Tyreke Evans was back in business for New Orleans, as expected, and went straight back to work, scoring 28 points with four three-pointers, seven assists, two steals and one block and will continue to produce unless he goes down again.

The Grizzlies got pummelled by the Cavs, so you can just ignore the myriad of poor performances from the boys from Memphis.

The Blazers regained the services of LaMarcus Aldridge must to the joy of his owners, but Nicolas Batum was unable to get himself right, despite conflicting reports earlier in the day. Batum should be okay for the next game, so if any owner dropped him prematurely, I’d be looking to add him.

Trey Burke made his triumphant return to the starting lineup, scoring 22 points with four rebounds, three assists and two steals and at the moment, with Gordon Hayward out, Burke is a solid add in most leagues, averaging 18.8 points, 2.5 three-pointers, and 4.0 assists in his last four games.

Robert Covington played 29 minutes, back in his now familiar bench role, scoring 25 points with six rebounds, six three-pointers, two steal and one block, but despite 11 triples in his past two games, I’m not back believing yet. He’s worth an add, but I think this is the outlier, rather than the norm, with a poor performance likely around the corner.

We can disregard most performances in the Spurs and Thunder game, with San Antonio decisive victors by 39 points. It was a blowout in the truest sense of the word.

We thought we’d have Brandon Knight, but it wasn’t to be, so Marcus Morris got another start and scored another 19 points. He’ll likely drop off when Knight returns, but for now, he has value in all leagues.

BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS AND ODDITIES

David West is looking marginally better, scoring in double digits in three straight now, and with the Pacers in the only game Thursday, he may have been dropped. You can add for at least one day.

Don’t buy into Austin Rivers dropping 21 points. One, it was against the Knicks, and two, he hit 9-of-10 shots, which won’t happen again. Don’t get sucked in.

For whatever reason, Boston spread their entire rotation out, allowing Phil Pressey to score 11 points with five rebounds and six assists. This fake, especially with Isaiah Thomas back. Thomas played just 20 minutes, but scored just four points, which does not warm the cockles of your fantasy heart.

Jordan Clarkson had 20 points with five rebounds and five assists and is thriving next to Jeremy Lin, and both guys need to be owned in all leagues.

Donatas Motiejunas didn’t take a hit with Howard returning, it was Josh Smith who bore the brunt of the return. Motiejunas had 21 points with eight rebounds, to steals and one block and with Terrence Jones still out, he should still be owned.

Anthony Davis was his usual awesome self, but his 6-for-14 from the free throw line was brutal and may have torpedoed that category for you. Fingers crossed it didn’t!

Nerlens Noel was superb. The rookie had 14 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and four blocks and his numbers are historic this season. He has a chance to finish the season averaging 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks and that is fantasy gold.

NIGHTLY LEADERS

Points

  1. Brook Lopez, C, BKN, 34 points
  2. John Wall, G, WAS, 34 points
  3. George Hill, G, IND, 29 points

Rebounds

  1. Nerlens Noel, F, PHI, 15 rebounds
  2. Anthony Davis, F, NOP, 14 rebounds
  3. Derrick Favors, F, UTA, 13 rebounds

Assists

  1. Chris Paul, G, LAC, 16 assists
  2. Deron Williams, G, BKN, 14 assists
  3. Damian Lillard, G, POR, 12 assists

Steals

  1. Nerlens Noel, F, PHI, 4 steals
  2. Chris Paul, G, LAC, 4 steals
  3. DeMarre Carroll, F, 4 steals
  4. Marcus Smart, G, BOS, 4 steals

Blocks

  1. DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC, 5 blocks
  2. Jerami Grant, F, PHI, 5 blocks
  3. Paul Millsap, F, ATL, 4 blocks
  4. Nerlens Noel, F, PHI, 4 blocks
  5. Alex Len, C, PHX, 4 blocks

Three-Pointers

  1. Robert Covington, F, PHI, 6-11 3Pt
  2. Greivis Vasquez, G, TOR, 6-11 3Pt
  3. Tyreke Evans, G, NOP, 4-6 3Pt
  4. Aaron Brooks, G, CHI, 4-8 3Pt
  5. Wilson Chandler, F, DEN, 4-8 3Pt
  6. Henry Walker, G, MIA, 4-8 3Pt

Minutes

  1. Andrew Wiggins, F, MIN, 49 minutes
  2. Zach LaVine, G, MIN, 48 minutes
  3. Anthony Davis, F, NOP, 44 minutes