Vucevic: chairman of the boards (Orlando Magic Facebook)
Nikola Vucevic finally validated being taken in the early rounds: 30 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. He out dueled DeAndre Jordan, who finished with 19 boards and four blocks in the Magic's 98-90 victory over the Clippers.
Vucevic is trending in the right direction, unlike, say, Larry Sanders. I'd love to deploy Vucevic on my squads.
Arron Afflalo quieted down, hitting just 5-of-16 shots for 11 points. Afflalo did get six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Victor Oladipo was also quiet with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, two 3-pointers and four turnovers. He's averaged more than four turnovers a game.
managed just six points in 23 minutes. He failed to get a rebound,
although there weren't a lot to go around with Vucevic gobbling them up
like Pac Man.
Blake Griffin double-doubled with 23 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the loss. So did Chris Paul: 18 points and 10 assists.
Washington 116, Boston 102
Who said John Wall couldn't hit threes? Wall rattled in five of 'em on the way to 24 points (8-of-16 shooting), three rebounds, nine assists a steal and a block in 36 minutes. So much for that bad back.
Marcin Gortat double-doubled with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He's acclimating well in D.C. Trevor Ariza continued to be a worthwhile add with 15 points, three 3-pointers, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Play him while he's producing. Bradley Beal added 17 points, three 3-pointers, five rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block. I really, really like Beal's game.
Martell Webster contributed 14 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers. Ariza is hurting his value.
Spencer Hawes should be owned in all leagues: 23 points, two 3-pointers, 13 rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks. He did turn it over six times, but are you going to complain after a line like that? Nope.
Michael Carter-Williams keeps exceeding expectations; the rookie had 19 points (although his shooting was bad, 8-of-21 field goals and 2-for-4 freebies), a three, five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block (and just two turnovers). Hang onto him unless you're getting offered first-round talent.
James Anderson had his best game of the season, making 5-of-10 shots, including two 3-pointers, for 13 points and four rebounds. His competition, Tony Wroten, vanished (two points on 1-of-6 shooting, three rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes).
Evan Turner keeps playing for a contract. Wednesday's line was another goodie: 24 points (9-of-13 shooting, 5-of-6 free throws), a three, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. Thaddeus Young crapped out this turd: seven points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Charlotte 92, Toronto 90
Gerald Henderson led the future Hornets with 23 points (10-of-17 shooting, 3-of-4 free throws), three rebounds, four assists and two steals. The lack of threes hurts his value.
Kemba Walker had an awful shooting night (2-of-13 field goals) and ended with five points, four rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and a three. He suffered a shoulder injury the night before, so maybe that explains his dud.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist turned in another useful line: 14 points (6-of-7 shooting, 2-of-2 free throws), four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 29 minutes. Bismack Biyombo bounced back with eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 40 minutes. He's filling in for Al Jefferson, so don't expect these lines to last. Josh McRoberts also had a bounce-back game with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and a three.
Jeff Taylor had another 13-point night in 28 minutes off the bench.
For Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas double-doubled with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Rudy Gay's shooting problems continued, although he racked up 20 points.
Boston 97, Utah 87
Boston finally won a game, and I'm officially concerned about Vitor Faverani. He played just six minutes and went scoreless with three rebounds and two assists. Kelly Olynyk vampired the minutes -- getting 29 -- started the second half and went for 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. He's worth a look.
Gerald Wallace moved to the bench, and his line was so-so (nine points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal in 23 minutes). His best days are behind him. Jared Sullinger scored 12 off the bench, grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot. Brandon Bass remains a solid play (20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks).
Jeff Green keeps rolling: 18 points, three 3-pointers, three rebounds, four assists and a steal. So does Gordon Hayward (28 points, a three, nine rebounds, five assists and a steal).
Derrick Favors had a rough shooting night, making just 4-of-11 shots and 2-of-5 free throws for 10 points. Favors did get it done with defense 14 rebounds and three blocks. Enes Knater's 22 points and eight rebounds were good, but the lack of blocks are not.
Alec Burks went for just eight points, four rebounds and a steal in 22 minutes. Not sure why he's not getting more run, especially when the Jazz could use his offense.
Indiana 97, Chicago 80
David West was the beast in this battle of the east: 17 points, 13 rebounds, an assist, three steals and a block. He's not a sexy pick, but he's one that will help you win.
Paul George had a blah game for him: 21 points (6-of-19 shooting, 7-of-7 free throws), two 3-pointers, six rebounds and three assists. Roy Hibbert's block party keeps rocking. He blocked five shots, grabbed 10 rebounds and scored eight points.
Lance Stephenson struggled, making just 5-of-17 shots (and 2-of-4 free throws) for 15 points, three 3-pointers, five rebounds and four assists. He's a hold.
It was a struggle for the Bulls all around from the field (26-of-73). Ouch. Derrick Rose made just 6-of-15 shots for 17 points, a rebound and two assists. He's still knocking off the rust.
New Orleans 99, Memphis 84
Anthony Davis is a mega star: 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks. I'm most impressed by his 92 percent free-throw shooting.
Eric Gordon chipped in 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and a three. Good to see him healthy. Tyreke Evans played 30 minutes off the bench and played well: 16 points (7-of-12 field goals), seven rebounds, four assists and a block. Jrue Holiday was quiet with 11 points, a three, three assists and two steals. Hang tight with Jrue.
Zach Randolph logged just eight minutes, exiting with his fiancee in labor. Mike Conley led the Grizz with 26 points but not much else -- a 1-1-1 line (rebound, assist, steal).
Milwaukee 109, Cleveland 104
O.J. Mayo dropped 28 points, including six 3-pointers, on the Bucks. Gary Neal contributed 23 points, four 3-pointers, a rebound and four assists off the bench.
Nate Wolters started again and managed nine points, eight rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. John Henson also was in the starting lineup and put up 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 39 minutes. Easily his best game of the season. His minutes may grow with Larry Sanders' troubles on and off the court, including accusations of a bar fight.
Bad night for Tristan Thompson: five points (1-of-5 shooting, 3-of-4 free throws), seven rebounds and two steals in 35 minutes. He'll be better. Anderson Varejao picked up the slack with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Andrew Bynum had four points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.
Kyrie Irving had a big line: 29 points, four 3-pointers, five rebounds and eight assists. Dion Waiters had 21 points but made just 6-of-11 free throws. CJ Miles hit four 3-pointers on the way to 14 points in 24 minutes. The Cavs' three-spot is such a wasteland. Anthony Bennett finally made a shot -- but then he missed four more. He finished with three points in 12 minutes.
Golden State 106, Minnesota 93
The big news of the game was Stephen Curry suffered a sprained left ankle. He finished with five points, a rebound, seven assists and a steal in 24 minutes. He expects to play on Friday. Klay Thompson took over the scoring load with 30 points, including six 3-pointers.
Andre Iguodala chipped in 20 points (8-of-13 shooting, 3-of-6 freebies) with a three, three rebounds, six assists and three steals. Harrison Barnes debuted, scoring 14 points in 14 minutes to go with two rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block. He's the Warriors' sixth man and worth watching.
David Lee double-doubled with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Andrew Bogut fouled out in 16 minutes.
Kevin Love got his: 25 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, two steals, a block and a three. Kevin Martin put up 23 points with two 3-pointers. Corey Brewer added 18 points in 33 minutes.
Bad Ricky Rubio showed up, making just 2-of-8 shots for seven points to go with seven assists.
Derrick Williams was putrid, going scoreless in 19 minutes (0-of-6 shooting).
San Antonio 99, Phoenix 96
Danny Green's shot finally fell, making 8-of-11 for 19 points (three 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks). Gotta love a shooting guard who blocks shots.
Tim Duncan was good for 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and a block. Tony Parker scored 20 and dished six dimes.
Still waiting for that Kawhi Leonard breakout: eight points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal in 27 minutes. Tiago Splitter came off the bench, played 11 minutes and posted a nine-point, seven-rebound line.
Markieff Morris made 11-of-13 shots for 23 points and 12 rebounds. Brother Marcus poured in 11 with six boards. Gerald Green filled in for Goran Dragic, dropped three more treys for 15 points. Good Miles Plumlee showed up (15 points on 7-of-12 shots, six rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal). Eric Bledsoe slowed down a bit: 14 points, five assists, two rebounds and a three.
Oklahoma City 107, Dallas 93
Kevin Durant scored 23 and dished 10 assists. If he keeps dishing at this rate, he's going to be the runaway No. 1 player. Russell Westbrook chipped in 22 points with four assists and two steals. Serge Ibaka had his best line of the year: 17 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, a steal and a three.
Reggie Jackson left with a hip contusion after 12 minutes. He didn't return. He's day-to-day.
Worth monitoring: Stevan Adams played 20 minutes to Kendrick Perkins' 14. The rookie went for six points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. The veteran got four points and six rebounds. I like Adams' chances of taking over as the Thunder's man in the middle.
Jeremy Lamb scored 13 points (with three 3-pointers, three rebounds, three assists and a block) in 20 minutes.
Shawn Marion keeps playing like he's in the Valley of the Sun: 17 points, a three, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Monta Ellis scored 20.
Jae Crowder made 6-of-8 shots for 17 points (three 3-pointers). He's worth watching after posting to solid lines.
Injury note: New York Knicks Tyson Chandler is out four to six weeks with a broken leg.