There have been reports recently that Harden did not enjoy playing with Howard over the past couple of years in Houston. With the Rockets getting set to make a stop in Atlanta on Saturday night, the two will meet on the court as opponents.
With 19 points from the bench on Wednesday, Gay led San Antonio in scoring on a night when the offense struggled to reach 90 points. The forward was also efficient from the floor, hitting 57.1 percent of his shots as well as 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Wednesday's scoring performance aside, do not expect Gay to lead the Spurs offense on a nightly basis. Gay will look to chip in more from the bench on Saturday against Charlotte.
Much like the San Antonio offense, Aldridge was rather quiet against New Orleans. Aldridge, who is averaging 21.9 points, is very much off to a solid start as the focal point of the San Antonio offense in the absence of Tony Parker (quadriceps) and Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps). The power forward will look to bounce back Saturday against a middling Charlotte defense that gives up an average of 106.5 points per game.
Harden cooled off, scoring his lowest point total of the month. The fact that a line like this is deemed a quiet night, speaks volumes about how good he has been this season. He appears to be fitting in well next to Chris Paul, who continues to ramp up his playing time. There is no reason to believe Harden cannot put up numbers similar to last season, apart from taking a hit to his assists total. He should remain a top-five fantasy asset, barring any injury setbacks.
Paul had his best game in a Rockets jersey, collecting season-high totals in points, assists, and steals. He has his shot going tonight, albeit against a lackluster Dever defense. He played right on his minutes restriction of 28 minutes, and this is a great sign for owners given the nature of the scoreline. He should be locked in for 30 minutes plus moving forward, and should now be deployed in all formats.
Barton received another start, once again leading the team in scoring. With Paul Millsap (wrist) set to miss an extended period of time, Barton is in a prime position to cash in with more playing time. While his numbers looked good however, he did have a plus/minus rating of -42, the worst on the team. While this may or may not have an effect on his minutes distribution, it is an area of concern for the Denver coaching staff.
The Clippers had lost nine-straight prior to this victory, as it was clear Griffin was sick of that nonsense. The playmaking should come as no surprise though, as Griffin's five assists per game this season marks a career-high. That sort of production should only continue from here, as the Clippers will now be without Patrick Beverley (knee) for the remainder of the year. The only gripe fantasy owners can have are his rebounds (7.9) and field goal percentage (41.7%), which both mark career-lows. While the rebounds may remain the same, his field goal percentage is more than 75 points below his second-lowest total, as he's due for some positive regression there.
Johnson has been sneaky good since Danilo Gallinari went down, as he's taken the starting small forward role by the ears. Over his last four games, Johnson is averaging 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per game. The most important stat is the fact that he's playing nearly 34 minutes per game in that four-game span. If he's going to play that much, Johnson will remain fantasy relevant with his defensive statistics alone.
Jordan had a perfect night on Wednesday, as he was perfect from both the field and from the free-throw line. The free-throw shooting has been a nice development for Jordan this year, as his 61 percent mark from the line is the best of his career. While it's nothing special, it adds so much to his fantasy value, as this was a guy who couldn't even crack 44 percent for his career. If he can remain above 60 percent, Jordan is one of the values of fantasy drafts
Williams has been coming off the bench all season, but it's clear Doc Rivers wanted to switch things up for this struggling Clippers team. Not to mention, the fact that Patrick Beverley is out for the year due to a knee injury obviously played in that decision as well, as this is one of the thinnest backcourts in the NBA. Whether he comes off the bench or not, Williams will play 30 minutes a game and run this offense as one of the only playmakers on this roster.
It's about time that Collins got the start, as he's been one of the best players on this team in his rookie season. He has now scored in double figures in five-straight games, as he's played at least 36 minutes in back-to-back games as well. That's an extremely promising sign, as those two games both marked career-highs. As long as he's playing this much, Collins will remain a threat for a double-double every single night.
Belinelli had at least 19 points in three of his first five games, as this is only the second time he's reached that threshold since. With that said, Belinelli has turned into one of the best scorers off the bench in the league, as he's averaging 12.1 points per game. That's pretty much all he'll provide for fantasy though, as his upside is limited with his lack of peripheral statistics.
Wall collected just 23 points and 13 assists on 8-of-25 shooting across his two previous games, as he appears to be out of that minor slump. What has fallen off recently is the rebounding though, as he has just 11 rebounds over his last five games. That's quite the fall off, considering he's currently setting a career-low with 3.4 rebounds per game. His steals are also down, as he's setting a career-low in that category as well with just 1.1 thefts per game. That's something that will surely change, as Wall regularly finishes top-10 in that statistic every season.
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