Nicolas Batum 5×5, Jose Calderon Triple-Double Key Victories

DEN @ SAC: Not that a healthy Tyreke Evans would have made any real difference in the outsome, but when he left after just 10 minutes with a sore knee, things got worse for the hapless Kings. DeMarcus Cousins (19 PTS, 11 REB) picked up another technical, Isaiah Thomas had 20 off the bench, but the team shot 34% while allowing the Nuggets to score 122 points at a 54% clip. The game was so lopsided that only Denver starter played more than 26 minutes; Andre Iguodala (11 PTS, 8 REB, 8 AST) was within reach of a trip-dub in just 28:29 on the floor. JaVale McGee put up some video-game numbers: 19 PTS, 5 REB and 3 BLK in just 17 minutes.

December 17 Games

MIN @ ORL: The T-Wolves are 12-9, yet tonight will be their first game with their best lineup. Ricky Rubio will be on a minutes limit, perhaps coming off the bench, and Kevin Love (bruised thumb, flu) is expected to play after being a late scratch Saturday night. Love vs. Glen Davis seems like a mismatch, and Nikola Pekovic is a lot more intimidating than Nikola Vucevic in the middle. The Russian Connection of Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved is another asset. The Magic have been overachievers all season, so anything is possible, but Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo will have to be at their best to keep this close.

LAC @ DET: Unless the Clippers are overconfident, they are simply too strong for Detroit and will win their tenth straight game. It’s more than Chris Paul passing to Blake Griffin for highlight-reel dunks. Strong work in the paint by DeAndre Jordan and a very talented second unit are major factors. In our Week 8 preview yesterday, I called Matt Barnes the Streamer of the Week. Always an aggressive defender, he’s averaging 18 points in his last three games. You can start a few Pistons like Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe in Roto or H2H, but I’m steering clear in daily leagues.

HOU @ NYK: It’s a homecoming of sorts for Jeremy Lin, who will hear a loud mixture of cheers and boos all night. Raymond Felton will be motivated against the man he’s replaced so well, and especially if Carmelo Anthony (ankle) misses another game, Felton and Tyson Chandler will be the main sources of offense. With or without Melo, the Knicks are a perfect 10-0 at MSG and the Rockets will need a lot more energy than they showed yesterday to avoid a blowout loss.

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