CLE @ DEN: You would never have known that the amazing Kyrie Irving (28 PTS, 7 AST, 3 REB, 5 STL) wasn’t feeling well. He simply didn’t have enough help, as Kosta Koufos (21 PTS, 6 REB) dominated Tyler Zeller inside, and every Nuggets starter reached double figures. Danilo Gallinari (23 PTS, 7 REB) hit three triples and Kenneth Faried (17 PTS, 11 REB) crashed the boards. The Denver bench had a rare off-night (a combined 4-for-23 and 11 PTS) or the margin of victory would have been greater.
January 12 Games
ATL @ WAS: The long-awaited season debut of John Wall probably won’t pay immediate fantasy dividends. He’ll be on a minutes limit, and his teammates aren’t very good. The Wizards did shock the Thunder on Monday, so anything is possible. Jordan Crawford (ankle) is questionable and Nene (knee) did practice yesterday, but is never 100% healthy any more. If the Hawks are overconfident and/or tired, they could let this one slip away.
ORL @ LAC: This is a 3:30 EST matinee, so don’t forget to set daily lineups. It’s excluded from the SH Challenge, where we pick players from the other seven games and can make lineup changes until 7:00 pm. Although the Magic are much better than their current losing streak suggests, they are likely to drop an eleventh straight game. The Clippers rarely lose to anyone at home.
CHA @ IND: The Bobcats looked disorganized and lethargic last night. This could be worse. I love the DraftStreet prices on several Pacers this evening, as they usually rely on defense to win — that game against the Knicks was like a street fight — but will be getting uncontested dunks and wide-open looks for a change.
UTA @ DET: While the Pistons romped in Milwaukee, the Jazz lost a tough battle in Atlanta. Home court and a buoyant mood gives Detroit a good chance tonight to win their eighth game in ten tries. Andre Drummond had ridiculous numbers in 17 minutes last night — 8 PTS, 11 REB, 4 BLK) and deserves more court time.
HOU @ PHI: Cut the Sixers some slack for a brutal schedule; their 1-5 mark in January includes three losses in the second half of back-to-backs. They were also blown out by the Nets and Thunder. At home and rested, they now catch an exhausted opponent. In their sixth game in nine days (and fourth in the last five) Houston would rather be anywhere else tonight. Jrue Holiday figures to run wild, Evan Turner should improve and Thaddeus Young is another must-start.
PHO @ CHI: It’s spinning out of control for the setting Suns on this road trip. The Bulls won’t be at their best either; this is a ‘letdown’ game after last night’s emotional win at Madison Square. Somebody has to score the points for both teams, but this is a very tough game to predict with any confidence.
MEM @ DAL: Having finally won a game, the Mavs remain a work in progress. Dirk Nowitzki has been quite candid about his lack of conditioning; he’s a great buy-low candidate. O.J. Mayo should be particularly inspired against his former team, though he will get the Tony Allen defensive attention that has slowed down many scorers. It’s a matter of stamina and intensity for the Grizzlies. Can they repeat last night’s tremendous effort? Maybe not.
MIA @ SAC: One player is the key to this game, for fantasy purposes. If DeMarcus Cousins isn’t suspended for his flagrant-2 to the face of Vince Carter, he could be a nightmare for Chris Bosh. However, if Boogie gets another well-deserved punishment, Bosh will be the best big man on the court. LeBron James is coming off his worst game of the year and his January numbers aren’t nearly as superhuman as December’s. You just know he’s due for an offensive explosion, but will it be tonight? That’s another very tough call in daily leagues.
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