Howard Ejected, Lakers Lose; Battle of NYC Tops Monday Afternoon Games

OKC @ DEN: In the first half, Kevin Durant was off-target (1-for-6) with five turnovers. He finished with a KD line anyway — 37 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL — and Russell Westbrook (36 PTS, 8 REB, 9 AST) was just as good, but somebody had to lose this terrific game. Denver’s big men Kenneth Faried (16 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST, 4 BLK) and Kosta Koufos (10 PTS, 11 REB before fouling out) were outstanding, but Corey Brewer (26 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST) was the unlikely hero as the second unit scored 57 points, while Kevin Martin (18) was the only Thunder reserve to contribute. After “the longest film session in the history of George Karl,” according to the coach himself, the Nuggets were never better. Condolences to OKC coach Scott Brooks, whose mother passed away earlier in the day; though she apparently wanted him to stay on the job, it must have been extremely difficult.

January 21 Game Previews

SAC @ NOH: Once again, we remind you that there are six matinees in the Association today and this one starts at 1:00 EST. The road trip continues for the possibly Seattle-bound Kings, who came up with a big effort in Charlotte but can never be counted on for consistency. The Hornets scored 112 points on Saturday, but committed 17 turnovers and lost. In other words, this could be a track meet, with Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon likely to thrive. Anthony Davis seems to be coming around, Ryan Anderson is still a good fantasy play off the bench and we have been touting the rejuvenated Al-Farouq Aminu for a week. For Sacramento, it’s always DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans who are capable of big nights; Marcus Thornton is a nice source of threes when healthy.

IND @ MEM: Points will be hard to come by. These teams are quite similar, with great matchups at SF (Paul George vs. Rudy Gay) and PF (David West vs. Zach Randolph) plus they share a defense-first philosophy. Marc Gasol is the clear choice over Roy Hibbert at C and Mike Conley can handle George Hill, so the Grizzlies get the nod, but you might want to focus on other games in daily leagues, as it will be no surprise if the final score is in the 80’s.

MIN @ ATL: For the Hawks, injury woes are limited to PG, where Jeff Teague is the only healthy body. Devin Harris (ankle) is questionable and Louis Williams (torn ACL) is out for the season. Minnesota was down to six healthy bodies on Saturday morning. They added SF Mickael Gelebale and PF-C Chris Johnson on 10-day contracts just hours before they combined for 26 points; Dante Cunningham missed that game with an illness and Alexey Shved with a sore ankle. At least until Nikola Pekovic (quad) returns, Andrei Kirilenko will be asked to score, and Luke Ridnour — who was dropped in many leagues — may have actually gained fantasy value by moving to SG alongside Ricky Rubio. The clear choice to win is Atlanta, though they have dropped eight of ten and Josh Smith may be feuding with his coach.

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