Rockets followers interested by what the way forward for their franchise will seem like if James Harden will get traded unexpectedly bought their first look on Saturday when the disgruntled former MVP was a late scratch towards the Kings due to an ankle flip he suffered on Thursday. If the remainder of the season with out Harden (if a deal occurs) goes in addition to Saturday’s 102-94 win did, Houston is likely to be OK in spite of everything.
John Wall performed extremely nicely in his second recreation again after a two-year absence, scoring 28 factors (his most since December 2018) with six assists, 4 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 37 minutes. He made 11-of-21 pictures from the sphere and 2-of-8 3-pointers. After poking the ball away from De’Aaron Fox, Wall erupted with a flex and scream to a largely empty Rockets enviornment. He is again.
It wasn’t simply Wall who impressed, although. Christian Wooden put collectively one in all his finest nights in a Rockets uniform to date, scoring 20 factors with 15 rebounds and a season-high 4 blocks in 33 minutes. He might’ve executed much more if he hadn’t picked up his fifth foul early within the third quarter.
If the Rockets are compelled to deal Harden, among the best 5 or so basketball gamers on this planet, the franchise will undeniably be shedding a star it won’t be capable of exchange for years. However the comfort is that they will not fade from relevance anytime quickly. Wall and Wooden will not allow them to.
Now let’s discuss in regards to the highs and lows from Saturday’s six-game slate.
Malcolm Brogdon — The Pacers misplaced to the Knicks (yikes), however Brogdon wasn’t the explanation why. He performed a game-high 41 minutes, scoring 33 factors on 7-of-10 capturing from 3-point vary with seven assists, three rebounds and two steals with only one turnover. By way of two weeks, he ranks contained in the top-40 in 9-cat leagues.
Gordon Hayward — Hayward scored 20 factors on 7-of-15 capturing with six rebounds, six assists and a season-high 4 steals with only one turnover. It wasn’t sufficient to beat the Sixers, because the Hornets fell, 127-112, but it surely was an amazing night time that broke him out from a two-game hunch the place he scored simply 25 factors mixed.
Tobias Harris — Harris had a monstrous recreation for the Sixers — one thing we’re not used to saying a lot — with 24 factors on 9-of-14 capturing (4-of-7 from 3-point vary), 9 rebounds, six assists, 4 steals and three blocks. He regarded each bit the a part of a max contract participant in 37 minutes. If Philly can get something in realm of this stage of manufacturing from him on a constant foundation, they might lastly be a menace within the East.
Clint Capela — In his second recreation this season, Capela double-doubled with 16 factors (8-of-12 FGs) and 16 rebounds. He additionally completed with three steals and two blocks. With Danilo Gallinari sidelined, Capela is changing into a greater fantasy choice, although you will need to punt free throws contemplating he is 0-of-7 to date.
De’Aaron Fox — It wasn’t sufficient to beat the Rockets, and he wasn’t higher than his opponent, John Wall, however Fox had a strong recreation, scoring 23 factors with 4 assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block. He made 8-of-19 area targets, 7-of-10 free throws, and missed all three 3-pointers he took, however Fox saved the Kings aggressive. We’ll wait patiently for his capturing numbers to enhance.
Eric Gordon — Gordon bought the beginning rather than Harden (ankle), and put up numbers regardless of capturing the ball poorly. He scored 21 factors (3-of-12 from 3-point vary), with 4 assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Regardless of being listed on the harm report with a sore knee, he performed 33 minutes, which is encouraging going ahead, particularly with Harden’s standing unsure.
Julius Randle and the Knicks? — Not precisely what we thought can be the case six video games into the season, however the Knicks beat the Pacers on Saturday, 106-102, and are 3-3 to begin the 12 months. Randle deserves a ton of the credit score for that. On Saturday, he scored 12 factors with 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Certain, he turned the ball over 4 occasions and solely made 5-of-16 area targets, however with a number of Knicks guards injured (Frank Ntilikina, Alec Burks, Dennis Smith Jr., plus Obi Toppin), Randle’s stepped up as a do-it-all point-forward. He is ranked within the top-50 of all gamers in 9-cat leagues, too.
RJ Barrett — Two Knicks? Yeah, let’s discuss one other Knick. RJ Barrett‘s had a bizarre 12 months, with video games starting from “Oh my” to “Oh… my.” However towards the Pacers, he discovered his rhythm once more, scoring 25 factors on 8-of-15 capturing, together with 4-of-5 from 3-point vary, with 5 rebounds and three assists. Is he a dependable participant each night time but? Heck no. However the waves of promise are encouraging from the 20-year-old.
Darius Bazley — Bazley’s had a gradual begin to the season, however notched season-highs with 19 factors (7-of-10 FGs) and 12 rebounds in a 108-99 win over the Magic. The remainder of his stat-line was pretty empty (two assists, one block, no steals), however these numbers, on prime of him not turning the ball over make him price being attentive to on the waiver wire.
George Hill — Hill’s been so good this 12 months that OKC might need one other first-round choose so as to add to their stash by mid-season. Towards the Magic, Hill scored 18 factors on 7-of-12 capturing (three 3s) with a season-high 5 assists and two steals. He is been a top-100 participant in 9-cat leagues, and is completely price selecting up if he is nonetheless accessible.
Terrence Ross — Ross tied his season-high with 26 factors (on a tough 9-of-21 capturing), however he related on 4 3-pointers. He additionally logged a season-high six rebounds and two assists. Search for his numbers to leap for so long as Evan Fournier (again spasms) stays out.
Terry Rozier — Rozier bounced again from a 1-of-11 night time to attain 35 factors on 12-of-18 capturing together with seven 3-point makes. That is new Scary Terry, who’s had two of his most prolific 3-point scoring nights even in simply the final six video games. He is taking a career-high eight tries per recreation this season.
Ben Simmons — No, he did not make one other three, however he did triple-double with 15 factors, 12 rebounds, 11 assists one steal and one block. He turned the ball over 4 occasions, however made 6-of-9 pictures from the sphere and a not-terrible 3-of-5 free throws.
Larry Nance Jr. — Nance Jr. is a top-30 fantasy play in 9-cat leagues for a motive. On Saturday, in a shock win towards the Hawks, he scored 9 factors on simply 3-of-10 capturing, however he sunk a 3-pointer and added 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals with only one turnover. He is among the best passing bigs within the league.
JaVale McGee — McGee had one other actually strong fantasy night time, scoring 14 factors (6-of-11 FGs), with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, two steals and a block. McGee barely ranks contained in the top-200 in 9-cat leagues proper now, however he is price maintaining a tally of because the Cavs’ backcourt struggles.
Chris Boucher — Pascal Siakam is absolutely struggling, however Boucher stepped up massive after he fouled out on Saturday. In 28 minutes, he scored 24 factors (7-of-13 FGs) with 5 rebounds, one help, two steals and a block. It wasn’t sufficient to beat the Pelicans, but it surely was sufficient to maintain him within the top-50 of gamers in 9-cat leagues.
Fred VanVleet — VanVleet scored 27 factors (9-of-23 FGs, 4-of-13 3-pointers) with eight rebounds, 5 assists, one steal and one block. He hasn’t been capturing effectively, however he is put up three 25-point or increased nights in 5 video games to date this season. The Raptors are slumping, however he is attempting to maintain them within the image.
Eric Bledsoe — Bledsoe’s clutch 3-point shot with 42.3 seconds to go made the distinction after the Raptors went on an 11-1 run to attempt to steal one from the Pelicans. He was stellar on Saturday, scoring 19 factors (5-of-12 FGs) with 10 assists to no turnovers, 5 rebounds, a steal and a block.
Brandon Ingram — Ingram scored 31 factors to steer the Pelicans previous the Raptors, 120-116. He added six rebounds, 4 assists and a block to his 4-of-8 capturing from 3-point vary. He additionally sunk 11-of-14 free throws. Ingram’s matching his capturing efficiency from his breakout season in 2019-20, and appears like a famous person.
Nikola Vucevic — After capturing beneath 46% for his first three video games, he is shot 53% or higher ever since, together with 13-of-21 on Saturday for 31 factors (4-of-7 from 3-point). He grabbed 13 rebounds and had two assists, too. Vucevic is ranked No. 21 of all gamers in 9-cat leagues, and he’ll be in that vary all 12 months lengthy.
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Victor Oladipo — Oladipo had a tough night time capturing, making simply 3-of-16 area targets and scoring 16 factors with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Oladipo regarded actually sharp in his first three video games, and has actually cooled down since. Let’s wait it out to see if that is simply regression to the imply earlier than we observe it as worrisome.
Michael Carter-Williams — MCW began rather than Fournier (again spasms), however did not do a complete lot in 31 minutes. He scored simply 4 factors on 2-of-11 capturing, lacking all 4 of his 3-point tries. He added 9 rebounds and only one help. He might be saved on the waiver wire.
Darius Garland — Garland’s been so good that I will not go lengthy on his outlier dangerous recreation this season. He solely scored eight factors on 3-of-14 capturing and turned the ball over 5 occasions regardless of simply two assists. It was dangerous, however I will not maintain it towards him as a result of he is been so good (19.0 factors per recreation on 50% capturing, 7.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds).
Pascal Siakam — After rating within the top-40 in 9-cat leagues final season, Siakam is exterior the top-100 this season. Oof. He missed the Raptors’ final recreation on account of disciplinary causes, and in his return, Siakam put up one other dud, scoring simply 10 factors on 4-of-10 capturing, and fouling out in 24 minutes. It has been weird to observe him wrestle so laborious to begin the 12 months. The Raptors are 1-4 and want him ASAP.
LaMelo Ball — Ball did not shoot nicely, however he had among the best night time’s of his profession to date, filling the stat sheet with 13 factors, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and two blocks with simply two turnovers in half-hour. Ball’s jumper has a methods to go, however he is beginning to get an amazing really feel of easy methods to get an offense transferring.
Cole Anthony — Anthony struggled, scoring simply two factors on 1-of-7 capturing with 5 rebounds and one help. With so many gamers sidelined, Anthony’s gotten minutes, however his capturing percentages are woeful. He is making simply 33.3% of his area targets, and 23.1% of his 3-pointers. Maintain him on the waiver wire.
James Harden — Harden was a late scratch on Saturday with a sprained ankle. He suffered the harm on Thursday, and pulled out after warming up. After the Rockets’ win over the Kings, head coach Stephan Silas was not sure if he’ll be accessible on Monday. Control Sterling Brown and Eric Gordon if he cannot give it a go.
Danilo Gallinari — One recreation after getting back from a foot harm, Gallinari’s again on the injured record with a sprained ankle. The Hawks mentioned he’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, which suggests there’s added alternatives for John Collins, Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter till then.
P.J. Washington — Washington solely performed seven second-half minutes and 22 minutes total on Saturday on account of a thumb contusion. His standing for Tuesday’s recreation is not clear but, however the staff is already short-staffed with out Cody Zeller.
Tyrese Haliburton — Haliburton has a bone bruise on his left wrist and might be re-evaluated in per week. Glenn Robinson III is likely to be price looking at, although he solely scored 5 factors with three rebounds and two assists on Saturday.
Thanks for hanging round and studying my second Each day Dose. You’ll be able to comply with me, Matt Ellentuck, on Twitter @mellentuck.