Whether or not you wanted to call it a Finals preview or not, the Miami Heat versus the LA Lakers was going to leave someone with a sad, sad Christmas. Last night, it was a disappointing Christmas in LA.
It’s rather difficult to bash on the Heat (or its players) when they defeat the defending champions during the marquee game of Christmas Day. More to the point, it’s difficult to say anything naughty about them when the most controversial (at the very least most provocative) player earns LOTN. So instead of yammering about how they’re like this and like that, we’d like to give some credit where it’s due.
Line of the Night: It’s hard to go wrong when LeBron James (3.71) has a token for almost every Christmas stocking category in fantasy. His turnover rate must feel like eating a sandwich and finding out that it has been sitting in the refrigerator since Thanksgiving, but its lines like these that remind us that there’s a lot to celebrate about owning LBJ. And what better way for Bron owners to celebrate the Holidays than with a triple-double performance? James led the Heat with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 threes, and 4 steals. The five treys and fours steals were especially nice.
Kevin Durant (2.75) stifled the return to action of Chauncey Billups (1.92), as KD erupted, no, exploded for 44 points (14-20 from the field), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 threes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks as his Thunder downed Billups’ Melo-less Nuggets.
It’s always a Happy Holiday when there’s a Golden State Warrior game on tap. Sometimes it’s merry for Warrior players owners, and sometimes it is for whoever they’re facing. Last night, the happiness and merry making belonged to the Warriors as they were led by Monta Ellis (2.62) and his 39 points, 7 assists, 3 threes, and 2 steals, while going 10-11 from the line.
It wasn’t all about Ellis. His teammate and fantasy surprise (for the season), Dorell Wright (2.26), chipped in 16 points 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 threes, and 3 steals; as the Warriors dealt another loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Few people know how to come back from an injury like Chauncey Billups (1.92), who in spite of an existing wrist injury, was able to log 30 points, 3 threes, and 2 steals, while going 10-16 from the field and 7-7 from the line. He’s going to be erratic at best, folks. While this may have been one his best performances so far, we should keep in mind that his wrist isn’t fully healed and his %’s will take a hit on nights when it bothers him.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: James Harden (1.05) has been heating up as of late and is still only owned in 28% of Yahoo leagues. He played a solid 28 and half minutes against the Nuggets as he finished with 21 points, two treys and a steal. While I’d strongly recommend to grab him in 14-man leagues or deeper, I would at least put him on my watch list in standard leagues.
Without Melo, and J.R. Smith getting into foul trouble for most of the game, Chauncey needed some help and unfortunately he couldn’t look to Arron Afflalo (-0.90), who was just awful as he came up with a lame line in form of 2 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists, while shooting 1-4 from the field.
For a fantasy, holiday treat, you obviously want to look to the Warriors as they visit Rudy Gay and the Memphis Grizzlies. However, a more intriguing match-up is Dallas @ San Antonio as they shoot it out in a classic Texan showdown of offense versus defense.
Happy Holidays everyone!
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