While Stephen Curry is currently dealing with the worst field goal percentage of any calendar month in his career, Joel Embiid, who was second in MVP voting last season, continues to make a case for eventually winning the trophy outright.
On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers center scored 42 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with four assists and blocked four shots in a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. This was Embiid's fourth straight game with at least 35 points and 10 rebounds, making him only the fourth player with such a streak since the merger.
Over the last two seasons, Embiid was only able to play in 51 total games. However, it certainly looks like he's made the necessary changes heading into this season to pay huge dividends for those fantasy managers who selected him on draft day.
Tobias Harris also shined for the 76ers, scoring 33 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 39 minutes of play. Philadelphia continues to use him as one of their top offensive options behind Embiid, and he's rewarded them by scoring 17-plus points in seven of his last eight games.
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors: 24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Dejounte Murray scored 19 points, with 10 assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 24 minutes for the San Antonio Spurs in a blowout win over the Rockets. He has been a leading all-around player in the league this season, with three triple-doubles and five double-doubles in January. Jakob Poeltl added 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in just 21 minutes for the Spurs.
With his 33 points last night against the Nets, LeBron James now has 18 consecutive 25 point games, tied for the fifth longest streak in Los Angeles Lakers history. Anthony Davis returned to the floor after missing 17 games due to a sprained left knee. He scored eight points in just 25 minutes and held the Nets to 2-of-10 from the field when he contested a shot.
Jonathan Kuminga prospered in the Golden State Warriors' blowout win over the Mavericks, accumulating 22 points, five rebounds and four 3-pointers in only 18 minutes of play. That said, due to his inconsistent minutes even with Draymond Green out, Kuminga is not someone you should rush to add to your roster. Klay Thompson's sore knee didn't stop him from playing. He scored 15 points, adding two rebounds and six assists. The good news? Thompson shot better than 50% from the field for the first time this season.
Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds with four blocked shots, but it was Jarred Vanderbilt who really impressed with 13 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. It was his sixth double-double of the season. Vanderbilt (available in 79.5% of ESPN leagues) should be picked up immediately. Speaking of double-doubles, Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers now has six consecutive games where he has reached that bar. On Tuesday against the Timmberwolves, he scored 20 points and added 14 rebounds in just 32 minutes.
On Tuesday, Denver's Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists against the Pistons. He joined Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players in league history to have 150 points, 70 rebounds, and 50 assists over a five-game span. For Detroit, Cade Cunningham had a career game, scoring 34 points with eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, four blocks, and six 3-pointers. The rookie became just the third player in the last 40 years to lead his team in all six of those statistical categories in the same game.
Amir Coffey of the LA Clippers bounced back from Sunday's subpar game with 29 points, five rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes against the Wizards. Coffey (available in 96% of ESPN leagues) should be picked up with Paul George potentially out for the season.
Injuries of note
Early in his game, Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Mavericks fractured his left foot's fifth metatarsal. He will be out for a while, but Jalen Brunson will benefit immediately. Brunson is averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. For those in deeper formats, look at Dorian Finney-Smith, who has averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 13 games this month.
Jalen Smith, Phoenix Suns: With Deandre Ayton (ankle), Jae Crowder (wrist) and JaVale McGee (knee) all having been ruled out, Smith has a chance to succeed against the Jazz. Although he is only averaging 14.0 minutes per game this season, Smith has managed to produce 19.0 points and 15.7 rebounds per 40 minutes, so the expected extended minutes should help his numbers tonight.