In a Saturday evening blowout of the Hawks, Houston's James Harden had his fourth career 60-point game, tying Michael Jordan for third-most in NBA history. The bearded one needed just 24 shot attempts to reach this lofty scoring tally, the fewest in NBA history in a 60-point game, per Elias.
Harden exits November with a 38.9 PPG average, the best mark by anyone through the end of November since Wilt Chamberlain. Again per Elias, his 31 minutes were the second-fewest ever in a 60-point game (Klay Thompson: 29 minutes in 2016-17). Harden's 83.3 effective field goal percentage (a measure that weights the value of 3-pointers compared to traditional field goals) was the best in any 60-point game in the past 40 seasons.
It wasn't just Harden enjoying a hot hand in the win, as journeyman wing Ben McLemore produced the second-most fantasy points among shooting guards on DraftKings on Saturday's four-game slate, behind only Harden's offensive opus. Danuel House Jr. was out with an illness while Eric Gordon continues to be sideline, affording McLemore new life as a 3-and-D wing for Houston.
And that's just it, this Houston scheme has over the past few seasons vaulted the likes of Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, Gordon, Austin Rivers, and now House and McLemore to valuable fantasy roles given wide open catch-and-shoot roles aside Harden and Russell Westbrook -- two players who are always among the league leaders in assist percentage on 3-pointers. Which is to say, rostering House or streaming McLemore when he's earning increased usage is a rewarding strategy, given the blend of Mike D'Antoni's space-driven scheme and this unique tandem of superstar creators.
James Harden, Houston Rockets: 60 points (16-24 FG), 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 5 TO
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics: 0 points (0-6 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 TO
While Harden continues to assault the record books, the Hawks lost their second game this season by at least 45 points. They join the 1978-79 New Jersey Nets as the only teams in NBA history to lose multiple games by at least 45 points within their first 20 games of a season. At least Trae Young is averaging 28.8 PPG in the Hawks' past 10 games, which, per Elias, is the most points anyone has scored during a 10-game losing streak since Derek Smith scored 289 from Feb. 24-March 13, 1985.
The Mavericks' incomparable Doncic capped off a historic month with 42 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds against the Suns on Friday, his third career 40-point, 10-assist game. Doncic finished November averaging 32.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 10.4 APG. Per Elias, he's the third different player in NBA history to average a 30-point triple-double in a calendar month. All Doncic did to begin December was outduel LeBron James while flirting with yet another triple-double, marking 15 consecutive games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Only Michael Jordan and Westbrook have posted longer streaks since the merger in 1976.
Gary Harris found his touch with a season-high 25-point performance on Sunday and is now up to 18 PPG during the past week. Yet to truly regain his stellar production from a few seasons ago, Harris is at least reemerging as a scoring threat for Denver of late.
Stacking DFS lineups and streaming in redraft leagues from rosters that face the Wizards could prove wise this year; Washington has allowed at least 110 points in 12 consecutive games, the longest active such streak in the NBA and the longest by the franchise since a 14-game run in the 1969-70 season. While the Wizards coughed up a whopping 150 points to the Clippers on Sunday, it was impressive to see Washington rookie Rui Hachimura pour in a career-high 30 points in the loss. We also find the Wizards' Davis Bertans lighting it up from beyond the arc as one of the more helpful shooting specialists to target in free agency.
If you enjoy winning in fantasy basketball and play in a shallower format, go ahead and acquire Jonathan Isaac in any of the nearly 30% of ESPN leagues he's still available in free agency. For those of you already rostering the rising fantasy star, congratulations are in order, given just how absurdly productive he's become as a rim protector. The breakout forward is averaging 2.8 BPG and 1.3 SPG on the season while also enjoying 1.3 3PG and a respectable 7.5 RPG to flesh out one of the better lines in all of fantasy hoops.
Detroit's Luke Kennard netted his ninth 20-point game of the season on Sunday, matching his total of such scoring performances from his prior two NBA seasons. We also learned that Christian Wood is quite the microwave for the Pistons with 28 points in 22 minutes in the drubbing of the Spurs.
Injuries of note
Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Grizzlies have deemed rookie point guard Ja Morant "week-to-week" after he aggravated back spasms in Friday's loss to the Jazz. Morant, who first experienced back spasms after a hard fall in Monday's loss to the Pacers, did not travel with the team to Minnesota. Tyus Jones becomes a relevant source of assist production in Morant's absence, while Dillon Brooks' scoring pop could really improve, given increased usage. Brooks, meanwhile, posted 26 points on 18 shots on Sunday.
The Bucks' Brook Lopez is listed as doubtful for Monday's matchup with the Knicks due to a back ailment, but this absence is mostly another case of load management, given Milwaukee's perch as massive favorites tonight.
Analytics advantage for Monday
Diving deeper into the analytical angle, we find Bowman enjoys a 1.7% leap in usage rate with Green off the floor, while Paschall's rebound opportunities leap in such scenarios.
Paschall in particular is a strong play tonight given the Hawks' soft frontcourt, setting him as potentially an enduring member of your fantasy roster given how much the Warriors rely on the rookie each time out.
Top players to watch tonight
The drama from the Rookie of the Year race in 2017-18 still resonates between the Sixers and Jazz fan bases. While they play thousands of miles apart most nights in completely different divisions and conferences, there will always be a competitive connection between Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell.
With Simmons leading the league in steals and near the top of the leaderboard in several advanced defensive statistics, and Mitchell still poised as an explosive isolation scorer, tonight's matchup of young stars in South Philly proves captivating.