Starting 5 (Dec. 3): Davis goes off on Hornets, M. Gasol draws iron on Sunday Night

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Top Performer

There were several players to choose from, but Anthony Davis was dominant on both sides of the floor for the New Orleans Pelicans in their 119-109 win over the Charlotte Hornets last night.

It was Christmas come early for Davis fantasy owners as he finished with a near triple-double, with 36 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. He was 14-of-19 from the field and made two of his three attempts from long range.

Davis has done a good job this season of adjusting to the defense and what they give him. If he gets double-teamed, he has been a great facilitator for the Pelicans and is averaging a career-high 4.7 assists per game.

Underachiever

Whereas one Western Conference big man had a dominant game, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies had anything but.

Gasol finished with 12 points and a paltry four rebounds on 4-of-14 shooting from the field in the Grizzlies’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Gasol had been listed as questionable with a sore knee, but was cleared and played 38 minutes on Sunday. He’ll look to bounce back against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

DeRozan/Lillard battle in San Antonio

Both the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trailblazers were in dire need of a win on Sunday night. The Spurs had been blown out their last two games and the Blazers had lost four of their last five.

The Spurs walked away with the win at home 131-118 with a career-high in scoring from DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan led the Silver & Black with 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists. LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been struggling through a slump lately, seemed to bounce back against his former team, pouring in 29 points to go with eight rebounds.

But the Blazers would not go down without a fight, and Damian Lillard led that charge with 37 points and 10 assists. Though he had trouble connecting from long range, Lillard has been known to give the Spurs’ guards fits this season.

Lakers Heating Up at Home

Even playing three games in the last four days hasn’t cooled down the Los Angeles Lakers in the comfy confines of the Staples Center.

In much of the same way as heavyweight Tyson Fury got up from a vicious barrage of punches from Deontay Wilder the night before in the same building, the Lakers survived the early 25-8 onslaught in the first seven minutes of the game against the Suns to cruise to their third consecutive home victory 120-96.

In a game where LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma sat the entirety of the fourth quarter, the pair finished with 22 points and 23 points respectively.

Devin Booker played just 17 minutes and finished with six points before leaving the game with a strained left hamstring.

The Lakers will get a bit of a break in their schedule now before looking for their fourth straight home win as they host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Looking Ahead

There are several good games coming up tonight, but it’s hard to look past the matchup of Toronto vs. Denver, pitting the top teams in the East and West against each other.

The Raptors are 20-4 and have only lost two games at home. They are also riding an eight-game winning streak and are looking like an early championship contender.

The Nuggets have been atop the Western Conference for most of the season. They are 15-7 and have won their last five, so someone’s streak will end tonight.

The Nuggets will need to look for an answer for Kawhi Leonard, while the Raptors will try to limit Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris.

Michael is Chief Editor at Lineups.com. He has decades of combined experience in traditional print journalism and online media and is the publisher of the Project Spurs Network, which includes 13 team-specific sports media sites and the flagship ProjectSpurs.com. He is also the creator of the first Spurs podcast and the longest-running sports podcast on the internet, the Spurscast, and was formerly the host of the News 4 San Antonio Sports Roundtable.

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