NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Bledsoe Still Rolling
Wizards Wax Clippers
Martell Webster stayed hot and had 21 points and five 3-pointers in the Wizards’ win. He’s played over 30 minutes in five straight games, averaging 15 points and three 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting during that stretch. It doesn’t look like Trevor Ariza is going to steal Webster’s job any time soon and Webster is a guy who can help a lot of fantasy teams right now. Emeka Okafor was solid again with nine points and 14 rebounds, while John Wall and Nene played well, and Garrett Temple added 15 points while filling in for Bradley Beal. Beal was out again with his wrist injury, but it does sound like he’ll return at some point this week.
The Clippers got 17 points, nine assists and two blocks out of Eric Bledsoe and if you rolled the dice on him in a weekly league, so far, so good. I benched him for Nate Robinson, just because I was worried about Chris Paul returning mid-week and raining on his parade. We’ll see. Blake Griffin was a late scratch with a hamstring injury and something tells me he was in a ton of lineups last night, as the news was late breaking. Lamar Odom started in his place and had three points and nine rebounds before fouling out. DeAndre Jordan exploded for seven points, two blocks and a career-high 22 rebounds in 40 minutes, while Jamal Crawford went for 28 points, three boards, three assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in the loss. Paul has missed eight straight games and remains iffy for the week, while Griffin is day-to-day with his injury, as well.
Sixers Spank Magic
The Sixers enjoyed an easy night against a beat up Orlando team featuring a D-League-like lineup that most casual NBA fans would have trouble picking out of a lineup. Jrue Holiday double-doubled, Nick Young scored 15, Spencer Hawes finally broke out with 21 points, 14 rebounds and a block, and Thaddeus Young left the game with a hamstring injury that could keep him out “a while.” And with Young out, Hawes should have a good week for his new fantasy owners. Evan Turner disappeared, but should bounce back quickly. Jason Richardson’s not expected back anytime soon from his knee injury, meaning Nick Young should be owned in most formats.
The Magic’s starting five was Ishmael Smith, E’Twaun Moore, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts and Nikola Vucevic. And not surprisingly, they got run out of the building. Moore was solid with 18 points on 9-of-17 shooting and Harkless played 43 minutes for 10 points, five rebounds and a full stat line, but hit just 4-of-13 shots on the night. I picked him up late and threw him in a couple lineups, as Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Arron Afflalo and DeQuan Jones are all going to be a little iffy for the week. This depleted Magic lineup scored a total of 61 points last night.
Pacers Beat Bulls
George Hill played through a shoulder injury and went off for 22 points, six assists and four 3-pointers on 7-of-10 shooting, Lance Stephenson scored 15 points, and Paul George and David West both posted monster lines for the Pacers. Roy Hibbert had a forgettable night with six points, nine boards and a block on just 3-of-11 shooting. Stephenson is averaging 15.5 points, 1.5 3-pointers and a steal in his last four, but will fall off the map once Danny Granger finally returns.
Nate Robinson stayed hot with 19 points, five boards, nine assists, three steals and three 3-pointers. The reigning Player of the Week should be in all lineups with Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose not expected to play this week. All five Bulls starters scored in double figures, including Taj Gibson who had 10 points, 11 boards and five blocks as Joakim Noah sat out another game with plantar fasciitis. As long as he’s out, Gibson’s a must-start player. Marco Belinelli overcame a sprained ankle and had a season-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, but we’ll have to see how he’s feeling this morning. Jimmy Butler played 29 minutes but never really got cooking, finishing with 10 points and three steals. I’d hang in there with him, especially if Belinelli misses any time with his ankle injury. Carlos Boozer had 10 & 5 in his return from a hamstring injury.
Knicks Crush Pistons
The Knicks weren’t impressed with Jose Calderon’s debut, although Raymond Felton didn’t fare much better. Felton hit 2-of-5 shots for four points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals, but owners were looking for more. Jason Kidd started at shooting guard, but hit just 1-of-7 shots for three points and three assists in 20 minutes. I see no reason to be holding Kidd right now. Tyson Chandler had eight points and 20 rebounds (for the third straight game), J.R. Smith scored 16 with five 3-pointers off the bench, Amare Stoudemire added 20 points, three rebounds and a block, while Carmelo Anthony raked for 27 points and a full stat line with great shooting percentages.
Calderon started and had 15 points and three assists on 7-of-12 shooting, while Brandon Knight, who slid over to shooting guard, hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points in 28 minutes. Greg Monroe had a nice double-double, but Kyle Singler, Jason Maxiell and Andre Drummond (eight minutes, sore back) were all awful in this one. Drummond says he will play Wednesday, but his minutes have been too shaky for him to be relied upon in fantasy right now. Rodney Stuckey had 14 points, seven boards and three steals off the bench in 30 minutes, while Will Bynum added 13 points in 21 minutes. I’m avoiding both players for now, but you’ll want to keep an eye on Detroit’s rotation going forward. It was tough to learn much from this one, as the Knicks blew their doors off starting with the opening tip.
Heat Hang On Vs. Bobcats
LeBron James hit 13-of-14 shots for 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and five turnovers. And sadly, the only shot he missed was a bunny of a layup he was probably fouled on. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh also played well, but the Heat still look like a team that’s just coasting along, waiting for the playoffs to start. And that’s a dangerous game.
The Cats welcomed back Byron Mullens, who surprisingly got 28 minutes to finish with 12 points, nine boards, two steals and a block. Of course, he hit just 5-of-14 shots and looked rusty, but owners have to feel pretty good about his return from a nasty ankle injury. I picked him up in a couple leagues and threw him out there this week.
Blazers Top Wolves
Wesley Matthews played through his sprained ankle and had a huge first half, but cooled off to finish with 22 points, three boards, five assists and four 3-pointers on 7-of-11 shooting. Hopefully you were brave enough to put him in your weekly lineup (although I was not that smart). Nicolas Batum’s wrist is an obvious problem and he doesn’t want to shoot the ball right now because of the pain. He took just four shots in 35 minutes to finish with four points, three boards, two assists, SEVEN turnovers and two blocks. Props to Batum for trying to play through this thing, but if it doesn’t feel better soon, my guess is he’s going to have to sit out a few games until it starts feeling better. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge went off, as usual, and J.J. Hickson had just eight points and nine boards, marking just the eighth time this season he didn’t hit double figures in at least one of those two categories.
The Wolves got Ricky Rubio’s best line of the season with 15 points and 14 assists in 33 minutes, and he might finally be ready to get his season started. The 15 & 14 were both season highs for Rubio. Nikola Pekovic double-doubled with 13 points and 11 boards, Derrick Williams was atrocious again (0-for-5) and Andrei Kirilenko left after just 14 minutes due to a left quad injury. If he’s out, Williams simply has to bounce back. Dante Cunningham picked up AK’s slack last night with a career-high 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting off the bench, while J.J. Barea added 17 points and a full stat line off the pine. Alexey Shved cooled off with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting, but should bounce back in his next one.
Thunder Thrash Mavs
Kevin Durant played through a rib injury and double-doubled, Russell Westbrook led the way with 24 points and seven assists, and Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin also chipped in with solid scoring nights in the easy win. Nothing to see here.
The Mavs got a big line out of Shawn Marion (23 points on 10-of-14 shooting), but O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand were all too quiet in this one. Dirk was playing through a strained adductor and looked rusty after missing a couple games. Dominique Jones blew up for 15 points in 14 minutes, which was a fluke, while Bernard James made another start at center, finishing with two points, six boards and four blocks. He just doesn’t score enough to be a real fantasy option, while I’m still not sure what Brand did to Rick Carlisle’s Wheaties. Vince Carter missed this one with an illness, but should be back on Wednesday.
Jazz Beat Kings in OT
Randy Foye had 20 points, six assists and three more 3-pointers in an overtime win, while Al Jefferson chipped in with 15 points, 12 boards, five assists, a steal and two blocks on 7-of-17 shooting. Paul Millsap added 14 points and four boards, while Alec Burks (14), Derrick Favors (13 & 9) and DeMarre Carroll all hit double digits off the bench. Foye is really feeling it right now, averaging 16.6 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 3-pointers over his last five games, making him worth a pickup in almost any league.
DeMarcus Cousins was ejected after picking up a couple technical fouls after just 19 minutes. He reportedly told an official to "stop acting like an effing female,” which is classy. He’s sitting on 12 technical fouls and will face a one-game suspension when he picks up his 16th. Tyreke Evans had 20 points, Isaiah Thomas added 17 points, three assists and two 3-pointers, and Jason Thompson played 45 minutes and awoke from a coma to drop 23 points and 10 rebounds on the Jazz. I have no idea what got into Thompson, but he was unplayable coming into this one, and Cousins’ ejection certainly helped his cause. Now let’s see him do it again. Marcus Thornton had nine points off the bench in 26 minutes, but still isn’t doing enough to be starting for fantasy teams.
Monday News Headlines
Michael Beasley was arrested on Jan. 25 for criminal speeding and driving with a suspended license, but at least wasn’t busted for doing anything else, like alcohol or drugs, although he did keep it real by having a loaded gun in his car, as well. I’ve got him in some lineups with four Suns games this week, which should make for an interesting ride.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is iffy for the week for the Bobcats with a concussion and dropping him for a hot free agent makes sense.
Devin Harris won’t play for the Hawks on Tuesday and is another guy who can be dropped for a hot free agent.
Gordon Hayward was out again for the Jazz with his shoulder injury and hasn’t even shot the ball since suffering the injury.
Jeremy Lin is a game-time decision for Houston Tuesday after spraining his ankle in practice. Carlos Delfino is day-to-day with his elbow injury and I dropped him in a couple daily leagues because of it.
Andrea Bargnani is still not ready to go for the Raptors with his elbow injury, and they’ll likely try to trade him once he’s healthy.
JaVale McGee is expected back for Denver from a shin injury on Tuesday.
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