NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Magic Beat Lakers
Four Games – Bobcats, Bulls, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers, Bucks, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Suns, Raptors and Jazz.
Three Games – Hawks, Celtics, Nets, Mavericks, Rockets, Grizzlies, Heat, Timberwolves, Thunder, 76ers, Blazers, Spurs, Kings and Wizards.
The Knicks stayed undefeated at home by beating the Suns on Sunday, led by Carmelo Anthony’s 34 points, along with six rebounds, a steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers. Raymond Felton added 23 points, seven dimes and three 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting, but also suffered a left hand injury in the win. The Knicks are off until Wednesday, so the hope is that Felton will play in that one. J.R. Smith hit just 1-of-11 shots, but played 37 minutes and remains a solid fantasy option despite the off day. He had 20 points on Friday, but has hit just 4-of-23 shots in three of his previous four games, so owners will have to hope that he'll shoot his way out of the funk. Jason Kidd was out again with back spasms, but is hoping to play on Wednesday.
The Suns got 18 points, and 10 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting from Marcin Gortat, although he didn’t block a shot in the loss. Shannon Brown had 17 points and seven rebounds, but Goran Dragic was quiet with nine points and five assists. The Suns have four games next week and Gortat and Dragic remain must-stars, while Brown and Luis Scola are also worth a look. Michael Beasley is a fantasy possibility, but has really been struggling despite starting for the Suns. He’s been sitting in the fourth quarter lately, and that is a trend that could continue. Jermaine O’Neal missed Sunday with a quad strain and this news shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. It’s probably not a coincidence that Gortat played well.
The Lakers fell at home to the Magic on Sunday when Arron Afflalo went off for a season-high 30 points and four 3-pointers, while Jameer Nelson played through an Achilles injury and had one of his best games of the season with 19 points, five boards, 13 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in the win. Nikola Vucevic came through with 17 points, 12 boards and four blocks, and Glen Davis added 23 points, 12 boards, a steal and a block in the win. J.J. Redick was also better with 14 points, seven assists and two 3-pointers, and all of them deserve a shot at starting for your fantasy team with four games this week.
Kobe Bryant paced the losers with 34 points, seven boards and five assists, while Dwight Howard chipped in with 21 points, 15 rebounds, no blocks, and hit just 9-of-21 free throws. Yuck. Metta World Peace added 15 points, five boards, five assists, three steals and three 3-pointers, and Pau Gasol had 11 points, seven boards and a block off the bench. As you know, I’m down on Gasol and would be trying to trade him if I owned him. Antawn Jamison cooled off after going for 33 points on Friday night, scoring 10 points with five boards in 28 minutes. I still like the idea of holding him going forward.
News and Notes
Brook Lopez has missed two games with a foot injury and it’s unclear when he’ll play again. He’s day-to-day, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll practice on Monday and I’m going to bench him where I own him this week.
Anderson Varejao is dealing with a dislocated finger on his shooting hand, but played through it on Saturday and is averaging 17.6 rebounds over his last eight games for the Cavs. With four games this week, he’s a must-start.
DeMarcus Cousins was benched on Saturday and saw just 18 minutes, but is healthy. Keith Smart “didn’t like what was going on” Saturday, so he benched the star. Cousins has been shaky lately, and now is a good time to target him as a buy-low player.
Chandler Parsons played through a strained shoulder on Saturday and had 19 points and a full stat line for the Rockets. Carlos Delfino is back and Parsons is in pain, making him a little shaky this week with just three games. I’d still lean towards playing him in most cases.
Dion Waiters is iffy for Monday with a sprained ankle and will likely be a game-time decision for the Cavs against the Pistons.
Malcolm Lee is iffy with a groin injury, which means Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea could continue to play well for the Wolves. Kevin Love has been dealing with an illness but played through it on Saturday, and I would be shocked if he doesn’t play on Tuesday. Andrei Kirilenko’s back caused him to miss Sunday’s practice and he’s iffy for Tuesday. Ricky Rubio went through a full practice on Sunday, and while he’s nearing a return, I would not start him this week.
Paul George missed all seven of his shots and failed to score for the Pacers on Saturday. He’s got four games this week and should bounce back, but he hasn’t played well since hitting nine 3-pointers last Wednesday. Weigh options carefully when setting your lineup.
Larry Sanders had 18 points, 16 rebounds and five more blocks on Saturday. I have no idea if Scott Skiles will keep going to him, but he’s worth owning in all leagues after averaging 14 points, 14 rebounds and 7.5 blocks over his last two games.
Danny Green is dealing with a left hamstring injury and missed the end of Saturday’s game. He wasn’t playing well enough to be an automatic fantasy starter before the injury, and Gary Neal looks like a much better option right now. Stephen Jackson will miss a couple more weeks with his hand injury, while Kawhi Leonard isn’t expected to play much this week, if at all, due to his quad injury.
Derrick Favors missed Saturday’s game with plantar fasciitis, which is a tricky injury. He is hoping to play on Monday, but will probably be a game-time decision. Start him at your own risk this week.
Tyreke Evans missed Saturday’s game with a sore knee and is day-to-day. My guess is he’ll play on Wednesday, but it’s just a guess.
The Rest of the Injury Roundup
Kyle Korver back – He’s day-to-day and a risky start with just three games.
Rajon Rondo suspension – It’s over and he is ready to roll for three games.
Gerald Henderson foot – It sounds like he’ll be back for his next game.
Kyrie Irving finger – Still not due back this week.
Wilson Chandler hip – He should be on waivers in your league.
Andrew Bogut ankle – Who knows when he’ll be ready and I’m not holding him.
Steve Nash leg – Still no target date for his return, so keep him benched.
Eric Gordon knee – Out indefinitely and a serious trade candidate in reality.
Amare Stoudemire knee – Targeting Christmas and could come off bench.
Nick Young toe – Missed Saturday, remains day-to-day.
Andrew Bynum knee – Your guess is as good as mine, but looking like lost season.
Marvin Williams concussion – Day-to-day, but we’re still not sure on return date.
Nene flu – Should be ready for Tuesday against the Heat.
John Wall knee – Still no target date, but could make a surprise return soon.
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