NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Knicks Stay Undefeated
Lopez leads Nets over Rondo-less Celtics
A sprained ankle for Rajon Rondo means that Jason Terry might just salvage something out of his five-game week after all. Terry and Leandro Barbosa started as the Celtics backcourt and played well. Barbosa had 17 points, two assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, while Terry had 10 points, four rebounds, six assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in a loss to the Nets. Courtney Lee also played well off the bench with 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a 3-pointer, while Jeff Green fell back to earth with just five points and six boards on 2-of-6 shooting. As for Rondo, he remains day-to-day making him questionable for Saturday’s game against the Raptors, and if he misses that one, he might also miss Sunday at Detroit. The Celtics play just three times next week, meaning that a healthy Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are the only must-starts in Boston. I have already started dropping Brandon Bass where I own him.
The Nets got another whopper out of Brook Lopez with 24 points, six rebounds and four blocks on 11-of-14 shooting. I’m no longer even making fun of his rebounding because he’s averaging a career-high 2.3 blocks after swatting just 1.5 of them in his last full season. I actually drafted Lopez as a potential buy-low guy this year, and the teams he’s on are doing well. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams (who tweaked his leg last night) are both suddenly playing better, Kris Humphries had another double-double and Gerald Wallace missed another game. The man named Crash has now missed seven straight games with a sprained ankle and has scored a total of 10 points this season. He has to be close to getting back, but it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll play against the Kings on Sunday. Something tells me that the two extra full days off should have him ready for that one, and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact Wallace has on guys like Lopez and Johnson.
Knicks stay perfect with win over Spurs
Don’t look now, but the Knicks are undefeated at 6-0 after taking down the 7-2 Spurs. Raymond Felton is living up to the Rotoworld hype after losing weight and getting out of Portland. He had 25 points and seven dimes, Jason Kidd traveled back in time for 14 points, four 3-pointers, two steals and three blocks, Tyson Chandler double-doubled and J.R. Smith had 17 points off the bench and a full stat line (as usual). Carmelo Anthony was the most disappointing player for the Knicks last night, hitting just 3-of-12 shots for nine points, but did have 12 rebounds in the win. Melo is going to have a lot of big games this season, and his value may not be lower than it is right now if you want to target him in trade. Ronnie Brewer played through his knee injury but has cooled off after a hot start. I cut him and moved on in my deep leagues and you should too. As for Kidd, if he’s available in your league he’s worth picking up as long as he’s getting solid minutes for the Knicks.
The Spurs, for some reason, decided to keep everyone guessing and started DeJuan Blair at center tonight, and he bumbled his way to two points and zero rebounds in eight minutes. I don’t try to understand Gregg Popovich. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan had their normal big games, Manu Ginobili made it through 26 minutes and scored 12 points, while Kawhi Leonard finally had a mini-breakout with 16 points, nine boards, two steals and three 3-pointers. Owners who were thinking about moving on from Leonard will probably rethink the move after tonight’s game, but I think the one thing we can expect from anyone on this team not named Tim or Tony is inconsistency. Despite coming off the bench, Tiago Splitter had 13 points, but no rebounds in 17 minutes, and Stephen Jackson double-doubled with 10 points, 11 boards and two 3-pointers off the bench, but again, I’d be scared to actually put them in one of my lineups. Splitter’s last three games: 13 & 0, 9 & 9, 6 & 2. Enough said.
First Heat Win In Denver Since 2002
Yes, the mighty Heat won for the first time in Denver since January of 2002 behind LeBron James’ 27 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and three blocks on 11-of-23 shooting. If you’re lucky enough to own LeBron, chances are you’re winning your league. Bron hurt his shoulder last night, but played through it and I’m not concerned. The big news is that Dwyane Wade was out with his foot injury, which he aggravated in Wednesday’s disastrous performance and we basically saw this DNP coming from a mile away. Wade’s current problems include the foot, a jammed thumb and the surgically-repaired knee he’s playing on. The Heat are off until Saturday at Phoenix and Wade looks like a game-time decision for that one. Mike Miller started in his place and had 12 points, five rebounds and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes. He might be worth a deep-league add if you’re desperate for 3-pointers, but I think I’d rather own Atlanta’s Kyle Korver in that instance.
Chris Bosh has cooled off and had 14 points and just three rebounds, which is disappointing since big men tend to do very well against Denver. Expect him to break out of his funk soon. Shane Battier appears to be the big winner in Wade’s absence and had 18 points and six 3-pointers to go along with a steal and two blocks. Maybe he’s worth a look for as long as Wade is out, but he’s not really trustworthy either. Mario Chalmers left this one with a strained right triceps and didn’t return, allowing Norris Cole to take over. He had just seven points and three assists in 39 minutes, but should be a guy worth a look in some leagues if Chalmers is going to miss time.
The Nuggets got 16 points, 20 rebounds, two steals and a block from Kenneth Faried and I’m hopeful that no one reading this is on a list of people who dropped him after he got off to a very slow start. Ty Lawson disappeared, missing all seven of his shots and failing to score, while handing out eight assists. He’s not exactly killing it this season, but my guess is he’ll get it going soon. He’s a good guy to target in a buy-low situation. Danilo Gallinari still hasn’t hit 50 percent of his shots in a single game, and is another guy I’d make some buy-low offers on. Based on the Season Pass Live Chat I held on Wednesday, a lot of JaVale McGee owners are thinking about dropping him, but he had 18 points, six rebounds and four more blocks off the bench on 9-of-12 shooting. He’s averaging 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks, and I’d recommend grabbing him in any leagues where he was dropped. Kosta Koufos is struggling and it looks like George Karl is finally ready to roll with McGee at center, so dumping Koufos makes sense if you’ve got him. With Lawson’s off night Andre Miller came through with his best game of the season with 19 points, five boards, seven assists and two 3-pointers. His assists have been solid all year, but the rest of his game has been pretty inconsistent. He’s averaging 10 points and 5.4 assists on the season, making him worth a look if those numbers are better than another guard on your roster is posting.
News and Notes
Washington’s A.J. Price was available to return Wednesday despite a sprained ankle and should be held in all leagues, especially with recent news that John Wall still has no timetable and might not be back until Christmas. The Wiz signed PG Shaun Livingston on Thursday and he could split minutes with Price, but I’d rather own Price at this point.
The Wolves have signed Josh Howard and he’s expected to see limited minutes on Friday. I’m not expecting any miracles, but he’s at least worth keeping a close eye on going forward. Center Nikola Pekovic is hoping to play tonight against the Magic, but coach Rick Adelman doesn’t sounds as confident. He’s a game-time decision with a sprained ankle. J.J. Barea (foot) is iffy for Friday and would likely split time with Luke Ridnour at PG once he’s healthy. Ridnour is hot and looks like a must-start until further notice.
Brandan Wright didn’t even get off the Dallas bench on Wednesday and I’d recommend dropping him for Chris Kaman or Elton Brand if you can. Shawn Marion (MCL sprain) may try to play on Friday at Indy, but it’s not a sure thing.
Kyle Lowry is expected to miss another one or two weeks with his ankle injury, but at least there doesn’t appear to be any structural damage. However, me freaking out on Twitter while watching him go down appears to have been quite warranted. Terrence Ross and Linas Kleiza (who has a sore ankle) are both going to see a big boost in minutes with news that Landry Fields (elbow surgery) and Alan Anderson (foot) are going to miss several weeks with their injuries. I picked up Kleiza on a flier, while Andrea Bargnani, who should see some time at small forward, should also see more shots. And it goes without saying that a red-hot Jose Calderon should be owned in all leagues right now.
Rodney Stuckey will start for the Pistons on Friday after missing a game with the flu, meaning Kyle Singler isn’t likely to repeat Wednesday’s 16-point performance. However, Singler has played well and may be able to stay relevant, especially if Lawrence Frank keeps playing him despite the fact Corey Maggette is finally healthy again. I don’t think Singler’s worth holding in most leagues as long as those other guys are healthy.
Kobe Bryant (foot) and Jordan Hill (wrist) are expected to play in Mike D’Antoni’s debut tonight against the Spurs, Steve Blake (abdomen) is iffy/doubtful and Steve Nash (leg) has already been ruled out.
LaMarcus Aldridge (wrist) made it through an entire practice and it sounds like his sore wrist won’t cost him any games for now. I’m still mildly concerned about it, but you have to keep starting him if you own him (obviously).
A lot of fantasy leagues may be decided on Friday night with nine big games on the schedule, so be sure to check out the new Saturday Dose with a bottle of Gatorade while you recover from Friday’s festivities.
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