NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Oh No, Rondo!
I was filling in for Ryan this weekend and am close to running out of gas. You may have noticed me being more active on Twitter, and if so, that’s why. Let’s do this, as Sunday brought a boatload of 3-pointers and a season-ending injury for Rajon Rondo. Perhaps the craziest thing about Rondo's injury was that Rotoworld broke the news to the world before Rondo even knew the results of his own MRI, and before Paul Pierce was informed of his injury by Doris Burke after Sunday's game on live television.
You should check out Waiver Wired, Saturday’s Dose and the Injury Report for all the relevant information that I may have chosen not to duplicate here. And hit here for a free live NBA chat on Monday at 12:30 p.m.
Games Played for Week 14
4 Games – Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Lakers, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah, Washington.
3 Games – Brooklyn, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland.
2 Games – Atlanta, Oklahoma City, San Antonio.
Weekend Headlines - Oh no, Rondo!
Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game against the Hawks, and while he somehow continued to play through it in double overtime, his season is now over. He told someone on Sunday that he was going to be back in two weeks, but that is the only time I’ve heard anyone suggest that his season may not be over. Rondo can talk about coming back all he wants, but it’s just not likely to happen. Cut him and move on. Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa and Jason Terry are all going to get a chance to run the point, but the fact of the matter remains that the only point guard the Celtics have is Rondo. And that means that while grabbing Bradley and/or Lee is a good idea, they simply aren’t going to be top fantasy point guards, even with heavy minutes. I still think you should own them, but just don’t expect any miracles. And if the Celtics decide to throw in the towel on the season, look for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be on the trading block for Boston.
Raining 3-pointers on Sunday night
Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with a franchise-record nine 3-pointers on Sunday, along with 42 points in a dramatic win over the Hawks. He had all nine of his triples by the end of the third quarter, then finally cooled off, but not before hitting the game-winning three-point play on a foul by Josh Smith. Beast.
J.J. Redick, who may be being showcased for a trade with his new starting gig, hit a career-best eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points in a loss. Start him.
Ryan Anderson hit seven treys for 22 points and five rebounds.
Brandon Knight had five 3-pointers for a career-high 31 points, but somehow made it through the night without an assist, which isn’t good news for your starting point guard.
DeShawn Stevenson hit four 3-pointers off the Hawks bench and scored 15 points. If you’re desperate for threes, he’s worth a look in deep leagues.
Sunday Injury Report (in addition to Rondo)
Mike Conley left after just four minutes with a sprained left ankle and was in a walking boot after the game. The fact that he couldn’t return to the game and was in a boot make me very concerned, not only for his availability on Monday at Philly, but for the entire week. If he can’t go, Jerryd Bayless is your guy.
Tyson Chandler’s neck was in pain throughout Sunday’s entire game, but he played through it (poorly). He finished with just two points, three rebounds and two blocks, and while I doubt he misses any time, news about his neck should be one of his owners’ top priority on Monday afternoon.
Jason Kidd was held out after just five minutes of action in order to rest his sore back, and while the Knicks say he’s not injured, I have a hard time seeing him as healthy. The good news is that he’s still penciled in as the team’s starting shooting guard for now, with Iman Shumpert starting at SF, but I don’t have much interest in owning Kidd right now, let alone starting him.
Arron Afflalo suffered a minor calf strain on Sunday and sat out the fourth quarter. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but we’ll have to see what Monday’s news brings before making a decision on him.
Rodney Stuckey was put on the inactive list by coach Lawrence Frank and Will Bynum went off for nine points and 12 assists last night. I have no idea what’s going on between Stuckey and his coach, but if he remains in Frank’s doghouse, Bynum is going to be worth a look.
Weekend Injury Roundup
Chris Paul is hoping to return from his knee injury sooner than later, but we still don’t have a target date. And given the fact he’s missed four straight games and seven of his last nine, I don’t care what the Clippers say. That sounds like a fairly serious injury to me. Paul has said he’s feeling better, but owners should start Paul at their own risk for now. If pushed into a corner in a weekly league, I’d bench him, depending on options.
Tim Duncan has now missed three straight games with his sore knee (which were all wins) and the Spurs (who have won eight straight) are probably in no hurry to rush him back. Especially since they easily own the best record in the entire league. If I were running that show I would probably pull a Popovich and sit Duncan down for another week or two, at least. The only thing they should care about right now is having him (and the other vets) healthy in April. Start Duncan at your own risk until further notice.
The only time I’ve seen Kyle Lowry’s name lately is in trade rumors about going to the Celtics. But he missed Sunday’s practice with a sore back and is pretty iffy for Monday’s game against the Warriors. Based on how he’s been playing, it should be an easy decision to keep him on the bench until he’s a sure bet to play in a game.
Klay Thompson is dealing with the flu and missed a voluntary practice on Sunday. Thompson should be in starting lineups for Monday’s clash with the Raptors unless we get bad news this afternoon.
Luol Deng is targeting a return on Monday or Wednesday from his hamstring injury, although it’s not guaranteed that he’ll play in either game. But when it happens, Jimmy Butler will (probably) disappear again.
Nikola Pekovic (thigh contusion) should be nearing a return for the Timberwolves, but news has been almost nonexistent lately. The latest is that there’s a “good chance” that Pekovic and Alexey Shved (ankle) can return during the team’s upcoming homestand. The bad news is that the homestand is six games long, and doesn’t start until Wednesday, meaning that they could also miss the entire week. I’m not starting Pekovic in the leagues where I own him until we know he’s going to play, and you can probably find a better player than Shved to own right now.
Byron Mullens could return from his ankle injury this week for Charlotte, but I’m not holding my breath. It might be time to pick him up, but there’s no reason to risk putting him in your lineup until we know when he’s going to be back.
Jason Richardson has been sitting with a knee injury, but there’s no guarantee he reclaims his starting job once he’s healthy again. Nick Young has scored 20 points in two straight games and could be given the job until further notice, while Dorell Wright has fallen out of the rotation again.
Kobe Bryant had 14 assists in both games this weekend and the Lakers look like a new team. Kobe’s scoring could take a hit if he’s going to continue to look for the open man, but hopefully the dimes will help make up for the lack of offense.
Blake Griffin is doing his best Kobe imitation, and has racked up 19 assists in his last two games. But the even better news is that he’s hit 81 percent of his free throws in four of his last five games, if you throw out his 2-of-8 line last Thursday.
The Mavericks started Bernard James at center on Sunday, but he played just 11 minutes. If you picked up Elton Brand recently, just hang onto him, despite the fact he played just 17 minutes in that one, finishing with 12 points and three boards. Chris Kaman is bummed with his benching and 11 minutes on Sunday, and I cut him in one league last night. My guess is Brand will start going forward, but we’ll have to see. Shawn Marion had a big game on Sunday, but is going to continue to be up and down for the Mavs, while Darren Collison now appears to be in a timeshare with Roddy Beaubois. Plan accordingly.
Devin Harris started for the Hawks on Sunday, but I don’t really trust him right now. With just two games this week, he can probably be left on waivers until we see him get hot again.
Andre Drummond was benched for the Pistons on Sunday and had zero points, four boards and two blocks in just 16 minutes. If he gets dropped in your league, I’d recommend grabbing him, as he still looks like a second-half breakout candidate.
Roy Hibbert’s slump appears to be over and he’s shooting it much better for the Pacers lately. Roll with him for three games this week if you don’t have better options.
Lamar Odom had eight points, 13 boards, six assists and a steal in 29 minutes for the Clippers on Sunday and is suddenly worth a close look in fantasy leagues. Odom and Grant Hill (20 minutes Sunday) are eating into Matt Barnes’ production and I’m thinking it might be time to dump Barnes for a hot free agent (or Odom).
Greivis Vasquez was just 2-of-16 on Sunday and is just 3-of-32 over his last two games for the Hornets. That is what we call a super-slump, but with four games this week, he’s still in all my lineups. Al-Farouq Aminu nearly double-doubled again on Sunday and looks like a solid four-game option now that Monty Williams no longer hates him.
Raymond Felton double-doubled for the Knicks and should be back in lineups this week.
Magic big man Glen Davis had his first double-double since Dec. 7 on Sunday and is another guy you’ll want to get back in your lineup ASAP.
Spencer Hawes started at center for the Sixers on Saturday and while he struggled, he also had four blocks. I expect him to start putting up pretty solid numbers if he sticks in the starting unit.
Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins were both awful for the Kings on Saturday, but Cousins remains a must-start player, while I’m hanging onto IT2 in most leagues. In other words, I would not cut Thomas to pick up a random guard in Boston, as we still don’t know who, if anyone, is going to emerge with new value for the Celtics.
Good luck in Week 14!
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