I’m on assignment for ProBasketballTalk right now so today’s Dose won’t explore the Wednesday night games as I usually do, or the other tidbits of information from around the league. To get a recap of all of the news that wasn’t specific to last night’s games check our player news page, which will also have all the plenty of info pertaining to tonight’s games. Good luck tonight.
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Tears in Heaven
The Pacers cruised into Staples Center last night and won an ugly game in which both teams combined to shoot about 35 percent from the field and just under 60 percent from the foul line. George Hill was the hero late, taking a high pick-and-roll past an overmatched Pau Gasol with a perfectly placed tear-drop over the outstretched arms of a late-arriving Dwight Howard in the final seconds. There weren’t any fantasy revelations on the Pacers’ side of the box, as Hill (19 points, five rebounds, five assists) and David West (16 points, 10 boards, eight assists) continued to dominate production for the Pacers. The good news for Hill’s owners is that he got a big win and the Pacers don’t appear to be overly concerned about the lack of direction in their offense. And frankly, it’s probably because they don’t have any other options. D.J. Augustin (12 minutes) is not trusted by the coaching staff and the team’s primary weapons offensively (Hill and Roy Hibbert) are not guys that are going to get others involved, with West’s assists tonight notwithstanding.
This means that guys like Paul George (5-of-13 FGs, 12 points, nine boards, two steals) and to a lesser degree Lance Stephenson (four points, 2-of-8 FGs) and Gerald Green (three points, 1-of-8 FGs) are going to be on their own. And in the case of the latter two fellows, that’s simply not going to be good enough for fantasy owners. Green is going to be high on my list of mistakes this season, though Doc and I were still marveling throughout tonight’s game how he and his teammates have not been able to get him on track.
The Lakers are their own mess right now, with Dwight Howard writing the name of Bible verses from the book of Phil on his shoes and Kobe Bryant playing like Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears. Kobe made half of the Lakers’ field goals last night on a 12-of-28 shooting binge, triple-doubling with 40 points, 10 boards, and 10 turnovers in the loss.
Pau Gasol is being treated like a pariah in these parts, and I have to admit I might be late to the party here. Gasol hit just 2-of-9 shots for 10 points with nine boards, three assists, and one block and generally looked like garbage last night. Watching the approach that Mike D’Antoni has taken with him it initially looked motivational to me, as in Mike D trying to get the big fella to run and gun and fit his system. Then the stories about knee tendinitis and conditioning came, followed by the trade rumors, and as we’ve seen in the past Gasol has started to shrink amidst the chaos. It can’t be understated how consistent Gasol has been over the past few years, and my initial reaction was to remain skeptical that his sky was falling at least for a week or two. But the sharks are circling in Los Angeles and if D’Antoni wants to play small ball things could get ugly quick. I’m going to remain patient, but I’m not thrilled to be the only one on that rapidly sinking boat.
Metta World Peace hit just 1-of-8 shots for four points and even if he didn’t have the 12 rebounds, four assists, and steal I wouldn’t be worried at all. Antawn Jamison (1-of-7 FGs, three points) has shown very little to suggest he can be a threat and MWP should be locked into D’Antoni’s plans going forward. Dwight Howard scored 17 points with eight boards, a steal, and four blocks to go with a typical 3-of-12 mark from the foul line in the loss. I am looking forward to Steve Nash’s return, whenever that may be, as Nash is still sidelined for that proverbial ‘week.’ It will mark the last transformation of the Lakers’ offense, at least until D’Antoni gets fired during the Lakers’ next meltdown. I’m kidding, I think.
I really hope you guys were able to procure James Harden from a panicky owner last week, as he is posting top-12 value in 9-cat leagues despite 4.1 turnovers per game and he is the No. 4 fantasy player in 8-cat formats. He had 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting with six boards, 12 assists, three steals, one block, and four triples in 44 minutes. He’s scary good. Jeremy Lin is back on track after the various benchings and posted 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting with four rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, and one trey in 38 minutes. I think he’ll go through some of those ups and downs all year but he’ll remain a solid fantasy PG play. Omer Asik went for 13 and 18 with 6-of-9 makes from the field and 1-of-2 makes from the line. If you’re not punting in his deficient areas right now, he’s still only a late round value at best but I like him to continue cleaning things up even if it’s just incrementally.
The Chandler Parsons show continues to roll along with no signs of stopping, as he scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and two triples. He has cleaned up his shooting and that’s the biggest driver behind his early round value aside from his 10 mpg increase over last season. I wouldn’t bank on a regression in his shooting to last year’s numbers, but it can’t be ruled out either. Patrick Patterson has been hot lately and pushed his stock up into must-own territory for all but the shallowest formats. He scored 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting with two threes to go with five rebounds and a steal. I have a feeling he’ll be a guy that goes on and off the waiver wire this season, but that won’t happen if he can continue to take steps forward every night.
And One Thing Leads to Another
Kyle Lowry was surprisingly passive last night against his old team, which spurred old criticisms of the lax defense that put him in Kevin McHale’s doghouse at the end of last year. Lowry clearly wasn’t at 100 percent, though, and Toronto beat writers aren’t quite ready to give him the dog label on defense yet, either. He scored just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds, five assists, and a steal, which is all one needs to know about his value if this is going to be a ‘bad night.’ Jose Calderon picked up some extra responsibilities as a result, finishing with 12 points and seven assists. Owners shouldn’t arbitrarily dump him just yet, as the Raptors are not deep and still rely on his playmaking ability and love showcasing him for trade.
Terrence Ross had his best game of the year with 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, and one assist in a season-high 36 minutes. The roster is situated beautifully for him with a hole at small forward and nobody knocking down the door to take the spot. Dwane Casey has handled the rookie with kid gloves, and may do so going forward, but Ross is a viable stash with the hopes that one thing leads to another for him after last night.
Ed Davis scored 12 points with four boards, one steal, and one block in his 21 minutes off the bench, but as we mostly expected he’s still sitting on a low-minute role. Jonas Valanciunas played 32 minutes and scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, and one block. He should be owned in most formats as Toronto loves him and it’s only a matter of time before we don’t question his nightly workload, if we’re not already there. Andrea Bargnani (21 points, four rebounds, three treys) is drawing the ire of beat writers and rightfully so. He doesn’t play a lick of defense and rebounding is optional, but last night he made up for this weekend’s 2-of-19 bricklaying convention with an 8-of-12 effort from the field.