With 11 games and so many minor story lines, I’m going to try to stick to the headlines here. Check out the Rotoworld News Page for all the other details.
While it has nothing to do with fantasy, props to Kobe Bryant for scoring his 30,000th point over Robin Lopez last night, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only others to do so. He also became the youngest player to hit the mark, beating Wilt by a year. He’s averaging 28 per game, had 29 last night, and is the only thing keeping Lakers fans sane right now. And he’s probably going to go down as the greatest Laker in history, which is really saying something.
Carmelo Anthony left Wednesday’s win over the Bobcats in the final minutes after suffering a laceration on his left ring finger that required six stitches. That may not sound like much, but I’m pretty sure most of us would not be playing tonight against the Heat after taking six stitches to any one of our fingers. Mike Woodson said immediately after the game that Melo was going to play, but Melo didn’t seem to agree with that sentiment. He’ll face LeBron James and Dwyane Wade if he’s able to, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss this game. J.R. Smith hit the game-winning shot for the Knicks on a 5-of-15 shooting night, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for his South Beach celebration once the plane landed last night. Something tells me Smith could be tired for tonight’s game.
Nicolas Batum left Wednesday’s game with a back injury suffered in the first quarter, but was also seen on the bench with a wrap on his left shoulder. There’s no word yet on the severity of the injury, but given the fact he finished with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting after playing through it for 29 minutes, I’m fairly concerned.
Al Jefferson went down in a heap after a 31-point, 15-rebound performance, and literally had to be carried to the locker room. He was diagnosed with back spasms and has had trouble with them in the past, but says he will play on Friday against the Raptors. I’m going to consider him a game-time decision for that one, as he didn’t look good (at all) during the episode. Derrick Favors plans on doing some work on Friday, but it’s unknown when he’ll be back from his plantar fasciitis. Hopefully he’ll be rolling again by next week. If Jefferson is going to miss time, Enes Kanter would be serviceable fill-in.
Kevin Love’s shooting woes continued when he hit 6-of-15 shots and 6-of-12 free throws last night, finishing with 19 points and 13 boards for the Wolves. His shooting is way down this season (48 to 36 percent in field goals, and 82 to 68 percent in free throws), but if you’ve ever broken your shooting hand, you know it’s going to be painful and awkward for a while for Love. Especially considering he probably rushed back as fast as he could. He’ll get it figured out and be fine, but if you’re in a weekly battle for percentages, Love might not be a must-start in every situation right now.
Roy Hibbert hit just 3-of-13 shots for 10 points, seven boards and three blocks, but has blocked at least two shots in 13 straight games for the Pacers. There is simply no way he shoots it this poorly all season and I would recommend trying to buy low on him. He’s actually shooting a laughable 38 percent on the season, with a huge number of his misses being layups and put-backs. Paul George is hot and I hope you were smarter than me and started him in your weekly league.
Andre Iguodala was terrible with five points on 2-of-10 shooting in 38 minutes for the Nuggets, marking his second straight disaster. If you want to acquire him in a trade (and you should), now is the time to strike. On the flip side, Ty Lawson finally had his breakout game with a season-high 32 points with seven assists, five steals and five 3-pointers. And no, this wasn’t a coincidence.
Brandon Jennings hasn’t looked right since spraining his ankle on Nov. 24, but has played 39 minutes or more in his last three games. He’ll get it worked out. Monta Ellis had 21 points, seven boards, 11 assists, three steals, and a 3-pointer for the Bucks, but hit just 5-of-19 shots. We can’t blame his struggles on an injury (he’s 24-of-73 over his last four games), but I expect both players to break out of the shooting funk soon. Ersan Ilyasova had 17 points in 30 minutes last night, and to be honest, I’m completely confounded by him. His game log is a disaster, but I’m still reluctantly holding onto him where I own him. Larry Sanders got the start, but predictably ended up in foul trouble and played just 17 minutes (of course he did). He still has racked up 23 blocks over his last four games, meaning he should be held in all leagues until we see how this story ends. Unfortunately, Scott Skiles is authoring these Bucks' novels.
DeMarcus Cousins bounced back from an 18-minute game with 25 points, 13 boards and a block for the Kings, and has played well in two of his last three. Hopefully this means he’s back. Jason Thompson has double-doubled in two straight, and Tyreke Evans bounced back with 23 points after missing a couple games with a knee injury. Marcus Thornton gave way to John Salmons (12 points, seven assists) and hit just 1-of-7 shots for three points in 17 minutes, but he should bounce back in the next one. Aaron Brooks wasn't great, but Isaiah Thomas still got a DNP-CD, and it's time to move on.