In addition to this column, you should also look at Saturday’s Dose, Waiver Wired and the Injury Report, to get a full picture of what went down this weekend while you were out partying.
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Week 8 Games Played
4 Games - Hawks, Bobcats, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Spurs, Kings, Jazz, Wizards.
3 Games - Celtics, Nets, Nuggets, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, Blazers, Raptors.
2 Games – Lakers
Sunday’s Game News
Blazers beat Hornets, lose Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday and X-rays were negative. The Blazers are off until Thursday, meaning he could be ready to go after getting a full three days of rest prior to that one. Nicolas Batum went off for a coveted 5x5 line on Sunday with 11 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, five steals and five blocks, and his back injury no longer appears to be an issue. Get him back in your lineup. Wesley Matthews left Sunday’s win over the Hornets after just four minutes with his hip injury, and even though he’s a warrior and wants to play through his injury, it’s becoming clear that it’s more serious than that. The good news is he might be ready to by Thursday. J.J. Hickson added a season-high 24 points, along with 16 rebounds and a block in 31 minutes, and I’m still baffled as to why he’s not owned in all leagues. Damian Lillard did it again for the Blazers, hitting the game-winning 3-pointers at the buzzer for the win.
Greivis Vasquez had 23 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and two 3-pointers in the loss to Portland, and owners had to be pleased to see him break out of his scoring slump. Yes, his lack of scoring is annoying and the high turnovers are a buzzkill, but Vasquez has always been worth owning in all leagues, in my book.
Lakers beat Sixers, despite Nick Young’s 30
Metta World Peace had 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in Sunday’s win over the Sixers, while Chris Duhon had 14 points, four assists and four 3-pointers. If you’re in a deep league and desperate for a point guard, Duhon might be worth a look, but the Lakers play just two games this week. Pau Gasol is hoping to practice on Monday and make his return from balky knees on Tuesday against the Bobcats, but I still wouldn’t be brave enough to start him in a weekly league. Kobe Bryant added 34 points in the win.
Nick Young scored a season-high 30 points with six 3-pointers in the absence of Jrue Holiday for the Sixers on Sunday and has now played heavy minutes in three straight games. Young doesn’t usually do much more besides score and hit 3-pointers, but is worth a look if he keeps producing once Holiday is back from his foot injury. Holiday isn’t a lock to play on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’m planning on benching him in weekly leagues for now. Spencer Hawes had 16 points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers in Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, and is worth a look in all leagues right now.
Nuggets beat Kings on Sunday
Denver’s Andre Iguodala had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in Sunday’s win over the Kings, and while there’s little doubt he’s been struggling, he’s still too talented to be on fantasy benches in most leagues.
Isaiah Thomas had 20 points in 27 minutes off the bench for the Kings in Sunday’s loss to Denver, and might be getting hot. He had 26 points, four 3-pointers and zero assists on Friday night, as Aaron Brooks is losing steam by the day. I don’t fully trust Thomas yet, but if you’ve got a bench spot open, take a flier on him. Tyreke Evans left Sunday’s game early with his lingering sore left knee, and Francisco Garcia started in his place in the second half, finishing with seven points in 19 minutes. If Evans is going to miss time, Garcia could be worth a deep-league look. Evans has missed five of his previous nine games with the knee problem, as well as most of Sunday’s game. I don’t think he’s startable in weekly leagues unless we get positive news on Monday afternoon. Marcus Thornton missed his third straight game in order to attend to his sick mother, but wasn’t playing well before taking some time off. It’s unknown when he’ll be ready to play, or if he’ll be worth owning when it happens. DeMarcus Cousins picked up a technical foul after a minor altercation, but I don’t expect the Kings’ bad boy to be suspended for this one.
Raptors beat Rockets behind Calderon’s triple-double
Jose Calderon racked up the third triple-double of his career on Sunday with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, and remains a must-start player for as long as Kyle Lowry is out with his triceps injury. Alan Anderson blew up for a career-high 24 points with three 3-pointers in 25 minutes for the Raptors on Sunday, and could be ready to rejoin the starting lineup. He’s not a must-own player, but if he starts and plays well, he could be soon enough. Amir Johnson had eight points, eight rebounds and five blocks, while Ed Davis added 13 points, six boards and three blocks. If you’re holding Jonas Valanciunas, cutting him for one of these two makes a lot of sense while Andrea Bargnani is out with his elbow injury.
Houston's Marcus Morris had a career-high 19 points with six boards and two 3-pointers in Sunday’s loss to the Raptors, and is worth a look for as long as Patrick Patterson is out with his bruised foot. It sounds like Patterson could miss time with the injury, so give Morris a short-term look in deeper leagues.
Weekend News and Notes
Carmelo Anthony sat out on Saturday with a sprained ankle, which will leave him iffy for Monday against the Rockets. Hopefully we have an update before lineups are due on Monday night.
Ricky Rubio had eight points, four boards, nine assists and three steals in 18 minutes on Saturday, but isn’t a lock to play in back-to-back games for the near future. The Wolves go back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, meaning Rubio’s four-game week could quickly become a three-gamer. Kevin Love is expected to play on Monday against the Magic after missing Saturday’s game with the flu. While it’s all good and well that Love should play, his terrible shooting has been a fantasy travesty lately, as he’s made just 7-of-35 shots over his last couple games as he continues to recover from a broken right hand, while also dealing with a right thumb contusion. But as our latest blurb says, if Love’s going to play, he’s simply too good not to be in your lineup. Alexey Shved has been starting at shooting guard and is playing well, and I’d pick him up if you can.
Kyrie Irving played with a facemask to protect his facial fracture on Saturday and had 41 points, five rebounds, five assists and five 3-pointers for the Cavs. Make sure he’s in your lineup this week.
Manu Ginobili is now doubtful to play for the Spurs against the Thunder on Monday with a quad injury, which should mean good things for Gary Neal and Danny Green. Kawhi Leonard is due back from his quad injury any day now, but I’m not expecting an explosion any time soon. In fact, I’m more comfortable starting Green or Neal for now. Tim Duncan was 2-of-13 on Saturday and Gregg Popovich said Duncan was tired after the game. With a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday against the Thunder and Nuggets, we’re possibly setting up for a classic surprise Duncan DNP-CD per Popovich. I’m not about to tell you to sit your best power forward this week, but owners should be ready for a surprise, which may or may not happen.
Nene sat out for the Wizards on Saturday due to soreness in his left foot, which is the exact reason I haven’t been high on owning him. He’s day-to-day, once again.
Kirk Hinrich practiced for the Bulls on Sunday and is expected to play on Monday. With a four-game week, he’s worth a look at starting in deeper leagues. Hinrich’s return would hurt Nate Robinson, who wasn’t exactly killing it while Hinrich was out.
Roy Hibbert is iffy for the Pacers on Tuesday after missing the second half of Saturday’s game with a bruised thigh. Hopefully we’ll get more information on Monday, but it sounds like Hibbert should play on Tuesday. Maybe he’ll be able to find his shot this week.
DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 11 rebounds on Saturday, marking his best game in weeks. He hasn’t blocked a shot in three straight games, but with a four-game week coming, Jordan looks like a decent start after Saturday’s breakthrough.
Gerald Henderson started over Jeff Taylor for the Bobcats on Saturday and had 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals, meaning he’s worth a look in most leagues as a starter.
Derek Fisher had a season-high 20 points, four assists and three 3-pointers on Saturday, and is playing well enough to be given a look in deep leagues. Shawn Marion had his third straight double-double for the Mavs in this one with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and looks like a decent option with four games this week.