Well, it’s Christmas Eve and my four kids are in their annual “we’re gonna stay up all night and catch Santa” mode, although they never seem to accomplish their goal. There were plenty of happenings around the league this weekend, including the return of Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, a Marcus Thornton sighting, a DeMarcus Cousins suspension, and injuries to guys like Wesley Matthews. Let’s get to it.
In order to catch up on everything you missed this weekend, also be sure to check out the Saturday Dose, the Injury Report, and Waiver Wired before setting your lineups. And you can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
We're all looking forward to a day of rest on Christmas Eve with no games scheduled, so enjoy a break from fantasyland and spend some time with your family. Christmas Day's five-game schedule will give you hoops on TV from noon until about 3 a.m., and then we've got a 13-game night on the schedule for Wednesday, and 12 more games on Friday.
Games Played for Week 9
4 Games – Celtics, Nets, Nuggets, Rockets, Clippers, Heat.
3 Games – Hawks, Bobcats, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, Hornets, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Blazers, Spurs, Kings, Raptors, Jazz, Wizards.
2 Games – Grizzlies, Timberwolves.
Welcome back, Dirk
Dirk Nowitzki returned from knee surgery on Sunday and had eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the Mavs' bench. Dirk will be brought along slowly and we’re about to find out if his presence crushes the value of O.J. Mayo, who had been rolling. Mayo had just seven points and six turnovers in 28 minutes on Sunday, but I’m thinking it was just an off day for Mayo.
Darren Collison had 15 points and two assists off the bench on Sunday, as Dominique Jones got the start at point guard and hit 1-of-7 shots for five points in 20 minutes. I’m not sure what Collison did to Rick Carlisle, but I still like him to return more fantasy value than DoJo, even if coming off the bench.
Steve Nash back in action
Steve Nash returned from his leg injury on Saturday and had 12 points and nine assists in the Lakers’ tough win over the Warriors. He’s going to have to deal with some pain in the leg going forward, but intends to try to play through it. Jodie Meeks is still coming off the bench for the Lakers, but had 12 points and seven boards in the win, and remains a solid option if you need a 3-point shooter.
Pau Gasol had nine points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win, and might be ready to start playing well for the Lakers. The addition of Nash should help him, but I’m still not expecting huge stat lines as long as Pau’s playing alongside Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Nash and Metta World Peace.
Welcome back, Marcus Thornton
Marcus Thornton started for the Kings on Sunday and had 22 points, two 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists and two steals with 10-of-18 shooting. His personal leave is over and it looks like his slump might be, too. I was able to pick him up in a couple leagues recently, so make sure he wasn’t dropped in yours.
DeMarcus Cousins served the first game of his indefinite suspension on Sunday, but that might be the only game he misses. He’s apologized for blowing up at coach Keith Smart during Friday’s halftime, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could be reinstated in time for Wednesday’s game. But unless we hear for certain that he’ll be active, I’d be very hesitant to start him in a weekly league.
No Love, no problem for Pekovic
Nikola Pekovic posted his fourth straight double-double for the Wolves on Sunday with 21 points and a career-best 17 rebounds against the Knicks, as Kevin Love sat out with an eye injury. Love is expected back on Wednesday, but it shouldn’t matter to Pekovic, who has been on a serious tear for two weeks now. Maybe that qualifies him as a sell-high player, but honestly, he’s pretty much doing what I had hoped he would prior to the start of the season. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to start Love in weekly leagues, but he’s had plenty of time to recover from the eye injury, and should play in his next game.
Dante Cunningham had 12 points and 10 boards off the bench in Love’s absence, but obviously isn’t a great option with Love due back soon. Alexey Shved, on the other hand, played well again on Sunday with 18 points and a fun stat line, and should be owned in all leagues as long as he continues to start for the Wolves. Ricky Rubio is still on a minutes limit and may continue to sit out back-to-backs, meaning he’s probably best served on fantasy benches until the minutes improve.