Take a Seat
It didn’t take long for Eric Gordon and/or the Hornets to institute the two-game showoff plan, as Gordon sat out the second game of the back-to-back last night against the Rockets. I say this tongue-in-cheek because of talk that he may want out of New Orleans and is eligible to be traded on January 15, but that still seems like an unlikely scenario so I’m mostly kidding. I think. Monty Williams made comments to the effect that this was a unique game on the schedule and an opportunity to rest, so we’ll give him this one before raising a ton of red flags.
Try as they might the Hornets didn’t have the firepower to match up with the 18-14 Rockets, though Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 14 assists) was able to keep his turnovers (two) down and Ryan Anderson scored an inefficient 18 points on 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting with a full stat line by his standards. Anthony Davis scored eight points on 4-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and one block in 27 minutes. It’s an interesting light workload, but any panic involving Davis should be a welcome sight for competing owners. He’s a stud right now and is only going to get better. There was an Al-Farouq Aminu (eight points, eight rebounds, 31 minutes) sighting, but let’s wait and see him do it again before paying him much attention.
The Rockets are a fun fantasy team right now with James Harden (31 points, seven assists), Jeremy Lin (nine points, six rebounds, seven assists), and Chandler Parsons (10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block) each producing at their respective valuations on most nights. Patrick Patterson made some noise with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 10 rebounds, two assists, and one triple in 23 minutes off the bench, while starter Marcus Morris had just five points on 2-of-7 shooting (including a three) with four rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes.
Patterson is definitely the guy to own between the two, and I’d give him a look in standard leagues but I’m not yet cutting a player with solid late-round value to get him. Omer Asik scored 21 points with eight rebounds and a block, and as long as you’re punting in his deficient areas he’s a useful player. If not, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Carlos Delfino backed up his season-high 22 points from Monday with two points on 1-of-6 shooting last night, which is the life of a streaky bench shooter in a nutshell. If he can finish his four-game week with the average of those two nights then it’ll be a win for owners spot-starting him.
Did Somebody Call a Shot Doctor?
The Wolves landed in Utah with Ricky Rubio (back) out and Kevin Love struggling mightily with his shot. At this point, I’m not ruling out that his issues could be mental, as an issue of this duration would likely be cured with extended rest if his hand was truly bothering him. He also looks tentative and teams are sagging off of him big time now, which can also get into a struggling player’s head, too. Love hit just 4-of-14 shots for 13 points last night, but did add 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks. I don’t think owners should sell here, as he is all but guaranteed to bounce back eventually. In the meantime, even if you wanted to get out of the Love business there would be better times to make the pitch.
Change the Song
The Mo Williams (thumb) news came right before the game and he is going to be out indefinitely with a splint on it for at least six weeks. I discussed this in yesterday’s Dose, and while there wasn’t a transformational moment the entire Jazz offense got involved in a cohesive effort that wasn’t just pounding the ball into Al Jefferson (12 points, five boards, four blocks). That methodology had led to a lot of slumping players, and last night at a minimum the offense got loose. Jamaal Tinsley scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with six rebounds and three assists, Paul Millsap scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting with three assists, three steals, and one block. Earl Watson handed out nine assists to go with two points and four boards in 24 minutes off the bench, and Gordon Hayward scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting with three treys and three rebounds.
There were some fluky peripherals such as Millsap’s zero rebounds, Hayward’s lack of anything put points, threes, and boards, and Tinsley’s low assist-count to name a few, but the Jazz needed a game in which everybody got involved and that happened tonight. Randy Foye hit just 1-of-4 shot attempts for four points, as he is the player the Jazz use to space the floor for Big Al. Derrick Favors scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting with six rebounds and three blocks in just 16 minutes, and the entire frontcourt could see a few extra minutes if Enes Kanter (15 points, eight assists, 20 minutes) misses any time with his ankle injury.
Overall, nobody’s fantasy story changed too much tonight, but an expansion of offensive creativity could be good for the team across the board. Tinsley is worth a hard look if you need a point guard, Hayward should be held in most instances, Favors is a must-own player in most formats in my book, and Foye is worth watching at a minimum with Williams out long-term.
The Sixers certainly aren’t the team they were last season, and last night it showed as they lost to a Suns squad that changes its offensive philosophy every night and has problems up and down the roster. Of course, it was letdown central after beating the Lakers the night before. Jrue Holiday had his first triple-double of the year with 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and two blocks, but the six turnovers were a blast from the recent past and the overall inefficiency contributed to the loss. Jason Richardson (back) still isn’t right, as he put up just four points on 2-of-4 shooting, and I’d probably hold through the rest of the week, at least. If you’re in a shallow league staring at a solid free agent, though, go ahead and make the move.
Evan Turner slowed down after Tuesday’s bounceback game, scoring 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting with just two rebounds and one assist to go with his two steals. Dorell Wright scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting (including two threes) with three rebounds and two assists in just under 30 minutes off the bench, and while he is playing well I’m not falling all over myself to grab a guy with some question marks that could easily operate in a timeshare. Spencer Hawes scored six points on 3-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists, and one block in 24 minutes off the bench, but if this is how his bad nights are going to go then owners looking for low-end production will likely come away happy. For this edition of ‘Today in Andrew Bynum,’ general manager Tony DiLeo said “there really is no update” on his return. Good luck with that, Philly.
Sunny Side Up
P.J. Tucker (10 points, six rebounds, 30 minutes) started for Shannon Brown (12 points, no threes, 6-of-12 FGs) for the second straight night, but at least Brown was able to give owners something after a goose egg on Monday. It’s unclear how the arrangement will work going forward, which is part of the flavor of owning Suns players these days. Goran Dragic had a nice night with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting with four rebounds, six assists, one steal, three blocks, and one 3-pointer, as did Marcin Gortat with 11 points, 14 boards, three assists, two steals, and one block.
Luis Scola has been hot lately, and he scored another 21 points last night to go with four rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and one block. I’m not going to sit here and tell you he’s in the clear, but he’s worth owning after his recent stretch. Jared Dudley (eight points, 3-of-8 FGs, 35 minutes) has slipped back into his invisible role, and it’s just plain weird how Alvin Gentry can’t insist upon an offensive strategy that yields any sort of consistency. As long as Dudley is getting those minutes, and unless this type of production doesn’t become a prolonged issue, I’m holding pretty tight.
Running Out of Fuel
The Clippers saw their 17-game winning streak end on Tuesday night, and they had to travel from Denver to the Bay for a game the Warriors were treating like a Super Bowl last night. I thought that getting a loss out of their system might help the Clippers last night, but they looked like a team that was physically and emotionally spent right from the jump. To add to that sentiment, Caron Butler (personal) did not play, Lamar Odom played through a foot injury, and Eric Bledsoe continues to get right after dealing with a hip ailment.
Chris Paul scored 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds, six assists, and two steals, but he looked tentative at times as did his teammates. DeAndre Jordan scored four points with four rebounds and one block in 22 minutes, and Blake Griffin hit just 2-of-11 shots for 10 points, six boards, two assists, three steals, and two blocks. Matt Barnes started for Butler and had a nice return home to Oracle with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, two threes, seven boards, and three assists as his solid season continues. Jamal Crawford scored 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting with four treys, five assists, and two steals, and Odom had four points, nine boards, four assists, two steals, and one block. Odom has been putting up borderline value in 12-14 team formats over the past two weeks, and is worth a look in 14-16 team formats while that is the case.
There was a throwaway report from Ric Bucher last night that Chauncey Billups (foot) and Grant Hill (knee) could return at any time if they wished, but because the Clippers were winning and because both players are being saved for the stretch run that they’re just taking time off. The Clips get the Lakers on Friday in a battle for Los Angeles, and a rematch with the Warriors there the following night, which will be their fifth game in seven nights.
The Schedule Gods
The schedule gods certainly favor the Warriors, as they got to tear through an easy schedule to start the season and now they’re catching tough teams in good spots. Still though, it’s hard not to get excited as a Warriors fan. I said I’d weigh in at the end of this stretch of about 10-12 more games, but being honest I still haven’t seen that signature win yet. Their win over the Heat was sullied by lackadaisical play from the champs, and I could go on and on but the point is that they need to be in a dogfight with a top team and come away on top before I’ll guarantee their playoff spot.
Stephen Curry was spectacular with 31 points on 11-of-16 shooting, six threes, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals, Klay Thompson hit five treys and put up 19 points, David Lee scored 24 points with 13 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, Jarrett Jack posted an 11-5-5 line off the bench, Harrison Barnes scored 13 points with nine boards, four assists, one steal, and one block, and Carl Landry saw 28 minutes with seven points, seven boards, and two steals to show for it. This was a game in which everything went Golden State’s way, so make your evaluations appropriately. When the Warriors need defense, these solidifying rotations could get all shook up, which is just about the only thing I worry about when it comes to the core players’ fantasy values these days.
Thursday Night Lights
SA @ NYK: Amare Stoudemire is looking at the same 15-18 minutes he got in his debut on Monday, and it appears he’ll be on a minute limit for at least a week. I’m not going to cut him too much slack here, but for now if you added him you should be giving him at least this week and probably the next one, too.
MIN @ DEN: Ty Lawson’s owners got some good news when it was reported that his Achilles’ injury wasn’t overly serious. He is a game-time decision for tonight’s game, and the trio of Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, and Corey Brewer all stand to benefit if he can’t go. Ricky Rubio won’t play so that’ll ease things up for Luke Ridnour, Alexey Shved, and J.J. Barea. Kevin Love’s shooting slump will be on display for all the world to see on national TV, so maybe we’ll get some more information about how and why it is happening.
I’ll be chatting later tonight so see you guys there!