It was a big 12-game night so we’re going to jump right into things. To follow me on Twitter for real-time news and information, click here.
The Blazers traveled into Toronto and left their game stateside, losing by 23 points with fantasy casualties to J.J. Hickson (two points, seven boards) and Nicolas Batum (10 points, four boards, four assists, 0-for-6 3PTs). Damian Lillard still put up 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting with a relatively full line, and LaMarcus Aldridge went for 14 and 10 with three assists. Wesley Matthews (hip) scored 12 points with two threes, a steal, and four turnovers, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him put up startable numbers the next time out.
It’s Better To Give
As beat writer Ryan Wolstat said during the game, Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry combining for 22 assists and zero points has to be some sort of NBA record. They combined to miss three shot attempts and yet at the same time they did whatever they wanted to the Blazers, so we’re definitely filing this right next to the new Five Hour Energy guy in the weird column. Ed Davis (19 points, seven rebounds, 9-of-12 FGs) and Amir Johnson (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block) both did their things, and both should be owned in most formats.
Terrence Ross had the best game of his short career, setting bests in scoring (26 points) and 3-pointers (six) in 25 minutes off the bench. There are plenty of caveats here, including the fact that Linas Kleiza (knee) did not play and that the rotation is getting a bit more crowded with Lowry and Landry Fields (seven points, seven boards, 20 minutes) back. There is also the fact that Ross himself has not been consistent, but I will offer that Wolstat and others have been reporting about one flash of his potential per game. He will be a hot commodity if he does anything similar the next time out, so consider your options in 12-14 team leagues and if you have any dead weight jumping the gun isn’t out of the question here.
Life Without Noah
Joakim Noah (illness) did not play but the Bulls were able to squeeze out a road win in Orlando. Kirk Hinrich (knee) returned from his 232nd ailment this season, scoring seven points on 2-of-9 shooting (including a three) with eight assists, three steals, and one block in a high-water mark sort of night. Taj Gibson started for Noah and went nuts for 21 and 11 with four blocks in 45 minutes, but he’ll go back to being mostly irrelevant when Noah returns any time now. Carlos Boozer also enjoyed life without Noah, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds and two steals, and Luol Deng posted a workmanlike 23 points with two threes and a steal in the win.
The Full Nelson
Jameer Nelson (hip) returned after a one-game absence and got right back to work, scoring 32 points on 11-of-20 shooting with six 3-pointers, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Arron Afflalo scored 19 points with two threes, Nikola Vucevic backed up his massive Monday with 20 and 12 to go with a steal and block, and J.J. Redick went cold with just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. Anywhere from 2-4 members of this group are putting up startable numbers on any given night with Big Baby out. Hedo Turkoglu (zero points, five rebounds, one assist, 18 minutes) and Gustavo Ayon (14 minutes, four points) are on the outside looking in for most formats and I wouldn’t expect any huge change of values for either of them going forward.
The Wizards dropped to 4-26 with a loss to the Pacers, with Jordan Crawford’s 20 points, four rebounds, and seven assists pacing them. Crawford is back to the form he showed before the Wiz brought in Garrett Temple (zero points, seven assists, two blocks, 22 minutes, six fouls) and Shelvin Mack (four points, four assists, two steals) to split minutes at point guard. Neither Temple or Mack should be held in lieu of a hot free agent in most formats, as they’re likely to look a lot like this until the plan changes or John Wall returns.
Emeka Okafor reverted back to his typical form, scoring four points on 2-of-6 shooting with nine rebounds, one steal, and one block in his 22 minutes, and it didn’t help that Kevin Seraphin scored 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds and one block in 31 minutes. I’ve managed to hang onto Seraphin in all but one 10-team league, but his leash is still relatively short and Trevor Booker’s January 12 target for return isn’t helping matters.
George Hill (thigh) was a game-time decision and did not go, so D.J. Augustin got another start and went right back to work with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, one steal, one three, and a 9-of-10 mark from the foul line. It’s interesting if anything for what it says about the team’s second unit, as Augustin could barely crack the box score in backup duty and even lost his rotation spot for about a week. Paul George continued his assault on fantasy leagues, scoring 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting (3-of-8 3PTs, 8-of-8 FTs) with 14 rebounds, three assists, and two steals. He has moved into a second round value on the year after a very slow start.
Danny Granger (knee) is shooting around these days and looks like he’s targeting a February 4 return, but it would be pretty surprising if that date is set in stone. It would be an upset if he returned to lead dog duties, but a moderately productive role with mid-to-late round value in a best case scenario sounds about right. It would also ding the entire roster just a little bit, but I wouldn’t work overtime to deal away any of the usual suspects.
The Grind-Father Returns to Boston
Jerryd Bayless left last night’s win over the Celtics due to an ankle injury, and all of a sudden the shooting guard slot is wide open for the Grizzlies. I started “Grind-Father” Tony Allen because of his four-game week and the absence of Quincy Pondexter, and he scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 30 minutes. He had a similar low-end effort on Monday and at this rate he should eke out enough value to justify the plug-and-play.
Marc Gasol played hot potato with the basketball, passing up shots en route to a five-point, seven-rebound, four-assist, and four-steal night that included a 1-of-7 shooting mark. Rudy Gay was infuriating in the opposite way, hitting just 6-of-15 ill-conceived shots, but he finished with 19 points, six boards, five assists, one steal, and one block so owners will deal with it and hope for a regression toward his career shooting marks. Mike Conley righted the ship with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-6 3PTs, 4-of-4 FTs), three rebounds, nine assists, and one steal. The cold streak was annoying but as I mentioned a few times I wasn’t worried one bit.
The Writing on the Wall
The Celtics are going to struggle with depth even with Rajon Rondo (hip) on the court, but when he’s at less than 100 percent they are really going to struggle, and apparently that was the case last night. He scored 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting with 10 assists, but he didn’t record a steal and that alone is a sign that he’s not all the way back. Avery Bradley (shoulders) returned to action in the starting lineup and had four points with one steal and that’s it, highlighting why owners shouldn’t really be breaking their necks to look at him outside of massive formats. Jason Terry scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting with two treys, two boards, two assists, and one steal in 27 minutes off the bench, while Courtney Lee saw 12 minutes in what could be an accurate snapshot of the rotation going forward. Terry’s writing may already be on the wall, and while another game or two of holding is likely in order I wouldn’t pass up on a mid-to-late round upside guy to find out how this ends.
The One-Legged Man
The Mavs and Heat relived their Finals matchup with a vintage one-legged bucket by Dirk Nowitzki to force overtime, but the Mavs didn’t have enough firepower during the extra session and they eventually gave way. The big fantasy story was O.J. Mayo’s 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting with four treys, three rebounds, six assists, and two steals. He did have six turnovers and a crucial one in overtime, but as we’ve been mentioning around here we’re not too worried about Mayo’s overall value. Nowitzki scored 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting (including two threes) with six rebounds and no steals or blocks in 29 minutes, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Mavs play it safe with him on Saturday against the Hornets. Yes, there are two full days off, but you could see Rick Carlisle gritting his teeth having to play Dirk sparingly in the extra frame tonight.
Vince Carter started again and while he hit just 5-of-16 shots, he scored 15 points with nine rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block in his 36 minutes. Ride him until the wheels fall off. Chris Kaman joined the party going for 14 and 10 with three blocks, and Darren Collison (11 points, four rebounds, three assists) and Shawn Marion (six points, nine rebounds) were mostly held in check. There was an interesting note from beat writer Eddie Sefko talking about the sudden disappearance of Dominique Jones (DNP). Sefko believes it was his published comments from Jones about his teammates needing to look in the mirror that got him benched, which is noteworthy because Jones was coming on strong and appeared to be a threat to Collison’s value. Both Collison and Kaman are two guys that owners should be willing to move if they can get anything of ongoing value in return.
Repeat the Heat
Ray Allen (15 points, three treys, seven rebounds) played after running into Hedo Turkoglu in Monday’s game, and other than a continuance of Dwyane Wade’s recent surge there is very little that’s new to report in Miami. Wade scored 27 points on 9-of-21 shooting with a season-high 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, two blocks, and one 3-pointer, while LeBron James came one assist short of a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and one block. Chris Bosh had another light rebounding night with four boards, but added 17 points, three blocks, and one trey in the win.