Momentum in Milwaukee
The Bucks won their second straight game in the Jim Boylan era, with Brandon Jennings leading the way with 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting, five threes, six rebounds, six assists, and a steal. He’s going ballistic right now. Monta Ellis (14 points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals, one block) left the game late after injuring his ankle and though he said he would play in Friday’s game, we’ll be watching to see if it swells up overnight. I’m still waiting for the rest of the NBA world to give Larry Sanders his DPOY love, and he helped me out with that posting six points, 12 rebounds, one steal, and a whopping seven blocks.
Ersan Ilyasova isn’t breaking any records but the 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks, and one three are reminiscent of last year’s push. John Henson backed off with just five points, six boards, and one block in 18 minutes, and consistency could be hard to come by in a low-minute role off the bench. Owners may want to see things through for another game, but I wouldn’t pass up an above average free agent to do it. Mike Dunleavy scored 16 points with four treys, four rebounds, one steal, and one block in his customary 28 minutes, and he looks like a decent fantasy option as long as he can stay healthy.
Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson
Kirk Hinrich (sprained elbow) did not play and that opened the door for Nate Robinson to finally take real advantage of it, as Lil’ Him scored 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting with three treys, five rebounds, six assists, and five steals in last night’s loss to the Bucks. There is a short-term window for Robinson to be productive before Derrick Rose returns, but he’s going to be touch and go unless Hinrich gives way on a permanent basis. That seems unlikely right now, so Robinson should really only be truly relied on for spot-duty and deep-league duty barring a change in Hinrich’s status. Carlos Boozer has been very hot lately, as he put up another 22 points and 11 rebounds last night, and this is just about the best sell-high moment owners could hope for.
Rose (knee surgery) should be cleared for full contact within the next two weeks, though his timetable doesn’t appear to have changed from his post-All Star game target. As I’ve said, I can’t imagine not picking him up.
The Lakers took another loss last night, and while it came against the Spurs it’s still disaster central in L.A. Metta World Peace has gotten back on the right side of the ledger recently, and posted 23 points, three treys, eight rebounds, and seven steals, while Antawn Jamison put up a somewhat pedestrian eight points, eight rebounds, one steal, and one block in his 31 minutes. With the cavalry returning soon, there’s a lot not to like about Jamison going forward. If you were wondering about the great Robert Sacre, he wasn’t nearly as passable as he was the last time out with just four points on 2-of-9 shooting, two rebounds, and one block. Earl Clark had a career-night with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and a 3-pointer, and since that nearly represented 10 percent of his career production let's wait and make it happen again.
Kawhi Leonard has gotten a lot of lukewarm reviews around here from writers other than myself, and those folks definitely bring up valid points about his lukewarm production, but for me I see a guy that hasn’t really gotten in a rhythm yet (at least in the box score). He had a good night last night with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (including two threes), three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block, which is a good baseline expectation if things are going well. Gregg Popovich called him the star of the game and his elite defense was on display all night, and as he gets more integrated with the offense he has the fantasy friendly game to shoot up the standings.
Tiago Splitter went for 14 and 14 with one block in 35 minutes, and while he won’t play that many minutes on most nights his production has actually been fairly consistent. He’s producing well enough to be owned in most standard 12-team formats.
Life Without Love
The bad news came in for Kevin Love owners, as he will undergo surgery on his right hand and will be out until around early April. If you’re in a playoff league I can see hanging onto him, but beyond that the juice probably isn’t worth the squeeze. Dante Cunningham struggled in his place with just four points, five boards, one steal, and one block, but as long as he’s putting up his defensive stats it’ll give him a decent floor that could buoy his value. He’s the safe play while Derrick Williams is the upside guy, and Williams had a good night with 14 points on 7-of-15 shooting (no threes), 11 rebounds and one steal in 28 minutes. I’m not sure his poor peripherals can support his overall value, but if he can pull everything together he has shown that he can score and rebound in bunches with some 3-point shooting ability to boot. As I said yesterday, his history suggests he isn’t up to the task, but the Wolves are backed into a corner here at PF and anything they can do to rehab Williams’ trade value is a plus.
Ricky Rubio went hitless from the field for the second straight night (0-for-3 FGs), but he had two rebounds and seven assists in his 22 minutes. It’s going to be a slow road to hoe, but there’s enough upside for owners to be patient. Alexey Shved had seven turnovers, which he’ll need to get under control, but he still played 39 minutes with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, two threes, three assists, and two steals. J.J. Barea did not play last night due to his back issue, and this backcourt appears to be all Shved’s right now.
Revenge of the Nerd Glasses
The Thunder took their revenge after losing earlier in the year to the Wolves in Minnesota, with Kevin Durant leading the way as he scored 26 points with a very full stat line that included three steals and four blocks. Russell Westbrook added 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three treys, eight boards, seven assists, and a steal, while Serge Ibaka struggled for the first time in recent memory with six points, three rebounds, and two blocks. Westbrook is on the upswing and we’re not concerned about Ibaka in the slightest.
Pardon for Parsons
Chandler Parsons wasn’t able to back up his big outing from Tuesday with anything resembling his early season surge, scoring eight points on 3-of-10 shooting (including two threes) with eight rebounds, one assist, and one steal. It’s definitely a buy low moment as he can’t shoot this bad for long, though that was one of his concerns entering the year. Patrick Patterson scored six points on 3-of-8 shooting (no threes) with 10 rebounds and one block in 28 minutes, and while he’s not where he needs to be he’s still worth a look if he has been dropped in your 12-team league.
Don’t Call Them Pelicans
The Pelicans rode their reserves to a fourth quarter comeback win over the Rockets, but that didn’t hurt Greivis Vasquez (17 points, four rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, two threes). He has been a top 10-20 play in standards over the past two weeks. The rest of the lineup was a mixed bag, as Jason Smith (17 points, 10 boards, three assists, three blocks, 27 minutes) and Roger Mason (17 points, five boards, one steal, one block, three treys) got loose and the starters struggled.
I thought Anthony Davis might have a big night against an uptempo Houston squad, but he managed just six points on 3-of-5 shooting with three rebounds in 19 minutes, but did have three steals and two blocks. He reminds me of Andrei Kirilenko with much more upside, and it seems like he’s on Monty Williams’ Al-Farouq Aminu plan of tear them down to build them up. That or it’s the ankle, and I have absolutely no information to suggest that is the case. Aminu scored just four points on 2-of-7 shooting but had 10 rebounds, two steals, and one block, but has been a solid starting option over the past week or so.
Robin Lopez grabbed just three boards and played only 22 minutes, but he posted 14 points, one steal, and two blocks to stave off drops for the time-being. Eric Gordon said he was sore after being relatively unleashed this week and had a stinker last night, scoring five points on 2-of-12 shooting with six assists and five turnovers in 28 minutes. I’ve been needling him about his recent history of gearing up for big games in order to enhance his trade value, but his name hasn’t really been in the rumor mill and it’s probably because real GMs have the same concerns that we do. Now is not the time to consider moving him if you have concerns about his knee or antics, as his trade value isn’t all that high and he could theoretically hold up and be a solid asset. Ryan Anderson goose-egged his owners on seven missed shot attempts with five rebounds in 27 minutes, and I’ll be watching to see if Gordon’s insertion bogs down Anderson’s timing offense, but I’m not really concerned about it at this point. As for Smith, I’m just watching him for now and Mason’s line is fluky.
Same Old Magic Tricks
The Magic lost to the Nuggets last night but the usual suspects did their damage last night. Nikola Vucevic double-doubled with 10 points, 14 boards, one steal, and two blocks, Jameer Nelson went for 10 and eight with a steal and block, Arron Afflalo was slightly down with 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting and one three, and J.J. Redick scored 17 points with four treys, four assists, and two blocks. Each of them should be in most lineups. Josh McRoberts came back to earth with six points, seven rebounds, one steal, and one block, but if he can put up low-end lines like this he’ll be worth a look in deeper formats.