Miami – The Heat had a hard time getting going last night and finally came to life once Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were benched down the stretch for some active bigs, but it was too little, too late, as they fell to the Jazz. LeBron James went off for 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting and another fat stat line, while Mr. Bosh had just one rebound in the loss. Mario Chalmers had 12 points and seven assists, and is worth a close look in all leagues after his 10 3-pointers on Saturday.
Minnesota – J.J. Barea torched the Mavs (his former team) for 21 points, five dimes and four 3-pointers in 26 minutes and should be back on fantasy radar after dealing with a back injury. He also had 15 points on Sunday. Nikola Pekovic stayed hot with 20 & 12, while Dante Cunningham (6-of-18, 12 points, 6 rebounds, 39 minutes) outplayed Derrick Williams (9 points, 4 boards, 26 minutes). Flip a coin on these guys, as they could alternate good nights in Kevin Love’s absence. Ricky Rubio continues to disappoint, but at least had six points, five boards and six assists last night. Just hang in there with him, as things can only get better.
New York – Iman Shumpert should debut in London on Thursday, while Amare Stoudemire is expected to continue to come off the bench for the Knicks. Chris Copeland makes for an interesting prospective add right now. And this “spy gate” column is worth reading, as owner James Dolan never ceases to amaze.
Oklahoma City – My hunch was wrong and Serge Ibaka sat out a second straight game with a chest injury. I’ve got him in several weekly lineups, and am just praying he plays on Wednesday against Denver. Thabo Sefolosha returned from a neck injury and had four points, while Kevin Durant (41 points), Russell Westbrook (36) and Kevin Martin (12) all played well in the win over the Suns. KD and RW combined to score 75.4 percent of OKC’s points last night, and the duo outscored the Grizzlies and Hawks by themselves.
Orlando – Glen Davis returned in a big way for the Magic, going for 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks in just 18 minutes. He hasn’t even had a real full-contact practice yet, so he’s going to be back to form very soon. Make sure he’s not available in your league. Jameer Nelson had another double-double and is simply on fire right now, while Nikola Vucevic stayed hot with his seventh straight double-double (13 & 13). Big Baby’s return will put a dent in Vuc’s roll, but not enough of one to be overly concerned. Arron Afflalo finally cooled off, hitting just 1-of-11 shots for two points, so think about making a buy-low offer on him this morning.
Philadelphia – Andrew Bynum is targeting a return around the All-Star break (mid-February), so it might be time to stash him if you’re desperate for a center. Just don’t expect any miracles, as I’m guessing he’s in pretty bad shape physically.
Phoenix – Jared Dudley was out with a right wrist injury again and Michael Beasley had his second straight nice game with 14 points and 11 boards. I’m not rushing out to pick him up, but we should all keep a close eye on him. Shannon Brown went off for 21 points in 43 minutes with Dudley out, while Marcin Gortat went for 19 points, 15 boards and a block in the loss. He’s back. Goran Dragic’s disappointing season continued with just 11 points and one assist, and the Suns are just a mess under Alvin Gentry. Hang in there with Dragic, as he can’t play worse than he did last night.
Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins managed to stay in the game despite picking up a technical and a flagrant foul, and came through with 26 points, 14 boards, six assists, two steals and three blocks. When his head is on straight, he’s a fantastic fantasy center. Tyreke Evans hit 6-of-6 shots for 18 points, four boards and two 3-pointers, and Marcus Thornton got hot with 20 points, two steals and three 3-pointers. Maybe he’s ready to bust loose, so it’s time to pick him up if he was dropped in your league. Isaiah Thomas disappointed owners after his big 34-point game on Saturday, hitting just 2-of-8 shots for six points and six assists in 31 minutes. Aaron Brooks was supposed to play through the flu, but didn’t see action. Hang in there with Thomas, despite the bad game. Thomas Robinson had his second nice game in a row with 12 points, seven boards and a block, while Jason Thompson’s struggles continued. JT had just six points and four boards on 2-of-9 shooting, and has been quiet lately, so keep an eye on the emerging Robinson.
San Antonio – Manu Ginobili will miss a couple weeks with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, and I’m thinking Stephen Jackson will have some nice games in his absence, while Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green should also see extra touches.
Utah – Al Jefferson had 23 & 11, and Paul Millsap had 17 & 9, which were wasted lines on many benches due to the two-game week for the Jazz. Marvin Williams returned from his knee injury and had five points, but Gordon Hayward stayed hot with 22 points and three 3-pointers on 8-of-13 shooting. Hayward appears to have gotten the upper hand and my guess is he’ll have a much better second half, with or without Williams healthy. Randy Foye had just nine points, but is still worth a close look with the Jazz hurting at point guard. My favorite tidbit from the Jazz game was this guy, dressed like Andre from The League, getting tossed from his courtside seat. Yep, those are leopard-print cuffs. I was also unaware that Rod Stewart was now an usher in Utah.
Washington – What a weird night. Emeka Okafor went nuts with 19 points, 11 boards and a block for his third straight double-double, A.J. Price had a season-high 18 points and six assists, Jan Vesely tied a season-high 10 points with seven boards, and Kevin Seraphin went off with 18 points, five boards and three blocks. Price is on a short leash as John Wall works his way back, so don’t rush out to grab him. Wall had 12 points and six assists in 20 minutes, while Bradley Beal stayed hot with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Nene was the big loser for Washington with two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 16 minutes. Ouch.