It was a quiet four-game night in the association, but there were some big lines to make up for that and there are 11 games tonight. Without further ado let’s get right to who did what and what to expect.
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Youth Over Experience
The Celtics lost to Kyrie Irving and the Cavs last night, with bad shooting nights from key guys being the problem along with Irving’s 40 points. Paul Pierce hit just 3-of-15 shots for 12 points, but he did manage seven rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Garnett had similar issues hitting just 5-of-13 shots, but like Pierce he was solid elsewhere with a season-high five blocks, five boards, and three assists. Jared Sullinger (12 points, 10 boards) showed up on the radar again, and though his consistency is still an issue he’s a guy to watch.
Release the Hounds
The Cavs and the Grizzlies kicked off the trade season in yawn-inducing fashion, though fantasy owners will want to watch Marreese Speights to see if he can carve out a role with his new team. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed but he didn’t have any reported issues in Memphis, so maybe he has turned the page on his early career antics. The Cavs are woefully thin up front and Tyler Zeller, while better lately, had been really struggling to fill the void left by Anderson Varejao’s absence. You may as well keep an eye on Josh Selby and Wayne Ellington, too, but not because of their bodies of work – again, the Cavs are woefully thin across the board.
The story of the night was Kyrie Irving’s 40-point night that included three rebounds, five assists, and two steals. This just in – he’s good. Tristan Thompson made a statement with a season-high 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists, one block, and one steal. I bagged on him earlier in the year quite a bit but the continued playing time has been a godsend. C.J. Miles (illness) did not play and Dion Waiters (seven points, 3-of-12 FGs) continued to shoot poorly, though in fairness with Kyrie going ballistic it would be easy to get lost. Unfortunately that’s the book on Waiters, whose upside appears to be getting more distant by the day. Tyler Zeller (six points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, 2-of-10 FGs) isn’t the fantasy play he was before today’s trade, but he’s still worth owning in 12-team leagues for the chance he can fend off Speights and continue along the rookie learning curve.
J.J. Redick moved into the starting lineup and scored 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting with five 3-pointers, while his teammates struggled to shoot the ball. Arron Afflalo went scoreless though he did grab nine rebounds with five assists, and Glen Davis hit just 4-of-16 shots for 11 points and three rebounds. Look for each of them to move back toward an equilibrium going forward.
Stuck On You
Rodney Stuckey scored 14 points with two rebounds, one assist, and two threes last night, but left the game late due to an ankle injury and did not return. He could turn things around but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards this year.
Implied Oral Consent
Jason Richardson (knee) did not play again last night, and Nick Young (20 points, three rebounds, three assists) was the beneficiary. Young needs to do it again before I’m even bothering to look at him in most formats.
For your daily Andrew Bynum (knees) update, he hasn’t done any lateral movement yet, or gone bowling. Or so the legend goes.
Today in Ersanity
Better late than never. Ersan Ilyasova exploded for 27 points, 16 rebounds, two threes, three steals, and a block in 36 minutes. This is why we held him, and owners simply have to cross their fingers that last year’s version is back. It didn’t hurt that Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 17 assists on the night.
It’s Hard to Make Something So Pretty…..
Kevin Durant had another one of his bad nights that would be career nights for anybody else. He scored 32 points with seven rebounds and seven assists, while Russell Westbrook scored 26 points with four rebounds, six assists, and three treys in their win over the Clippers. Westbrook’s ankle was not an issue. Serge Ibaka scored 17 points with nine rebounds, one three, and one block in the win.
Chris Paul (knee) did not play last night and Eric Bledsoe should be owned in all formats for his low-end production in a backup role and the chance that Paul misses some time. Whether or not that owner should be you will be a function of your team needs and what is available on the wire. Blake Griffin picked up the slack with 31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block, and he’s red hot right now. I think he has taken a step forward this year so I’m holding if I own him.
Wednesday Night Lights
ATL @ CHA: Al Horford (hamstring) did not practice yesterday but is expected to play tonight. Zaza Pachulia (Achilles) is unlikely to play and that might be why he has been struggling despite the openings due to injury in Atlanta. Devin Harris (ankle) practiced and he’s well worth a look, though owners shouldn’t go into a pickup banking on the fact that he’ll be a consistent asset. It was reported that Byron Mullens (ankle) wouldn’t be returning anytime soon, but he looked decent taking jumpshots in practice yesterday. I’m not saying he’s definitively close to a return, but owners may want to give him more rope than they previously were.
TOR @ MIA: Dwyane Wade (toe) practiced yesterday and is expected to play tonight, as is LeBron James after a missed practice due to the flu.
LAL @ MEM: The Grizzlies decided to make a run at the playoffs with their current roster intact, as they got their salaries where they want and now I’d expect players to relax a bit. The Lakers implode just a little bit more with every passing night, and now Dwight Howard trade rumors are popping up.
DET @ CHI: Derrick Rose (knee surgery) took more contact in practice but he’ll need a lot more of that before he’s let loose. After the All Star break is still a realistic target. Luol Deng (hamstring) did not practice, and owners should be hoping Tom Thibodeau doesn’t trot him out there on a bad wheel. Jimmy Butler would be the spot-starting option if he can’t go. If Rodney Stuckey (ankle) can’t go, it could be Will Bynum time for the Pistons.
BKY @ MIN: Alexey Shved (ankle) returned to practice and the time off might have helped with some of the other wear and tear he had going on. Owners should take note of his past slump, but evaluate him as they normally would in a Wolves backcourt full of injury risks and an injured team, for that matter. It would be nice to see Ricky Rubio pick up the slack, but owners should give him another week or so before panicking if he doesn’t. A slower recovery should have been expected.
DEN @ HOU: JaVale McGee was more or less called out by his coach, and it’s anybody’s guess if that gets followed up with the proverbial playing time boost to offset the lashing but it’s worth considering. It could just as easily mean he’ll continue to be the disappointing, borderline play he has been all year, but if you want to take a flier adding him now might be a good time. Andre Iguodala is on our injured report after taking a hard fall, but there have been no indications that he will not play. Will the Rockets get out of their slump? Jeremy Lin has been bulletproof in that regard.
NO @ SA: Anthony Davis (ankle) practiced but as I mentioned yesterday this ankle injury has cooled me off on any buy low offers. I still like him as a player and also as a fantasy play going forward. I’m just not going to break my neck to go after him with that ankle being a potential issue. Kawhi Leonard has been a lightning rod for fantasy criticism but picked it up this last week. After cutting open his knee on the Philly floor, he’s on our injury report but we haven’t heard anything to suggest he won’t play.
WAS @ UTA: The Wizards and Jazz don’t have any big surprises entering tonight, though we’ll be watching Bradley Beal’s shooting wrist and seeing if there is any more clarity to be found in the ever-changing rotation. John Wall has looked plenty athletic but has still yet to have that breakthrough moment. The Jazz could use some addition by subtraction and as I’ve banged the drum on all year – they could use a more versatile offense. That means a bit less Al Jefferson and a bit more everybody else.
PHO @ SAC: Kendall Marshall is getting a lot of pub but the guy can’t shoot. That sort of thing can bog down the entire offense, but putting him next to Goran Dragic as a supplementary playmaker might be zany enough to work. That said, I’ll be watching that action from the wire. The Kings are the same fantasy mess they’ve always been, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
IND @ POR: Damian Lillard (hamstring) did not practice yesterday and Ronnie Price would get the nod if he can’t go. Both of these teams have fairly defined fantasy roles so look for big box scores from both sides.
OKC @ GSW: The Warriors are catching breaks getting an injured Chris Paul on Monday and the Thunder coming off a back-to-back tonight, but a win would be big news either way. All of your fantasy studs are locked and loaded for this tilt.