Hornets Spank Pistons
Robin Lopez had 23 points, 10 boards and two blocks, and it’s impossible to tell when he’s going to get hot and explode, although he has been playing pretty well over the last couple weeks. In another oddity, Al-Farouq Aminu bounced back with 12 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. If you were brave enough to put him in your lineup, congratulations are in order. Austin Rivers started for Eric Gordon, who is still sitting out back-to-backs, and had seven points. As our blurb alluded to on Monday, the Hornets are 18-34 on the season and Mr. Gordon has to be considered a shutdown candidate the minute his knee starts chirping. Anthony Davis played a whopping 17 minutes, missed all seven of his shots and finished with one point, eight rebounds and four blocks. At least he came through with the boards and blocks, but his lack of playing time is highly frustrating, as those of you who own him already know. Ryan Anderson is a big part of the problem, and he went off for 31 points and five 3-pointers in 31 minutes, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Monty Williams is ever going to #freeAnthonyDavis.
Rodney Stuckey came off the bench for 19 points on 4-of-12 shooting, doing most of his damage at the free throw line by hitting 11-of-13 shots. He has quietly scored 11, 19 and 19 points in each of his last three games and suddenly looks like a better player to own than Will Bynum, who was 0-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes tonight. Greg Monroe continues to enjoy life without Andre Drummond and had 17 points, 11 boards, two steals and two blocks. Speaking of Drummond, coach Lawrence Frank said on Monday that he was on the verge of inserting Drummond into the starting lineup over Jason Maxiell when Drummond was shut down for four-to-six weeks with his back injury. We were oh-so close. Kyle Singler is worth keeping an eye on after his 14 points, five boards and a 3-pointer, while Charlie Villanueva cooled off on 2-of-7 shooting for five points and six boards in 20 minutes. He’ll bounce back.
Spurs Stop Chicago
Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard both stayed hot on Monday, and should be in all lineups right now. Tony Parker sat out with a sore knee, joining Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on the bench, yet the Spurs still managed to beat the Bulls in Chicago. We make fun of Gregg Popovich a bit for sitting his studs, but if I were him, I would have no problem resting Duncan and Ginobili until April. The Spurs have the best record in the league and continue to impress, even when the moneymakers are sitting in street clothes. Guards Nando De Colo and Gary Neal played well in Parker’s absence, but are only worth a look if Parker is going to miss time, and I don’t think he’s in the same boat as Duncan and Ginobili – at least, not yet.
Nate Robinson was great again with 20 points, seven dimes and a full stat line, Richard Hamilton got hot, hitting 8-of-11 shots for 16 points, and Joakim Noah played well through his foot injury. Taj Gibson was quiet with Noah and Carlos Boozer both playing solid minutes, but has shown he can be productive off the bench. I still think he’s worth holding in some instances, especially since Noah’s foot still isn’t right. Marco Belinelli was quiet, but played through his sore ankle and should get better with time. I don’t trust Hamilton enough to own him.
Wiz Roll Bucks
In another bizarre twist, red-hot Martell Webster disappeared with two points in 20 minutes, while an ice-cold Bradley Beal exploded for a season-high 28 points and four 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting, after scoring a total of 13 points over his previous three games. He also had two steals and two blocks for good measure, teaching me a lesson for dropping him on Sunday. Oh well. My guess is he cools off and Webster bounces back, but if Beal was dropped in your league, this is your sign to pick him up. Emeka Okafor double-doubled and Nene went off for 21 points, 13 boards, six assists, two steals and a block on 10-of-13 shooting. Now we’ll have to see when his next random DNP happens, but he’s a solid starting option right now. I’m not dropping Webster just yet, but will be ready to pull the trigger if Beal can stay hot and Webster continues to struggle.
Brandon Jennings shot owners into oblivion on Monday by missing 14-of-17 shots for seven points, but at least had a steal and seven dimes. Owners, including this one, are praying he bounces back on Wednesday, as his poor shooting from both the field and line have become a buzzkill over the last 10 days. Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova came through with nice lines, while Samuel Dalembert started for the third straight game and had six points, seven boards and zero blocks before fouling out. Larry Sanders is seeking a second opinion on his bad back, but hasn’t been ruled out for Wednesday’s game. I’d be surprised to see him play in that one, but am hoping that he’ll be ready to go after the break. If you can still get a stud for Larry, it’s probably a good idea.
Hawks Beat Mavs In Big D
The Hawks got a monster line from everyone’s favorite trade candidate, as Josh Smith hit four 3-pointers and 10-of-15 shots for 26 points, 13 boards, six assists and a steal. He didn’t have a block and committed five turnovers, but owners have to be pleased with this one in the midst of all the trade rumors. For the record, I still won’t be the least bit surprised if the Hawks give him a max-deal. Jeff Teague stayed hot, Devin Harris had 15 points as the starting shooting guard (I still don’t trust him) and Al Horford double-doubled in the win. Anthony Tolliver started over Kyle Korver, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, but had just one point and five boards on 0-of-4 shooting. Korver had 10 points and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes, and despite Larry Drew’s fondness of ruining hot guys by benching them, I’m not ready to give up on Korver.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 24 points, while O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison (double-double), Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Brandan Wright all scored in double digits.
News and Notes
Philly center Andrew Bynum says his left knee is still in pain and he’s not sure whether he can play through it. I’m not at all surprised by this news and whether he’s playing for a contract or not, he’s going to be in terrible shape once he returns. And there’s no guarantee that he plays a single minute this season. I don’t own him in any of my 11 leagues, nor have I stopped to consider checking to see if he’s available, and I’m convinced I sleep better at night because of it.
Houston’s James Harden is dealing with a sore left knee and missed practice on Monday, leaving him iffy for Tuesday’s game. My guess is he’ll play, but since I’m going against him in several leagues, I wouldn’t mind if he took a day off to rest.
Denver’s Andre Iguodala is a game-time decision on Tuesday due to a strained neck, so owners will want to watch for updates today.
GSW’s Jarrett Jack is iffy for Tuesday with a shoulder injury and didn’t practice on Monday. My guess is he’ll sit.
Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani is a game-time decision tonight with an illness.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward is doubtful once again with his shoulder injury and hasn’t shot a basketball in forever.