The Bobcats probably don’t have a chance against a loaded Clippers team on most nights, and that was the case last night as they got run out of the gym. Gerald Henderson stepped up with 24 points on 12-of-19 shooting with three assists and three steals, while Byron Mullens snapped his shooting slump with a solid 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, eight rebounds and one triple to go with an ugly five turnovers. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fell of the face of the planet with just one rebound, two assists and a block to go with two missed field goals in 22 minutes. His hustle numbers are the allure here, and he’s still worth stashing but should remain on benches until he can put some distance between this goose egg.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
There won’t be a whole lot to glean from last night’s Clippers box, so I’ll take this time to point out their 3-2-3-4-3-3-2 schedule the rest of the way out and we’ll call it a wrap for the most part. Jamal Crawford did not play due to the birth of his child, and Eric Bledsoe was a late scratch with a left calf ailment. The lowly Cats were a good spot to give him some time off but he’ll be questionable for Thursday’s game nonetheless.
The absences allowed Matt Barnes (17 points, seven assists, four steals, three treys, one block, 34 minutes) to stretch his legs, and Caron Butler (16 points, seven boards, four threes) made another appearance on the radar – but both will return to their normal values when everybody returns. DeAndre Jordan hit all six of his field goals to finish with 13 points, four rebounds, four blocks, and a 1-of-6 mark from the stripe. With the bad schedule, he’s not a must-own player and owners should look to deal their Clipper assets before opposing owners realize their games played situation isn’t all that great.
ONE YEAR LATE
The Kings showed that when focused and the right guys are on the court that they can give any team a run for their money, as they walked into South Beach and took the Heat to two overtimes before finally losing. Of course, the key to anything good we’ve seen out of the Kings lately has been the relative turning over of the keys to Isaiah Thomas. Thomas didn’t have his greatest game even if he handed out a season-high nine assists to go with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, two threes, two boards and a steal in 48 minutes. It’s just the plain fact that his basketball IQ is twice that of just about everybody on his team, and defensively he doesn’t get beat off the dribble much, if at all, and he never gets posted up. A real basketball organization gives him the keys late last season.
Of course, Keith Smart said that he’s going to try to get Toney Douglas time in the rotation, and let’s just say there is nothing that Smart could do that would surprise anybody. Still, IT2 should be in all lineups until further notice.
On the top-10 list of Smart’s killer decisions this season has been to crush the spirit of Marcus Thornton, who went ham to the tune of a season-high 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting (8-of-12 from deep, 6-of-8 from the line). He added three assists, one steal and a block for good measure in his 40 minutes off the bench, and seriously folks, he could be benched tomorrow for Aaron Brooks (nine minutes, 0-for-4 FGs), Jimmer Fredette (DNP) or Douglas (DNP).
John Salmons scored 15 points with five rebounds, seven assists, one steal and two blocks in 50 minutes, and had a nice block on LeBron to force an overtime, but man is he a square peg in a round hole for this team. It makes no sense to give him heavy run on a rebuilding squad, and for his recent solid numbers he’s still a mess on both sides of the floor, but Smart likes him a lot and he’s worth a look with the hopes Isaiah’s influence can smooth out his rough edges.
Tyreke Evans (26 points, four rebounds, four assists, five steals) and DeMarcus Cousins (24 points, 15 boards, five assists, two steals) both beasted in this game, while still providing their trademark blend of bad decisions and bull in a china shop offense. Patrick Patterson logged 10 uneventful minutes, while Jason Thompson (eight points, six boards, 3-of-10 FGs, four turnovers, 26 minutes) had his minutes messed with just enough to mess with his head. His teammates want him on the floor, but it’s a messy situation that owners shouldn’t be attached to.
Anytime the Heat go into overtime, let alone double-overtime, fantasy owners are going to reap some massive benefits. LeBron James had his best night of the year with a season-high 40 points, a career-high 16 assists, eight rebounds, two steals, one block, one three, and an 11-of-12 mark from the foul line.
Of course, when a team scores 141 points there are going to be some great lines. Ray Allen scored 21 points with five threes, four rebounds, and three assists in 41 minutes, Chris Bosh went for 15 and eight with three steals and four blocks, and Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 39 points on 19-of-28 shooting with eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals, two blocks, and one three. It’s the beauty of a team with just 3-4 main producers on any given night.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
TOR @ CLE: Will the wing attack continue for the Raptors at the expense of balance and rebounding? That’s the only real question I have, and Jonas Valanciunas hopefuls should hope that Dwane Casey seeks some balance there. We’ll bring you the Kyrie Irving update as soon as we get it.
DET @ WAS: Brandon Knight (knee) participated in full contact practice yesterday and is questionable for tonight, while Will Bynum will return from his one-game suspension. Sooner rather than later, it appears we’ll be looking at a crowded backcourt once again. Andre Drummond (back) didn’t have any change in his timetable, and that means he’s looking at a return in mid-March to the beginning of April. I think he’s stashable, and you’ll probably want to make your move on him by the end of this week if we’re using current information as a guide. Nene (shoulder) couldn’t lift his arm over his head after Monday’s game but he’s expected to play tonight. He’s the heart and soul of the Wizards team nowadays, so he’s going to gut things out, but he’ll probably mosey his way into being a shutdown candidate by the end of the year if I was forced to guess.
SAC @ ORL: I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big letdown out of the Kings, but maybe they can keep some momentum going after their solid game. That, or Keith Smart will play 17 guys. Jameer Nelson is the big update here on the Magic side.
NO @ OKC: Anthony Davis’ update will be telling, as the Hornets go to OKC to face one of the league’s most predictable fantasy units.
DAL @ MEM: The Grizzlies will get an aging Mavs team on the tail-end of a back-to-back, so Memphis owners may want to give a tiny upgrade to those assets.
GSW @ NYK: Amare Stoudemire is moving up to a 30-minute cap and I’d expect a small bump in his value. Plan accordingly.
MIL @ HOU: Donatas Motiejunas is getting a start at power forward and that at least answers one question regarding which Rockets player on the team prior to the deadline would get first crack. The other candidate was Terrence Jones, who if you believed whispers from Hoopsworld was one of the reasons that they moved Marcus Morris. It makes sense that Thomas Robinson will be worked in as he learns the system with the Rockets also in a playoff chase, but he has every opportunity to show he was worth the No. 5 overall pick. Believe me, you couldn’t conjure a worse situation than a Keith Smart-Maloof-Petrie special for him (or anybody), so moving to sanity should come with an appropriate bump. The only wild cards there are that he is more bust than bang, and then that he has too many bad habits to make a fantasy impact. Motie is an Andrea Bargnani-like player that is intriguing, but I’m going to keep T-Rob on top of that list and keep my finger on the trigger for Motie in case he jumps out fast. T-Rob debuts tonight, but expectations should be held in check in his first game.
PHO @ SA: Tony Parker (triceps) practiced yesterday and is “good to play” unless Pop pulls a fast one. Gary Neal (hamstring) did not practice and is questionable, as well. If there was a spot to rest guys, a home game against the Suns, who played last night, is a real good spot.
ATL @ UTA: Paul Millsap’s ankle kept him out of practice yesterday and he’s questionable for tonight as of this morning. Bill Oram wrote that Mo Williams remains “weeks out” from playing in a game, and I don’t think owners can consider a stash until there is more solid footing, even with the Jazz lacking point guard play right now. The Hawks are all systems go for fantasy right now and Zaza Pachulia’s (Achilles) potential absence is some icing on that cake.
DEN @ POR: Danilo Gallinari (thigh) is heading toward a game-time call tonight and Wilson Chandler will get another chance to shine if Gallo can’t go. Wesley Matthews (ankle) took yesterday’s practice off but is expected to play tonight. His owners have to be thrilled that he’s becoming the Chuck Norris of fantasy hoops.