Knicks lose Melo, beat Cavs in Kyrie’s return
Carmelo Anthony left Monday’s game after suffering a right knee injury just 16 minutes into the contest, finishing with six points in a win over the Cavaliers. The good news is he won’t have X-rays or an MRI, and the injury doesn’t appear to be serious. Consider him questionable for Wednesday. Amare Stoudemire played a season-high 32 minutes for 22 points, six boards and a block, and it appears that Mike Woodson is finally ready to start giving him more run. He was controversially averaging just 22 minutes over his recent games, while James “flight” White is somehow in the starting five. J.R. Smith is hot again and had 18 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer, and is racking up points, rebounds and threes right now. Jason Kidd played well in a second straight game with 12 points, eight boards, three steals and three 3-pointers, and it’s time to put him back on the radar. Steve Novak hit four 3-pointers for 15 points in 20 minutes, and clearly benefitted from Melo’s absence. Not a single Knicks starter scored more than eight points, yet they still won the game.
Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller sat this one out with illnesses and Marreese Speights had 23 points, eight boards and a steal on 10-of-14 shooting in a start at center for Zeller. Keep an eye on him. Kyrie Irving returned from a knee injury for 22 points and a full stat line, rewarding owners who rolled the dice and put him back in lineups. Shaun Livingston still managed eight points and five dimes in 23 minutes, but it’s hard to see him sustaining value as long as Irving is back. Luke Walton somehow had a career-high 12 assists last night, but should be ignored until further notice.
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Magic hold off Hornets in Jameer’s return
E’Twaun Moore and Beno Udrih disappeared in the return of Jameer Nelson, who started after missing six straight games with a knee injury. He had 15 points, two 3-pointers and seven assists in 37 minutes. Nice work if you were brave enough to throw him into your lineup. Tobias Harris bounced back with 15 points and a 3-pointer on 6-of-9 shooting, along with five boards and two steals in 31 minutes. I started him in several leagues this week, and feel good about it after Sunday’s 3-of-14 shooting disaster. Andrew Nicholson played just 16 minutes, and has become a fantasy liability due to a lack of consistent playing time, while Moe Harkless stayed relevant with 13 points, four boards, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. Arron Afflalo had 26 points with five boards, five assists and a steal in the win.
Anthony Davis played through his shoulder injury after missing a couple and had 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in 39 minutes. This was one of his better lines of the season, and I hope it wasn’t wasted on your bench, as it was on mine. Eric Gordon had 17 points and three 3-pointers, but didn’t do much else and appears to be unlikely to play in one of the Hornets two games this Saturday and Sunday. Greivis Vasquez, Al-Farouq Aminu and Ryan Anderson all produced, while Robin Lopez had an off night with nine points, four rebounds and zero blocks.
LeBron, Wade lead Heat over Wolves
LeBron James’ knee injury didn’t appear to be a problem last night, when he hit 9-of-16 shots for 20 points, 10 boards and another full stat line in a win over the Wolves. Dwyane Wade had 32 points, seven boards and 10 assists on 15-of-23 shooting, helping the Heat win their 15th straight game. Chris Bosh added 11 points and nine boards after grabbing just one rebound in his previous game.
Ricky Rubio left briefly with a left knee injury, but was able to return, finishing with 14 points, five boards, eight assists, six steals and two 3-pointers, hitting a somewhat miraculous 6-of-11 shots for one of his best lines of the season. This is his surgically repaired knee, so owners will want to keep an eye out for more information going forward, but he looks fine. Nikola Pekovic was out with his abdominal strain and J.J. Barea hit just 1-of-11 shots before being ejected after committing a flagrant foul on Ray Allen. Hopefully he’s not suspended for a game, and was playing well coming into this one. Derrick Williams stayed hot with a season-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a 3-pointer in 45 minutes. As I’ve been saying everywhere lately, he’s become a must-own, must-start player, and came through again last night. Dante Cunningham had eight points, 11 boards, a steal and a block, as Andrei Kirilenko (calf) and Pekovic missed another game. Cunningham is worth a close look as long as Kirilenko remains out with his injury. Alexey Shved had 13 points, but I’d still rather own Luke Ridnour and Barea instead.
Bucks beat Jazz in OT behind Jennings’ assists
Brandon Jennings stayed hot, hitting 8-of-14 shots for 20 points, 17 assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in 47 minutes. He had 19 assists on Saturday, and it’s possible that he has finally figured out how to play with Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick. Enjoy the ride while he’s this hot. Monta Ellis did it again with 34 points and a full stat line, shooting lights-out by hitting 15-of-21 shots, while Redick added 17 points and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes. I’d be surprised if these three guards continue to all stay this hot while competing for minutes, but anything is possible. The Larry Sanders show was on again last night, as he had eight points, 16 rebounds and six more blocks. Hey now! Ersan Ilyasova hit just 3-of-13 shots on the night for seven points, but should bounce back, while Samuel Dalembert made an appearance with eight points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. Continue to ignore him for now.
Derrick Favors scored a career-high 23 points with 15 boards, a steal and a block in a tough loss to the Bucks. Al Jefferson sat this one out with a sprained ankle, and anytime that happens, Favors is a safe bet for production. Enes Kanter added 18 points, 10 rebounds and a block, but was a risky weekly start with Jefferson’s status for the week still in question. Paul Millsap returned from his ankle injury to join the party, and had 22 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals in 44 minutes of the overtime loss. Gordon Hayward stunk, hitting just 3-of-16 shots, but still managed 13 points, seven boards, five assists and a 3-poiner in the loss. Marvin Williams suffered a hand injury tonight and failed to score, which is more good news for Hayward’s owners going forward, so keep rolling with him. As long as Jefferson is out, Millsap, Favors and Kanter look like must-starts. Mo Williams is targeting a Wednesday return from his thumb injury and given that the Jazz literally got nothing from their starting guards (Randy Foye & Earl Watson), it’s time to pick him up. Alec Burks hit 7-of-10 shots off the bench for 19 points, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, but also had six turnovers. He’s worth a close look, but there were simply more minutes to go around tonight with Jefferson in street clothes and Marvin hurting.