CHEWING THE GRIZZLE
The Grizzlies are in a bit of a bind. They’re not playing any defense and Marc Gasol’s abdominal injury may have taken some wind out of their sails. Gasol surprised everybody by playing last night, scoring 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 36 minutes, but he clearly wasn’t himself and he’ll need to be watched closely going forward. Friday and Saturday’s back-to-back set will be a good indicator of where he is. This bumped Ed Davis into a DNP-CD and he will probably sink owners that rolled with him in weekly leagues.
Mike Conley is now going to shoulder more offense, scoring 26 points on 6-of-16 shooting with two threes, four boards, six assists, one steal and a 12-of-14 mark from the line last night. Zach Randolph totally disappeared with three points on 1-of-3 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in 25 minutes. That’s two straight games with single-digit shot attempts, and we’ll be watching to see if an injury pops up or if there is a chemistry issue in the lineup right now.
Jerryd Bayless has been scoring more recently, so I’d start looking there if I was hunting down any chemistry issues, and he finished with 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting, four treys, one steal, one block, four turnovers and zero assists in 32 minutes. There’s enough to hold onto here with Bayless given Gasol’s health, but if the Grizzlies diagnose a potential chemistry issue it’s possible that Bayless goes back to his limited role off the bench. Beyond that, it stands to reason that if/when Randolph starts scoring again, that it would come out of Bayless’ bucket before other guys.
Tony Allen scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with 10 rebounds and two steals, but Bayless is the guy to own here in standard leagues. Darrell Arthur (eight minutes) is back to being irrelevant in fantasy leagues, but that could change if the frontcourt gets rested down the stretch.
I mentioned last week that it was weird to hear reports about Tyson Chandler’s neck injury possibly resolving itself quickly, as that implied it could also ‘not resolve itself’ just as easily. The latter scenario is where we’re at and he couldn’t even ‘look up’ according to one report. I do believe the injury could ‘resolve itself’ quickly, but this is obviously a fluid situation. Kenyon Martin delivered a dud with just four points, three rebounds and a steal in Chandler’s place, which moves him further into deep league status while Chandler is out.
There was an Iman Shumpert (16 points, four treys, two steals, 21 minutes) sighting, but we need to see more before getting on that ride. Carmelo Anthony (22 points, seven rebounds) played 40 minutes and it looks like he’s moving past the knee issue, at least for now. Raymond Felton unhooked the piano with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, four assists and two threes, and J.R. Smith went ballistic with his second straight 30-plus point outing, scoring 35 points on 10-of-18 shooting with seven rebounds, one block, three treys and a 12-of-13 mark from the stripe. Nice.
HEY, WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO?
Bradley Beal (ankle), A.J. Price (groin), Nene (knee), Martell Webster (abdomen) and Trevor Ariza (flu) did not play last night. Beal’s injury is still cloudy, Price has been out a while, Nene is banged up and on the shutdown watch list, Webster is probably more day-to-day than week-to-week if I had to guess, and Ariza’s flu has to end soon. With all of those guys out John Wall fell into the trappings of carrying too much load, hitting just 3-of-18 shots (12-of-15 FTs) for 18 points, four rebounds, 12 assists and a steal, and that obviously won’t pay the bills in reality basketball against the Thunder.
Kevin Seraphin (12 points, 6-of-14 FGs, eight boards, no steals or blocks, 31 minutes) and Trevor Booker (10 points, eight rebounds, one steal, one block, 27 minutes) were beneficiaries, but both still need injury assistance before they’ll be worth anything but a very speculative add in standard leagues. Of course, such injury assistance isn’t out of the question at this stage of the season. Garrett Temple posted his customary 13 points, two threes, and two assists but he did add four steals to spice things up. He has low-end value in 12-14 team formats with a currently heavy minute role, but it will be tenuous as guys get healthy.
R.O.C.K. IN THE OKC
The Thunder got to tap the brakes in their 23-point win, so it was a quietly strong night for the usual suspects. Russell Westbrook scored 21 points with four boards, four assists, a three and a 10-of-11 mark from the foul line, and Kevin Durant scored 20 points with six rebounds, six assists, a block, a 2-of-2 mark from deep and a 10-of-10 mark from the line. Serge Ibaka hit just 2-of-8 shots for seven points to go with seven boards, one steal and four blocks, and Kevin Martin scored 18 points with three treys to stay off the side of a milk carton. Thabo Sefolosha has moved off the fantasy radar as quietly as he moved onto it, but he had a decent night with eight points, two threes, one steal and one block in 19 minutes. He’s hovering in the 18-22 team range over the past two weeks.
PAU, HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW
News rolled in on Metta World Peace’s knee injury and he’s going to miss at least six weeks. This hasn’t generated a real fantasy winner, as the beneficiary last night in Antawn Jamison (18 points, two threes, five rebounds, one block, 26 minutes) is visibly dealing with a shooting wrist injury. Jodie Meeks drew the start and also the short end of the stick with five points on 2-of-7 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one three in 35 minutes. Unless Meeks gets hot on any given night, he’ll look a lot like this. Go into that ownership equation with a willingness to deal with the roller coaster, or don’t go into it at all.
Dwight Howard went off for 25 and 16 with five steals and five blocks. He may be peaking at the right time. Kobe Bryant got his crooked shooting number from the last outing straight, hitting 12-of-21 shots for 31 points and a full line. He could be hit and miss in that regard, but last night was a good sign that his ankle is getting healthy. Pau Gasol rewarded owners for their patience and trust after a bumpy return to game action, scoring 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Get him back in all lineups after an explosion like that, and don’t get too caught up in whether or not he starts. He’s going to get as many minutes as he can handle. Earl Clark played 13 minutes and can be ignored for now. Just be ready to move if the injury bug hits even harder.
Nikola Pekovic led the box score on the Wolves’ side, scoring 19 points with 16 rebounds, two steals and a block, but the talk after the game was a controversial no-call when Kobe Bryant appeared to foul Ricky Rubio (13 points, seven assists, three steals) on a game-tying 3-point shot attempt. I couldn’t tell from the replays that I saw, for whatever that’s worth (not much). Andrei Kirilenko scored 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting with two rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 27 minutes, which isn’t winning any titles but is heading toward a serviceable four-game week.
Chase Budinger scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting with one three, nine rebounds, two steals and one block in 24 minutes off the bench. The 120-117 score certainly enhanced his production, but he’s worth a look after that type of effort even if he’s still a better fit for deeper leagues. J.J. Barea got back on the board with 11 points and seven assists, but I expect inconsistency from the wing guys and none of them are must-own players in standard leagues. Just keep in mind that the Wolves’ favorable schedule gives them a boost. Derrick Williams bounced back from a dud to score 15 points with six rebounds, a three, and his usual goose eggs elsewhere. I put him in the same boat as the wings.
REDEMPTION IS STILL SPELLED R-O-Y
David West (back) and Danny Granger (knee) did not play last night and that left the door open for Roy Hibbert (28 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks) to cash in. Props to him for turning it around. George Hill (two points, 1-of-11 FGs, four boards, five assists, two steals) wasn’t the only Pacer to struggle last night, but he returned from his groin injury to play 38 minutes and that is a small victory. Owners will want to watch his status for the tail-end of the back-to-back tonight.
Paul George hit just 4-of-17 shots for 16 points and an otherwise reasonable line, and may have been preoccupied with his assignment on James Harden. Tyler Hansbrough is a decent bet to go for something like his 16 and eight when filling in for West, and he’s worth owning until West can get back on the court. Lance Stephenson also returned from a groin injury, and he fared much better than Hill with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and one steal in 35 minutes. Owners should take a season-long view of his value and account for both his teammates’ struggles and the uptempo matchup against the Rockets.
I NEED A VACATION
James Harden (22 points, 6-of-24 FGs, eight assists, three treys) and Chandler Parsons (11 points, 5-of-14 FGs, two boards, three assists) are potential rest candidates according to a recent report, and both of them struggled shooting the ball last night to add a small amount of fuel to the fire. Still, the Rockets are battling for a playoff spot and rest doesn’t seem all that likely for either of them, at least for now. Greg Smith came out of nowhere as he tends to do once every few months, scoring 18 points with 19 rebounds and not much else in 32 minutes, but he needs to do it again before owners in most formats consider an add. Just take a look at his game log if you need further convincing.
The Clippers cruised to an easy win over the Hornets on the road last night, with no real surprises in the box score. Chris Paul (16 points, six rebounds, nine assists, four steals) and Blake Griffin (19 points, five boards, 7-of-8 FTs) led the way, and Chauncey Billups aggravated his groin injury and didn’t finish the game. Matt Barnes (eight points, six boards, two threes, no steals or blocks, 21 minutes) was quiet but he still has a nice window to produce in with Billups hurting.
SQUEEZE THE LEMON
Eric Gordon (ankle) returned from his most recent ailment, scoring 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting with three steals, and in a bit of breaking news he grabbed a rebound. Have fun squeezing the juice out of that lemon. Anthony Davis hit 9-of-13 shots for 19 points, nine boards and a steal, but he didn’t get a block in an otherwise strong outing. Good Robin Lopez (13 points, eight boards, one block, 29 minutes) showed up, while bad Greivis Vasquez returned from his ankle injury and went scoreless on just two shot attempts. Vasquez logged 28 minutes but with just two boards and four assists it was pretty clear that he’s not yet healthy.
Brian Roberts played 28 minutes himself, scoring 10 points with three rebounds, three assists and two threes, and if Vasquez’s ankle doesn’t chill out then he will likely be used to spell the starter. Roberts is still a deep-league asset unless you’re gambling on injuries to help him out. Al-Farouq Aminu pulled his disappearing act with five points and four rebounds in 19 minutes, and Ryan Anderson crashed after a solid outing on Monday with just eight points, five boards, a block and no threes in just 21 minutes. As usual, I’m not worried about Anderson.