Friday’s 11 games were full of anomalous performances, novel rotations, and of course injuries. There’s enough to talk about that I’m eschewing many of the usual digressions in favor of simple game-by-game summaries. Injury updates pertaining to Saturday’s games can be found at the end of the column, if they haven’t already been discussed in the recaps. I’ve also tried to mention every former Sonics player who is active in the NBA and played on Friday. By my count there were 12 of them.
Wizards at Magic
Highs: Tobias Harris consumed the Wizards on Friday with 30 points on 11-of-21 FGs and 6-of-7 FTs, 11 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. He also knocked down two 3-pointers with just one turnover in 45 minutes, a performance worthy of LeBron, who happens to be the only player with more nine-cat value than Harris for the past 10 days. Will he keep it up for the next two weeks? It's doubtful, but with four games next week it also shouldn't matter if he starts to cool down. Just be aware that Orlando has a lousy two-game slate in Week 24, the final full week of the schedule.
Lows: Jameer Nelson left with a sprained ankle after notching two points, three rebounds and three assists in a mere eight minutes. He's day-to-day with Orlando's next game coming Saturday on the road in Atlanta. The quick turnaround makes Nelson a very sketchy option, and if he can't suit up E'Twaun Moore and Beno Udrih would each become viable spot-starters. Udrih racked up 10 points and nine assists with Nelson out, while Moore chipped in 15 points, four boards, five assists, two steals and a block.
Tidbits: Martell Webster (abdomen) returned unexpectedly with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and one block in a whopping 39 minutes, slotting right back into his starting SF job. Trevor Ariza also returned from a wicked bout with the flu, scoring five points with seven boards, two dimes and a steal. He played 25 minutes as the team's sixth-man, a role he should reprise until the season ends. It's worth noting that Webster and Cartier Martin will both be unrestricted free agents this summer, potentially clearing a bigger role for Ariza next season. A few final Magic notes...Kyle O'Quinn posted a decent line in 22 minutes, including four assists and two blocks, though it may have been a mild disappointment after his 23 & 11 outburst on Wednesday. Part of the reason for his muted playing time was Andrew Nicholson's return from an ankle injury -- Nicholson scored 14 points and grabbed five boards in 28 minutes. And while we're discussing the Magic frontcourt, Nikola Vucevic (concussion) was seen shooting around on Friday but he hasn't yet been cleared for contact. The waiting game continues.
Hawks at Celtics
Highs: Paul Pierce piled up 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Boston past the visiting Hawks on Sunday, giving the Celtics a much-needed two-game win streak. The Captain continues to do everything he can for his short-handed squad, which currently sits at 7th place in the East. Former Sonic Jeff Green also kept up his brilliant numbers while starting in KG's absence, scoring a game-high 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting, with three 3s, four boards, four assists, two steals and one block. For the Hawks, the nicest surprise may have been reserve forward Mike Scott coming off the bench for 19 points and three rebounds in 23 minutes. He's done absolutely nothing to suggest this will become a trend. Backup guard Shelvin Mack was equally impressive with 12 points, three boards, nine assists and one steal in 27 minutes. His effective play was a big reason Jeff Teague (17 points, seven assists) only played 26 minutes.
Lows: A stomach illness sidelined Al Horford tonight, and he's questionable to return vs. the Magic on Saturday. Fill-in starter Johan Petro had four points, seven boards and one block in just 12 minutes, which is really all you can expect from the eight-year veteran. Speaking of former Sonics, Chris Wilcox started at center for Boston but had just four points, three boards and four fouls in 13 minutes…he’s not an option in any formats. Devin Harris (foot) was also sidelined -- Larry Drew rested him again even though he was technically available, so there's a good chance he'll play Saturday.
Tidbits: The Celts also got a huge boost from Jason Terry, who finally found the range and scored 24 points off the bench, including 5-of-7 from downtown. This should be unqualified good news, but I can't help finding it distressing that JET has cracked 20 points three times all year. It's mostly a consequence of his changed role in Boston's offense, where he rarely controls the offense outright, and I'm interested to see whether Doc Rivers shifts his gameplan next year (or even in the playoffs). Terry is owed another $10.7 million through 2014-15, so he's not going anywhere, and there's little doubt that Boston could use some improved offensive efficiency (currently 22nd in the NBA with 100.4 points per 100 possessions).
Raptors at Pistons
Highs: Andre Drummond (back) finally returned to action, making his first career start at center and racking up 17 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He missed 1-of-4 FTs, as usual, but he also made 8-of-10 FGs and there is no reason he should be on any waiver wires. I know that he is, though, since I personally scooped him off of three wires in very competitive leagues when news of his return broke on Friday. He's also not on a medical minute-limit, in case you were wondering.
Lows: Kyle Lowry handed out 11 assists, but once again he scored just four points on 2-of-4 shooting. I intend to sit down and figure out what has happened to K-Low's role in the Raptors offense, but he's obviously not being used to (or playing to) his potential at the moment under Dwane Casey, finishing March with a season-low 9.0 points per game. Given Lowry's reputation for combustibility, it's an interesting situation to monitor this summer. Brandon Knight struggled with four points, three assists and zero steals in 26 minutes, apparently aggravating his ankle injury and also breaking his nose. Bench him, cut him, just make sure he’s not in your active lineups. Rodney Stuckey also flopped, going scoreless with three assists off the bench despite Will Bynum's absence. Starting PG Jose Calderon had just eight points and seven assists, but at least he was skillful enough to knock down two 3-pointers.
Tidbits: The Jonas boys took over on Friday, as Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Raptors, while Jonas Jerebko had 20 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes in a losing effort off the Pistons' bench. Jerebko had a string of double-digit scoring games early in March, since which he's been lousy, and owners in most leagues should avoid him. I can't help but think he's been unfairly buried in Detroit's bench this year, and it's possible he'll see more minutes as the Pistons' shift to a new-look starting five with Drummond starting at center.
76ers at Cavaliers
Highs: Evan Turner built some momentum with his second straight solid game, this time dropping 23 points, two 3-pointers, 13 rebounds and four assists in a road win vs. the Cavs. His roller-coaster production has been documented all season, but anyone who owns him might as well trot him out there vs. the Bobcats' defense on Saturday. There were no pure standout performers for the Cavs, though honorable mention goes to both Tyler Zeller (14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one block) and C.J. Miles (19 points, two 3s, five rebounds, three assists, one block in 28 minutes).
Lows: Alonzo Gee has been quiet all season, and Friday's line (six points, two rebounds, one assist) pretty much sums it up. Tristan Thompson didn't fare much better with 10 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes, and the season can hardly end soon enough for the banged-up Cavaliers. Dorell Wright struggled tonight in 21 bench minutes, scoring three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Tidbits: Spencer Hawes stayed hot with 16 points, 11 boards, five dimes and two blocks...and he even knocked down 2-of-3 from downtown. His phenomenal play has made him a top-10 fantasy option over the past two weeks (nine-cat), the latest testament to the value of scooping up free agents who have demonstrated upside as soon as they start to warm up. Former Sonic Damien Wilkins played a whopping 38 minutes at SG, scoring seven points with six assists, one steal and two blocks. Marreese Speights had a few hot stretches soon after his trade to Cleveland, but he's dropped off since and finished Friday's defeat with six points on 1-of-6 FGs and 4-of-4 FTs. Questionable defense and spotty effort have always been the biggest knocks on Speights' game, and that's not changing any time soon.