Larry Sanders has been relatively quiet lately but he went huge last night with a career-high 24 points and 13 boards. He didn’t have a block for the second game in a row, but if he’s going to beast like that owners will take it. The blocks will obviously come around. J.J. Redick made an appearance with 20 points, but he’s still only a 3-point specialist. Mike Dunleavy scored 15 points with seven assists, and he's in the same boat as Redick but with a bit better balance in the box. Brandon Jennings hit just 6-of-15 shots, but finishing with 19 points, six assists, and four treys at least Doc isn't going through convulsions anymore.
AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME
LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) did not travel to Utah for last night’s game, which makes sense when you consider the Blazers are basically out of the playoff chase and they have a five-game homestand starting on Wednesday. Meyers Leonard wasn't quite as good as this weekend, but he did the trick with 12 points, seven boards, three assists and a block in 41 minutes. He's showing some consistency lately when given a heavy workload, but a return by Aldridge could muddle that equation. Damian Lillard played through shoulder pain and finished with 17 points and a full stat line.
WHO'D HAVE THUNK
Derrick Favors is starting to flirt with bigger lines more frequently, and last night he posted 18 points with seven boards and a steal. Mo Williams went for 20 and nine with six 3-pointers, and the Jazz have unsurprisingly righted the ship after realizing that Al Jefferson works much better later in the shot clock. Go figure.
I SAID A HIB-HOP, A HIB-HIB-HOP AND HE WON'T STOP
Yes, the lack of oxygen in this cabin and this old dude refusing to give me elbow room on the plane have made me resort to really bad rap puns. But hey why not, as Roy Hibbert's late season turnaround continued last night when he went for 26 and 10 with a steal and block, and Paul George went for 23 points, six rebounds, 10 assists, four steals, a block and two threes. Geez. David West joined the fun scoring 16 points with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 36 minutes. It looks like the rest accomplished its goal, and West should be locked into lineups.
LIMPING TO THE FINISH
Blake Griffin brought his calf injury into last night’s game and did well to score 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting with five rebounds and a steal. It’s not ideal, but at this time of year owners should just be glad he’s playing through it. Matt Barnes is dealing with an ankle injury and he put up another pedestrian line of eight points on 3-of-4 shooting with two threes, five boards and an assist in 27 minutes and that was it. He’s somebody you can drop for a hot free agent. Jamal Crawford got his name called with 25 points in the loss.
NEWS AND NOTES
Ty Lawson’s owners got horrible news yesterday when George Karl said he hoped Lawson could return “in a couple of weeks.” I’ve had a lingering concern for the past two years that Lawson’s nagging injuries would catch up with him, and this one has him on the cut list unless you’re trying to grind a game or two out of him in a Roto league. Even then, I still wouldn’t hesitate to find greener pastures.
Joe Johnson (heel) hopes to play on Wednesday but didn’t sound totally convincing, but at least owners will get an update today. C.J. Watson proceeded to make noise once I finally forbid myself to say his name, but he’s still just a desperation play.
TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY!
CHI @ WAS: Bradley Beal (ankle) reported no pain after his surprising and effective return to action on Sunday. I somehow scooped him up in a deeper big money league that I’m trying to win, so needless to say I’m ecstatic. He still has to hold up his end of the bargain, but regardless he’s a must-start player for the aggressive fantasy owner. Nene (knee) hopes to play limited minutes tonight, but it sure looks like his season will grind to a halt. Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin are worth watching, but still aren’t must-grab players until they can fully prove themselves.
NY @ MIA: The Heat are going to take a day-to-day approach with their Big Three going forward. To get it out of the way I don’t care if players are rested intentionally, but I understand complaints from people paying to go see the stars. I have put absolutely zero thought into this, but Frank Isola had an interesting strategy the league could use. If a team is up on another team by 10 regular season games, then they would host all but Games 3 & 4. This gives the top teams incentive to keep playing. While we’re BSing here, I also like the idea that top seeds get to pick their opponents. That would make for one interesting TNT special. Owners simply have to watch the reports and see if they can get an angle on these guys. Otherwise, there won’t be that much science to it.
Tyson Chandler (neck) is questionable for tonight and having plenty of neck and back issues of my own, I can only imagine what it’s like to deal with that as a professional athlete. I also know that they can come and go or linger with no real rhyme or reason. I gambled on him in a weekly league that I don’t have a whole lot riding on, but needless to say I felt there was at least a chance for him to return.
DAL @ LAL: Steve Nash (hamstring) is doubtful for tonight after missing practice yesterday. Steve Blake is a viable spot-start if Nash doesn’t go. I’d try to hold onto Nash if I can, but he’s not a must-own player at this stage of the game. O.J. Mayo’s disappearance is more than just Dirk’s arrival, but some combination of injury issues and a loss of confidence. He practiced fully yesterday and hopefully his (non-shooting) shoulder injury disappears faster than Mayo has recently.