Friday night featured 11 games and a boatload of stories. Some superstars broke out of funks while others crashed to the ground. While Josh Smith tripped and fell, perhaps the biggest story of the night was Derrick Rose’s right knee injury. And the news on Andre Iguodala, Marc Gasol and Stephen Curry isn't great either.
1. Derrick Rose and Marc Gasol go down
Both Derrick Rose and Marc Gasol went down with knee injuries on Friday night, scaring fantasy teams across the world in the process. Rose’s injury seems to be far more serious according to initial reports. The point guard made a backdoor cut and stopped abruptly on his right knee. The injury looked pretty bad and he couldn’t put any weight on his knee thereafter. He left the arena in Portland on crutches and is scheduled for an MRI on Saturday. Rose spent an entire year rehabbing his left knee after ACL reconstructive surgery and there are fears that he may have torn his right ACL, which would obviously be devastating. Kirk Hinrich would gain the starting job if Rose misses anytime and he’s definitely worth picking up right now.
On the other side of the country Marc Gasol injured his left knee in Memphis. He walked off the court on his own power and was diagnosed with a knee sprain. He’ll have an MRI on Saturday and if he misses any time Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis would pick up the slack in his absence but neither is worth an add until we find out the extent of the injury. However, according to the team blog 3 Shades of Blue, Gasol may have suffered an MCL tear, which would keep him out for 10 weeks, but that’s pure speculation at this point. Stay tuned for updates on both Rose and Gasol’s condition.
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2. What’s happening with Josh Smith?
After a poor outing against his former squad on Wednesday, Josh Smith missed practice and was banished to the bench for Friday night’s home game against the Hawks. While Kyle Singler replacing Smith was initially viewed as a potential motivation tactic from coach Mo Cheeks, it now appears that a position battle may be in play. Singler played a team-high 41 minutes and dropped in 22 points on 9-13 shooting. On the other hand Smith went scoreless on 0-7 shooting. As Ron Burgundy would say, “That escalated quickly.” Smith did chip in seven rebounds and three blocks but let’s get real; this is a player who was providing top-50 value just days ago. It’s doubtful that Singler will continue to start but he certainly made his case on Friday. Singler is worth a look but only as a speculative add. However, in the unlikely event that Cheeks continues to bring Smith off the bench, Singler would certainly be a much more attractive option. Smith owners will just have to shrug this one off and hope that he gets back on track Sunday against Brooklyn.
3. Al Jefferson is still not right
The Bobcats big offseason acquisition has been in and out of the lineup all season and on Friday night he showed everyone why. Jefferson labored through 25 minutes on a sore right ankle, scoring nine points on just 3-6 shooting. He added six rebounds, two steals and three blocks, which isn’t half bad but still doesn’t quite look right. Big Al had to leave the game to get his ankle taped and was clearly in pain as he grimaced throughout the contest. He’s missed seven games this season with his ankle injury and will likely miss even more given his Friday performance. Owners will have to sit tight and hope his injury heals up because it should pay off. In the four games he has played in this season, he’s averaging 13 points, eight boards, and nearly two blocks per game.
4. Ilyasova and MCW are back
Ersan Ilyasova made just his fifth appearance of the season on Friday and finally looked like himself. The sharpshooting product from Turkey bagged 9-17 shots for 19 points while chipping in six rebounds, six assists and three steals. This is exactly what owners were expecting when they drafted Ilyasova in the early-mid rounds of their drafts and the fact that he played over 40 minutes is also a great sign that he’s over his early season ankle injuries.
Meanwhile, Michael Carter-Williams is back to his early season self after an extended foot issue kept him out of for a few games. The point guard returned on Wednesday and looked rusty but on Friday the rookie poured in 12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, and five steals. The line would have been even better but he fouled out and only played 33 minutes. It looks like owners who stuck with him or acquired him while he was down will be rewarded with stellar lines going forward.
5. Is Caron Butler fooling us all?
Listen, Caron Butler is an average fantasy player and someone that could be a great addition to the end of your bench, but recently he’s been proving that he’s much more. The small forward dropped in 38 points on Friday night, adding eight rebounds, three steals and four three-pointers in what will certainly be his best line of the year. Yes, it was against the Sixers and yes, the game went into overtime but if you look a little closer you’ll see a player who is in the midst of a hot streak. Over his last five games he’s averaging 19 points and seven rebounds, which certainly makes him someone who should be owned. If he’s still out there he’s worth a pick up.
6. Just call him Mr. Triple-Double.
Lance Stephenson notched his second, that’s right, second triple-double of the season on Friday night as the Pacers downed the Celtics. Stephenson dropped 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists while adding four steals for good measure. The Brooklyn, New York native has truly blossomed this season and is paying dividends for fantasy owners who gambled on him. Even though Danny Granger is expected to return soon, Coach Frank Vogel is going to have a hard time removing Stephenson from the starting lineup. He’s simply playing way too good and the Pacers are the best team in the NBA.
7. Warriors down and out
There are a few big name injuries in Golden State with Stephen Curry dealing with a concussion and Andre Iguodala suffering from a potentially serious hamstring injury. Curry suffered a headache during Monday’s game and was eventually diagnosed with a concussion. The superstar guard missed Wednesday’s game but fully intended to play on Friday against the Lakers. However, as game time approached, Curry’s participation came into question and he was ultimately ruled out. He should be viewed as questionable for Saturday’s game but the training staff may want to keep him out just to be on the safe side. This doesn’t look like a long-term problem but it’s definitely a frustrating one. Owners should just check back for updates and hope that Curry gives it a go.
As for Iguodala, the swingman felt a pop during Friday night’s game and said he couldn’t walk. This has the looks of a serious injury and the fact that Iguodala himself doesn’t seem optimistic is troublesome. He’ll have an MRI on Saturday so stayed tuned for updates on the severity of the situation. Owners will just have to sit tight at this point. Harrison Barnes’ value will continue to rise during Iggy’s absence.
8. Dellavedova flames out in his first start
Matthew Dellavedova, Coach Mike Brown’s favorite defender, was inserted into the starting lineup for Friday night’s game against New Orleans and promptly picked up five fouls in 11 scoreless minutes. We stressed that Dellavedova was not a fantasy option and he proved that with a putrid line. Despite his recent run of big minutes off the Cavaliers bench and insertion into the starting five, the point guard is simply a defensive stopgap and should be altogether ignored by fantasy owners.
9. Jeff Green heats up
Jeff Green notched his second straight big game on Friday, posting 20 points, two rebounds, and two triples against the stingy Pacers defense. Coming off Wednesday’s 19-point performance Green seems to be getting in a groove. He’s been up and down all year but is still averaging 15 points per game on the season. It’s hard to see him reaching that 20 point plateau consistently but Green will see plenty of minutes for the rebuilding Celtics and should be a useful fantasy option going forward.
10. Sammy D turning back the clock
The Mavericks middle man had a huge Friday night, scoring a season-high 18 points to go along with 12 boards and two blocks. Don’t look now but the Haitian native is balling. Over his last three games Dalembert is averaging 11 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. He won’t be this hot all year but he’s a cheap source of blocks and boards and should be given consideration if he’s on the waiver wire.