Hawks start slow, Antic never recovers.
The Atlanta Hawks scored just 10 points in the first quarter last night as the starting five failed to hit a single shot from the field. Luckily for Hawks fans, the team recovered and defeated Houston in a low-scoring affair. However, Pero Antic did not play a vital role in the victory. The new starting center hit just 2-8 shots, totaling four points and four fouls in just 21 minutes. It was a tough day at the office for Antic but he wasn’t the only starter to struggle. Jeff Teague shot just 2-12 while DeMarre Carroll went 1-9. All three should be better in the next one.
Deng makes his debut
Luol Deng made his Cleveland debut on Friday but played just 21 minutes. He started but scored just 10 points and had four turnovers in what was an underwhelming debut. The Cavaliers really pushed the pace in the second half and Deng looked a little uncomfortable in the offense. He should be fine going forward but it will be interesting to see how well Kyrie Irving and Deng mesh over the next few games.
Sanders disappears in defeat
The Bucks have been a train wreck all season and Friday night was no different. The squad put up just 72 points and lost at home to a Bulls squad that basically traded Luol Deng for cap space. Larry Sanders was a disaster, fouling out in 23 minutes while scoring just one point on 0-2 shooting. He did add nine rebounds and two blocks but that hardly makes up for the dismal display. Sanders returned with a bang a few weeks ago and looked really good in his first few games back but he’s been awful as of late. Over the last three games Sanders is averaging just four points, 5.5 boards, and one block per game. He’s drained just 5-17 shots over that stretch as well. The big man is too gifted to be this bad all year but the inconsistency is frustrating. After a rock bottom line like this it’s worth sending a buy-low offer to an unsatisfied owner.
The Pelicans have issues
The Mavericks blew out the Pelicans on Friday thanks to some great team basketball and a pair of standout performances from Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. But we’re not talking about Dallas, rather the Pelicans. The team experienced a slew of disappointments during the game, most notably the injury to Tyreke Evans. The guard aggravated a left ankle injury early on and was unable to play in the second half. With the Pelicans set for action Saturday night, Evans’ status is likely in doubt.
In addition to Evan’s untimely injury, Jrue Holiday’s replacement, Brian Roberts was painfully average in 24 minutes. He scored nine points on 4-11 shooting and handed out just one assist. It was his first start of the season so there’s some leeway here but for fantasy owners who scooped him up in the wake of Holiday’s injury, Roberts’ leash is likely is a bit shorter after the substandard performance.
Finally, starting center Alexis Ajinca played just five minutes on Friday and had just two rebounds and two turnovers to his credit. There was no apparent injury to report and while the Frenchman’s fantasy value was limited at best, he’s likely going to hit the waiver wire in most leagues after this dud.
Cousins continues to roll
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings to a convincing win over Orlando last night with a now typical dominant fantasy line. He finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and one block, continuing his breakout campaign. We all expected a big year from Cousins but the key this year has been his consistency. He’s been a top-20 player in most leagues thanks to career-high averages of 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, three assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He’s also chipping in one block per contest and shooting a career-high 49% from the field. He’s logged 23 double-doubles this season and is firmly entrenched as one of the top fantasy centers out there.
Iggy busts out
Andre Iguodala had his best game since returning from a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. The versatile swingman put up a fat line of 22 points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a pair of three-pointers. This is the type of line patient fantasy owners have been waiting for from Iguodala. The small forward was producing top-35 value before his injury but hadn’t exactly looked right since his return so hopefully this is a sign of things to come.