Cavaliers beat Lakers
Luol Deng went off for 27 points and hit 9-of-15 shots, 5-of-5 3-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws, and added five rebounds, four assists and a steal in a win over the Lakers. He’s back and played 38 minutes, so make sure he’s back in your lineup. Anderson Varejao had 18 points, 18 boards and six assists in the win, and is averaging 11 points and 15 rebounds over his last seven games. Tristan Thompson had 15 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and a block last night, and has posted a double-double in four of his last five games, and six of his last nine. C.J. Miles played just 15 minutes to finish with five points and a 3-pointer on 2-of-6 shooting, but had scored between 14 and 34 points in his previous six games. Maybe this was a fluke, or maybe his run is over. Either way, Matthew Dellavedova is playing well and had three 3-pointers and 11 points last night, and I’m worried that Miles’ run might be over. We should know one way or another after tonight’s game against the Blazers. Just like Miles, Jarrett Jack was useless last night and I’ve about given up on him, mainly due to the strong play by Dellavedova and Dion Waiters, as well as the fact that Jack just hasn’t done much with his minutes this season.
Xavier Henry will miss another week with his right knee strain, but will travel with the Lakers on their seven-game road trip. Pau Gasol returned to action despite a toe injury and had 20 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and two blocks in the loss. The Lakers have lost 11 of their last 12 games and it won’t take much for Pau to be shut down for an extended period of time. He says he wants to continue to play through the injury, but I’ll be surprised if we see him tonight against the Suns, given how much he was laboring late in Tuesday’s game. Kendall Marshall had 10 points, 16 assists, a steal and two 3-pointers, and is averaging 13.0 points and 12.0 assists in his six January starts at point guard for the Lakers. And at home, he’s handed out 16, 17 and 15 assists in three games. Jodie Meeks stayed hot with a season-high 26 points and six 3-pointers, and is averaging 21.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s a must-start player until further notice, just like his teammate, Nick Young. Swaggy P had a season-high 28 points, a season-high six assists and four 3-pointers while hitting 7-of-16 shots, and also hit 10-of-10 free throws. He’s scored 21 or more in three of his last five games and his two-point performance last Tuesday has been quickly forgotten. Wes Johnson also played well for the Lakers with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and he’s averaging 14. 5 points and 1.75 treys over his last four. As long as Kobe Bryant is out with his knee injury, all these guys look good.
12 Games Wednesday
Chicago @ Orlando – Arron Afflalo hopes to play through his foot injury, while Nikola Vucevic could miss another game with his concussion.
Charlotte @ Philadelphia – Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker will look to stay hot against the sieve defense of the Sixers.
Miami @ Washington – Dwyane Wade should play, but it’s not a guarantee, while Mario Chalmers could be game-time decision with his Achilles injury. If he’s out Norris Cole should be a nice daily play. Nene should start again for the Wizards.
Toronto @ Boston – If Tyler Hansbrough sits again, Patrick Patterson could have another nice game. The Celtics should be near full strength, minus Rajon Rondo and Keith Bogans, who has been given a personal leave by the team.
Memphis @ Milwaukee – Middleton is iffy for the Bucks, while Tony Allen doesn’t sound likely for the Grizzlies, clearing the way for more goodies from Courtney Lee.
Sacramento @ Minnesota – The Kings’ starters got some rest in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, so they should be ready to roll, while the Wolves are as healthy as they’ve been all year.
Houston @ New Orleans – There’s a chance Patrick Beverley could return from his broken hand for the Rockets, while the Hornets will be without Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson, and may get another DNP from Tyreke Evans, who is dealing with an ankle injury.
Utah @ San Antonio – Trey Burke is hoping to play through an Achilles injury and Gordon Hayward may or may not be ready to play through his hip injury. Alec Burks will look to stay hot after his career-high 34-point game on Monday. Watch for updates today. Danny Green and Tiago Splitter are out for the Spurs, while Manu Ginobili will likely start at SG to keep his hamstring warm. Marco Belinelli is probably due for another big night, as well.
LA Lakers @ Phoenix – Pau Gasol is questionable for the Lakers with his bum toe, while it sounds like Leandro Barbosa should play off the bench despite his shoulder.
Cleveland @ Portland – No injuries to report here.
Denver @ Golden State – The regulars are healthy, as far as we know.
Dallas @ LA Clippers – Shawn Marion should return from his shoulder injury and Dirk Nowitzki should play through his arm issues, while Darren Collison will try to stay hot for the Clips.