T-Wolves Take Bulls
Nikola Pekovic left after just six minutes with an Achilles injury, which ruined one of my daily teams. I’m sure I’m not alone and owners just have to hope it’s not serious. Consider him iffy for Wednesday vs. the Pelicans. Ronny Turiaf took over for Pek and had 14 points, seven boards and three blocks. If Pek is going to miss time, Turiaf is worth a look. Kevin Love had 31 points and another big game, while Kevin Martin cooled off with just eight points. Chase Budinger had a season-high 12 points, but I’m not buying in just yet.
Joakim Noah (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) were out on Monday, sending Taj Gibson into the starting lineup. Gibson had 10 points, 10 boards and two blocks, but it was Carlos Boozer who enjoyed Noah’s absence by going for 20 points, 14 boards, five assists and three steals. He’s been struggling, so this was nice to see unless he was on your bench (guilty). Jimmy Butler finally had something to write home about with 16 points, eight boards, two steals and two 3-pointers, while D.J. Augustin had another solid night with 19 points, six dimes and four 3-pointers. Maybe DJA will take a small hit when Hinrich is back, but I doubt it will be much of one.
Clips Trounce Bucks
Jamal Crawford stayed hot with 25 points and five 3-pointers on 9-of-16 shooting, and the return of J.J. Redick hasn’t slowed him down. DeAndre Jordan had eight points, 18 boards, a steal and a block, while Matt Barnes his just 1-of-9 shots for three points. His minutes are up and Barnes deserves a watchful eye, but has been wildly inconsistent, if not plain bad lately. Darren Collison had 15 points and seven assists, Blake Griffin scored an underwhelming 20, and Redick scored 14 with three 3-pointers.
For the Bucks, Larry Sanders and O.J. Mayo sat out with lingering “illness,” which looks pretty fishy to me. Sanders missed Wednesday’s game with an “illness” and then got abused by Gustavo Ayon on Saturday. I have no idea what’s going on with Larry, but he’s probably not very happy with how things are going, just like his owners. Mayo also missed Wednesday with an “illness,” and I haven’t missed him at all since dropping him across the board. I drafted him too high this year, as he’s simply not getting along with Larry Drew. As for their teammates, I don’t even know where to start. Ersan Ilyasova hit just 6-of-22 shots but had 16 points and eight boards, and I’m starting to trust him again, maybe. Khris Middleton started and had 14, John Henson started and had 11 points, eight boards and a block, and Brandon Knight struggled with nine points and seven assists on 3-of-12 shooting. Knight’s running hot-and-cold again, scoring just eight and nine points in two of his last three games. Giannis Antetokounmpo had eight points in another disappointing performance, while Caron Butler scored 11 off the bench. And a guy you’ve never heard of, Miroslav Radujica, had 11 points, six boards and a block off the bench. The Bucks are banged up and only had nine players available tonight, and of course, they all played decent minutes, canceling each other out for the most part. It’s kind of fun not owning Bucks this season.
Jazz Top Kings
Derrick Favors double-doubled to lead the Jazz with 17 points and 12 boards, while Gordon Hayward had an off night on 4-of-13 shooting, but still came up with 12 points, six boards, six assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer. Marvin Williams and Enes Kanter had an uncharacteristic 16 points each. Marvin even had 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers, and I’m still not sure how. Jeremy Evans had an impressive double-double with 14 points, 10 boards, a steal and a block, but hit just 6-of-12 free throws in his 20 minutes. Alec Burks fell to earth with 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting, and it just wasn’t his night.
Rudy Gay (Achilles) and DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) sat out on Monday night. Gay is close to a return, but it sounds like Cousins might be lucky to play at all this week. Isaiah Thomas left early with a stomach illness, leaving the Kings without a chance tonight. Jason Thompson (19 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks, 7-of-10) and Derrick Williams (17 points, 15 rebounds, 1 block, 1 3-pointer, 5-of-13) came through, while Marcus Thornton remained relevant with 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting in another start. Ben McLemore had 14 points and nine boards off the bench, and 18 in his previous game, but still isn’t trustworthy in fantasy. If he gets back in the starting five over Thornton, it will be time to move on him.
Pistons center Andre Drummond was benched on Sunday and never really recovered, but there’s no reason to worry heading into Tuesday’s game against the Magic. Mo Cheeks has put every player on the roster in timeout at some point this season, and it was Drummond’s turn after he blew a defensive assignment.
Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic has been ruled out for Tuesday due to his concussion. That will be his 11th straight missed game, although that number basically jumps up to 15 in reality. He played just nine minutes on Dec. 31 before going down with a sprained ankle, missed his next two games with that injury, and then banged his head on the court on Jan. 6 after playing just 19 minutes. There’s still no word on when we’ll see him back on the court, but you have to think he’s getting closer, right? Maybe he’ll play Wednesday or Friday.
Cavs’ center Anderson Varejao is dealing with a left knee contusion leaving his status in doubt for tonight against the Pelicans. The good news is that it’s nothing more than a bruise and he is day-to-day. Tyler Zeller would come into play if Varejao is out. Luol Deng sat out Monday’s practice with a sore Achilles after playing heavy minutes in recent games, and should be considered iffy for tonight.
For the Lakers, Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Steve Blake (elbow) appear to be getting closer to action, but neither player has a target date to return. Steve Nash suffered a setback with his back while doing rehab and is also without a timetable. If you are using Kendall Marshall, this is good news. Jodie Meeks has been cleared for Tuesday despite a foot injury, and has been playing very well. Pau Gasol also missed Monday’s practice with an undisclosed injury, but chances are he was just getting some rest. I think he plays tonight. Kobe Bryant (knee) will see his doctor today and we should have an idea on when he’ll play again after it happens.
Nicolas Batum is listed as probable for Tuesday’s Blazers’ game against the Grizzlies. He’s dealing with a broken finger and a right ankle injury, and owners in weekly leagues were probably smart to bench him with just two games on the schedule.
Chris Paul (shoulder) is working out and says he’ll be back in time to play in the All-Star Game, but I’m not sure it will happen.
La La Anthony, Carmelo’s wife, says she thinks Melo will re-sign with the Knicks. However, I think he’ll go to where the money is combined with a chance at a ring, and that sure doesn’t look like New York right now.