It’s officially the “Silly Season” in the NBA, as injuries are mounting and players are missing games at an alarming rate. Dwight Howard was back in action, while Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Tony Parker, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter watched in street clothes Monday night.
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Suns 102 Hawks 95
Gerald Green played just 18 minutes against the Hawks on Monday. He scored 13 points and hit a 3-pointer, but he’s going to need more minutes than that to hold his value. Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic each played 36 or more minutes, and it appears that Green’s luck has finally begun to run out. He’ll have some more big games this season, but is far from a must-start if he’s not going to get 25 minutes a game on most nights. Kyle Korver was out again for the Hawks due to a back injury and we simply don’t know when he’ll play again. Shelvin Mack made another start, but had just five points and six assists on 2-of-9 shooting.
Rockets 100 Bobcats 89
Dwight Howard finally played through his sore ankle and had 10 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in 33 minutes. Not a mind-blowing night, and he was somehow in foul trouble against Al Jefferson, but better than a DNP donut. James Harden had 31, Terrence Jones stayed hot with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Patrick Beverley helped cause Kemba Walker to hit just 7-of-19 shots. Al Jefferson had another nice game with 20 points, 11 boards, a steal and a block, while Walker finished with 22 points, three assists and two 3-pointers, despite the poor shooting. Gary Neal has been a hot pickup in deep leagues, but missed all eight of his shots and failed to score in 15 minutes off the bench.
Heat 93 Blazers 91
The Heat got a dramatic victory over the Blazers, but I’m going to cut to the chase. Dorell Wright played just 19 minutes for the Blazers and hit 2-of-7 shots to finish with seven points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers. The good news is he has four more games to make this up to us, while he also wasn’t allowed to kill your field goal percentage with volume misses, and hit a couple 3-pointers. The bad news is that Mo Williams ate up all his minutes, and that LaMarcus Aldridge (back) could be ready to return on Thursday. I’ll believe Aldridge plays that day when I see it, but I am seriously questioning my decision to use Wright (and his five games) over guys like Amir Johnson, Jarrett Jack and Williams, who are all on my bench in League Freak.
Williams, for those of you who played him, was nice, getting 32 minutes for 17 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 5-of-12 shooting. Ugh. As for the actual game, LeBron James hit the game-winning layup with 11.4 seconds left and Chris Bosh blocked Damian Lillard’s shot to save the day. Dwyane Wade decided to sit this one out, proving that it’s never safe to start Dwyane Wade (19th missed game) in a weekly lineup. Mario Chalmers also banged up his knee, but it sounds like he’ll be OK. And for the thousands of us relying on DoW to help survive the week and advance to the next round of the playoffs, here’s to hoping this was just a bump in the road.
Bulls 89 Pacers 77
The Pacers slide continued on Monday, but at least Paul George was effective with 21 points, a 3-pointer, seven rebounds and four steals, but he hit just 8-of-22 shots. The weight of being the chosen one to carry this team on his shoulders has caught up to him, and he’s no longer even in the MVP discussion. Roy Hibbert stunk, missing all five of his shots and finishing with three points, five rebounds, zero blocks, three turnovers and five fouls. Seriously? Henry Sims just blistered Joakim Noah for a monster line and this is the best Hibbert can do? The Pacers are a mess, and another guy in my lineup, Lance Stephenson, also struggled, hitting just 3-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for eight points, 10 rebounds and nothing else. The Pacers get the Heat on Wednesday and we can only hope that Hibbert shows a pulse against the center-less champs.
The Bulls got 23 & 8 from Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer nearly double-doubled, Kirk Hinrich came out of nowhere for 18 points, three assists and two 3-pointers on 7-of-13 shooting, and Joakim Noah posted yet another monster fantasy line, missing a triple-double by two rebounds and two dimes. D.J. Augustin has been very reliable for a long time now, but disappeared against his former team, hitting just 2-of-8 shots for four points. And yeah, he was in another one of my weekly lineups, but DJA should bounce back. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after the game that Roy Hibbert is “hands down” the defensive player of the game, which makes me wonder if he has even watched Joakim play defense (and offense) this season.
Grizzlies 109 Wolves 92
I stupidly tweeted that it was “Courtney Lee time” when it was announced that Tony Allen would miss the game with a stomach bug. So much for that train of thought, as Lee missed his only shot in 21 minutes and failed to score. And yeah, I had him in some various lineups. The rest of the Grizzlies starters were great, and I’m officially done with Mr. Lee.
The Wolves finally saw Kevin Love play like a normal man, hitting 6-of-18 shots and two 3-pointers for 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. It’s nice to know he’s actually human. No one on the Wolves really did anything extraordinary, except for Gorgui Dieng, who went off again for 11 points and 17 rebounds. He didn’t block a shot, but as long as Nikola Pekovic is out, Dieng has become a must-start, and then some. Ricky Rubio hit just 1-of-8 shots for six points and four assists, and owners have come to expect occasional lines like this from Rubio, who was dominated by Mike Conley (23 & 6, three 3-pointers, two steals, 9-of-12 shooting) tonight.
Pelicans 109 Nets 104 Overtime
Tyreke Evans stayed red hot with a season-high 33 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a 3-pointer on 13-of-19 shooting, which means we can’t be the least bit mad at him for the seven turnovers. Anthony Davis added 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks on 9-of-17 shooting. And Brian Roberts is enjoying the run of Evans and Davis, going for 17 points, six assists and a full stat line in the win. Eric Gordon was out again with left knee tendinitis, which, based on history, could potentially end his season.
Paul Pierce bounced back from Sunday’s dud with 24 points, four 3-pointers, two steals and a block, and Deron Williams added 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in the loss. Williams is playing with a ton of confidence and is healthy, so keep rolling with him. Shaun Livingston and Mason Plumlee pretty much did what they’re supposed to do, while Joe Johnson celebrated his Player of the Week honors by hitting 4-of-14 shots and 1-of-8 3-pointers for 15 points. And we were back to ‘bad Marcus Thornton’ on Monday, as he hit just 1-of-6 shots for three points in 10 minutes before leaving with some sort of back injury. He had 20 points on Sunday, to which I say ‘whatever.’