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Ricky Rubio is "angling to play" and make his debut on Friday, but the more likely scenario is for Rubio to return on December 15, a source tells Darren Wolfson 1500 ESPN.

We're not buying it. Rick Adelman has said on repeated occasions that Rubio's conditioning is not where it needs to be, he is "still slow" with his lateral movement, and the idea of the Timberwolves rushing him back makes very little sense. Wolfson speculates that Rubio plays his first game on December 15, and that would be much more realistic. Rubio is getting close, but it would be nothing short of shocking to see him play on Friday.
Source: 1500 ESPN
Fri, Dec 7, 2012 08:38:00 AM

Caris LeVert (foot) made his NBA debut on Wednesday, coming off the bench with four rebounds and three steals in nine minutes.

LeVert fell to the Nets at No. 20 in this year's draft because of serious injury concerns. He hadn't played in a game since Dec. 20 of last year and Brooklyn will assuredly take every precaution with him -- the 22-year-old guard has had three foot fractures in his brief basketball career. He has intriguing upside for a variety of reasons. He's the first Nets rookie with 3+ steals in his debut since Chris Childs in 1994, coach Kenny Atkinson was raving about him after the game, and the Nets need all the help they can get this season. That said, LeVert is on a strict minute-limit and he's more of a long-term stash at the moment.
Dec 7 - 11:46 PM

Isaiah Whitehead finished Wednesday's blowout win with a career-high 14 points, two 3-pointers, two rebounds, two assists, four steals and one block in 29 minutes.

The steals were also a career high for Whitehead, who took advantage of a listless Nuggets defense -- the Nets shot 48.2 percent as a team, with a 58-42 edge in points in the paint. This feels like a fluke against a bad team, and reports that Jeremy Lin (hamstring) is nearing a return make Whitehead an undesirable pickup in standard leagues.
Dec 7 - 11:44 PM

Wilson Chandler had another big game on Wednesday with 27 points, 15 rebounds and six 3-pointers in 35 minutes, sinking 10-of-24 field goals with one steal and two turnovers.

It was too little, too late for the Nuggets tonight, but at least they showed some fight after getting outscored 68-52 in the first half. Chandler has been awesome this season and his versatility makes him almost immune to shifting rotations in Denver, which seem inevitable in light of coach Mike Malone's comment that he'll "look at starting groups and combinations."
Dec 7 - 11:25 PM

Emmanuel Mudiay was benched extensively in the second half of Wednesday's road loss, finishing with just six points (2-of-10 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), two rebounds, one assist and 18 minutes.

"We have to look at everything," a frustrated Mike Malone said after the game. "We’ll look at starting groups and combinations." Jameer Nelson played point guard during the Nuggets' late run, with help from Jamal Murray, and this is the last thing Mudiay's owners wanted to hear. He averaged just 21.5 minutes in Denver's two previous games, and there are no guarantees that he'll be starting vs. John Wall and the Wizards on Thursday.
Dec 7 - 11:24 PM

Kenneth Faried was benched four minutes into the first quarter on Wednesday, finishing with just four points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.

Mike Malone confirmed that Faried wasn't injured and that his benching was "more of a coach's decision." Faried did re-enter the game in the second half, but not before Malone was tossed for arguing with the refs. The Nuggets' starting lineup of Faried, Jusuf Nurkic, Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton and Emmanuel Mudiay had a -27.2 net rating in 54 minutes this season, which was Denver’s worst lineup (minimum 20 minutes together). Malone is still searching for answers, obviously, and it would be surprising if Faried weren't benched in favor of Darrell Arthur vs. the Wizards on Thursday.
Dec 7 - 11:22 PM

Jusuf Nurkic was benched for the final 22 minutes of Wednesday's ugly road loss in Brooklyn, finishing with 11 points, three rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes.

Nurkic was coming off a decent game on Monday, but he didn't endear himself to coach Mike Malone with more atrocious defense tonight (click the link below for a comical failed close-out on a Brook Lopez triple). The Nets scored in the paint at will in the first half, prompting Malone to say that his team played with "no fight." The fact that Nikola Jokic looked good tonight doesn't help Nurkic, and it will be fascinating to watch what happens to Denver's rotation on Thursday.
Dec 7 - 11:21 PM

Paul Millsap (hip) scored 21 points on 8-of-12 FGs and 5-of-6 FTs during Wednesday's 103-95 win vs. the Heat, adding nine boards, two assists, four steals and three blocks in 32 minutes.

Millsap admitted before the game that his hip still hurts, saying that he's "just playing through and seeing what happens. Hopefully, getting better." That's not entirely encouraging for fantasy owners, but tonight's vintage-Sapper production was a terrific indication that he's feeling better. There's no reason to think he's in imminent danger of missing games.
Dec 7 - 10:57 PM

Tim Hardaway Jr. filled in as a starter on Wednesday but he exited in the second half after he "banged" his knee, according to coach Mike Budenholzer.

Hardaway didn't return after limping into the locker room in the second half, finishing with seven points and two assists in 22 minutes. Kent Bazemore (knee) will miss at least one more game, giving Hardaway a temporary window for increased production, but that won't matter unless he's healthy. We should have an update after Thursday's shootaround.
Dec 7 - 10:55 PM

Tyler Johnson gave Miami a huge lift with 27 points (8-of-16 FGs, 7-of-8 FTs), five assists, four 3-pointers, two rebounds, one steal and one block on Wednesday.

Johnson played 35 minute without a single turnover, helping Miami cut into a daunting deficit, but his efforts weren't enough to earn a road win in Atlanta. He continues to see extra opportunities with Josh Richardson (ankle) and Dion Waiters (groin) on the sidelines. Both guys are loosely targeting a return in mid-December, so feel free to keep TJ locked into active lineups.
Dec 7 - 10:52 PM

Andre Drummond racked up 26 points, 20 rebounds and two blocks during the Pistons' road loss in Charlotte on Wednesday, making 11-of-14 FGs and 4-of-7 FTs.

Drummond has been a borderline first-round fantasy player with FT percentage excluded this season, thanks to averages of 14.1 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 13.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks. Stan Van Gundy has pushed him to defend the rim with a purpose and he's responded to the challenge -- over their past five games, Detroit has allowed a league-low 33.2 points in the paint. With tonight's huge game, Drummond now has a league-best 11 games with 20+ points and 20+ rebounds since the 2012-13 season.
Dec 7 - 9:48 PM

Rodney Hood (hamstring) and George Hill (toe) will not play against the Warriors on Thursday night.

Hood aggravated his hamstring strain on Tuesday and did not return. He missed last Thursday due to the strain and played 29.5 minutes per game on Dec. 3 and Dec. 5 before his aggravation. With Hood out, Joe Johnson and Joe Ingles will get some extra minutes against the Warriors. Both are going to be DFS options with Johnson having the higher upside.
Dec 7 - 9:33 PM




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