NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Bynum Out Until January?
Bucks beat Sixers, Bynum targeting January?
Brandon Jennings bounced back from a four-point game to hit 12-of-21 shots and four 3-pointers on his way to 33 points, five rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks in a win over the Sixers. The Bucks only have two more games this week, but Jennings has already done enough damage in just one game to last most of the week, and leads the league in steals. Ersan Ilyasova stunk again with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting, and it appears that Scott Skiles may officially be in his head. Cut him if you must, but I’d still be surprised if he plays this poorly for much longer. Larry Sanders was a hot pick up this week and got into foul trouble, finishing with just two points, nine rebounds and one block. He had scored in double digits in five straight games, racking up 13 blocks over that stretch, and should bounce back.
The Sixers got bad news on Andrew Bynum (knee) on Monday as his return to the court has been pushed back again. In fact, it sounds like he isn’t likely to make his season debut until January. That’s a really long time to hold an injured player in daily lineup leagues, so owners have a tough decision to make with Bynum. Jason Richardson came back from a sprained ankle for 20 points and three 3-pointers, while Dorell Wright did most of his damage in the first half, finishing with 14 points, fours steals, a block and four 3-pointers off the bench. Both players are worth owning in most leagues until further notice. Jrue Holiday had another big game, but turnovers have become a problem for him, as he had eight last night after racking up seven of them in each of his previous three games.
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Jazz beat Raptors in 3 OTs
The Jazz and Raptors went three overtimes last night with Utah pulling it out with a 140-133 win. Mo Williams played well through a strained adductor with 17 points, a season-high 14 assists, four steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers, and while props appear to be in order for you rolling the dice on him tonight, he did appear to aggravate the injury late in the game. Check back for updates on his status for Wednesday. Paul Millsap also had a monster game with 34 points, nine boards, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers, and I’m still not sure how he hit three treys in one game. Millsap was 11-of-16 from the field, 3-of-4 from downtown and 9-of-10 from the line, while Al Jefferson also posted a monster line in the extra minutes, as well as hitting the game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Randy Foye added 20 points and four 3-pointers off the bench despite failing to score in his previous game, and would likely see a boost if Williams is forced to miss more time.
The Raptors got 37 points (ties career high), eight boards and six dimes from DeMar DeRozan, 20 points, 17 assists, three steals and two 3-pointers from Jose Calderon and 20 points, seven rebounds and three 3-pointers from Linas Kleiza off the bench. Calderon will start at PG again on Tuesday as Kyle Lowry continues to sit with his sprained ankle, but our guess is Lowry will be back for Saturday’s game. Calderon should continue to see minutes at both guard spots with or without Lowry, making him worth hanging onto if you own him. And if Lowry's not back on Saturday, this could get ugly.
Thunder slide by Pistons
Russell Westbrook had another big night, going off for 33 points and 10 rebounds on 11-of-25 shooting. He also had just two turnovers in the win over the Pistons, and is starting to live up to the hype. Serge Ibaka blocked six more shots, giving him 13 over his last two games, as well as at least two in every game this season.
The Pistons finally got a decent game from Rodney Stuckey with 19 points, five assists and a 3-pointer on 7-of-13 shooting, while Brandon Knight crashed by hitting just 2-of-13 shots. Knight’s been hit or miss all year, but will hopefully become more consistent with time. Andre Drummond had four points, six boards, two steals and a block, but played just 13 minutes. Why they aren’t starting him over Jason Maxiell (13 points, seven boards, three blocks) makes no sense to me. The only other noteworthy item from this game was that the Thunder needed a 30-17 run in the fourth quarter to pull out the 92-90 win over the winless Pistons (0-8). Free Andre Drummond!
LeBron leads Heat in second half
Dwyane Wade bounced back from an off night for a full stat line, Chris Bosh double-doubled with 24 & 10 and LeBron James went nuts in the second half with a season-high 38 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five 3-pointers as the Heat pulled out a close win over the Rockets. LeBron scored just six points in the first half and hit all of his 3-pointers after the break.
James Harden has officially cooled off, finishing with 22 points, three boards, five assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer, and hit just 6-of-17 shots. After starting off the season with 37 and 45 points, Harden hasn’t scored more than 24 points in his last five games. He’s still the best player on his team and while he won’t score 40 a night, he’s going to have a ton of fantasy value the rest of the way. Chandler Parsons broke out with a season-high 25 points and five 3-pointers, which probably happened because he played 40 minutes and Carlos Delfino played just 24 minutes. They’ll both struggle on nights when they’re truly splitting minutes. Omer Asik went off with 19 points, 14 boards and a block, and even hit 11-of-14 free throws. He came in shooting just 67 percent from the line and should be owned in all leagues. Patrick Patterson got back into the flow with 17 points, nine boards and a block in 36 minutes after playing just 16 minutes in his last one, and struggling with foul trouble in the game before that one.
Rondo nearly triple-doubles in win
The Celtics got their five-game week off to a good start as Rajon Rondo missed a triple-double by one rebound and Brandon Bass fought off a hand injury for 16 points, five rebounds, a steal and two blocks in a win over the Bulls. Rondo has had 10 or more assists in 31 straight regular-season games.
Nate Robinson had 11 points, seven assists and a 3-pointer in 30 minutes, which was a little disappointing since Kirk Hinrich sat out with his hip injury. Robinson is a must-play for as long as Hinrich is out. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both had big nights, meaning it was a quiet game for Carlos Boozer, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter. As owners of all of these guys know, it’s nearly impossible for all of them to put up big numbers on the same night. In other Bulls news, Derrick Rose has begun cutting on his surgically repaired knee and could join the team soon, but I’d still be shocked (and I mean shocked) if he plays prior to February’s All-Star break.
Ridnour, Shved strong, Pekovic injured in Wolves win
Luke Ridnour had 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two 3-pointers, as his back is clearly feeling healthy these days. Malcolm Lee started at shooting guard, but it was rookie Alexey Shved who came through with 16 points, four rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a 3-pointer in the win over Dallas. If you picked up Shved and put him in your lineup, well done. Shved is worth a pick up with Brandon Roy’s knee acting up. Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points but couldn’t finish the game after suffering a sprained left ankle in the second half. Hopefully this is unrelated to last season’s bone spurs, so watch the Rotoworld News Page for updates on Tuesday. If he’s out, look for Lou Amundson and Greg Stiemsma (shot blocker extraordinaire) to share time at center.
The Mavs saw Brandan Wright disappear in a start, finishing with just two points and zero boards in nine minutes. Chris Kaman, Troy Murphy and Elton Brand got most of the big man minutes, and this could signal the end of Wright’s run – especially once Shawn Marion (knee) is back. O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison played well for the Mavs, but the rest of the team was pretty much a disaster. Vince Carter played though a hip flexor, but was just 1-of-7 for four points in 29 minutes. He had scored in double figures in six of his seven games coming in, and was averaging 17 points over his last three games. Hopefully the hip isn’t a problem during the rest of the week, as it sounds like it almost kept him out of this one. Brand had just four points and four rebounds in 17 minutes, and I dropped him last week in most of the spots I owned him.
Suns beat Nuggets behind Dragic
Kosta Koufos cooled off for the Nuggets with four points, three rebounds and two blocks, while JaVale McGee came to life off the bench with 16 points and two blocks, but just three rebounds in 24 minutes. Maybe George Karl will eventually humor us and just start McGee. Danilo Gallinari hit 6-of-16 shots for 15 points, nine boards and two 3-pointers, and if you’re scoring at home, he’s yet to hit half his shots in a single game this season. Kenneth Faried had a double-double with 14 points, 11 boards and a block, and the Manimal is simply a blast to own right now.
The Suns beat the Nuggets with seven players in double figures, led by Goran Dragic with 21 points, four boards, seven dimes, two steals and four 3-pointers. He’s easily living up to the hype. Jared Dudley is coming on and had 15, despite the fact Shannon Brown stayed hot off the bench for 19 point and four assists. He’s scored between 18 and 24 points in four of his last five games, making him worth a look on the wire, along with Dudley. Markieff Morris had a season-high 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and a 3-pointer for his best game of the season. He’s quietly been playing well, but is only worth a look in real deep leagues as long as Luis Scola is healthy.
Smoove leads Hawks over Blazers
Josh Smith battled through a bout with the flu and a season-long slump to play well in the fourth quarter, leading the Hawks to a gutsy win at Portland. He finished with 19 points, 11 boards, a steal and a block, rewarding owners who rolled the dice on him in a 3-game week. Kyle Korver caught fire, hitting 5-of-8 shots and four 3-pointers for a season-high 16 points in the win.
Damian Lillard actually played like a rookie, hitting 5-of-18 shots for 12 points, two assists and four turnovers, but it’s hard to be mad at him. Maybe it’s a sign that Jeff Teague (13 points, eight dimes) is maturing. J.J. Hickson went off for season highs of 19 points and 18 rebounds, and also blocked a shot in the loss. This was his fourth double-double of the season and second straight, and he’s turned out to be a very valuable center, just as we predicted. As usual, all five Blazers played well, while their bench tallied just six points.
Stephen Curry missed practice due to the flu, but I’m guessing he’s fine for Wednesday.
Gerald Wallace is doubtful to play on Tuesday due to his lingering ankle injury.
Nene still doesn’t sound close to a return and I probably wouldn’t bother holding him.
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