NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: King Me, Cuz!
Games Played for Week 10
4 Games: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Denver, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Washington.
3 Games: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Toronto, Utah.
2 Games: Golden State
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Kings whip Boston behind Cousins, Thomas
DeMarcus Cousins had the first triple-double of his career on Sunday with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He also dinged up his shoulder, but played through it and should be good to go this week. Or, at least until his next meltdown and accompanying suspension. Isaiah Thomas started at point guard for the second straight game and went off for a season-high 27 points to go along with four boards, five assists and three 3-pointers. Aaron Brooks missed the game and Marcus Thornton went down with an ankle injury, so the Kings are dangerously thin at guard, meaning Thomas should be a lock for heavy minutes this week. He looks like a must-start player right now, despite the fact that I don't trust Keith Smart. Tyreke Evans missed yet another game on Sunday with his knee issue and I wouldn’t start him until you see him make it through a game or two. The Kings have won three of their last four games and injuries to guards are forcing Keith Smart to play a tighter rotation, which appears to be helping.
Rajon Rondo returned from his hip injury on Sunday and had two points and 10 assists on 1-of-6 shooting in 36 minutes for the Celtics, and should be OK to get back in starting lineups this week.
Ersan sighting on Sunday
Ersan Ilyasova scored a season-high 24 points and hit three 3-pointers in a loss to the Pistons on Sunday. Ilyasova’s maddening season continues, as he likely burned a few former owners tonight, or was on fantasy benches due to his inconsistency. He’s still worth hanging onto, but shouldn’t be in starting lineups in weekly leagues until this type of game becomes the norm instead of a headline.
Mayo disappears vs. Spurs
O.J. Mayo had just eight points in Sunday’s loss to the Spurs, marking the fifth time in his last six games to score less than 10 points. I’m benching him in my weekly leagues, especially with Dallas only playing three games this week. The same goes for Dirk Nowitzki, who had eight points on Sunday. Darren Collison went off again and is locked and loaded as the starting PG in Dallas, and deserves to be back in lineups now that he’s back in the good graces of Rick Carlisle.
Eric Gordon scores 24 in return
Eric Gordon finally returned for the Hornets on Saturday and went off for 24 points and seven assists in just 25 minutes. If you own him and want to start him for his three games this week, go for it. I will just say that I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have more knee problems at some point this season, making him a bit of a risky start in weekly leagues.
Wesley Matthews still dealing with hip injury
Wesley Matthews missed Sunday’s game with his lingering hip injury, but says that he’ll play for the Blazers on Jan. 1. Whether he plays or not remains to be seen, but he’s probably worth the risk if you’re thinking about starting him for four games in a weekly league.
Royce White says ‘no’ to D-League
Royce White is now refusing to go to the D-League and continues to basically label the Rockets as insensitive, bad guys as they attempt to appease him and deal with his unique demands stemming from his mental health issues. I really was rooting for White and his cause, but he’s making it very difficult to get behind him. He’s got a great platform from which to raise awareness, but has done nothing but rip his team and create huge headaches for the Rockets. The team is still saying it has no plans to release the disgruntled rookie, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it happen.
Derrick Rose in non-contact practice
Derrick Rose is practicing with the Bulls, sort of. He’s participating in the non-contact portions and is still without a return date. Depending on who you ask, it’s either time to pick up Rose because he’ll be back soon, or he won’t be back until the All-Star break (or later), meaning he’s only slated to play in about 30 games. I am of the belief that he’s still not all that close to game action and would take the under on 25 games if I was betting in Vegas. But the fact of the matter is that no one really knows when or if he’ll play this year.
Weekend News and Notes
Amare Stoudemire practiced for the Knicks on Sunday and will likely be a game-time decision for Tuesday. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll miss Tuesday’s game, but should be back by the weekend. Carmelo Anthony (knee) missed another practice on Sunday, but I’d be surprised if he misses Tuesday’s game against the Blazers.
Mo Williams is still waiting for the swelling in his thumb to die down so he can get an MRI, as Jamal Tinsley and Randy Foye continue to intrigue fantasy owners in his absence. Both Jazz players are worth a look, but neither has been consistent enough for me to tell you to run out and pick them up. Paul Millsap was ticked off about being benched in the fourth quarter and he just isn't faring well with Derrick Favors splitting time with him. As our most recent blurb says, pray for a trade if you own Millsap.
Garrett Temple, who has played in three games this season, played 41 minutes on Saturday with 14 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and four TOs against the Bulls. Feel free to take a short-term flier on him, but keep in mind Jordan Crawford was out with a sore ankle, and he’ll split time with Shelvin Mack. I am not picking up Temple or Mack in my leagues, but might a week from now if either of them is still relevant. As for Crawford, watch for updates on Monday before putting him into your lineup. Emeka Okafor is suddenly rolling along and has double-doubled in three of his last four games, and he looks like a strong four-game play to me. Nene is also heating up and has started four straight games, and while his next DNP could be just around the corner, he’s also worth a start right now.
Nikola Pekovic had 28 points and 11 boards on Saturday, while Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points, five boards and four assists on 10-of-13 shooting, and both players look like solid options this week, although they only go three times. Alexey Shved is also a player I think should be owned in most leagues, as he had 12 points, four boards and 10 dimes on Saturday, and continues to start at shooting guard for the Wolves. Ricky Rubio was out Saturday with back spasms and hasn’t been playing well enough to be in most lineups. Leave him benched until he gets healthy and starts putting up numbers, and give J.J. Barea a deep-league look if you need a point guard.
Mike Conley had another off game on Saturday while dealing with an illness, but is too good to bench. Especially with Memphis playing four games this week.
Luis Scola had a season-high 33 points on Saturday and could be ready to heat up for the Suns. Make sure he’s not available in your league. Goran Dragic was back for the Suns from his back injury and should be a safe start this week, along with Shannon Brown, Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat.
Gustavo Ayon is struggling for the Magic and can be cut, as he’s splitting time with Andrew Nicholson, and not playing well. Nicholson had a career-high 22 points with seven boards on Saturday, but I simply don’t trust him. Hedo Turkoglu is back from a broken left hand for the Magic and while it may take him some time to get going, is worth a pickup in most leagues.
Lou Williams is rolling for the Hawks and had 21 points and a career-best 12 assists on Saturday. I’ve picked him up where available and plan on starting him for four games this week. He’s hit double figures in scoring in 11 straight and has been particularly great over the past week with Devin Harris out with a sprained ankle. Josh Smith was out on Saturday with his hip injury, but it doesn’t sound too serious. I’ve got him in my weekly lineups as of now, but will be watching Rotoworld for news on Monday before making a final decision.
Roy Hibbert was a disaster for the Pacers on Saturday, failing to score and grabbing just one rebound and one block in a loss to the Hawks. Again, he simply can’t play this poorly all season and remains a great buy-low target in fantasy leagues. I expect him to bounce back this week.
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