NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Beal's Back!
Monday night was an interesting one in the NBA, as some things made complete sense (Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green going off for a depleted Spurs team) and other things made no sense at all (Bobcats winning at Boston, seven of eight road teams winning, Bradley Beal exploding and Martell Webster disappearing, etc.). Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Clippers Rock 76ers
The Clippers crushed the Sixers on Monday and there were few surprises on the L.A. side of things. Chris Paul was sensational, DeAndre Jordan bounced back from a terrible game, Blake Griffin dunked with his left hand and played well, Jamal Crawford scored 20, and Matt Barnes had 11 points, two 3-pointers and a steal and block while filling in for Caron Butler, who was out with a sore back. And with Paul playing well, Eric Bledsoe had just 10 points and five assists in 23 minutes.
The Sixers got 29 points out of Nick Young, who had scored a total of 14 points in his previous two games. If he was dropped in your league, I still think he’s worth owning the rest of the way. Jrue Holiday hit just 4-of-14 shots, but also had 10 points, nine assists, a steal and two 3-pointers to salvage a decent line. Lavoy Allen didn’t make his new owners very happy with his four points, two boards and zero blocks after his 14 points, 22 boards and a block on Saturday. Inconsistency could be his middle name, while Arnett Moultrie continues to emerge, and played 26 minutes with eight points, six boards and two steals last night. Keep an eye on him.
Bobcats Stop Celtics’ Streak
My main man Byron Mullens blew up for 25 points, 18 rebounds and four 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting as the Bobcats held on to beat the Celtics and snap their seven-game winning streak. Charlotte was the only home team to win tonight. Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions all played well, while Bismack Biyombo had eight rebounds and four blocks (but scored just four points). Mullens' owners should not get used to him shooting it this well, but it was a fun night for us.
The Celtics got news that Leandro Barbosa could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, which means that Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will all benefit. However, they’re all too inconsistent, even without Barbosa, to be counted on nightly. Kevin Garnett stayed hot with 16 points, 13 boards and two blocks, Paul Pierce flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, eight boards and eight assists, and Jeff Green had 18 points, a 3-pointer, a steal and a block in the loss. I think Green should be owned the rest of the way.
Timberwolves Top Cavs
Luke Ridnour led the Wolves with 21 points and all five starters (as well as Alexey Shved) scored in double figures for the win. Ricky Rubio had a double-double with 13 points, 10 assists and five steals, but also committed seven turnovers. Mickael Gelabale had 11 points and six boards in another start, and could be relevant until Andrei Kirilenko is back from his quad injury.
Kyrie Irving had 20 points and seven assists to lead the Cavs, who got a big line from Tristan Thompson, while Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee and Marreese Speights all contributed with double-digit scoring. All are worth a look in fantasy leagues, while Wayne Ellington, who also scored 10, isn’t worth a serious look just yet. Irving suffered a left ankle injury in this one, but played through it. Keep an eye out for news on his availability for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs.
Nets Beat Pacers in OT
Deron Williams is out until the All-Star break is over (if not longer) with a bad ankle, so C.J. Watson started last night – and had one point on 0-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes. Tyshawn Taylor was more effective off the bench with a career-high 12 points and two assists, but it’s clear the Nets (and Williams’ owners) are praying he’ll be ready to go after the break. Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson played well, Reggie Evans blew up for 22 rebounds and two blocks, but also scored just eight points. And just as the universe was ready to drop Gerald Wallace from its fantasy roster, he had 11 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. As I’ve been saying, the minutes are there, so it would make sense that some numbers would start to follow. Maybe this is the start of a hot streak.
The Pacers were just weird last night. Jeff Pendergraph had 14 points and 10 boards in 17 minutes off the bench (ignore him) and Paul George hit 1-of-10 shots for five points before fouling out. David West hit just 2-of-11 shots for seven points and suffered a left eye injury early, but eventually returned in the third quarter. The big news in Indy is that Danny Granger could play on Wednesday, which would eventually push George to shooting guard and Lance Stephenson to the bench. Stephenson had 14 points in 40 minutes, but his run could be coming to an end. Oh, and Roy Hibbert had a double-double with 12 points, 10 boards and three blocks, but hit just 5-of-18 shots in the process. OK, so maybe I was wrong, and Hibbert will never start hitting layups this season.
Hornets Spank Pistons
Robin Lopez had 23 points, 10 boards and two blocks, and it’s impossible to tell when he’s going to get hot and explode, although he has been playing pretty well over the last couple weeks. In another oddity, Al-Farouq Aminu bounced back with 12 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. If you were brave enough to put him in your lineup, congratulations are in order. Austin Rivers started for Eric Gordon, who is still sitting out back-to-backs, and had seven points. As our blurb alluded to on Monday, the Hornets are 18-34 on the season and Mr. Gordon has to be considered a shutdown candidate the minute his knee starts chirping. Anthony Davis played a whopping 17 minutes, missed all seven of his shots and finished with one point, eight rebounds and four blocks. At least he came through with the boards and blocks, but his lack of playing time is highly frustrating, as those of you who own him already know. Ryan Anderson is a big part of the problem, and he went off for 31 points and five 3-pointers in 31 minutes, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Monty Williams is ever going to #freeAnthonyDavis.
Rodney Stuckey came off the bench for 19 points on 4-of-12 shooting, doing most of his damage at the free throw line by hitting 11-of-13 shots. He has quietly scored 11, 19 and 19 points in each of his last three games and suddenly looks like a better player to own than Will Bynum, who was 0-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes tonight. Greg Monroe continues to enjoy life without Andre Drummond and had 17 points, 11 boards, two steals and two blocks. Speaking of Drummond, coach Lawrence Frank said on Monday that he was on the verge of inserting Drummond into the starting lineup over Jason Maxiell when Drummond was shut down for four-to-six weeks with his back injury. We were oh-so close. Kyle Singler is worth keeping an eye on after his 14 points, five boards and a 3-pointer, while Charlie Villanueva cooled off on 2-of-7 shooting for five points and six boards in 20 minutes. He’ll bounce back.
Spurs Stop Chicago
Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard both stayed hot on Monday, and should be in all lineups right now. Tony Parker sat out with a sore knee, joining Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on the bench, yet the Spurs still managed to beat the Bulls in Chicago. We make fun of Gregg Popovich a bit for sitting his studs, but if I were him, I would have no problem resting Duncan and Ginobili until April. The Spurs have the best record in the league and continue to impress, even when the moneymakers are sitting in street clothes. Guards Nando De Colo and Gary Neal played well in Parker’s absence, but are only worth a look if Parker is going to miss time, and I don’t think he’s in the same boat as Duncan and Ginobili – at least, not yet.
Nate Robinson was great again with 20 points, seven dimes and a full stat line, Richard Hamilton got hot, hitting 8-of-11 shots for 16 points, and Joakim Noah played well through his foot injury. Taj Gibson was quiet with Noah and Carlos Boozer both playing solid minutes, but has shown he can be productive off the bench. I still think he’s worth holding in some instances, especially since Noah’s foot still isn’t right. Marco Belinelli was quiet, but played through his sore ankle and should get better with time. I don’t trust Hamilton enough to own him.
Wiz Roll Bucks
In another bizarre twist, red-hot Martell Webster disappeared with two points in 20 minutes, while an ice-cold Bradley Beal exploded for a season-high 28 points and four 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting, after scoring a total of 13 points over his previous three games. He also had two steals and two blocks for good measure, teaching me a lesson for dropping him on Sunday. Oh well. My guess is he cools off and Webster bounces back, but if Beal was dropped in your league, this is your sign to pick him up. Emeka Okafor double-doubled and Nene went off for 21 points, 13 boards, six assists, two steals and a block on 10-of-13 shooting. Now we’ll have to see when his next random DNP happens, but he’s a solid starting option right now. I’m not dropping Webster just yet, but will be ready to pull the trigger if Beal can stay hot and Webster continues to struggle.
Brandon Jennings shot owners into oblivion on Monday by missing 14-of-17 shots for seven points, but at least had a steal and seven dimes. Owners, including this one, are praying he bounces back on Wednesday, as his poor shooting from both the field and line have become a buzzkill over the last 10 days. Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova came through with nice lines, while Samuel Dalembert started for the third straight game and had six points, seven boards and zero blocks before fouling out. Larry Sanders is seeking a second opinion on his bad back, but hasn’t been ruled out for Wednesday’s game. I’d be surprised to see him play in that one, but am hoping that he’ll be ready to go after the break. If you can still get a stud for Larry, it’s probably a good idea.
Hawks Beat Mavs In Big D
The Hawks got a monster line from everyone’s favorite trade candidate, as Josh Smith hit four 3-pointers and 10-of-15 shots for 26 points, 13 boards, six assists and a steal. He didn’t have a block and committed five turnovers, but owners have to be pleased with this one in the midst of all the trade rumors. For the record, I still won’t be the least bit surprised if the Hawks give him a max-deal. Jeff Teague stayed hot, Devin Harris had 15 points as the starting shooting guard (I still don’t trust him) and Al Horford double-doubled in the win. Anthony Tolliver started over Kyle Korver, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, but had just one point and five boards on 0-of-4 shooting. Korver had 10 points and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes, and despite Larry Drew’s fondness of ruining hot guys by benching them, I’m not ready to give up on Korver.
News and Notes
Philly center Andrew Bynum says his left knee is still in pain and he’s not sure whether he can play through it. I’m not at all surprised by this news and whether he’s playing for a contract or not, he’s going to be in terrible shape once he returns. And there’s no guarantee that he plays a single minute this season. I don’t own him in any of my 11 leagues, nor have I stopped to consider checking to see if he’s available, and I’m convinced I sleep better at night because of it.
Houston’s James Harden is dealing with a sore left knee and missed practice on Monday, leaving him iffy for Tuesday’s game. My guess is he’ll play, but since I’m going against him in several leagues, I wouldn’t mind if he took a day off to rest.
Denver’s Andre Iguodala is a game-time decision on Tuesday due to a strained neck, so owners will want to watch for updates today.
GSW’s Jarrett Jack is iffy for Tuesday with a shoulder injury and didn’t practice on Monday. My guess is he’ll sit.
Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani is a game-time decision tonight with an illness.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward is doubtful once again with his shoulder injury and hasn’t shot a basketball in forever.
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