NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Ben Gordon Bombing 3's
Monday’s Game News
Blazers beat Bobcats in OT
Portland held on for an overtime win in Charlotte and got 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists from LaMarcus Aldridge. As usual, the Blazers’ starters did the heavy lifting tonight, although J.J. Hickson was benched after missing a block out and played just 12 minutes in the loss. Don’t do anything drastic with Hickson, as he was due for an off night. He came in averaging 11 points and 10 boards per game.
The Bobcats got 29 points, five assists and eight more 3-pointers from Ben Gordon, who has hit 18 3-pointers over his last three games despite coming off the bench. If you picked him up and started him this week, congratulations are in order. Jeff Taylor started again at SG and had 11 points, while Gerald Henderson returned from his foot sprain for five points in 15 minutes. Kemba Walker had another big line with 22 points, five boards, seven assists and a trey, while Byron Mullens double-doubled with two 3-pointers, a block and a steal, and Ramon Sessions added 11 points and nine assists in the loss. Henderson should be on benches until he’s back in the flow.
Cavs fall to Pistons
Dion Waiters sat out with a sprained ankle in a loss to the Pistons and is day-to-day, while Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson double-doubled, and Jeremy Pargo had 10 points and eight assists in the loss. Varejao, as usual, is a trade candidate in Cleveland and his fantasy value would likely take a hit if he’s moved. Yes, he’ll still rebound and score no matter where he lands, but he’s obviously benefitting by playing for a team that misses so many shots. He’s also the best player on his team not named Kyrie, and while I’m not going to panic and trade him in the leagues where I own him, I am going to brace for the rebound party to come to an end at some point. He had 17 points and 18 boards again on Monday night. Alonzo Gee hit just 2-of-10 shots for six points and three steals, but I bet he bounces back in his next one. Before last night’s disaster, he had hit double figures in scoring in eight of his nine games coming in.
Brandon Knight played through a bruised thigh and led the Pistons with 17 points, five boards and five assists, while Kyle Singler and Tayshaun Prince each scored 15 points in the win. Jason Maxiell was a beast with 12 points, six boards and five blocks, and has now blocked 13 shots in his last three games. Andre Drummond came through with seven points, 12 boards and three blocks in 20 minutes, and I’m still hoping the Pistons turn him loose at some point this season, so this can become a nightly occurrence.
Bucks lose to Hornets
Brandon Jennings hit five 3-pointers for 25 points on Monday, but had just three assists, while Larry Sanders came off the bench for eight points, seven rebounds and seven more blocks in 26 minutes. Sanders should now be owned in all leagues. Ersan Ilyasova had two points in 19 minutes, and I’m starting to think he may never get back in the good graces of Scott Skiles. Having said that, I’m still hanging onto him where I own him, but am making sure he’s on my bench until further notice.
Greivis Vasquez had 11 points, nine assists, four turnovers and a 3-pointer in the win, while Ryan Anderson had 22 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers on 9-of-14 shooting. Robin Lopez came through with 21 points, four boards, two steals and a block on 8-of-10 shooting, and Al-Farouq Aminu added nine points, six boards, a steal and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes. Aminu isn’t killing it any longer, but is still getting enough minutes to be worth a look in most leagues.
Nuggets beat Raptors
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 24 points and seven assists in a loss to the Nuggets, while Andrea Bargnani had 23 points and two 3-pointers. Terrence Ross added 12 points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers off the bench, while Jonas Valanciunas had seven points, four boards, two steals and three blocks for a decent line for the Raptors. Linas Kleiza was out with a hip injury, which is another reason I like Ross right now.
The Nuggets got just four points on 1-of-4 shooting from Andre Iguodala, but he did have eight assists and two steals in the win. Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos double-doubled, JaVale McGee added 17 points, six boards and five blocks off the bench, and Corey Brewer hit 9-of-15 shots for 19 points. McGee should still be held in all leagues, while Brewer is simply worth a look as it feels like Wilson Chandler’s hip injury may make it a lost season for him.
Clippers clip Jazz
The Clippers held on for a one-point win over the Jazz, getting 30 points and 11 boards from Blake Griffin, along with 14 points and nine dimes from Chris Paul. Jamal Crawford shrugged off the presence of Chauncey Billups with 20 points and two 3-pointers, while DeAndre Jordan struggled against Al Jefferson with just three points, six boards and two blocks. Billups had just nine points, one assist and one 3-pointer in another start, and I’m not holding my breath for him to blow up anytime soon.
Mo Williams was back in effect for the Jazz with 20 points, 12 dimes and three 3-pointers, while Randy Foye added 19 points and three 3-pointers at shooting guard. I picked up Foye in a couple leagues and feel good about it, as he’s hit double figures in five of his last six games, including a 20-point night in his previous game. Al Jefferson had a full stat line, and Paul Millsap played well with 13 points and eight boards as Derrick Favors sat out with his foot injury. Favors will have another MRI after the first one was inconclusive and is iffy for the whole week. I thought Marvin Williams would return from a concussion last night, but he needed another game off. Gordon Hayward had 17 points, and remains a must-start as long as Marvin is out.
Magic beat Warriors
The Magic beat the Warriors behind 24 points and two 3-pointers from Arron Afflalo, 24 points, six boards and two blocks from Glen Davis and 22 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four 3-pointers from J.J. Redick off the bench. Redick struggled in the first half, but caught fire after the break, and should be held in all leagues. Nikola Vucevic stayed hot with 14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and is another guy I think should be owned in all leagues. Vucevic is averaging 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and three blocks over his last two games.
Stephen Curry stayed hot with 25 points, 11 assists and three 3-pointers, David Lee had 22 points, nine boards and two blocks, and Jarrett Jack came through for his new owners with 17 points, four boards, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the loss. Carl Landry added nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench and should be owned for as long as Andrew Bogut is out, while Klay Thompson struggled with eight points and two 3-pointers on 3-of-12 shooting. Don’t drop the struggling Thompson, but he simply isn’t a must-start as of right now.
Injury News and Notes
Raymond Felton’s left hand/thumb was swollen after Sunday’s game, but because the Knicks are off until Wednesday, I’m guessing he won’t miss any time with the injury.
Richard Hamilton is going to miss a couple weeks with a foot injury, meaning Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler are going to see more minutes for the Bulls. Belinelli is the safer fantasy option if you’re looking for a deep-league pick-and-play.
Steve Nash is still 10-14 days away from a return, as his “broken leg” was clearly more of an issue than the Lakers said it was early on. They have no point guard, as Steve Blake is out indefinitely with his abdominal injury, which will require surgery, so look for Kobe Bryant to continue to facilitate the offense until further notice.
Kyrie Irving has still not been cleared for contact with his broken finger, but is getting closer. Look for good news coming out of Cleveland regarding Irving’s injury in the next week to 10 days.
Brook Lopez’s MRI on his foot was negative, along with X-rays, but he sounds like a long shot to play this week. I benched him in my weekly leagues, and will be watching for more news as the week progresses. Andray Blatche is a must-start for as long as he’s out for the Nets.
If you missed the picture of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan assaulting a Joey Crawford lookalike at a Halloween party, it’s worth a look. However, I doubt either will be penalized for having some fun at a costume party.
Kevin Love was back at practice on Monday and sounds like a go for Tuesday’s game against the Sixers. Andrei Kirilenko, however, will not travel with the Wolves for their two-game road trip and may not play at all this week. Derrick Williams, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved would all benefit if he’s out.
Tyreke Evans’ knee injury doesn’t sound too serious and my guess is he’ll be ready to play on Wednesday when the Kings face the Raptors.
Eric Gordon is still rehabbing his knee and his quadriceps, but says he wants to play at the end of December. Pick him up if you want, but my guess is he’s more of a headache than he’ll be worth, at least until February gets here.
Kyle Korver was working with trainers in Hawks practice on Monday as he continues to try to get his back spasms to calm down. He sounds like a game-time decision for Wednesday, and should be a solid fantasy play when he’s healthy, although it might be tough to trust him as long as his back is acting up.
Shane Battier’s knee injury could keep him out for a few more games and Rashard Lewis should start in his place. Lewis isn’t exactly killing it, but if he plays well, it’s not out of the realm of possibility he could eventually start over Battier for the Heat.
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