NBA Basketball Column: The Daily Dose
Dose: Bye, Bye Love
I had a nice weekend, other than the fact that all four of my NFL teams lost and two of my fantasy hoops teams laid a complete egg on Sunday to give me a couple of excruciating losses. Oh, and I lost Kevin Love in a few leagues, as well. Jared Dudley, Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Emeka Okafor and Rudy Gay were some of the guilty parties. Oh well, moving onto Week 11.
Before setting your lineup for Week 11, check out the Injury Report, Saturday Dose and Waiver Wired. And you can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Games Played Week 11
4 Games - Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah
3 Games – Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Denver, Golden State, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto
2 Games – Detroit, L.A. Clippers, Washington
LeBron James had a monster week and fought off an ankle and knee injury. He plans on playing through it this week and the only bad news is that the Heat play just three games.
Timberwolves - Kevin Love made headlines on Saturday after news broke that he re-fractured the third metacarpal on his right hand. I’m guessing he’ll miss at least a month and could need surgery, so I would be surprised to see him before the All-Star break. And yes, owners in daily leagues need to strongly consider dropping Love at this point. Derrick Williams had 18 points with six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers on Saturday, despite coming off the bench, and deserves a look in fantasy leagues with Love out. Starter Dante Cunningham had 10 points, 12 boards, two steals and three blocks in the start, and is also worth owning in many formats due to Love’s injury. Nikola Pekovic was injured on Saturday, aggravating a hip injury, but said afterward that it’s not serious. Watch for news on him Monday before sticking him in your lineup, but it sounds like he should be OK. Ricky Rubio is expected back from his back spasms on Tuesday, and his return could cool off J.J. Barea.
Lakers - Dwight Howard tied his career high with 26 rebounds on Sunday, but aggravated his shoulder injury, leaving owners in a bind for this week. He’ll have an MRI on Monday, so we won’t know his status for his four-game week until those results are in. He said he “couldn’t even put his clothes on” on Saturday, so the fact he even played through the shoulder injury on Sunday is a bonus. If he misses time, expect Pau Gasol to suddenly look like Pau Gasol again, while Jordan Hill would also be worth a deep-league look.
Knicks - They play four games this week, but Amare Stoudemire is very iffy to play in both games of a back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. He had 11 points in 17 minutes on Sunday, and should be benched until he catches fire. Carmelo Anthony had 40 points and a monster line on Saturday as the dream season continues, and his owners will be tough to beat with Melo going four times this week.
Denver - Ty Lawson had 21 points and 10 dimes on Sunday and should be good to go after his Achilles’ scare.
Suns - Jared Dudley was pretty poor last week, scoring seven or eight points in three of his four games, and only playing well in one of them. I’m still not ready to drop him, but will be benching him in weekly leagues until he A. gets it turned around, or B. loses his starting job. P.J. Tucker, who is starting at small forward for the Suns, had a career-high 17 points on Sunday with a full stat line, and is worth a deep-league look.
Heat - LeBron James had a monster four-game week and fought through ankle and knee injuries, but plans to keep chugging along. The only bad news for fantasy owners is that the Heat play three games this week instead of four.
Bobcats - Gerald Henderson came off the bench on Sunday and scored just six points, making him worth a spot on fantasy benches this week, while Ben Gordon went off for 18 points against his former team, the Pistons. Gordon is worth a look, but will be unreliable while coming off the bench. Bismack Biyombo racked up his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 17 boards, but didn’t block a shot on Sunday. He hasn’t blocked a shot in three straight games and six or fewer points in four of his last five games, so he’s still a shaky fantasy start, at best. Tyrus Thomas started for the Cats on Sunday and had 13 points, five rebounds, a steal and a block in 38 minutes, and it’s probably time to pick him up, and hope that his routine of teasing owners and then burning them, is over. Keep in mind that Hakim Warrick was out with the flu, adding to Thomas’ heavy work load last night, while Byron Mullens appears to be nearing a return from his severely sprained ankle.
Pistons - Austin Daye backed up his season-high 20-point performance without a single point on Sunday and played just 11 minutes. Playing time will be an issue for Daye all season, and his hot streak might officially be over. Rodney Stuckey scored 18 for the Pistons, but appeared to aggravate his ankle injury, so watch for updates on his status on Monday.
Raptors - Jose Calderon double-doubled in another start, while Kyle Lowry had 10 points and eight dimes in 23 minutes. Both players are worth a start, but the timeshare is going to get old quickly. Ed Davis struggled on Sunday with four points and three boards, while Amir Johnson started in place of Aaron Gray (flu) and went off for 19 points, nine boards and three blocks for the Raptors. Alan Anderson had a career-best 27 points and a full stat line, and has played very well over the last week or so. As long as he’s playing well, Terrence Ross is going to struggle. Additionally, Ross suffered an ankle sprain on Sunday and didn’t return. If he’s out, Anderson looks like a decent play this week, along with Calderon, Lowry, Davis and Johnson.
Clippers - Jamal Crawford hopes to play on Wednesday despite a foot injury, but with just two games this week, most Clippers should be benched anyway.
Mavericks - Despite coming off the bench due to Dirk Nowitzki’s return to the starting lineup, Vince Carter had 17 points in overtime on Saturday with three 3-pointers, five boards, three dimes, two steals and two blocks, and it looks like he’s still hot enough to start in all leagues. Especially with Dallas going four times this week. Dirk had 20 points in the start, and it looks like it should be safe to put him back in starting fantasy lineups, as well.
Spurs - Kawhi Leonard had just two points in 27 minutes on Saturday and if I owned him, I would have cut him long ago. Some of my colleagues don’t agree with me on Leonard, but the fact of the matter is that he’s been useless so far. Maybe he’ll get hot at some point, but I don’t have the patience to wait for it to happen.
76ers - Spencer Hawes had a season-high 22 points with six boards and a steal on Saturday and is worth a look in all leagues despite coming off the bench and some extreme inconsistency. Hawes shot 6-of-22 in his previous two games, scoring six points in each of them, but is averaging 11.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his last five games.
Hornets - Al-Farouq Aminu started on Saturday and had 10 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and a block, and has played well in two straight games. As long as he’s out of the doghouse and starting, he’s worth a look again, and I’m going to start him in my 30-team league.
Magic - Hedo Turkoglu had just one point and missed all five of his shots on Saturday, and is simply a mess right now, as expected. He’s yet to hit double digits in scoring this season and has a lot of rust to shake off. He’s hit just 7-of-27 shots in his four games and should be left on benches until he works out his issues. Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson both scored 29 points for the Magic on Saturday and Afflalo is feeling it, averaging 23 points and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. Nelson is also hot despite missing a couple games with a hip injury, and is averaging nearly 26 points, seven assists and a whopping five 3-pointers over his last three games. The Magic play just three times this week, but both players should be in most lineups. As for which Orlando power forward to roll with, Andrew Nicholson and Josh McRoberts are sharing time, and I’d stay away from them, as well as Gustavo Ayon. Center Nikola Vucevic, on the other hand, remains hot and should be in lineups, averaging 13 points, 16 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five.
Nets - Andray Blatche had 15 points, 11 boards and two blocks off the bench on Saturday and has now double-doubled in two straight games. With Reggie Evans older than dirt and Kris Humphries injured and struggling to find his place in the rotation, Blatche is suddenly relevant again. He’s not must-own, but is worth a look if you need a big man. The Nets crushed the Kings in a blowout on Saturday, and rode their bench heavily, so it’s hard to get too excited about Blatche or any of the other bench players who came to life in the blowout.
Kings - DeMarcus Cousins is on fire and had 28 points and 11 boards on Saturday for his fifth straight double-double. He’s averaging 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and 1.6 steals over his last five games, and if there was ever a time to sell high, as well as get him in your lineup, it’s right now. Tyreke Evans is hoping to return for the Kings on Monday and should come off the bench. His return will theoretically hurt John Salmons, but Evans may not be moving at full speed, either. I would not start him in a weekly league if you have options. Marcus Thornton was out again on Saturday and I’d bench him until you actually see him play in a game.
Hawks - Lou Williams exploded for a season-high 28 points and five 3-pointers on Saturday and is averaging 19 points, six dimes and 3.4 3-pointers over his last five. With four more games this week, he’s obviously a must-start in any sized league.
Pacers - Roy Hibbert had 20 points, 15 rebounds on Saturday for his first double-double since Dec. 14, and owners have to be hoping this is means his terrible slump is over. He hit 8-of-16 shots in that one and is shooting 52% over his last three games, which is a great sign.
Wizards - John Wall is hoping to return in the next couple weeks, but don’t expect him to blow up right off the bat. It’s going to be baby steps with Wall. Jordan Crawford played just 15 minutes for two points on 1-of-7 shooting Sunday after scoring 20-plus points in his previous two games. There are no reports of an injury, so I’m just hoping it was a random benching. The Wiz only have two games this week, so most of them should be benched in weekly leagues.
Cavaliers - Anderson Varejao could return on Wednesday, but I wouldn’t put him into starting lineups right now unless you’re options are limited.
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