It was about time for Jeremy Lin to have a bad game. Everyone does. The ferocious Miami defense harassed the Knicks’ PG into eight turnovers, and held him to 1-11 shooting. Don’t panic; the Heat can do this to a lot of teams. Amare Stoudamire turned the ball over six times and had just 13 points, and while Carmelo Anthony scored 19, he shot 7-20 with five FG attempts blocked. Only J.R. Smith and Steve Novak seemed unaffected by the constant pressure, with 14 and 12 respectively off the bench. Chris Bosh led the very impressive winners with 25 & 8, while LeBron James had a nice line including 20 PTS, 9 REB, 8 AST, 5 STL and 2 BLK.
In Oklahoma City, behind 33 points from Kevin Durant, the Thunder defeated the Lakers. Serge Ibaka added 11 PTS, 13 REB and 3 BLK, as he and Kendrick Perkins held their own against the L.A. frontcourt. Kobe Bryant had 24 in the losing cause but missed 17 FG attempts and is now 11 for his last 39. The all-star break might give Bean some much-needed rest.
There were makeshift lineups for both teams in Atlanta. Still without Joe Johnson, the Hawks tried Kirk Hinrich (6 points) as the starting SG, sending Willie Green (14) back to the bench, and once again got production from backup guard Jannero Pargo (14 PTS in 19 minutes). Tracy McGrady won’t be happy with his eight minutes, and Marvin Williams, also critical of his coach’s rotation, did very little in his 22 minutes on the floor. For the Magic, Chris Duhon started for Jameer Nelson at PG and did nothing special. Jason Richardson returned and shot 3-10, sending J.J. Redick back to the bench. Redick’s 13 points actually led Orlando, so let’s call it one of those nights.
The Spurs, featuring 28 & 12 from DaJuan Blair, beat the Nuggets by 15 on the road. My apologies to the reader who asked me to choose between Kawhi Leonard (played just 2:00, left with sore calf) and Andre Miller (20 PTS, 7 AST) who started again, as Ty Lawson got one more game to heal. Fantasy advice is like hitting in baseball: even the good ones swing and miss fairly often. Corey Brewer had 23 and Arron Afflalo 19 in the defeat. Matt Bonner (4 triples) and Richard Jefferson (five 3-pointers) did a nice job stretching the floor.
There are no games tonight or this weekend, because of some party in Orlando. The all-star break is boring for fantasy owners, perhaps more than ever this year because we’ve become quite used to plenty of games every night. Over the next few days, the Spin will take a look at various resources and strategies that may help you win your league(s).
It’s been almost impossible to keep up with the injury news. I don’t have any data to “prove” this observation, but the condensed NBA schedule seems to be taking its toll on players. It definitely means extra games missed while a player is sidelined. For example, a two-week injury that might have spanned five or six games in a normal season could be eight games this year.
There’s an excellent injury resource right here at Sheridan Hoops — quite comprehensive and updated frequently. Nothing’s perfect; it can be a little vague on return dates with medium and long-term injuries. Brandon Bass “is expected to miss up to two weeks” but that estimate is 12 days old. My take is that Bass could be back right after the break, and is a nice pickup if he was dropped.
While catching up on all the injury and suspension news in one convenient place, you get a short note on each player’s status and a link to his page. Player pages (here’s my man Nikola Pekovic) feature a convenient “Last 10″ game log that can be expanded to “Season” with one click.
Surprise days off for stars are another obstacle for fantasy owners. Chris Sheridan complained just yesterday about the dreaded DNP-PR (Did Not Play-Personal Reasons) costing him money in a Draft Street challenge. I’m getting better at the Freeroll, by the way. Finished 26th of 589 last night; might have won with a better night from Russell Westbrook.
Twitter is the best tool to keep track of those frustrating — and sometimes costly — last-minute lineup changes. Please don’t expect me to tweet every bit of news; it’s easy for anyone to search a player’s name at 6:55 and see if a beat writer, broadcaster or team publicist has posted an update.
Tomorrow, the Spin will be all about trading, including my (as yet) Unwritten Rules.