Nobody saw that coming. In L.A., the Timberwolves clipped the Clippers, behind a career night from rookie Derrick Williams: 9-10 (including 4-4 from deep) for 27 points. Almost as surprising was Michael Beasley getting 30 minutes and scoring 27 of his own. That’s the good news. The bad is, Kevin Love left the game with sore ribs. He says nothing is broken and will try to play tonight, but we’ll see.
BOS @ CLE: Despite an 0-6 shooting night from Rajon Rondo, the Celtics prevailed. It was Brandon Bass getting the start at C (12 & 7) and Chris Wilcox (5 & 11) coming off the bench, which may continue for a while. Kyrie Irving left briefly with what looked like an elbow injury, then returned to lead the Cavs with 24, while Tristan Thompson (a Spin fave) had 13 and 10.
GSW @ IND: No Stephen Curry, no chance for the Warriors. Nate Robinson got the 25+ minutes I expected, just didn’t do much. My other hunch Brandon Rush did OK, with 14 & 7. It was all over in the third quarter, so once again the Pacers starters got plenty of rest at the end – Frank Vogel used all 13 of his players.
PHI @ DET: Forget what I said about the Pistons showing signs of life. That was a cadaverous effort, getting blown out of their own gym by 29. Ben Gordon shot 1-10, Tayshaun Prince 2-10. For the Sixers, Elton Brand returned with 10 points in 22 minutes and the bench was great as usual.
WAS @ MIL: I’m not really high on owning Trevor Booker (especially with Andray Blatche returning soon) but you have to admire his motor. 20 points and 11 boards was almost enough to lead the Wizards to an upset. Nick Young had just 7 PTS in 20 minutes and was benched in the second half, as veterans Roger Mason and Maurice Evans sparked the near-upset. Mike Dunleavy, out of nowhere, had 28 points off the Bucks bench.
TOR @ HOU: Not sure where to begin. Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan sat glumly on the bench as Anthony Carter and Leandro Barbosa played the fourth quarter of a close game. Linas Kleiza did play, but was out-of-sync, and it remains to be seen if he can handle back-to-backs. It was the Kyle Lowry show, as he played even better than the great (25 PTS) box score line.
NOH @ CHI: Hmm, we thought Emeka Okafor and/or Jason Smith would play. Maybe tonight? Instead, it was Chris Kaman (17 & 11) almost sparking a huge upset. Derrick Rose (32) and an energetic Joakim Noah (15 PTS, 16 REB, 2 BLK) led the Bulls.
NJN @ DAL: Speaking of upsets, if you had the Nets to win in Dallas, you’re buying today. Brook Lopez made up for lost time with a 38-point explosion and Kris Humphries pulled down 15 boards. Deep leaguers take note: Gerald Green played 19 minutes and scored 10 points off the NJ bench. For the Mavs, Vince Carter was all but useless. Rodrigue Beaubois got 24 minutes in his return, and may have a few big nights until Delonte West returns.
UTA @ SAC: DeMarcus Cousins (22 & 18) led the way, Isaiah Thomas (18 PTS, 8 AST) ran the show. The Jazz big men were strangely quiet, particularly – Paul Millsap — 4 PTS and only 2 REB in 25 minutes. On a more positive note, Devin Harris owners can breathe easier after his 18 & 7 and with Earl Watson getting less than 17 minutes.
Leaps of Faith
ORL @ WAS: As the Dwight Howard trade watch becomes 24/7, we’ll see how he and his teammates respond. “I am done with young guys,” said Randy Wittman last night, with JaVale McGee and Nick Young — not exactly rookies — the main targets of his frustration. Consider benching both tonight if you have options.
OKC @ PHI: A tough assignment for the Sixers. If only there were “sneaky” fantasy players on the Thunder. Instead, it’s stars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook every night, capably supported by Serge Ibaka and James Harden.
GSW @ ATL: This could get ugly for the road Warriors. Tired, apathetic and missing Stephen Curry, they may be facing a full Hawks lineup as an optimistic Joe Johnson is a game-time decision.
CLE @ NYK: The time off can only help the Knicks jell; the more Jeremy Lin plays with both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the better they should get. We’re watching the SG spot, where Landry Fields continues to start but J.R. Smith is looming. It could get even more crowded when Iman Shumpert is 100%.
CHA @ DET: Let’s guess that the Pistons will be somewhere between embarrassed and ashamed. Let’s assume they won’t turn the ball over 23 times. The Bobcats still have a chance. You couldn’t pay me to watch this game, but as a Bismack Biyombo speculator, I’ll check the box score. Gerald Henderson is expected to play and should be owned, if not started.
TOR @ NOH: Both teams will be tired but the Hornets played better last night and the Raptors’ rotation is very hard to figure. Andrea Bargnani was on the bench in street clothes; just his presence on a road trip is encouraging but we have no idea when he’ll play.
MIL @ BOS: Drew Gooden took a hard fall last night and didn’t return. At best, he has a sore back to go with his sore wrist. Ersan Ilyasova remains the best Buck to own, though it will be interesting to see if Mr. Dunleavy can repeat last night’s very impressive performance.
DAL@ MEM: Zach Randolph participated in all but the contact portion of practice. Marreese Speights is still the starting PF, for now.
POR @ DEN: There are rumblings that Ty Lawson and Nene will return, and Danilo Gallinari is close. Corey Brewer maintains very temporary fantasy value. The Blazers may continue to start Jamal Crawford over Raymond Felton, an interesting experiment in playing without a playmaker.
CHI @ SAS: Manu Ginobili did participate in practice, though his return is indefinite. Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter are gimpy. T.J. Ford might play, and is a possible add for deep leaguers. For the Bulls, Richard Hamilton started last night; how Rip is used in a back-to-back might give us a read on his health.
HOU@ UTA: Two teams going in opposite directions. I might play Josh Howard, who appears to have taken over the starting job of injured Raja Bell, perhaps more than temporarily.
MIN @ LAL: Check the updates on Kevin Love, who may sit this one out. Nikola Pekovic would be in big trouble against Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol with anyone else at PF. Michael Beasley could be showcased, as rumors of a trade to the Lakers continue to swirl.
It’s the night of reckoning in my Elimination Roto league, discussed at length here on Sunday. My season could be over, or I could add an all-star tomorrow, for nothing. Either way, the Spin will be here, and on Twitter.