NYK @ IND: It took a tremendous fourth-quarter comeback led by Danny Granger (27) and Paul George (18) but the Pacers pulled this one out. Carmelo Anthony was heroic in defeat with 39 PTS and 10 REB; the Knicks need much better guard play than they got from Iman Shumpert (2-6, 5 PTS) and Baron Davis (2-8, 6 PTS) although J.R. Smith had 11 PTS, 9 REB and 4 AST before being ejected.
SAS @ CLE: A ridiculously easy win as the Spurs used 13 bodies, nobody playing more than 26 minutes, and the listless Cavaliers still lost by 35 in their own gym. Kyrie Irving (shoulder) returned with 13 points, while newest Spur Patty Mills took advantage of garbage time, making 8-11 shots to lead all scorers with 20. Danny Green, released by Cleveland last year, had 19 against them.
CHA @ TOR: Not the greatest game ever played; both teams seemed to be jogging more than sprinting. Andrea Bargnani (30) and DeMar DeRozan (20) led the Raptors, with Linas Kleiza chipping in 18 off the bench. Byron Mullens (20 PTS, 14 REB, 2 BLK) was the main bright spot for Charlotte. The demoted D.J. Augustin (18 PTS, 7 AST) split time with new starter Kemba Walker (10 PTS, 7 AST) at the point.
ORL @ DET: Glen Davis, touted here yesterday, had 31 points and 11 rebounds in another start for Dwight Howard (back) but the Magic couldn’t overcome the absence of Ryan Anderson (ankle) and Jameer Nelson (calf) — Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson were emergency starters. Six Pistons scored in double figures, led by Greg Monroe (22) and Ben Gordon (18) who looked good after missing three games.
PHI @ MIA: With Dwayne Wade (knee bruise) unable to go, LeBron James took over — a season-high 41 points — as the Heat got back in the W column. Ronny Turiaf, while not a fantasy stud, looked good as the new starting center. For the Sixers, Evan Turner (26 PTS, 8 REB) was outstanding but they needed more than 8 PTS from Elton Brand.
GSW @ MEM: The Grizzlies took this game lightly and it nearly got away. They needed a furious late rally led by O.J. Mayo (19) to salvage the win. Mike Conley (18) returned at PG and Gilbert Arenas, mocked here recently, hit all four of his shots in 15 minutes off the bench. David Lee (22) and Nate Robinson (18) led the Warriors; maybe Klay Thompson (2-8 shooting in just 23 minutes) has hit the proverbial rookie wall.
PHO @ SAC: Just think how good DeMarcus Cousins will be with a bit more experience and maturity. Boogie went off for a career-high 41 PTS and 12 REB last night for the shorthanded Kings, and Isaiah Thomas added 25, but the Suns were determined. Marcin Gortat had his own modest double-double (20 & 10) while Steve Nash ended a scoring drought with 18 and Michael Redd had one of his hot nights with 16 off the bench.
NJN @ LAL: Without Andrew Bynum (ankle) the Lakers relied on Pau Gasol (22 PTS, 12 REB) and Ramon Sessions — one of the year’s best fantasy pickups for his lucky owners — had 19 PTS, 11 AST and 6 REB. The Nets are a bagel (huge hole in the middle named Johan Petro) but Kris Humphries (18 & 15) crashed the boards to keep it close.
IND @ WAS: Last night’s rally was exciting, but the Pacers can’t take this game lightly. There’s no definitive word on Nene or Trevor Booker, both out with plantar fasciitis, so we’re still bullish on C Kevin Seraphin, who has averaged 15 points in his last three. Jordan Crawford has become the Wizards’ go-to scorer.
TOR @ PHI: Philly has lost 7 of its last 11 and Andre Iguodala got poked in the eye last night. They can probably still beat the Raptors; both teams will be tired and I’m not expecting a classic. Louis Williams (18 last night) might be a good fantasy play.
CHA @ ATL: Another one of those matchups where only overconfidence might derail Atlanta. I doubt it, as Charlotte played in Canada last night without much energy, while the Hawks have been enjoying three days off at home. Josh Smith and Joe Johnson should be unstoppable, and Jeremy Pargo (appendix) might be back to strengthen the bench.
SAS @ BOS: You can barely call this a back-to-back as it was more like a scrimmage for the Spurs last night. Ray Allen will be back for the Celtics after missing five games, but I don’t think Avery Bradley will disappear; he has a chance to be an ideal sixth man down the stretch. The matchups of Rajon Rondo vs. Tony Parker and Kevin Garnett vs. Tim Duncan will be compelling. Use ‘em all, I say.
OKC @ MIA: It will come down to whether D-Wade can play. Miami is still smarting from an embarrassing loss in Oklahoma ten days ago and will be fired up at home. The Thunder, possibly looking ahead to this one, lost to Memphis on Monday. Play the superstars and enjoy the show.
DEN @ NOH: Let’s not get too excited about the return of Eric Gordon, who is expected to play his first game in three months after knee surgery. The Hornets also have injury question marks in Carl Landry and Trevor Ariza (both with sore ankles) and will have to integrate all the lineup changes. It’s a chance for Denver and red-hot Ty Lawson to win another one on the road. Wilson Chandler (groin) is doubtful; Kosta Koufos played twice as much as “starter” JaVale McGee on Sunday. Could the new guy’s welcome from coach Karl have worn out already?
GSW @ MIN: The Warriors remind me a little of the fictional Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League. Knowing management wants them to lose has been an inspiration. However, the Dubs have lost 11 of 13 despite trying their best. Luke Ridnour suffered a nasty ankle sprain and J.J. Barea (thight) may not be quite ready to take over, so unheralded Malcolm Lee may get some run at PG. Although Nikola Pekovic is back, he’s still limping badly, so this could be a Kevin Love showcase.
CLE @ MIL: I’ll say it — the Cavs are the worst team in the league. They should be ashamed by last night’s “effort” in their eighth straight loss and will be no better on the road. Load up on Bucks. Maybe give Drew Gooden a pass, as it’s a chance to get him some much-needed rest and give extra run to Ekpe Udoh, an improved player since the trade.
MEM @ DAL: The third game in three nights for Memphis is made easier when you’ve won the first two. This is still a tough assignment, as Dallas was awful on Monday and figures to bounce back. Jason Kidd (groin) will be out for a while, which means Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois will share PG duties.
PHO @ UTA: This one is for temporary possession of ninth place in the West and neither team can afford a loss in that furious playoff race. The Jazz have an extra night’s rest and home court, but do they have a point guard? Devin Harris (ankle) left early on Monday and Earl Watson was ineffective, so Jamaal Tinsley may be the man. Paul Millsap has been superb all season and Al Jefferson should bounce back from a quiet game. I also like Gordon Hayward, now locked in as a starter.
NJN @ POR: Wesley Matthews is coming off his best game of the year and LaMarcus Aldridge is a model of consistency, but Raymond Felton going up against Deron Williams seems a mismatch. Gerald Wallace might be inspired against his old mates. I still like Portland, mathematically alive in the playoffs, at home against a team that played last night. But as everyone knows, Wednesday is Hump day.
LAL @ LAC: For the championship of their shared arena and for all-important playoff seedings, this one will be worth staying up late to watch. Some internal disciplinary issues (fined for missing huddles, etc.) and a sore ankle notwithstanding, my guess is that Andrew Bynum will play. I’m not expecting Randy Foye to stay hot against Kobe Bryant, but maybe Caron Butler will step up to help Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as the Clippers go for seven straight.
The Spin is here every day by 8:00 EDT but Sunday, when we sleep until noon. Follow me on Twitter for updates.
Out In DraftStreet
|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
It was back to “close, but no cigar” in my daily leagues last night, as I finished 27th of more than 200 teams in both a $2 and $5 GPP league, just a few points out of the money.
LeBron had 52 FPTS, Big Baby 45 but Bargnani — who scored 30 — didn’t do much else and finished with 29.75 FPTS. I would have been better off using Mullens; 10 fewer points on the floor but 3.75 more on the DraftStreet scoreboard.
Tonight, I’m in my usual $2 Salary Cap league with a $600 Guaranteed Prize Pool and a $5 league with 220 teams and a GPP of $1,000 — $250 goes to the winner in that one. There’s still $79 from the original $100 bankroll for Week 5 and with a packed slate of 12 games, we’ll try a Snake-Draft league (or two) this afternoon.
My team in a $5 weekly league is sitting third of ten after two nights; Rudy Gay has been slightly disappointing, but it’s early. Gotta say a week seems like a long time compared to the excitement of daily leagues.
If you haven’t checked out Draft Street yet, it’s free to join and there are free leagues where you can get started. See you there!