Around The League
WAS @ CHA: Jordan Crawford scored 20 and the Wizards’ bench had fun, especially James Singleton (18 PTS, 12 REB) and Cartier Martin (19) as the Bobcats made very little effort to defend their home court. Corey Maggette played just 19 minutes off the bench, but did score 23 points.
TOR @ IND: Without Andrea Bargnani (calf) the Raptors started Amir Johnson, who had 16 points. James Johnson (4) is still coming off the bench behind Alan Anderson (17) and Linas Kleiza somehow scored 18 in less than 16 minutes. The Pacers won without Darren Collison (groin) as George Hill (18 PTS, 4 AST, 7 REB) filled in capably at the point. Danny Granger also had 18 and as expected, Leandro Barbosa (14) got a little extra run vs. his former team.
OKC @ MIL: A little taunting, a few technicals and a lot of Russell Westbrook (26) was the story, but the Thunder got lots of help from Thabo Sefolosha’s seven steals (plus 14 PTS) and Serge Ibaka (13 PTS, 5 BLK) to hand Milwaukee a home defeat. Drew Gooden (14) was limited to less than 18 minutes and Monta Ellis (9 PTS, 7 AST) couldn’t find the range, going 3-12 from the field.
LAC @ MEM: An aggressive, physical team effort led the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol (18) and Rudy Gay (16) scored the most points, but this was a playoff-like defensive struggle. Chris Paul (21) wasn’t happy with his 7-17 shooting and Randy Foye was even worse (5-17) but the Clippers’ bench contributed very little.
LAL @ NOH: Without Kobe Bryant (shin) it was up to Pau Gasol (25 PTS, 9 REB) and Andrew Bynum (18 & 11) to lead the Lakers; Ramon Sessions (17) also played well. Eric Gordon sat out for New Orleans; his surgically-repaired knee is fine, this was just a sore back. With Jarrett Jack now officially out for the year, Greivis Vasquez (18 PTS, 11 AST) should be owned in every league. Carl Landry (20 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST) helped keep the Hornets in this to the end.
PHO @ MIN: Kevin Love had 25, J.J. Barea 16 but Minnesota is getting nothing from the SG spot with Luke Ridnour still nursing a sore ankle and the Suns won with relative ease. Their bench, led by Spin fave Markieff Morris (21) and Sebastian Telfair (14 PTS, 7 AST) outscored the Wolves 66-27 on the night.
GSW @ DEN: Danilo Gallinari (thumb) returned with 15 points but Kenneth Faried (27 PTS, 17 REB) stole the show as the Nuggets romped by nearly 40 points. The Warriors just went through the motions; even David Lee, normally a double-double machine, was never a factor against the inspired Manimal. Al Harrington left with a knee injury which might require some rest.
SAS @ UTA: I was bullish on Devin Harris (25 PTS, 6 AST, 6 REB) even before learning that Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were being rested. Paul Millsap was more like himself with 18 & 10 in a win the Jazz needed for their playoff push. The Spurs, with reserves Patty Mills and Stephen Jackson starting, lost for the first time in 12 games.
HOU @ POR: A good game, though Nicolas Batum (quad, knee) didn’t play, moving Jamal Crawford (18 PTS on 4-14 shooting and a bunch of free throws) into the starting five. Houston is the deeper team, with Kyle Lowry (13) now anchoring the second unit and Goran Dragic (22 PTS, 7 AST) still playing more than 40 minutes. Marcus Camby chipped in 9 points and grabbed 11 boards against his former mates.
ORL @ DET: Ryan Anderson did return, with 14 points, but Glen Davis (16 PTS, 16 REB) started again, because Dwight Howard sat this one out to rest his sore back. Hedo Turkoglu will be away for a while with his facial fracture, so Jason Richardson (22) is starting at SF and J.J. Redick (20) at SG. It was a game to forget for Detroit; Tayshaun Prince (21) was the lone bright spot and there was even a Charlie Villanueva sighting.
CHA @ CLE: That lifeless performance at home last night suggests the Bobcats can’t wait for the season to end. I will be avoiding them on all my teams tonight. The Cavaliers, rested and at home, should romp. Donald Sloan is the starting PG in the absence of Kyrie Irving (shoulder) but it’s been Lester Hudson coming off the bench with 23, then 26 as the sparkplug. Antawn Jamison has also stepped up his game recently, and Tristan Thompson could have a big night.
BOS @ MIA: This is a rematch of sorts; the Heat still remember an embarrassing loss in Boston nine days ago and will be fired up. The Celtics, coming off a laughably easy win on Sunday, have been on a roll. Definitely the game of the night to watch, but both teams play ferocious D, so it may be low-scoring. Dwyane Wade rested a sore ankle on Sunday but is good to go.
ORL @ WAS: Assuming that D-12 sits out again, Big Baby should have another big game. Usually, when both teams played the night before, I like the home team to have more energy, but the Magic are playing for playoff seeding and home court in the first round, so they should find a way to win. The matchup of Jameer Nelson and John Wall might be fun to watch.
PHI @ NJN: The 76ers should be ashamed of themselves. They seem to have quit on their coach and were simply horrible in Boston. Meanwhile, though the Nets have nothing to play for, they do have Deron Williams, who makes everyone better. Kris Humphries provides energy up front, and the bench has been electric, with Anthony Morrow in a good groove and Gerald Green (32 points on Sunday) reviving his career.
SAC @ DAL: The Mavericks are fading fast. Lamar Odom has officially left the team, which is addition by subtraction. They still have Dirk Nowitzki and are expecting Jason Kidd back tonight, but they will be opening the playoffs on the road — if they don’t slide out of the picture entirely. Fortunately for Dallas, they get an easy opponent tonight. Rattled by back-to-back losses to the Clippers, DeMarcus Cousins has cooled off. Marcus Thornton (calf) is hoping to return tonight, otherwise Jimmer Fredette may get another start.
NYK @ CHI: The second half of the national TV doubleheader is a rematch of Sunday’s game in New York, won by Carmelo Anthony and company. That was the first game back for Derrick Rose, who says his groin is fine, but he tweaked an ankle and is officially a game-time decision. Melo and Tyson Chandler will do all they can, but I like Luol Deng to be a major contributor. Richard Hamilton has been eased back with 20 minutes per game in his first three starts and Rip could be ready for a larger role.
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|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
That was close. I played three teams in the $2 GPP Salary Cap league, all built around Love, Pau and Big Baby. Out of 330 entries, they finished 41st, 36th and 17th, the latter good for a $5.00 consolation prize. Came 26th of 220 in the $5.00 GPP league, just a few points out of the money.
I did win a $5 Snake-Draft against five other owners, for a $17.55 payout. That left me three bucks ahead for the first night of Week 6, and I’ll be trying a similar approach tonight. Playing multiple teams — you’re allowed up to three — does cost more when they all fail to contend. However, when your picks are generally pretty good, your chances of winning improve and you can also earn multiple prizes.
That last guy on an eight-man team, usually chosen because he fits under the remainder of the $100,000 cap, can be critical. I like having more than one option in that spot, especially when there are plenty of NBA games to choose from. Tonight, with only six games on the slate, there aren’t many centers worth using and we don’t know what to expect from DeMarcus Cousins. I’ll try building around him in one lineup and leaving him out of others.
Likewise, the Snake-Draft format is quite different on nights with fewer games. Picking sixth yesterday was almost an advantage and there were good players left in the eighth round. Tonight, draft slot may be more important and we’ll be picking some sleepers by the end, but let’s take another shot.
For anyone who still hasn’t tried Draft Street, it’s free to join and you can learn the game by playing in free leagues.