MEM @ IND: As a Rudy Gay owner, I’m thrilled he got that 3-17 out of the way in a game that doesn’t ruin my entire week. Lionel Hollins took another look at Jerome Jordan as the starting C; Marc Gasol (13 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) came off the bench. Likewise, the improved Marreese Speights started at PF, with Zach Randolph in a temporary backup role.
Indiana wasn’t really trying, either. David West had the day off, joining Danny Granger (knee) and George Hill (hip) on the sidelines. Gerald Green, a decent late pick in normal-sized leagues who could be terrific to own in deeper leagues, scored 18 points in 37 minutes. He won’t start in the regular season, but will be a productive sixth man. The Pacers are also getting good play from backup C Ian Mahinmi (13 PTS, 9 REB) who won’t get as many minutes (24) most nights, as Roy Hibbert (14 PTS, 10 REB) is bigger and better.
NYK @ BOS: Wow, that was like a meaningless exhibition game. Chris Copeland scored 34 points for the Knicks. Who? He’s a 6’8” rookie from Colorado, just trying to make the team. James White, another “no-name” who has been playing in Italy, started again at SG, as coach Mike Woodson gave all his best players the day off, except for Raymond Felton, who played less than 15 minutes.
The Celtics also chose to rest some big guns, including Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. That allowed Jeff Green to start at SF, play 38 minutes and score 25 points. Before we get too excited, he was being “guarded” by Mychel Thompson, whose brother is pretty good. Rajon Rondo could have triple-doubled against the weak opposition but settled for 13 PTS, 11 AST and 6 REB.
CHA @ DET: Remember Tyrus Thomas? In a rare start, he scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Granted, Byron Mullens (knee bruise) didn’t play, so Thomas will not get 33 minutes often. Consistent effort has always been his problem, but for one day, Ty looked a lot better than Bismack Biyombo.
That was pretty much the Pistons rotation, except for injured Corey Maggette. They could really use a 3-point gunner; Rodney Stuckey hit four of seven attempts but was a brutal 1-10 inside the arc. Tayshaun Prince is just a little long in the tooth to match up against the better SF in the league, and rookie Kyle Singler doesn’t look ready. If you can stash 19-year-old Andre Drummond in a keeper league, he will be a source of REB, BLK and PTS for a long time. Maybe he’ll even learn to hit a free throw.
WAS @ MIL: Hmm, a Wizards PG had a good game. A.J. Price cemented his role as the temporary starter (and eventual backup to John Wall) with 17 PTS, 11 AST and 4 REB, leading his team to a road win. Trevor Booker (22 PTS, 7 REB) looked very good at PF, where the team is also riddled with injuries.
It was the poorest game yet for Tobias Harris, who the Bucks are auditioning as the starting SF. Samuel Dalembert did block four shots, but failed to contribute much else. Ersan Ilyasova (14 PTS, 8 REB) returned to the starting five but Larry Sanders (9 PTS, 6 REB, 4 BLK) is still in the rotation. Every team is like every fan — tired of these mailed-in games and waiting for some real action.
LAC @ UTA: In a rare start, Matt Barnes (22 PTS, 7 REB, 3 BLK) showed that he might be better than Caron Butler, who got the night off. Blake Griffin was also rested, and Ronny Turiaf took his place, so Barnes — normally a defensive specialist — became a scorer. Chris Paul (17 PTS, 8 AST, 4 STL) is rounding nicely into form.
Some people thought the Jazz just wanted to be rid of Devin Harris and took Marvin Williams somewhat reluctantly. I’ve gone from dismissing both to seriously considering them on draft day. Marvin (18 PTS, 8 REB, 4 STL) looks rejuvenated and is fitting in perfectly; SF was a revolving door last year in Utah and he’s a significant upgrade over what’s left of Josh Howard. It looks like Randy Foye played PG and Alec Burks SG with the second unit. Jamaal Tinsley had some major dental work done; when he returns, Burks will have trouble getting minutes.