HOU @ NOH: Who cares? Well, fans of both teams, all the players fighting to carve out roles, and fantasy owners. Guess right and you can find a bargain. I’ve been touting Rockets’ PF Patrick Patterson all month and Kevin Martin is clearly their go-to guy, poised for a big year. My deep sleeper Donatas Motiejunas hasn’t played as much as hoped; Omer Asik has simply been better. The best of the four Houston rookies has been Terrence Jones, who has only SF eligibility in some leagues but will qualify at PF soon enough. PG Toney Douglas and SF Carlos Delfino are solid bench players with some fantasy value.
Someone needs to help poor Anthony Davis. Sure, he grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked two shots on Monday, but 2-12 from the floor doesn’t cut it. Until (unless) Eric Gordon’s knee is up to playing, this team is in big trouble. There’s a hole at SF that Al-Farouq Aminu seems unable to fill, and Lance Thomas is not the solution. The Hornets could try Ryan Anderson at the 3, but that gives up some “D” as opponents would go quick.
DET @ MIN: We knew Ricky Rubio would be delayed, but the loss of Kevin Love is devastating to hopes of a fast start. It’s mostly about survival now for the Timberwolves. Survive tonight’s game with no more injuries, and survive the first month without their All-Star. Nikola Pekovic will wear a protective wrap on his sore left hand, while Andrei Kirilenko will have to play some PF, creating other ripples through the rotation. I’m a proud Brandon Roy owner in two leagues; you can recognize us because our fingers are so tightly crossed.
The Pistons are what they are — loaded with promising youngsters, not quite ready for prime time. They may be very interesting in the second half; if veterans like Tayshaun Prince are traded and the kids get to play, this will be a successful season no matter what the W-L record. Andre Drummond is a find for sure.
DAL @ OKC: It figures that Westbrook and Durant will play for the home fans, but others who played last night might be rested. The only thing that matters to coach Scotty Brooks is eight days from now, when his team plays in San Antonio.
The Mavericks are scrambling without Dirk. Complicating that loss is an injury to Chris Kaman that has been variously described as his ankle, Achilles and calf. Instead of taking over at PF, greying Elton Brand had to play center. Tonight may provide some important clues.
WAS @ MIA: The Heat played last night in Charlotte and have a televised home game on Friday. Don’t expect their best this evening. D-Wade should be back, but someone else may rest. Ray Allen had the ball in his hands quite a bit — though he turned it over five times — and we’re watching to see if that trend continues.
The Wizards have “solved” the absence of John Wall with A.J. Price, who is more of a first-month streamer than a great fantasy pick. They are giving Trevor Booker a big shot at PF until Nene (plantar fasciitis) is able to play; Kevin Seraphin will also contribute when his injured right calf permits. Rookie Bradley Beal twisted an ankle on Monday and didn’t practice yesterday, so he’s questionable.
LAL @ LAC: The Battle of L.A. is more interesting than the Battle of NYC on many levels, at least tonight. The Lakers finish up with a back-to-back; I’m expecting them to play harder than they have all month, then mail it in tomorrow. But you never know what coach Mike Brown is thinking. The Steve Nash watch continues; whether he’s just “sandbagging” through the preseason or it’s the offensive system, he’s yet to have a standout performance with his new team. I know he’s happy as a role player on a championship contender, but his fantasy value is dropping.
It’s a similar story for the Clippers, who play again tomorrow in Denver. This being a “home” game at their shared arena, you might expect more of an effort. Or not; it’s the silly season. DeAndre Jordan has been very impressive at both ends of the floor and should be pumped to face Dwight Howard. There’s a slight hole at SG, where Willie Green is the temporary starter as Chauncey Billups rehabilitates that Achilles injury. Jamal Crawford is the best to own, if you can cope with the odd game where he hurts your FG%.