This time it counts. The Lakers, 0-8 in the exhibition season, were supposed to turn it on and dominate the league. Not yet. Kobe Bryant played on that sore foot, scored 22 points but did nothing else to help his fantasy owners. Dwight Howard took all of one night to kill your FT% category, making a pathetic 3-14 from the stripe. He did have 19 PTS and 10 REB before fouling out. It was a tremendous upset for the injury-plagued Mavs; more details in the game recap below.
On Hallowe’en, with many northeastern (and Canadian) NBA cities still affected by the full-moon Frankenstorm, we have a special treat for you. No trick.
The $1,000 Tournament for Sheridan Hoops readers closes TONIGHT at 7:00 EDT. Challenge me, Chris Sheridan and your friends for bragging rights and win some cash. It’s limited to 555 teams; there’s a $2 entry fee per team but you can enter up to three times.
Pick nine players (2 PG, 2 SG, 2 SF, 2 PF, 1 C) within the $60,000 cap. Only six categories count in the scoring system — PTS = 1pt, REB = 1pt, AST = 1pt, BLK = 2pts, STL = 2pts, TO = -1pt — and whoever scores the most fantasy points wins $200 cash, available the next day via PayPal. Second place is worth $125, third $100 and even finishing 61st earns $4.
If you need a test drive, open a free, no-obligation FanDuel account (no credit card needed) and in the Lobby, where available leagues are listed, find the 20-team Sheridan Hoops Free league and click Enter. Then you can pick a team with everything identical to the tournament settings. If you like the concept, make a small deposit and enter our contest. For more details and my picks, see Page 4 after our daily Spin around the Association.
October 30 Games:
DAL @ LAL: The headline says “Lakers Lose,” no slight intended to the victorious Dallas Mavericks. Darren Collison had 17 PTS, 4 AST and 3 STL to win the PG battle over Steve Nash, who had a quiet 7-point night with four helpers. In a lineup surprise, Brandan Wright started at C after missing some time with a sore ankle; 14 PTS, 5 REB and 3 BLK in 19:31 was a great line under the circumstances. That meant PF Elton Brand (8 PTS, 11 REB) and SF Shawn Marion (11 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST) didn’t have to play out of position. The Dallas bench was the difference; Vince Carter and Rodrigue Beaubois each scored 11, rookie Jae Crowder added 8 and Eddy Curry (7 PTS, 4 REB in 16:44) filled in capably as the backup center.
There are explanations, if not excuses, for L.A. fans. Kobe is far from 100%, Dwight fouled out and Metta World Peace (who did have 8 REB, 4 AST & 3 STL) missed 7 of his 8 shots. The new additions haven’t played much together. No matter how many hall-of-famers are in the starting five, the bench needs to contribute more than 17 points.
BOS @ MIA: In a very entertaining game, the Celtics shot 52% and scored 107 points against the Heat without ever really threatening. Rajon Rondo (20 PTS, 13 AST, 7 REB) was superb, but didn’t have quite enough help. Paul Pierce (23 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL) was fine, Brandon Bass double-doubled (15 & 11) and Leandro Barbosa scored 16 bench points in as many minutes. However, Jeff Green was a big disappointment, missing all four of his shots in 23 minutes, and rookie Jared Sullinger, apart from one perfect Rondo feed for a dunk, was a non-factor.
Dwayne Wade (29) and LeBron James (26 despite leg cramps) got off to strong starts, while sixth man Ray Allen played over 30 minutes and added 19 points against his former club. Chris Bosh (19 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK) got the better of Kevin Garnett (9 PTS, 12 REB, 2 BLK, 5 TO) and Mario Chalmers was impressive: 8 PTS, 11 AST and 3 STL. Rashard Lewis (10) was the only other bench player to see much action, as the Heat, who shot 54%, will continue to play small and fast.