It’s been one of ‘those’ seasons for the Dallas Mavericks. Already without Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and with assorted other injuries to key players preventing them from getting used to each other on the court, plus the Delonte West soap opera, they still got off to a 3-1 start. Now they have lost Shawn Marion to a sprained MCL.
The initial prognosis is “at least three games” and the Matrix himself calls it “a minor little thing,” so his teammates and fantasy owners are hoping that’s the worst-case scenario. Any knee injury is troublesome; returning too soon can make matters worse. Until further notice, put Marion on your bench and consider rookie Jae Crowder his likely replacement.
November 6 Games
TOR @ OKC: It was a terrible night for the Raptors. Already well on their way to getting blown out, they lost Kyle Lowry in the second quarter to an ankle injury that looked severe. There’s no official medical report; he’s being examined more thoroughly in Dallas today and was in a “precautionary” walking boot after the game. Consider him out tonight and doubtful for Friday; we’ll let you know if the news gets worse. One bright spot amid the gloom was the play of rookie Jonas Valanciunas (18 PTS, 6 REB) who played a personal-best 31:34 — he’s gonna be a good one. Toronto also took a 14-minute look at Terrence Ross, the #8 overall pick in last year’s draft.
Ahead by 19 at the half, the Thunder stars didn’t need to play much in the second half. The Game Flow over at Popcorn Machine gives a graphical illustration of what we call garbage time. Rookie Jeremy Lamb saw his first action since the big trade, and training camp sensation Perry Jones got 18 minutes of game experience. Serge Ibaka (17 PTS, 2 BLK in 23:18) made 8-of-9 shots as Valanciunas was busy with Kendrick Perkins and Toronto has nobody else physical enough to handle a second big man.
ORL @ CHI: Considering that PG Jameer Nelson (hamstring/groin) didn’t play, this was a gallant effort by the Magic. His backup E-Twaun Moore had 17 points and Arron Afflalo poured in 28 to keep it close all night. Glen Davis had his worst game of the young season and still double-doubled (16 & 10) while C Nikola Vucevic (16 PTS, 10 REB, 2 BLK) looks a lot better than I thought.
As we expected (and advised yesterday) Joakim Noah was dominant inside with 20 points, 9 boards and 5 blocks, but it wasn’t until Luol Deng (23) got hot in the second half that the Bulls were able to edge away for the win. There was a sign of life from Kirk Hinrich (8 PTS, 5 AST, 5 REB, 2 STL) who may be getting over that nagging groin strain.
DET @ DEN: Shooting 5-17 was actually a huge improvement for Rodney Stuckey, whose FG% rose from 4.3% all the way to 15% for the year. It still wasn’t enough. Yesterday I said Brandon Knight could only improve on his previous 2-point performance. Wrong again; he matched it. Greg Monroe was outstanding in defeat (27 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK) but the other Pistons are not very good.
The Nuggets finally won a game, though Danilo Gallinari (8 PTS, 4 TO) is still not in his best rhythm. Andre Iguodala (17 PTS, 10 REB) and Ty Lawson (15 PTS, 9 AST, 4 STL) led the balanced attack with JaVale McGee adding 16 points and 3 blocks in just 18 minutes. Kenneth Faried (15 PTS, 8 REB) deserves more than 22:40 but the Manimal has been kept on a short leash so far.