GSW @ BRK: Three Nets played great, and that wasn’t enough. Joe Johnson scored a season-high 32, Andray Blatche (22 PTS, 15 REB, 4 STL) has been terrific since replacing Brook Lopez (foot) and Deron Williams (23 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB) is hard to fault. However, the other two starters were quiet and the bench managed just 13 points, as the surprising Warriors won again. Stephen Curry (28 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) and David Lee (30 PTS, 15 REB) got a lot more help from their teammates. Rookie Draymond Green grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in a career-high 27:45 and is on the fantasy radar in deeper leagues.
CLE @ MIN: That was more like it for Kevin Love — 36 points, 13 rebounds and improved shooting percentages. He’s still not 100% (hand injuries take time to fully heal) but the injury-depleted Cavs couldn’t stop him. Andrei Kirilenko returned after missing four games with back spasms and put up an AK-47 line (8 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 3 BLK) despite the rust. Although Nikola Pekovic is bothered again by a sore ankle, Anderson Varejao (4 PTS, 14 REB) failed to take advantage. It was an ugly game, but the Wolves will take the result.
MEM @ NOH: This was a defensive struggle, as Ryan Anderson scored only 15 points and Zach Randolph (15 PTS, 7 REB) didn’t even double-double. Only Rudy Gay (28 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 2 BLK) was in high gear offensively. The Hornets started Xavier Henry (12) at SF and Al-Farouq Aminu got a DNP-CD; some very good work by the second unit kept them in the game. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts each scored 15, and big Jason Smith (14 PTS, 5 REB, 5 BLK) was effective. Of note for the Grizzlies was a perfect 6-for-6 (with four 3-pointers) by Quincy Pondexter off the bench, as Tony Allen played just 22 minutes in his return from a groin strain.
TOR @ UTA: Al Jefferson (back) wasn’t needed, his replacement Enes Kanter (18 PTS, 8 REB) looked good and a total of eight players scored in double figures against the hapless Raptors, who have hit rock bottom. Jonas Valanciunas (6 PTS) was in foul trouble, again. Kyle Lowry (10 PTS) tweaked his right ankle. Andrea Bargnani (20 PTS, 8 REB) wasn’t the main problem for once; it’s the abysmal team defense that surrendered 131 points and let Utah shoot 49.5% on the night. Mickael Pietrus (13 PTS, 4 3PTM, 3 BLK) continues to reward those fantasy owners who picked him up as a free agent.
CHA @ MIL: Make it six straight losses for the Bobcats. Gerald Henderson (19) was a bright spot off the bench, and should replace rookie Jeffery Taylor (1-for-10) as a starter soon. For Milwaukee, Marquis Daniels (18 PTS, 6 REB) continues to play well at SF and Larry Sanders (8 PTS, 10 REB, 5 BLK) stayed out of foul trouble. Ersan Ilyasova owners can breathe a sigh of relief; his 21 PTS and 12 REB were team highs in just 19:35 off the bench. The game was so lopsided that Scott Skiles pointed to Drew Gooden (2 PTS in 8:23) for the first time all season.
HOU @ SAS: Despite 29 points by James Harden, this was never close. Toney Douglas (10) is inching toward a timeshare with Jeremy Lin (4) but garbage time came early and both teams used 13 players, so we can’t draw any conclusions. Tony Parker (17 PTS) and Tim Duncan (12 PTS, 12 REB, 2 BLK) led the Spurs and still rested most of the second half.