Patience is a must in fantasy hoops. It can be frustrating to hold on to an injured player, especially those like John Wall or Andrew Bynum, whose recoveries take longer than expected. It’s also a nice boost when one of your absent stars comes back. Kyrie Irving (non-shooting hand) is supposed to practice today and could play as soon as tomorrow. Rookie Anthony Davis (ankle)is also getting close, which will make the Hornets much better. There was talk of Pau Gasol coming off the bench when he returns from resting two sore knees, but I think he’ll start, possibly on Tuesday. Also improving is Brook Lopez (foot) who may be more important to the Nets than anyone thought; they are 1-4 without him. All are tough calls in weekly-lineup leagues, but will be welcome additions as soon as they are available in daily formats.
December 9 Games
TOR @ LAC: For three quarters, Toronto looked respectable. L.A. native DeMar DeRozan brought his ‘A’ game (24 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST) and Amir Johnson (11 PTS, 12 REB) worked hard in relief of foul-prone Jonas Valanciunas. In the fourth, the Clippers took over, but not the players you might expect.
Coach Vinny Del Negro rode his second unit the entire 12 minutes, with Eric Bledsoe (14 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) running the show, an undersized frontcourt of Ronny Turiaf and Lamar Odom, gunner Jamal Crawford (16) and the intense Matt Barnes, who was ejected late for a scuffle with tiny John Lucas III. Lucas also got tossed, apparently for ducking and covering up while Barnes kept attacking him. Despite playing less than 30 minutes again, Chris Paul (16) and Blake Griffin (19 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL) managed to contribute; they simply weren’t needed down the stretch.
MIL @ BRK: I absolutely did not see this coming. The Nets have now lost four in a row, largely because Joe Johnson followed up his best game of the season with his worst. On 2-8 shooting, JJ scored just six points, while Monta Ellis torched him for 24. Andray Blatche (11 PTS, 6 REB) wasn’t as effective in his fifth start as he’d been in the previous four. Deron Williams (18 PTS, 8 AST) couldn’t contain an inspired Brandon Jennings (26 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB, 5 STL) and to the loud dismay of their fans, Brooklyn trailed 48-31 by halftime. Gerald Wallace (16 PTS, 16 REB) played a strong 40 minutes, but at PF, where Reggie Evans (5 PTS, 9 REB) got the start and Kris Humphries (4 PTS, 7 REB) came off the bench, there isn’t any offensive punch.