Welcome to the final Spin of 2012. Every morning, we summarize what happened in the real NBA, from the perspective of fantasy hoops. We also attempt to predict what might happen next. There are no X’s or O’s, just stats and categories. For ‘real’ analysis from basketball experts, be sure to read Chris Sheridan and our other great columnists. Here, it’s all about who’s hot, who’s hot and who’s next.
On New Year’s Eve, games begin at 3:00 EST and are all over before midnight. Set your lineups early, then have a fun (and safe) evening wherever you happen to be celebrating.
December 30 Games
UTA @ LAC: Make it 17 wins and counting for the Clippers, who also became only the third NBA team ever to go undefeated in a calendar month. Blake Griffin was held to just seven points by double-teams and foul trouble, but Caron Butler was perfect on six 3-point attempts for a 29-point outburst.
Chris Paul (19 PTS, 9 AST, 5 STL) and Jamal Crawford (19) did the rest of the scoring, while DeAndre Jordan (14 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) helped out inside. Only Al Jefferson (30 PTS, 8 REB, 4 BLK) was noteworthy for the Jazz, though Jamaal Tinsley (8 PTS, 11 AST) is doing OK as the fill-in for Mo Williams (thumb). An unhappy Paul Millsap (9 PTS in 20 minutes) was benched for Derrick Favors (11 PTS, 7 REB in 28:42) and a real-life Millsap trade would greatly benefit both players in fantasy hoops.
SAS @ DAL: No surprises here. Dirk Nowitzki (8 PTS, 5 REB in 22:30) is slowly playing his way into game shape and Dallas is no match for the Spurs when he’s less than 100%. Darren Collison (18 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB) had a nice line but couldn’t stop Tony Parker (21 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB) and Chris Kaman (13 PTS, 9 REB) is no match for Tim Duncan, whose 18 PTS, 10 REB and 3 BLK came in less than 29 minutes. Vince Carter (13 PTS) made his first start of the year and was a cool -28 in less than 25 minutes. It’s worth noting that Tiago Splitter (13 PTS, 6 REB) has started eight straight times, which makes coach Pop-Pop-Popovich’s rotations more predictable. He runs a nasty game.
MIL @ DET: With a team-high 20 points and a pair of clutch free throws, Tayshaun Prince was the hero. Greg Monroe (14 & 10) and Jason Maxiell (10 & 10) both had modest double-doubles, while Will Bynum cooled off (8 PTS, 5 AST, 5 TO) and will probably fade away when Rodney Stuckey (ankle) returns. Monta Ellis (30 PTS, 9 AST) was brilliant in defeat and the ‘good’ Ersan Ilyasova scored a season-high 24 off the bench, but the big men who had dominated Miami the night before were very quiet.