PHO @ OKC: No surprises here, unless you count P.J. Tucker (7 PTS, 6 REB) starting ahead of Shannon Brown in a futile attempt to slow down Kevin Durant. KD scored 30 and Russell Westbrook (24 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) was everywhere, including the locker room to get eight stitches over his eye. Luis Scola (24 PTS, 6 REB) had another strong game for Phoenix, and Goran Dragic (16 PTS, 8 AST) played well despite being sore all over.
ATL @ HOU: Even the return of Josh Smith (hip flexor) from a 1-game absence didn’t help the Hawks keep up with the Runnin’ Rockets, my favorite fantasy team. After missing two games with an illness, Carlos Delfino scored a season-high 22 off the bench, with six 3-pointers, adding 4 REB and 8 AST. He single-handedly saved my team from extinction in our Elimination Roto league. Viva Argentina! James Harden (28 PTS, 5 AST, 2 STL) and Jeremy Lin (16 PTS, 8 AST) were also pretty good, and Omer Asik (11 PTS) pulled down 17 boards. Al Horford (18 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST) was stellar for Atlanta and Louis Williams scored 21, but they gave up a 16-0 run in the second quarter and never recovered.
January 1 Games
DAL @ WAS: This is a 6:00 EST tipoff. Jordan Crawford (ankle) practiced yesterday and is good to go. Since Nene became a starter, Emeka Okafor has notched three double-doubles in four games. One is a fluke, two a coincidence, three a trend. Dallas will not have an easy time avoiding a seventh straight loss. The Mavs appear to be standing around waiting for Dirk Nowitzki to lead them, and he’s still not in game shape.
POR @ NYK: It’s a whole new look for the Knicks in 2013, with Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) supposedly ready to play his first game of the season and Carmelo Anthony (knee) also expected back. How those pieces fit together, especially with Raymond Felton (hand) sidelined, remains to be seen. The safest fantasy plays tonight are J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd. The Blazers aren’t great on the road, Wesley Matthews (hip) may or may not be ready and while LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum are always must-starts, it’s hard to see them winning.