It turns out that Brazilian report was correct about Anderson Varejao, who is having surgery for a tear in his quad muscle. He can be dropped in redraft leagues and should be traded to a rebuilding team in keepers. For one night at least, Tyler Zeller (11 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST) and Tristan Thompson (11 PTS, 14 REB, 2 STL) were more-than-adequate replacements, as Kyrie Irving (33 PTS, 4 AST, 3 STL) torched the tired, slumping Hawks. Jeff Teague (15 PTS, 8 AST) played a bit better but Louis Williams had just five points in a disappointing 21 minutes off the bench as Atlanta went ‘big’ to no avail.
Other January 9 Games
MIL @ CHI: I was right about Carlos Boozer (22 PTS, 11 REB) staying hot, but wrong about Larry Sanders (6 PTS, 12 REB, 7 BLK) being no match for Joakim Noah. The Bucks are now 2-0 under Jim Boylan, and Brandon Jennings (35 PTS, 6 AST, 6 REB, five 3-pointers) is playing sensational ball. Ersan Ilyasova (13 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) should be owned in all leagues; he’s about due to get hot now that he’s escaped the infamous Skiles doghouse, which was a lot like the Hotel California — you can never leave. Nate Robinson (19 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB, 5 STL) filled in for Kirk Hinrich (elbow) but Richard Hamilton was 2-for-11 in just 16 minutes and is obviously not himself.
PHI @ TOR: We told you the Sixers would be tired. Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young managed 16 points apiece, but 39.2% shooting and 72 points as a team won’t get the job done. With Jose Calderon (14 PTS, 11 AST) facilitating and Amir Johnson (19 PTS, 12 REB, 5 AST) enjoying another start at C, the Raptors shot 48.8% and steadily pulled away in the second half. My colleague Jeff Nichols was just lucky; he picked up Landry Fields (10 PTS, 11 REB, 3 STL in 42:28) in our Roto Elim league at 8:45 pm, only because my internet was down. (I’d been trying to add him for an hour and a half.) Fields had a nerve problem earlier in the season but is locked in as the starting SF now and is a rebounding machine.
UTA @ CHA: Give serious consideration to picking up Alec Burks (12 PTS, 3 AST, 2 REB) whose minutes keep rising as he plays more PG; starter Jamaal Tinsley (9 PTS, 8 AST) got less than 20 minutes. Al Jefferson (26 PTS, 8 REB) and Paul Millsap(19 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST) absolutely dominated. The Bobcats’ bench outscored their starters 67-35, but when Hakim Warrick (10 PTS, 8 REB) is your best big man, wins will be scarce indeed.