MIN @ DAL: I was right to load up on Dallas players in my daily leagues, wrong about Dirk Nowitzki (10 PTS, 6 AST) having his first ‘big’ game. It was Elton Brand (20 PTS, 6 REB) who came to life, with Darren Collison (23 PTS, 9 AST, 3 STL and O.J. Mayo (20 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) dominating the tired Wolves guards. Nikola Pekovic (20 PTS, 12 REB) and J.J. Barea (21 PTS, 5 AST) kept the score somewhat respectable.
OKC @ PHO: It’s nice to have two superstars. Kevin Durant (41 PTS, 5 REB) and Russell Westbrook (36 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL) didn’t need much help against the Suns, who were missing Jared Dudley (hand) and couldn’t do anything to slow them down. KD and WB scored 47 of the Thunder’s 51 second-half points. Only Marcin Gortat (19 PTS, 15 REB) and Shannon Brown (21 PTS, 3 AST, 3 REB) kept Phoenix in the game, though Michael Beasley (14 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK) is playing well enough to stay in the rotation for a while.
MIA @ UTA: We told you that Al Jefferson (23 PTS, 11 REB) was a tough assignment for Chris Bosh (16 PTS and one lonely rebound), but it was a team-wide effort by the Jazz. Gordon Hayward (22 PTS, 4 AST) hit three triples off the bench and Paul Millsap (17 PTS, 9 REB, 2 STL) worked hard. LeBron James (32 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB, 3 STL, 2 BLK) was kind of a one-man team; I was expecting much more from Dwyane Wade (11 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST) who for some reason didn’t play the fourth quarter.
CLE @ SAC: The ever-mercurial DeMarcus Cousins (26 PTS, 14 REB, 6 AST, 3 BLK) somehow avoided being tossed, though he did pick up one technical and committed another flagrant foul. Tyreke Evans couldn’t miss — 6-6 from the floor, 4-4 from the line — and Marcus Thompson added 20 off the bench as the Kings won a game where defense wasn’t even a rumor. For the Cavs, in a back-to-back, Dion Waiters had a career-high 33 off the bench and Tristan Thompson (17 PTS, 15 REB, 4 AST) played well up front, but Kyrie Irving (15 PTS, 4 AST, 3 STL) turned it over six times and missed 13 shots.
January 15 Games
NOH @ PHI: Two point guards enjoying career years will square off, and Jrue Holiday gets the edge over Greivis Vasquez. I also like Evan Turner tonight against Al-Farouq Aminu, but the Hornets can make a game of it, especially if Eric Gordon gets hot and the big men are assertive. The Sixers play 12 of their next 13 at home, and are trying to get back into the East playoff picture, so they will be very good to own until the all-star break.