Who needs Kobe Bryant? Not the Lakers, if last night’s impressive road win means anything. You have to start with Andrew Bynum grabbing 30 rebounds, which has happened exactly twice in 12 years. He added 16 points but was unhappy with his 7-20 shooting. Metta World Peace had 26 points, easily a season high, and Pau Gasol (21 & 11) played well. It was a rare off-night for the Spurs: Danny Green scored 22, but Tony Parker went just 2-12 for four points.
PHI @ TOR: Two road wins in 24 hours have slowed the panic in Philadelphia. That Sixers bench is even better since Spencer Hawes (10 PTS, 4 REB, 4 BLK) was demoted, and while starter Nikola Vucevic (12 PTS, 5 REB) played less than 20 minutes, he was effective. Thaddeus Young led all scorers with 17. Toronto lost Jose Calderon in the third quarter with another cut over his injured eye. We liked Ed Davis (13 PTS, 13 REB, 5 AST) to benefit from the Andrea Bargnani calf injury but Amir Johnson, our other pick, didn’t fare so well.
IND @ CLE: It required overtime, but the Pacers got the W they needed. George Hill (17 PTS, 5 AST, 2 BLK) started again for Darren Collison (groin) and Roy Hibbert (11 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 4 BLK) had a great line for someone with a sore ankle. Antawn Jamison led the Cavs with 21 and the Lester Hudson Show continued with 19 points, but he missed 8 of 9 three-point attempts and had 6 turnovers.
ATL @ BOS: The Celtics are playing great. Tired from beating Miami the night before, they pulled out an OT squeaker against the well-rested Hawks. Rajon Rondo had another triple-double: 10 points, 10 boards and 20 assists. Both Kevin Garnett (22 & 12) and Brandon Bass (21 & 10) double-doubled. Mikael Pietrus (concussion) returned from missing 10 games with 8 points in 29 bench minutes. The Atlanta bench didn’t do much; Josh Smith (20) and Jeff Teague (21) led the starters.
LAC @ OKC: Chris Paul scored 31 points to lead this mild upset, with Blake Griffin (16 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST) making a big contribution in his home town, but it was a poor shooting night (40.8%) for the Thunder. Kevin Durant had “only” 22 while missing 14 shots, and Russell Westbrook went 3-14 from the floor; the bulk of his 20 points came on free throws.
NYK @ MIL: A very impressive road win for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony (32 PTS, 10 REB) was stellar and Tyson Chandler (19 PTS, 11 REB) didn’t miss a shot all night. Drew Gooden (back) lasted just five minutes for the Bucks, who had to play small. Monta Ellis went off for 35 and Brandon Jennings had 22, but Ersan Ilyasova disappeared, with just 3 points in 14 minutes. There is no report that he’s hurt.
UTA @ HOU: Led by 29 from Gordon Hayward, the Jazz shut down the Rockets, who were doing better on the road. DeMarre Carroll (10 PTS, 7 REB in 26 minutes) got another start at SF for Utah and is a very inexpensive “filler” on DraftStreet teams. Kyle Lowry had 15 PTS, 5 AST and 4 REB in his 20 minutes; Goran Dragic played 41:21 but went just 3-13 from the field. They may be used more together, with SG Courtney Lee seeing reduced opportunities.
SAC @ NOH: Jason Smith (22) was the unlikely hero for the Hornets and Marco Belinelli added 21, as Eric Gordon rested his sore back again. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins got in early foul trouble and was never a factor. Marcus Thornton had 25 in the losing cause.
PHO @ MEM: It was too much Rudy Gay (32) for the Suns to handle. Memphis also got 42 points from its bench, led by Zach Randolph (17 & 9) and O.J. Mayo (15, including a trio of 3-pointers.) Jared Dudley is fading — 11 total points in his last three games — and Markieff Morris (17 PTS & 6 REB) is coming on; the latter is a sleeper in next year’s drafts.
MIN @ DEN: Losing Kevin Love with a mild concussion after just eight minutes should have caused the Wolves to throw in the towel. Instead, Anthony Randolph threw in 28 points and blocked five shots to keep it close. Derrick Williams added 27 off the bench, but the Nuggets prevailed. Ty Lawson (24 PTS, 8 AST) led the way, Danilo Gallinari had 18 in his second game back and Kenneth Faried (16 & 12) had another strong game.
GSW @ POR: It sounds a lot like LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) will be shut down, so. J.J. Hickson could finish the season as the starter. He had 23 PTS and 13 REB in 40 minutes last night to complement Jamal Crawford’s 34-point outburst off the bench. Nicolas Batum (quad) was a surprise starter but he’s also a shutdown candidate. David Lee (21 PTS, 14 REB, 6 AST) and Nate Robinson (19 PTS, 8 AST) kept the Warriors in the game.
DET @ CHA: Absolutely meaningless, unless you need emergency help in your fantasy playoffs. D.J. Augustin is the starting PG again, with Kemba Walker as the sixth man; both could have good nights with Rodney Stuckey (knee) questionable for Detroit. Gerald Henderson is another Bobcats scoring option. Byron Mullens has cooled off but this is a good matchup for him to bounce back. The Pistons lost the first three games of this road trip, against tough opponents. If they can get up for this one, look for Tayshaun Prince and Greg Monroe to lead the way.
MIA @ CHI: Game of the night for NBA fans, a puzzle for fantasy owners. Will either team get anything going offensively? Will Derrick Rose play? You have to like LeBron James to get his numbers, and Dwyane Wade could have a big night if D-Rose can’t go. The advantage for the Bulls, as with most Heat opponents, is up front, as long as Joakim Noah plays aggressively.
LAC @ MIN: Both teams will be tired, though the Clippers will be in a better mood after a huge win last night. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves will probably be Love-less. J.J. Barea may have to take on a scoring role, but CP3 is a good defender. You might think Nikola Pekovic would step up in Love’s absence; I think Pek needs surgery on both ankles and while his pain tolerance is admirable, his game is gone for this year.
MEM @ SAS: Both teams played last night; the Spurs didn’t have to travel and have about a dozen interchangeable parts, so they may be fresher in the second half. However, Memphis is on a roll, winning six of seven this month. Tony Allen is day-to-day as that facial cut heals; he had the stitches out yesterday and would make the Grizzlies better if he can play.
DAL @ GSW: The Mavs need the win and the Warriors, who ought to be tanking, played last night. Jason Kidd is back at the point, with Delonte West starting at SG and Vince Carter coming off the bench. Now that Lamar Odom has been shut down, Brandan Wright is a bigger part of the rotation, playing C behind starter Brendan Haywood and also backing up Dirk Nowitzki.
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|Sure Things||Over $14,000|
|Hunches||$9,000 to $14,000|
Well, it worked again. I played three teams in the $2 GPP Salary Cap league, and the only one that used Andrew Bynum (53 FTPS) finished 11th of 220 to earn $10. That same lineup in another $2 league got a $5 consolation prize for finishing 22nd of 330 teams. But it was in the $5 league, where I played three teams for the first time, that it worked best.
Quite similar in other ways, my team with DeMarcus Cousins (just in case) finished 186th and the one with Marc Gasol 76th. But again, Mr. Bynum helped my third lineup to finish sixth, collecting $55 from the $1,000 guaranteed prize pool. We’re now up $54 for Week 6 and ahead overall since beginning this experiment.
With only five NBA games tonight, options are limited, but I’m sticking with the three-team plan in both $2 and $5 leagues. You don’t really “know” which version of the lineup is best, and the one that cashes in may surprise you. There’s also the possibility of winning multiple prizes when all your variations perform well.
The center position is especially thin this evening, so while Noah and Monroe are listed as “Hunches,” Marc Gasol ($15,686) will be a popular choice. Though he was quiet last night, DeAndre Jordan ($10,091) is another possibility. Good luck!
If you still haven’t tried Draft Street, it’s free to join and you can get started by playing in free leagues. One free league, the Sheridan Hoops Freeroll, features $350 in cash prizes. It goes tomorrow night and every Friday; the salaries won’t be the same as in today’s chart and more players will be available, but if you want to register in advance, here’s the link.