Daily Lies & Statistics: Merry Hannukkah!

Hey Jewish kids! Feeling left out this holiday season by all the people waiting in line to see Santa at the mall? Tired of Christmas trees and mistletoe and getting teased for celebrating a, let’s face it, totally inferior holiday yourself (just kidding, Jews, but I know you guys got a sense of humor!)? Well never fear: Omri Casspi is here!

I can hear you now: “Who?” Well, guess what, Jewish child – you now have your own heroic holiday character who can tell if you’re naughty or nice and hit the occasional three-pointer! I ain’t kibbitzin’!

Somebody get this man a sleigh!

The Israeli-born Casspi is now starting for the Sacramento Kings, and I’m ready to pronounce that he’s the best basketball-playing Jew alive right now, finally surpassing Damn Lies & Statistics’ own Greg Fox, a 6-6 Saturday morning rec league menace who can score from anywhere on the court as long as he’s home by sundown. As someone whose glass is always half-Jew myself, I am extremely 50 percent proud of Casspi. Of course, since this is fantasy basketball, I’m 50 percent pissed off as I’ve been starting Spencer Hawes in a few leagues.

Hawes owners have to be furious right now as he played just eight minutes and had two points. Can he ever get it together? Regardless, Casspi is looking like the mensch to own right now in Sacramento. He finished with 22 points, five boards and two threes in 38 minutes in a win over Washington. It’s worth noting, as an aside, that the Kings are actually 11-13 this year. I wasn’t sure if they’d win 11 all season when we started, and this was with a healthy Kevin Martin. In the great holiday tradition of Tracy McGrady, you have to wonder if Martin’s return is going to screw up whatever the Kings have going for them. As a giddy Tyreke Evans owner (26-6-6 last night), I’d like to ask Mr. Martin to take as much time as he needs returning to the lineup.

There were a few other interesting developments on a busy Wednesday in, as the kids call it, “The Association”:

– With Mikki Moore undergoing heel surgery, the Warriors were stuck with Anthony Randolph at center, only this is the Warriors, so Don Nelson naturally played Vladimir Radmanovic there. The Radman will not be confused with Rodman any time soon. He managed one rebound and shot a less-than-sparkling 0-of-8 from the field.

– What’s gotten into Pau Gasol lately? Is he tired of the press clippings his brother has been getting this season? Is he really pissed off that he’s not getting enough shots? Whatever the case, Gasol is averaging 19.5 rebounds per game in his last four. Last night he went for 26 points, 22 boards and four blocks, while his great teammate, Kobe Bryant, scored 39 and broke the Bucks’ heart with the game-winner. Kobe broke his finger? Are we sure?

– Hey, a Michael Redd sighting! Neat. Redd had 25 points vs. the Lakers and while we wonder if his knee will hold up, he’ll produce as a much-needed secondary outside threat alongside Brandon Jennings. Jennings had just 11 points last night and his 55-point game seems like a thing of the distant past right now. He’ll get a second wind eventually, but it might be time to see what you can get for him while his buzz is still worthy.

Troy Murphy has been a disappointment this season no matter how you look at it, but he’s showing signs of life. His 26-points, 15-rebound, 5-three effort last night reminded his owners of the 2008-09 Murphy, which gosh damnit we drafted him to be. Keep this up, please, Murph. In fluky Pacers news, T.J. Ford dished out 13 assists last night, a total aberration for someone who has been dishing them out at the rate of a backup center this season. You’d think Ford was a point guard in an up-tempo offense or something.

Marreese Speights returned to the Philly lineup and had 14 points off the bench in 22 minutes. He’s now joining a second unit that includes Elton Brand (11 and 7, 33 minutes) and I have no idea what to tell you about this situation. I’d be inclined to avoid both guys and might consider a long look at Jrue Holiday, who had nine assists and two steals last night in 37 minutes. It looks like a small lineup with a white hot Thaddeus Young at power forward and Allen Iverson at shooting guard.

– There ya go, Shane Battier! The guy was making me look bad for suggesting folks pick him up this week. He had 11 points, four boards, four assists, two steals, three blocks and three threes last night at Denver.

– Oh, Chauncey Billups is going to have an MRI on his strained left groin. If he misses any time at all, Ty Lawson should be added, by force if necessary.


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