Raise your hand if you’re a Hornets fan? Now raise your hand if you’re a fantasy owner who has Chris Paul, David West or Emeka Okafor rostered and could care less that they blew a fourth quarter lead last night against the Rockets. Yeah, I thought so. I happened to be watching the Hornets-Rockets game with great pleasure (fantasy pleasure!), yet had no vested interest in who won or lost. That’s how I role sometimes. I won’t lie to you and tell you that the end result is not important to me. But I can tell you that sometimes you watch games that you’re less inclined to pay attention to simply because you have a player on one of your fantasy teams involved in it. David Stern needs to embrace the game! There’s no other reason why we should sit through a performance like the one the Hawks put on in the fourth quarter last night. But we did. Not as Hawks fans, but as fantasy owners. Willing Josh Smith to pick up another block or two.
Well, if you own Chris Paul and aren’t a Hawks fan all you cared about was the triple-double he posted (16 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and not that the Hornets couldn’t finish off the Rockets who came from behind to pull off the victory, outscoring NOH 34-18 in the fourth quarter. If you have David West on any of your teams you got a career-high out of him last night — 44 points on 18-of-30 shooting, 12 rebounds, 2 threes, and two steals. The tallest of the ‘big three’ broke out of his three-game defensive slump with 5 blocks in 31 minutes. This also happened to be the first time in his last 8 games in which Oak touched 30 minutes. Who cares that they blew the lead, right?
What are we talking about this morning?
Kevin Durant scored 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting with three treys, 11 rebounds and a steal. Durant has now scored 30 or more points in each of his last five games. He’s also shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in that span. Ladies and gentlemen, your fantasy basketball player of the month. Sorry, Zach Randolph.
LeBron James couldn’t find his ‘J’ last night. He shot 6-of-20 from the floor and scored just 14 points against the Hawks. This was the fourth time this season that King James failed to score 20 points in a game. Other than his woeful shooting (0-for-5 from beyond the arc) James contributed nicely — 10 assists, eight rebounds, five steals and a block. I would bench him — only if you’re playing against me this week.
Kobe Bryant? Yeah he had his shot last night. He scored 44 points on 13-of-27 shooting, 16-of-16 free-throw attempts, and dished a season-high 11 assists.
The Knicks held their 11th straight opponent to under 100 points. Huh? This is their longest streak of holding teams below the century-mark since the 2000-01 season. Even though last night it was the Pistons — the fourth worst scoring team in the league — who they held to 87 points, it’s still worth giving the Knicks credit for their strong defensive effort over the last 11 games. They held the Pistons to 41.8-percent shooting from the floor and were out-rebounded by the Knicks 44-33. Richard Hamilton remains off his game. He shot 5-of-21 last night and is now 11 for his last 41 since returning on Monday night. Rip, more like…Sip (cause his game is coming along slowly?).
David Lee scored a season-high 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting and recorded his 16th double-double of the season adding 15 rebounds and five assists. Sometimes I hate when he complains about not getting calls, but I have to say that in NBA2K10 I always make sure I have Lee on my team. A recipe for success.
Mike Bibby has scored 4.3 points on 20.8-percent shooting over his last three games. With Jamal Crawford actually leading the team in scoring in three of their last four games, it’s about time that Bibby hits the fantasy bench.
Charlie Villanueva scored zero points and pulled down just one rebound in 12 minutes against the Knicks. How’s that plantar faciitis working out for you? Bench him.
T.J. Ford was back starting at point guard for the Pacers with Earl Watson moved to the bench. Really neither stood out last night against the Bulls. Watson had 10 points, four rebounds and six assists in 19 minutes after he struggled to even make a single field-goal in each of his last two games. Ford wasn’t much better with nine points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals in 27 minutes. The Pacers have struggled on offense scoring fewer than 100 points in each of their last seven. Neither is a sure-thing right now.
John Salmons must be loving his new role coming off the bench. I know I’m not complaining about it. He scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting, three treys and five assists in 28 minutes. Starter Kirk Hinrich started off hot, though finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, two three-pointers, four rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes. Both should be owned in standard and deep leagues as far as I’m concerned. Even with Salmons recent struggles from the floor.
Tyrus Thomas pulled down a team-high 15 rebounds and added three blocks and one steal against the Pacers. He didn’t start this one, but I can’t see how he’s not in the starting lineup going forward. He’s one of my favorite guys to own. And I know Jeff is waiting to hold that against me with a low-ball offer. Any day now…
Shane Battier was dropping threes like it was our business to take notice. He hit 5-of-8 on the night and has now made at least one three-pointer in each of his last eight. For a guy ranked 64th overall, it’s a wonder that he’s still available in most standard leagues.
Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph each blocked 5 shots against the Lakers. Keep Turiaf in mind. He has similar value to Chris Andersen.
Ron Artest (battered husband syndrome?) missed last night’s game. Strange things are happening in Artest-land. Lamar Odom started at small forward in his place and posted 11 points and 11 rebounds. Once Artest returns I think Odom is going to go back to having minimal value.
Troy Murphy left last night’s game with a sprained ankle. Let’s hope it’s not serious. If he does miss time you should look at adding Roy Hibbert or Hansbrough once he returns.
Etan Thomas (flu) sat out against the Wizards. Sorry, I know he’s a low-impact fantasy player, but Syracuse held on to beat Seton Hall last night. I was feeling a bit Orange.
Will Bynum (ankle) missed the game against the Knicks. He’s listed as day-to-day, though should be sat now that Gordon and Hamilton are back.
Tyler Hansbrough (ear) missed last night’s game. This allowed Josh McRoberts to play a season-high 27 minutes — the most playing time for McRoberts since December 20 of last year. McRoberts is not much of a McAdd unless both Hansbrough and Murphy miss time.
Delonte West picked up some of the scoring slack for LeBron — 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, one three-pointer, five assists, two rebounds, and two steals in 29 minutes. He had been on a nit of a shooting slump scoring 18 points over his last three, but has done enough elsewhere to make up for the lack of scoring — 4.3 assists, two steals and 0.7 blocks per game over his last five. Keep him on your radar.
James Harden, after shooting 0-for-10 from the floor on Monday night, hit 3-of-7 field goals on his way to scoring 11 points in 16 minutes. Rooks will be rooks.
Ten games tonight! Jeff should be here tomorrow morning to take you through the action. After that we’re done until the next decade. Have a great new year ya’ll!