Whoa boy! The Celtics, who are hoping to get Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett back this week, may have lost their team captain, Paul Pierce, after he banged knees with Sheldan Williams in practice on Sunday. Typically you’d expect an ice pack and a good night’s sleep would heal it up nicely. Unfortunately, in this case, the point of impact occurred in the exact same spot on the knee that Pierce had drained due to an infection in late-December. Whether or not he misses any games this week is still unknown, but it’s worth noting that the initial infection caused him to miss five games at toward the end of December.
Good news, however, may be on the way for the Celtics. As I alluded to early, the Doc Rivers provided fantasy owners with a bit of good news. Rasheed Wallace is expected to play on Monday at home against the Mavs. Garnett is also close to returning. Rivers stated that KG might play this weekend. Kendrick Perkins, who is first in the league in FG% and fifth in blocks, was the big winner in Garnett’s absence. His value may take a hit once Wallace and Garnett return, but he still should be universally owned.
Raptors Trounce Mavs
Josh Howard is on some shooting slump. After his 2-of-14 performance on Friday, Howard came back on Sunday to make just 3-of-12 shot attempts. I’ve never been much of a Howard fan as a fantasy performer for two reasons: he can’t seem to stay healthy and, aside from scoring, he doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. So when he has woeful shooting nights like these, you wind up getting no value out of him. I get nothing out of him!
Erick Dampier played 21 minutes and took zero shot attempts. That can’t happen again. Not when he only posts five rebounds and a block. And not when Drew Gooden comes off the bench to pull down 10 rebounds in 15 minutes. Remember when Shaq called him “Ericka?” Ha.
Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon continue to share time at the point. Jack started and played 23 minutes, scoring 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, seven assists, three rebounds and a steal. Calderon also logged 23 minutes and, for the second straight game, outplayed Jack — 15 points, seven assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer — he also lead the team in plus/minus with +32. Coach Triano insists that Jack is still his starter, but it looks like it might be time to sell high on him.
Hedo Turkoglu continues to struggle on offense. He once again failed to hit the double-digit scoring mark — the third time in his last five games. Against the Mavs he went 2-of-9 from the floor, which marks the third time in his last four games in which he shot 2-of-9 from the field. What I’m trying to say is, you might want to sit Turkoglu while he tries to figure out where he fits into the offense. Yup, he’s still trying to figure out his role 41 games into the season. Nice signing, bros!
Nuggets Hold Off the Jazz
Carmelo Anthony posted a huge line — 37 points on 13-of-22 shooting, 11-of-12 from the line, eight rebounds, three steals and, cough, seven turnovers.
Chauncey Billups added 29 points, but provided a major boost your free-throw percentage by hitting 17-of-19.
Ty Lawson returned from an ankle injury after missing the last four games. He played pretty well off the bench scoring 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting, one 3-pointer and two steals, but managed to dish only one assist in 26 minutes. However…you do like to see Lawson lead the team in minutes off the bench. If that turns into a trend he might have some nice value.
Deron Williams (wrist) played 41 minutes — 23 points and 13 assists. The wrist seems to be OK. So does the game.
Andrei Kirilenko started for the fourth straight game. The problem with AK-47 is that even as he’s been in the starting rotation, he’s still only playing 25 minutes per game. And his minutes could start to decrease even further. That would be in part thanks to Kyle Korver, who played a season-high 23 minutes and scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and four 3-pointers. Korver’s not worth an add yet, except if you’re in a deep league. Even then, it would have to be about 16 teams deep. (I bet Korver’s wife doesn’t let him sleep with other women, though. You decide how important that is to your fantasy squad.)
Paul Millsap broke out of his three-game slump with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds, two steals and a block in 30 minutes. He’s still not consistent enough to add and slot into your lineup nightly. In the right matchup, though, he might be worth a look.
Chris Kaman (back) is questionable for Monday.
Brandon Roy (hamstring) is also questionable.
Ronny Turiaf (ankle) might actually play.
Anthony Morrow, however, is out for the next week with a strained knee.
ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO SET YOUR LINEUP EARLY!