Is it just me or is Tracy McGrady suffering from the same swollen jaw that afflicted Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds late in their careers? Remember the young, svelte McGrady who used to block everything within a 10-mile radius of Air Canada Centre? That young man is gone and the beefier version with a jawline the size of a Chevy Tahoe has replaced him.
With all due respect, McGrady is attempting to come back from microfracture surgery and has looked ok in his two games as a Knick. But selfishness always prevails, and he is way too trigger happy for a guy who fires up line drives like he’s Wade Boggs, and who has played little the past two seasons. Opponents haven’t feared him in a while and he needs to start to blend in. Last week I debated who I should pick up between McGrady and Spanish Chocolate. On par with all of my basketball decisions this season I went with T-Mac.
Have I mentioned my team is absolutely hideous in the Damn Lies League? It doesn’t matter that Amar’e Stoudemire and Devin Harris are playing better and could wind up with similar stats to last year. If you get off to a lousy start in fantasy, there is no way to make up ground.
If you’re one of those fancy owners who still has a shot this season, we’re getting to the time of year where the men are separated from the tots. Be on the lookout for teams playing for next year, and there are many, that will look to give more playing to their young guys (see: Brandon Rush, Will Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Anthony Morrow, Marcus Thornton). They are worth a speculative pickup. Other coaches, once the playoffs are out of reach, will throw some bizarre lineups out there to shake things up (see: Chris Crawford and triple-double machine Bob Sura of the ’03-04 Atlanta Hawks and Greg Fox’s Unhappy Hairstons).
On to last night’s stars:
Danny Granger: He made a triumphant return to the Indiana lineup yesterday, but the Pacers didn’t triumph, losing in Chicago 120-110. Granger, who missed a little time due to personal reasons, posted 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and knocked down four 3-pointers. He has killed his owners with various issues and ailments this season and owes it to them to stay on the court for the final 25 games.
Brandon Rush: Rush has been showing signs of life lately and last night he registered 21 points, drained five 3-pointers and rejected two shots for good measure. He has cemented himself in the starting five and should be claimed if available.
Flip Murray: This scoring machine is absorbing the minutes left behind by the departed John Salmons and is making the most of it. He can be a solid source of points, threes and steals the rest of the way and should no longer be available.
Marc Gasol: Pau‘s baby bro continues to make it seem as if he is playing Super Puff Basketball in his bedroom as he converted 10-of-11 from the field last night in the Grizzlies’ 99-94 win in the nation’s capitol. For the season, he is averaging 14.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, but is somehow only shooting .584 from the field. I actually thought his FG percentage went down after yesterday’s contest.
Andray Blatche: The Andray Blatche menace continues to scare the dickens out of small children everywhere as he recorded 24 points, eight boards and five assists in last night’s loss to the Grizz. Blatche, who let’s just say is doing his best Hakeem Olajuwon impersonation of late, is officially a top 10 center.
Al Thornton: How did the Wiz go from the law firm of Arenas, Jamison and Butler to Blatche, Thornton and Miller? With newly acquired Josh Howard done for the year, expect the former Yankee Clipper to play big minutes and produce solid numbers as last night’s 16 and 11 will attest.
Hedo Turkoglu: With Chris Bosh still on the mend, Turkoglu has more of an opportunity to put on his disco outfit and boogie on down the court for additional shots. He knocked down 8-of-9 from the floor last night (3-for-3 from 3-point range), but it wasn’t enough as the Raptors lost at home (101-87) to the Blazers.
Darren Collison/Marcus Thornton: Who cares that the Hornets got crushed (115-95) in Milwaukee last night? All that matters is that Collison (22 pts, 9 ast) and Thornton (25 pts, 3-5 3-pt fg) continued to squire each other around the court to dazzling numbers. Unless you’re playing in a league on Mars, Collison is gone… Thornton could still be available.
Andrew Bogut: We all know that the big Aussie is having a fabulous season, but he is also capable of putting up a 100-point, 50-rebound, 12-block week thanks to the Bucks’ five-game slate… Chamberlainesque numbers to say the least. Now if he could only match the Big Dipper’s prolific totals in the romance department we could have something here.
Dwight Howard: The Magic big man scoffed at Gasol’s shooting numbers and went a perfect 11-for-11 from the floor and finished with 30 points and 16 caroms in a 110-92 win in Houston. Vince Carter even converted 6-of-9 from the field to raised his field goal percentage to double figures.
Manu Ginobili: Let’s not forget that this is one of the top two guards of the past 10 years and there is still some life left in his Pro Keds. Last night he carried the hometown Spurs to a 95-87 win over a red-hot Oklahoma City team with 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. If you can still make trades, the Argentinean is a decent guy to target.
Brendan Haywood: I don’t know why Haywood’s incredible numbers continue to annoy me. Maybe it’s because he does this every time I don’t have him… I don’t know. Eleven points, nine boards, five blocks and a win over the Lakers is a nice night for the veteran.
Lou Williams: The diminutive point guard is averaging a whopping 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.5 3-pointers over his last two and will continue to log big minutes while Allen Iverson cares for his daughter. He did turn an ankle last night so make sure to check for updates.
Tyrus Thomas: This has to be the most fun guy in the league to open up a box score to when you already know he has played 30+ minutes. Last night he played 31 and was kind of disappointing (20 pts, 6-8 fg, 8-9 ft, 3 reb, 3 st, 1 bk) despite the fact that he enjoyed a great night of percentages. That’s probably unfair of me… my bad Ty (Fox gives chest tap for universal my fault signal, just for effect).
Drew Gooden: And in the big one last night, the Clips came from behind to defeat the Pistons, 97-91, thanks to the 20-point, 13-rebound effort from Gooden. The frontcourt situation in Clipperland is a mess, but Gooden officially has a leg up on Craig Smith and DeAndre Jordan. We’ll see what happens at small forward once Travis Outlaw has his legs back under him. He played 19 minutes, while Rasual Butler started at small forward and played 41.
Three games tonight including Cavs at Celtics. This could mark the return of unsung Leon Powe to Boston. Celtic fans should sing his praises.