What a surprise! Just when you thought that Dwyane Wade was going to sit out a nationally televised game against the Magic, the top-dog in Miami suited up and returned to the court Willis Reed style in time to see his team fall to a Magic team that got barely a handful of points and rebounds from Dwight Howard.
Wade’s line was OK, but nothing special — 21 points on 6-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and one steal in 37 minutes. Seen better, seen worse. And as I mentioned earlier, Howard was hardly a factor for the Magic — seven points on 1-of-7 shooting, five rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes. Gross. Howard was forced to sit on the bench for most of the game due to foul trouble. But even when he was on the court he was a non-factor. The Magic got most of their production from Rashard Lewis and his game-high 22 points and Vince Carter and his 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
The other big news on Sunday was the announcement that Shaquille O’Neal will have surgery on his thumb on Monday and will most likely miss the remainder of the regular season. Ouch. Somebody get Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the phone! This is the perfect time to go out and pick up Anderson Varejao if you haven’t done so already. Don’t worry, I’ll wait….
Back? Great! Let’s get to the action!
Al Jefferson — Baby Al has been suspended for the next two games due to his arrest for a DUI on Sunday morning. Ummm… sit him.
Yi Jianlian — He went for 20 points and 19 rebounds against the Wizards. Take a picture, it’ll last longer. You probably won’t see anything close to 20/20 from Yi the rest of the season.
Andray Blatche — I’m going out on a limb here: If he continues to go for 36 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks he will be a second- or third-rounder next season. This kid is just that good… and his team is that bad. They need him to score 30 points and pull down 10-plus rebounds or else they’ll turn into the Nets. Neeeewwww Jerseeyyyyyy! I think 20 and 10 is reasonable for the rest of the season.
Amar’e Stoudemire — “What? Trade me?” Stoudemire dropped a huge 41 points and 12 rebounds on the Spurs. Too bad Jason Richardson couldn’t put in an easy, wide-open dunk. Still, Stoudemire looked strong on Sunday. Real strong.
Kobe Bryant — What an ugly shooting performance the Mamba had — 14 points on 3-of-17 shooting, 12 assists, three steals and two blocks. The rest of his line was “nice,” but the shooting was terrible. Credit the defensive pressure from the Nuggets on this one. And credit Ron Artest’s defense (6 steals) and Lamar Odom’s presence off the bench (20 points, 12 rebounds and four steal) for the big home win.
Brandon Jennings — The rook did not get much run late in the game. Maybe it’s because he’s an atrocious shooter! Only once in the last 14 games has he shot over 40% from the floor. On Sunday he went 1-of-5 from the floor in just 26 minutes. I would sit him, unless you are looking to punt your FG%.
Jerry Stackhouse — Holing back the years… Stack went for 20 points in 28 minutes off the bench. He’s been a nice option for those who are desperate for scoring, but I don’t see him keeping up this pace. He’s closer to 12-14 points and little else per game.
Serge Ibaka — You have to start by crediting Kevin Durant and his 29 points for blowing the Raptors off the court, but also give credit to Ibaka for taking advantage of his garbage time. He went for 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in 24 minutes. The guy’s a nice option for blocks if you’re in the market. He’s close to 1.8 per game for the month of February.
Spencer Hawes — With Jason Thompson out for the next two weeks, Hawes has a bit of breathing room. He showed nice effort on Sunday against the Clippers with 16 points, nine rebounds, one steal and two blocks in 40 minutes. At least until Thompson returns to action you should look at Hawes.
Caron Butler — After missing his team’s last two games, Butler returned to the court to put up 19 points and pick four steals in 40 minutes. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! If you can get this kind of production out of Butler going forward than you’d be a happy man.
Emeka Okafor — What an effort! He pulled in 17 rebounds to go along with five steals and three blocked shots. Who is this guy, Marcus Camby?