Monday night we witnessed the much anticipated return of Chris Paul, who had been out of the lineup since January 29 — we are all a witness (what up Nike!). CP3 was slotted into the starting lineup, however he played just eight minutes in the first half. Paul returned to the game late in third quarter, taking the place of Marcus Thornton as the two-guard, and it wasn’t until the 4th quarter that he scored his first bucket. He
finished the night with 11 points, three 3-pointers, three assists, and one steal in 21 minutes. Jeff Bower said he was going to hold him to 20 minutes and did just that. But boy did he look good in limited action. Nice to see one of the three best fantasy ballers back in action.
The big question surrounding Paul’s return mainly had to do with the value of the two rookie guards, Darren Collison and Thornton. Well, Thornton started alongside Paul and picked up his 17th 20-point performance of the season, going for a team-high 28 points in 37 minutes. Collison came off the bench to lead the Hornets on a 23-0 run in the second quarter. He finished the night with 16 points, eight assists, and two steals in 34 minutes. I think you can’t read into these lines because you expect to see Paul’s minutes increase over time, but as I suggested earlier, you need to hold onto both Thornton and Collison. They still have better value right now than anything you’ll likely find on the wires. Unless of course Chris Paul is on your wires.
Who else did what? Let’s have us a look-see!
Kevin Durant did his best to keep his team in Monday’s game against the Spurs. He scored nearly half of his team’s 96 points, dropping 45 all by himself on 14-of-25 shooting. Ladies and gentlemen, the second overall pick in next year’s draft.
Derrick Rose seems to be back at 100%. He nearly triple-doubled against the Rockets, going for 27 points, two 3-pointers, seven rebounds and eight assists in nearly 47 minutes. Somebody on that team has to do something right… right?
Beno Udrih continues to excel with Tyreke Evans out of the lineup — 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals in 43 minutes. Do yourself a favor and pick him up!
Elton Brand had one of his finest games of the season against the Magic on Monday (no, not on ESPN Classics). He scored 18 points in the first 15 minutes of this one, finishing the night with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in 38 minutes. Nothing like following up a two-point performance with a strong inside game against the game’s best defensive big man.
Rashard Lewis is making up for lost time. He had his second straight 24-point performance on Monday night. He also has 11 3-pointers over his last three games, which is essentially why you own Lewis.
Brook Lopez had a strange line, going for 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting with only one rebound. Credit Jermaine O’Neil and his tough inside play — 25 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes. He made him look like Broke Lopez.
Taj Gibson is a much better option than Joakim Noah right now, for those of you wondering. Noah is still limited in his minutes, while Gibson continues to be a nice interior presence — 10 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in 33 minutes. Noah went for four points, six rebounds, and one block in 11 minutes.
The Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon timeshare continues to frustrate fantasy hoops owners. Calderon and Jack split time at the point with each playing 24 minutes. Neither had notable lines. Too bad you can’t combine the two as one player. That would be… scientific.
Terrence Williams contributed a little to each category with his nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, one 3-pointer and one steal in 23 minutes. That was before he left the game with an ankle sprain. Sigh. He was on pace to post a triple-double. You should give Chris Douglas-Roberts a peak if Williams is out.
Carlos Delfino is back to providing great value lines. He went for 23 points, three treys, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 43 minutes against the Hawks. The Bucks have three more games this week and eight over the next two weeks. Not a bad waiver add down the stretch. Fear the deer!
George Hill had an outstanding game from the field, scoring a team-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Interestingly enough, Richard Jefferson — who’s had the hot hand of late — scored just five points. It seems that it’s either one or the other. It’s been a rare occasion over the past three or four weeks to see both get into rhythm in the same game. Just something worth thinking about.
Anthony Tolliver had yet another fantastic game on Monday — 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, two 3-pointers, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks. I said this three two weeks ago, but you need to add Tolliver. There’s only one player in this league who can match him in blocks and threes made — Andrea Bargnani.
Reggie Williams dropped a career-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting in 33 minutes. He’s definitely worth a flier. He’s essentially the new Anthony Morrow. Meaning, I have a new man-crush.