Anyone playing in head-to-head leagues is likely in the playoffs, and likely surly as hell this morning if they are relying on Andray Blatche to lead them to a title. With one bone-headed show of immaturity, Blatche is going to go from the year’s waiver wire darling to saboteur of fantasy seasons from coast to coast.
Taken out of the Wizards’ game vs. Charlotte Tuesday night seven-and-a-half minutes in by Flip Saunders, Blatche refused to listen to Flip’s defensive criticisms and then refused to go back into the game. He sat the rest of the way, and could be benched for the foreseeable future.
Saunders was not happy:
“Yeah I guess, just because of everything,” Saunders said when asked if this incident was the low point in a season filled with forgettable moments. “This team, we’ve lost a lot of close games, you know, and you’ve got a chance, and when you have coaches go up and ask a player that’s supposedly your quote-unquote key player to play, and he just says he doesn’t want to play. I don’t care. You can be upset with me, but don’t leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that. You don’t do that…”
Blatche’s magical run might be over, and if he is permanently moved to the doghouse then JaVale McGee and James Singleton will be the beneficiaries. McGee played 46 minutes last night and finished with 14 points, 12 boards and two blocks. Singleton saw 37 minutes of action and totaled a 9 & 7 with no blocks, but he has shown he can amass those. A Blatche demotion will almost certainly mean more plays run for Al Thornton and Mike Miller as well. Regardless, this is a big mess at a time of the year when fantasy owners can least afford it.
There were several other noteworthy performances in last night’s four-game slate, some of which can make or break a playoff week. Let’s take a look at some.
Drew Gooden (26 pts, 20 reb, 10-10 ft, 2 stl, 1 blk): Wow. Raise your hand if you started Gooden this week. Congrats. He went off against the Mavs, one of his many former teams, in a 106-96 loss. He remains a strong play Thursday at Houston and Sunday vs. Golden State.
Danny Granger (32 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 5 threes): For all the grief Granger has caused his owners this season, a game like this when it matters can go a long way towards healing past wounds. While we’d hesitate to take him in the first round again next year, he is one of the more high-ceiling fantasy guys out there when healthy.
Danilo Gallinari (28 pts, 5 reb, 5 threes, 9-10 FT): The Knicks upended a scuffling Denver team in New York last night, and Gallinari is regaining his fantasy awesomeness just in time. He is averaging 26.3 points over his last three games.
Dirk Nowitzki (18 pts, 2 reb in 19 minutes): Ejected after picking up two technicals, Nowitzki’s night could have been a lot worse. This is little solace to his owners who need him to produce a monster week.
Gerald Wallace (17 pts, 19 reb, 3 stl, 1 three, 5-17 FG): All hail Crash’s ’09-10 season, but this line could actually come back to bite you if you end up losing the FG% category and winning rebounds or steals handily.
J.R. Smith (11 pts, 4-16 FG, 2 threes): Since Smith’s owners were probably salivating at a game against the Knicks, this 23-minute dud of a game can only be labeled a disappointment.
Jason Kidd (26 pts, 6 reb, 12 ast, 6 threes): Kidd carried Dallas to the win sans-Dirk with a virtuoso fantasy performance that will put his owners in the driver’s seat in any playoff battle.
Of course, we’re still very early in the week. I expect crazy things happening to everyone out there, especially if I own them. Good luck to everyone who is still in contention.