It was Jewish Family Night yesterday at the Meadowlands as the Nets secured win No. 8 of the young season by thrashing Sacramento, 93-79. New Jersey held Israeli rookie Omri Casspi to two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field and fans celebrated the victory by heaving kasha varnishkes onto the Izod Center floor.
And what better way to celebrate the Nets’ orthodoxy than by holding this special occasion. For a mere $18, fans received a ticket to the game along with a Jewish Family Night tee-shirt. This evening could rival another of the Nets marketing machine’s ingenious strategies of having Yi Jianlian, or any other Net for that matter, making an appearance at your son or daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah with the purchase of a season ticket. Of the people who have done this, I’d love to know the percentage of those who didn’t choose Chairman Yi. Big mistake if they didn’t.
As for the game, Brook Lopez erupted for 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Devin Harris added 24 points (2-5 3-pt-fg) and nine assists. The Kings, still playing without the concussed Tyreke Evans, were again led by Mark Price, again wearing his Beno Udrih costume, and finished with 19 points (8-13 fg), eight boards and five assists.
It was a busy night in the Ligg, as Hubie Brown would say. Let’s take a peek at some of the fantasy standouts.
Rajon Rondo – Rage On explained to his owners last night why he was drafted in third round following his 11-point, 11-rebound, 15-assist, four-steal beauty.
Paul Pierce – Pierce is apparently over whatever has been ailing him the past few months. Last night he torched the Nuggets for 27 points (10-16 fg), seven rebounds, two steals and a block and has averaged 24.4 points and is shooting 57 percent from the floor over his last five.
Dwight Howard – Superman put up some seriously crooked numbers (19 pts, 24 reb, 4 bk, 2 st) in a tough loss at Atlanta. He’s a free throw percentage killer, but if you’ve owned him all season, there’s no longer a need to worry about that category.
Jameer Nelson – Nelson has been brutal of late, but maybe he’s over his doldrums as last night’s 20-point, 8-assist performance will attest.
James Singleton – Even with Andray Blatche (21 pts) in the starting lineup despite bickering with Flip Saunders, Singleton exploded for 19 points, 21 rebounds and a block. The Wizards are probably the worst team in the NBA right now and Singleton should get the chance to prove his worth with 30+ minutes a night the rest of the way. If you can still make adds, look no further.
Josh McRoberts – He did post a double-double last night with 14 points, 12 caroms and two blocks. But don’t go running to your waiver wires as it did come against lowly Washington and Roy Hibbert was out with a sprain of his temporo mandibular joint. God, I’ve been waiting all my life to write that.
Deron Williams – Williams is a freak and proved why with his devastating 18-point, 16-assist, four-steal extravaganza in the blowout win over the fading Raptors.
Wesley Matthews – Matthews has been on the fringe of being a legit pickup and now may be his time following a 16-point (3-6 3-pt fg), 8-rebound effort. The son of blazing fast former NBA guard Wes Matthews has averaged just over 34 minutes per game over his last four.
Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack – This situation stinks as they continue to split time at the point guard position. Both are unstartable right now.
Darko Milicic – This may be my only chance to write about Darko, who totaled 10 points, four caroms and two blocks in last night’s loss at Charlotte. He does not resemble an NBA player by any stretch of the imagination yet he has some pretty steep demands if he plans on returning to the league next season. Darko, do us a favor and don’t come back. As Branch Rickey once told the great Ralph Kiner, “we can finish in last without you.”
Gerald Wallace – It’s got to be fun to open a Bobcat boxscore when owning Wallace and knowing the team had a good night offensively. That is if one considers 23 points (9-16 fg), four assists, four steals and three blocks a quality night.
Stephen Jackson – Captain Jack bounced back from some subpar shooting nights with 37 points on 15-of-24 from the floor. He also got his owners high with five rebounds, three assists, four 3-pointers and two steals. If you can live with a low field goal percentage, Jackson is your man.
LeBron James – LeBron celebrated the return of his big li’l buddy Zydrunas Ilgauskas with a typical 38-6-9 on 15-of-22 from the field. The Cavs could have home court advantage throughout the playoffs locked up by the end of next week, so don’t be surprised to see the 2009-10 MVP’s minutes limited the last few games of the regular season.
Marcus Thornton – Somehow, Thornton is the big winner in the return of Chris Paul Sweepstakes. Now entrenched in the starting lineup, the rookie registered 20 points and five assists in 43 minutes of work. Paul (5-2-7) and Darren Collison (17-4-7) each saw 31 minutes of court time.
Jason Kapono – Kapono has done nothing to deserve his starting role in Philly, but it is what it is. In last night’s upset win in Milwaukee, he recorded only 10 points in 23 minutes, but he is a phenomenal 3-point shooter and could get hot from long range just in time to help fantasy owners.
Trevor Ariza – Ariza’s field goal percentage (39%) has been an atrocity for much of the season, but he remains a solid fantasy performer. Last night he actually converted 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points, two blocks and two steals.
Jeff Green – If he would only change his name to Jeffer Green a la Brigham Young sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, he would be a lot more recognizable. As it is, Green has put up strong numbers of late, averaging 19.6 points and 1.4 steals over his last seven. Last night he totaled 19 points (8-11 fg), five rebounds, five assists and two rejects in the Thunder’s blowout win over the Rockets.
Lamar Odom – Now starting with Andrew Bynum again on the shelf, Mr. Kardashian tallied 19 points and yanked down 13 boards in a statement win at San Antonio. As I’ve always said, if he gets the minutes, Kardashian will deliver.
Ralph Willoughby – Was led to the court from Section 246 by Don Nelson prior to tipoff and delivered 22 points, six assists and three blocks for the Warriors. Keep an eye on Willoughby as he may have supplanted Corey Maggette as the starting small forward.
Reggie Williams – Played 29 minutes off the Golden St. bench and contributed 23 points (8-14 fg) and five rebounds. There is no such thing as a D-Leaguer in Nellie’s system.
Stephen Curry – I still have no idea if Curry is even any good as this system or lack thereof masks myriad offensive deficiencies. But man, owning Curry must be the equivalent of a five-year old walking into Dylan’s Candy Shop. Last night, he erupted for 30 points (12-19 fg), five rebounds, 11 assists and four steals in the easy win over the Grizzlies.
Only three games on the slate tonight, but Mavs at Blazers should be a doozy.