Friday, December 30, 2011 Basketball Daily Dose

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Amare Tweaks An Ankle - 12/30/2011
BY Steve Alexander

  • Howard gives 16-pt, 24-reb preview to Nets   
  • Lowry neared 3x2, sits late in blowout win   
  • Stoudemire (ankle) day-to-day, iffy for Sat   
  • Durant hits game-winning three at buzzer   
  • Jameer Nelson leaves game with neck spasms   
  • Lawson goes off: 25 points w/ eight steals   
  • Report: Batum is feeling sorry for himself   
  • We’re going to try to start getting the Dose up earlier so you can check it out first thing in the morning instead of first thing after lunch.  Yes, it means we have to stay up all night to get it done, but it should have more value being posted early and help you make add/drop decisions before the rest of your league catches up with you. 


    The NBA Season Pass and Draft Guide are available, so check them out.


    The Rotoworld NBA Injury Page should have you covered, so I didn't dive into them too much here today.  Here are the highlights of what you’ll find there.


    Injury Report


    Paul Pierce – Hoping to play through heel injury on Friday and I bet he plays.

    D.J. Augustin – Nursing a bad ankle, but it sounds like he’s likely to play Friday.

    Corey Maggette – Missed practice, but planning to give it a go on Friday.

    Charlie Villanueva – Four-game suspension ends soon, should play Monday vs. Magic.

    Stephen Curry – Iffy for Saturday with an ankle sprain, game-time decision.

    Andrew Bynum – Suspension is over, should be back on Saturday.

    Mike Conley – Sounds like he’ll miss at least a couple games with an ankle sprain.

    Jose Juan Barea – Sounds doubtful for Friday with a hammy, could play Sunday.

    Carlos Delfino – Ready to make debut Friday after wrist injury kept him out early.

    Eric Gordon – Doubtful for Friday with knee bruise, hopefully last one he’ll miss.

    Amare Stoudemire – Sprained an ankle Thursday night, iffy for Saturday vs. Kings.

    Jameer Nelson – Neck stinger on Thursday, iffy for Friday vs. Bobcats.

    Jrue Holiday – Hoping to play Friday with knee contusion, check for updates.


    Jonas Jerebko could take a hit with the return of Villanueva, and keep an eye on Delfino.  If he gets run, he should hit a ton of threes.  Jeremy Pargo is filling in for Conley, making him an interesting short-term add.  Owners of Eric Gordon are panicking, and while I don’t trust him, you might be able snag him for a song right now.


    As for what went down on the court Thursday night, 12 teams were in action and there were plenty of twists and turns.  The Thunder beat the Mavericks after Kevin Durant answered a Vince Carter 3-pointer with one of his own at the buzzer in the game of the night.  The Thunder are 4-0, while the Mavs are winless at 0-3.


    Let’s take a fantasy oriented look at this team-by-team.




    Sundiata Gaines surprisingly started at shooting guard in place of Anthony Morrow.  Gaines had eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, while Morrow hit just 2-of-10 shots for four points in 21 minutes.  The big winner here could be Marshon Brooks, who scored 17 with two 3-pointers in 21 minutes.  Damion James lasted just 13 minutes for four points, and Brooks is the guy to keep a close eye on here.  I’m not sure he’s worth picking up at this point, but he should definitely be near the top of your ‘watch list,’ as he appears to have the ability to score at will.


    Mehmet Okur started at center but struggled against Dwight Howard, finishing with nine points, six boards and a 3-pointer on 4-of-9 shooting.  Let’s see what he does against a mortal center before declaring him a bust.  Deron Williams hit just 2-of-12 shots for 10 points, seven assists and six turnovers, and he’s in a tough spot, basically playing with a D-League unit.  Expect some low-ball offers if you own him, and while it will be tempting to cut your losses, he should get better very soon.  Kris Humphries had nine points, 10 boards and a block, and continues to be a must-own player now that Brook Lopez is in street clothes for a couple months.




    Jameer Nelson left with a neck stinger and Chris Duhon stepped up with nine points, four assists and three 3-pointers.  Duhon will only be worth grabbing if Nelson is going to miss multiple games, but I don’t think he’ll be out for long, if at all.  Jason Richardson finally showed signs of life, scoring 16 and grabbing five boards on 6-of-14 shooting, but still hasn’t hit a three this season (thanks, Bo Koster).  Weird, but I think you have to stick with him.  Dwight Howard was a beast with 16 points, 24 boards, thre! e steals and three blocks, but hit just 2-of-9 free throws.  With all the poor performances from studs this week it’s tough to be mad at Dwight for the FTs – especially since you knew it was coming.  Ryan Anderson had 22 points and three more 3-pointers, and remains a solid fantasy option, while J.J. Redick added 15 points and two 3-pointers off the bench.  If you’re desperate for threes in a deep league, give JJR a look.




    Gregg Popovich is up to his old tricks early, as Tim Duncan was benched after 16 minutes and 1-of-6 shooting, allowing DeJuan Blair (22 & 12) and Tiago Splitter (10 & 11) to play well in extended run.  My guess is these three will trade nice lines all season long, making all three of them frustrating to own, especially since it will be impossible to guess how many minutes Pop will give each them night to night.  Richard Jefferson hit just 2-of-10 shots for five points, but played 28 minutes in a blowout loss to the Rockets.  The Spurs have five games next week and I bet RJ bounces back to help fantasy owners win in t! hat one.  He came in hot and you should hang onto him if you picked him up.




    The Rockets finally woke up as Kevin Martin had 25 points and four 3-pointers, Luis Scola added 18 points, five boards, a steal and a block, and Kyle Lowry just missed a triple-double with 16 points, nine boards, eight assists, three steals and three 3-pointers.  All three guys would have done more had this game not been over at halftime, and I’m guessing Martin owners are breathing a sigh of relief this morning.  Jordan Hill started again and had six points and seven boards, while Samuel Dalembert came off the bench for four points, seven boards,! a steal and four blocks.  Don’t be surprised if Sammy starts against the Grizzlies on Friday, so hang onto him if you own him, or pick him up if you don’t. 


    Chase Budinger was awful again and I’m starting to get the feeling Terrence Williams might be on the verge of replacing him in the starting five.  It’s just a hunch, but T-Will played 22 minutes to Budinger’s 18, and had six points and two 3-pointers in the loss.  Don’t pick up T-Will just yet, but be ready to pounce if Kevin McHale makes the move.  As for Budinger, he should improve after a terrible start, but I’m ready to move on and drop him for a producer in my league.




    Jason Kidd was terrible again, finishing with three points, four boards and three dimes in 35 minutes.  He’ll have some monster games this season, but no one can predict when they’re coming, and he just doesn’t look ready to contribute much on offense for the Mavs.  Delonte West is the new starting shooting guard and had 15 points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and a three on 5-of-10 shooting.  I’m not racing to pick him up just yet, but that could change if he does this in another game or two soon.  


    Brendan Haywood showed signs of life with eight points, five boards, a steal and a block, but that’s still not enough to suggest he’s ready to produce on a nightly basis.  Just keep an eye on him.  Vince Carter played just 16 minutes, while Lamar Odom logged 17 minutes in the loss.  Odom was 2-of-11 and is now 4-of-27 shooting in three games.  Carter hit a huge shot, but unless he returns to the starting lineup, or starts getting 30 mpg, ignore him.




    Russell Westbrook took the game over late and Kevin Durant finished off the winless Mavs with a dagger three for the Thunder, who are 4-0.  Westbrook didn’t play well again though, hitting just 6-of-15 shots for 16 points, four boards, four assists, two steals and seven more turnovers.  And had his late-game heroics not have happened, his line would have looked much worse.  I think he’s a great buy-low candidate and I’m just going to keep rolling him out there until he gets straightened out.  It’s going to happen.


    Serge Ibaka got a season-high 37 minutes and went 6-of-9 for 16 points, eight rebounds, a steal and three blocks in his best game of the season.  He’s been highly frustrating because Scott Brooks was only giving him 22 mpg, so it was nice to see him get the minutes he deserves and produce.  If you don’t want to deal with the minutes headache all year, look into trading him after this effort.  Kendrick Perkins had seven points, four boards, a steal and a block in 27 minutes, and remains a very low-end center option in fantasy.  He’ll have better nights, and worse ones.




    Ty Lawson blew up for 25 points, four rebounds, three dimes, eight steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-16 shooting in a loss to the Blazers.  That’s more like it, as owners can rest easy knowing he’s going to be a stud this season.  Andre Miller cooled off with 13 points and eight assists, but it still looks like he’ll be worth owning despite playing off the bench and behind Lawson.  Arron Afflalo woke up with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting and should be ready to start producing on a regular basis, although he didn’t hit a three last night.   Al Harrington cooled off with eight points, five boards, ! two steals and zero threes on 3-of-9 shooting, but should bounce back in the next one.  He’s worth holding for now in some leagues, unless this becomes a trend instead of a fluke.




    Wesley Matthews went off for 25 points, five rebounds and five 3-pointers on 9-of-15 shooting, and should be held in all leagues.  Raymond Felton was also nice with 23 points, five rebounds, six assists and a 3-pointer on 10-of-16 shooting, and looks like a nice target in trade if you need a starting PG.  His asking price shouldn’t be through the roof.  Marcus Camby remains a serviceable center as long as he’s walking and had two points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.  Just know he can go down in a moment’s notice.  Jamal Crawford had 22 points, five boards, a three and hit all nine of his free t! hrows.  He’s not a must-start in fantasy, but is worth owning.  Nicolas Batum had six boards, a steal, four blocks and a three, but hit just 1-of-6 shots for six points in 21 minutes.  He’s a good player and I don’t expect him to struggle like this much longer.  And once he gets it going, the boards, blocks, steals and threes should follow. 




    Richard Hamilton had 16 points, four boards and a 3-pointer on 7-of-15 shooting for the Bulls and could be ready to start producing on a regular basis.  I recommend holding him if you can.  Carlos Boozer, who was horrible in his last game, had 16 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block, and I hope the folks who asked me if they should drop him held on.  Of course, it will be tough for Boozer and Joakim Noah to play well on the same night, and Noah had just nine points and four boards in the win over the Kings.  Taj Gibson played 10 minutes and can be dropped until Boozer or Noah suffers an injury.




    Marcus Thornton had 20 points, five boards, two steals and four 3-pointers, and looks more stud than dud this year.  DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and two blocks, which is great, right?  Well, not when you consider he’s a big man and hit just 4-of-16 shots in the loss.  Don’t do anything drastic with him, but if his field goal percentage is too much of an annoyance for you, offer him in trade.  Chuck Hayes had seven points, 10 rebounds and zero blocks, and remains a low-end center option, while SF John Salmons had 12 points and two 3-pointers on 4-of-10 shooting.  He’s wor! th owning, but is going to be inconsistent in a crowded Kings rotation.  Jimmer Fredette had 14 points, three assists and two threes in 24 minutes, but like Salmons (and most of his teammates), will be too inconsistent to start in most leagues.  J.J. Hickson had seven points and eight rebounds in just 18 minutes, but can be put on waivers for now.   Lastly, Tyreke Evans scored 19, but only had two assists and hit just 5-of-12 free throws.  He’s clearly struggling, but owners should hang in there with him for now.




    Toney Douglas hit 2-of-8 shots for five points and five assists in 33 minutes, and I get the sense that Mike D’Antoni can’t wait for Baron Davis’ debut after a back injury.  If you have room, stashing Baron makes sense, although he could be in and out of the lineup all season with injuries.  Landry Fields had just five points and a 3-pointer on 2-of-7 shooting, and he hasn’t lived up to last year’s hype thus far.  I expect him to be inconsistent all year.  Tyson Chandler finally showed up with 13 points, 11 boards, three steals and two blocks after struggling early.  If Amare Stoudemire is out on Saturday with a sprained ankle, Chandler becomes a must-start.  If Amare is out, my guess is Bill Walker would start in that one.  Stoudemire hit just 4-of-17 shots and hauled in two rebounds, and while it’s frustrating, just remain patient with him.  And if you want to trade him, wait until he gets hot again before doing so.




    Kobe Bryant abused Renaldo Balkman last night, hitting 10-of-17 shots for 28 points, four boards, six dimes, a steal, a block and an assist.  Yes, his wrist is a concern, but I can’t see how he doesn’t play through it as long as the Lakers are in the playoff hunt.   Josh McRoberts had 10 points, six boards, three steals and two blocks, while Troy Murphy had four points and seven boards off the bench.  With Andrew Bynum due back on Saturday, McRoberts is going to the bench, and, along with Murphy, can probably be dropped.  ! Devin Ebanks started at small forward again, but that experiment is likely coming to an end after he failed to score in 14 minutes.  Metta World Peace didn’t play well last night (9 points, 25 minutes) and I get the sense he’s going to start scoring more in the near future.  Keep an eye on him.  Steve Blake had 11 points, three dimes and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes off the bench, and is worth a look in deep leagues (more than 12 teams) if you need threes and dimes.


    Have a great weekend and I hope your teams rally for a Week 1 win.  Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

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