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Phil Londen

Court Report: Down goes Monta Ellis

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There was plenty of action in Monday night’s sextet of games, with the average margin of victory being just under five points. From busts to ballers to everything in between, we’ve got all the noteworthy fantasy news covered.

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The Hawks dropped a closely contested game to the Orlando Magic on Monday night, despite getting big numbers from key personnel. Following up a big outing against the Suns the night before (34 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists), Joe Johnson(notes) put up 23 points (9-15 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-3 FT), five rebounds and four assists. Josh Smith(notes) (13 points, 13 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block) and Al Horford(notes) (16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) also contributed solid lines. Notably quiet were the Hawks’ role players, who, outside of Jamal Crawford(notes) (14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block), brought little else to the table.

The real problem for Atlanta was figuring out how to neutralize Dwight Howard(notes) (27 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block), who simply dominates the Hawks on almost every occasion they meet. Vince Carter(notes) also chipped in 19 points (8-12 shooting), including some clutch buckets down the stretch.

Ryan Anderson(notes) started for the Magic at power forward but ended up playing only 15 minutes with a mediocre line. Chris Duhon(notes) also posted a poor line as a starter and should be ignored outside of the deepest of leagues with Jameer Nelson’s(notes) impending return.

The Spurs are starting to heat up, with Monday’s victory over the Charlotte Bobcats being the team’s fourth win in a row. Tim Duncan(notes) (14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks), Manu Ginobili(notes) (26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Tony Parker(notes) (12 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals) proved once again why they are the original big three.

Richard Jefferson’s(notes) scoring dipped from his season average (20.4 points per game heading into the Bobcats game) with only six points, but RJ made his presence felt in other ways (7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal). Gary Neal(notes) showed why he made the Spurs’ final roster, namely for his shooting touch. The 26 year old undrafted rookie poured in 15 points from behind the three-point line in only 14 minutes of PT off the bench, making Neal a deep league watch list candidate.

The Bobcats were treated to some vintage Boris Diaw(notes) (15 points, 1 three, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover) and some vintage Tyrus Thomas(notes) (16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks). Stephen Jackson(notes) contributed 15 points (4-13 FG, 3-5 3PT, 4-4 FT), but also had the same number of turnovers (6) as rebounds (5) and assists (1) combined.

Gerald Wallace(notes) (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and D.J. Augustin(notes) (7 points, 3-15 FG, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) were both quiet in this loss that saw the Bobcats shoot 40 percent from the field as a team. Charlotte’s bench is a fantasy wasteland and should be ignored for the immediate future.

It was all about the backcourt in Golden State’s 109-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors Monday night. Monta Ellis(notes) played a game-high 43 minutes en route to 28 points, one three, three rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and six turnovers. The bad news was that Ellis injured his back and remained in Toronto while the team headed to New York. Ellis’ backcourt-mate Stephen Curry(notes) dropped his first 30-point game, dispelling any fears that his ankle might still be bothering him.

David Lee(notes) owners, on the other hand, have definite cause for concern, as Lee has not done nearly enough to justify his draft position (ADP of 14). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dorrell Wright (ADP of 142) had a relatively slow night and should bounce back. Wright’s emergence has been a big-time bummer for Reggie Williams(notes), who was beginning to look droppable prior to the Ellis injury. Hang onto Reggie until we find out the extent of Monta’s injury.

For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani(notes) scored 11 points while contributing little else of fantasy value (1 three, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers). Leandro Barbosa(notes) is again looking like he can be cut for a hot pickup, and does not merit his current ownership level of 48 percent. Jose Calderon(notes) played only ten minutes in this one, as he was benched at the expense of Jarrett Jack(notes) (24 points, 8 assists, 3 steals), who was clearly feeling it in this one.

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Amir Johnson(notes) also notably played nearly 30 minutes and put up 12 points and five rebounds, and could work his way into the starting lineup at the expense of Reggie Evans(notes) (6 rebounds in 18 minutes) if he can cut down on his fouls. Linas Kleiza(notes) continued his bipolar season, with good Kleiza showing up Monday night to the tune of 20 points, two threes, seven rebounds, and four assists.

For most of the night, Grant Hill(notes) was the best player on the floor for the Suns, who lost Monday night’s grudge match to the Memphis Grizzlies. Hill shot 80 percent from the floor while tallying 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal and five turnovers. At 32 percent ownership, Grant is a solid pickup off the waiver wire that is available in the majority of Yahoo! leagues. Steve Nash(notes) double-doubled (16 points and 11 assists) and Jason Richardson(notes) played well, but not as spectacular as he has been to begin this season.

Robin Lopez(notes), Hedo Turkoglu(notes) and Channing Frye(notes) all continued their disappointing seasons with both Lopez and Frye pretty close to being dumped on a large scale. Hakim Warrick(notes) played well again (16 points, 5 rebounds), but seems to be adhering to the Kleiza model of alternating solid games with duds.

Memphis’ starting five dominated this game, with all five players scoring in double figures. Zach Randolph(notes) double-doubled, animal-style, (23 points, 20 rebounds, 3 steals) and Rudy Gay(notes) salvaged a rocky start with a solid third quarter to end up with 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Mike Conley(notes) also played very well for Memphis, finishing with 16 points, six assists and four steals. Conley’s pesky defense bothered Steve Nash and Goran Dragic(notes) all night and disrupted the Suns’ offensive flow. Marc Gasol(notes) never really seemed to get it going and was limited by foul trouble, but still nearly double-doubled (10 points, 8 rebounds). O.J. Mayo(notes) contributed 16 points, one three, three rebounds, four assists and one block as well.

The Nuggets fell to the Chicago Bulls late in the fourth quarter on a couple of Kyle Korver(notes) free throws despite a rowdy line from Carmelo Anthony(notes) (32 points, 11-22 FG, 1-1 3PT, 9-9 FT, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers). Aaron Afflalo contributed 15 points in 36 minutes, alleviating concerns that he might be losing minutes, and thus value, to J.R. Smith(notes) (10 rebounds, 2 threes, 4 rebounds, 1 steal in only 17 minutes). Those fears are as of yet unfounded.

The biggest problem for the Nuggets, was, uhh, well, the bigs. Nene Hilario(notes), Shelden Williams(notes) and Al Harrington(notes) combined for 20 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks. Joakim Noah(notes), on the other hand, contributed 13 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks by himself. For the purposes of journalistic integrity it should be noted that Nene sat out the fourth quarter of this one with lingering groin injury. Do you think the Nuggets miss Kenyon Martin(notes) and Chris Andersen(notes) yet?

Chicago won Monday’s game with a well-balanced attack that, like Memphis, featured all five starters scoring in double figures. Taj Gibson(notes) continued to play well (16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks) despite giving the ball away five times. Derrick Rose(notes) (18 points, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) and Luol Deng(notes) (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks) both had notable lines despite each player shooting 33 percent from the field.

Monday evening’s last game featured the Celtics and Mavericks and came down to the last shot, with Kevin Garnett(notes) missing a contested potential game winning fade-away jumper. KG played well and double-doubled in a big way (18 points, 15 rebounds). Not Joakim Noah or Zach Randolph big, but still quality production. Paul Pierce(notes) dropped 24 points and seven rebounds and Rondo continued distributing (15 assists) and thieving (5 steals) like a pro.

Former MVP Dirk Nowitzki(notes) played admirably down the stretch for Dallas, ending up with a pretty standard Dirk line of 25 points (9-16 FG, 7-7 FT), seven rebounds and two assists. The only thing out of the ordinary was the four turnovers. Dirk really doesn’t get enough credit for his clutch play. Jason Kidd(notes) went scoreless but chipped in a couple of steals and ten assists to avoid complete disaster.

The real story for Dallas in this one was the probable resolution of the Tyson Chandler(notes)-Brendan Haywood position battle. It’s official, Haywood has lost the position battle for the starting center spot to Chandler. In 33 minutes as a starter, Chandler scored 12 points and added 13 rebounds, a steal and two blocks. Tellingly, Haywood played only 15 minutes off the bench. Most notably, Chandler made critical defensive plays down the stretch, securing the win over the always-competitive Boston Celtics. Haywood’s 45 percent ownership should be plummeting very soon, while Chandler’s 40 percent ownership should be skyrocketing. Strike now if Chandler is still available in your league because he won’t be for long.

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