Andray Blatche (Getty)
• Wednesday was another one of "those" games for Kevin Martin. He was cold early (2-10 FG, 0-4 3PT) and hit the bench in the blowout loss to the Jazz (20 minutes, 6 points). Martin shot 25 percent from the floor (5-25 FG, 1-10 3PT) in the Rockets' back-to-back coming out of the break. Martin's numbers over his past 13 games are depressingly pedestrian: 12.4 points, 36% FG, 1.3 threes, 4.3 FTA, 2 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 0.6 steals in 28 minutes. I do not see a dramatic turnaround on the horizon - the Kevin McHale system is nowhere near as kind to him as the Rick Adelman system was, and the rule change that limits foul calls on rip-through moves has affected Martin as much as any single player. Martin has mixed in some strong games but is rarely aggressive and has yet to show any kind of consistency, and his current per-game rank of 65th could be as good as it gets the rest of the way.
• The Hornets are content to bring Jarrett Jack off the bench for the foreseeable future, in part because it allows Monty Williams to more actively monitor his minutes and in part because his scoring is needed with the team's thin second unit. The past five games should be a good baseline for expectations, during which Jack has averaged 30 minutes (14.6 points, 1.2 threes, 5.2 boards, 5.6 assists) to Greivis Vasquez's 27 minutes (10.6 points, 4.2 assists). That's enough playing for Jack to maintain a per-game rank around 100, obviously a step down from his early statistical output but useful numbers. Vasquez maintaining the starting gig should also mean he's stays relevant in most of the leagues where he's currently rostered (31% owned).
Devin Harris (Getty)
• Status updates: Kobe Bryant's symptoms after sustaining the hard foul from Dwyane Wade were related to neck trauma and not a concussion, according to his neurologist, and he's not expected to have any lingering issues .. Kevin Love (flu/ribs) will be a game-time decision on Thursday .. Dirk Nowitzki left Wednesday's game with back tightness but anticipates being able to play on Friday. The Mavs are about to begin a brutal stretch of seven games in nine days [schedule] .. Manu Ginobili (oblique) will be a game-time decision on Friday .. Andrew Bynum says rest over the All-Star break and a lubricating injection has his knee feeling fine .. Chris Bosh is out at least Thursday and Friday because of a death in the family .. George Karl hopes to have both Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Nene Hilario (calf) back on the active roster by Monday .. Andrea Bargnani (calf) still seems to be at least a few games away .. Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) was cleared by a specialist (no structural damage) but he'll continue to sit because of lingering soreness. This will continue to mean good things for Brandon Bass (37 minutes, 16 points, 7 boards on Wednesday), and Doc Rivers said that he likes the smaller starting lineup, with Kevin Garnett at center and Bass at power forward .. Nick Young have an MRI on his right knee on Thursday .. Hornets bigs: Emeka Okafor still has swelling in his knee and remains out indefinitely; Carl Landry (knee) and Jason Smith (concussion) could both return this weekend .. Bismack Biyombo is day-to-day with a left shoulder strain.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Steve Novak continues to light it up (17 minutes, 17 points, 5 threes on Wednesday) and has now averaged 12.7 points on 50-percent shooting and 3.4 threes in 22 minutes over the past 12 games. Josh Harrellson was activated on Wednesday but Mike D'Antoni can't take minutes away from Novak while he's on this run. I added Novak to my Friends and Family League roster on Thursday .. You may want to explore the trade market if you are rostering Jordan Crawford but not punting FG%, to see if someone reads too much into his recent string of efficient games (assuming Nick Young's knee injury isn't major). Crawford shot 54 percent from the field from Feb 14-28 but just 36 percent in his other 29 games, and you know he'll keep shooting in any case .. The Bobcats finally had everyone healthy on Wednesday and it resulted in just 19 minutes for Kemba Walker (6 points, 2-8 FG, 5 assists, 2 steals). Walker certainly has been a steady per-minute contributor this season but will struggle to impact standard leagues with Gerald Henderson, Reggie Williams, and Corey Maggette largely limiting his minutes to backup point guard .. Josh Howard has now averaged 13.4 points on 50-percent shooting, 0.6 threes, 5.6 boards, 2.6 assists, and 0.7 steals in his seven starts. There's a chance he'll stick as the starter even after Raja Bell returns from injury, so deep-leaguers should take note .. Tiago Splitter's return from his calf injury means less playing time for DeJaun Blair and Matt Bonner. Blair followed up his 35 minutes, 28 points, and 12 boards in his last game before the break with 23 minutes, nine points, and nine boards on Wednesday, and his season per-game rank (194th) doesn't jibe with his ownership level (48%).
- Andray Blatche
- Kevin Martin