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Court Report: First Impressions

Matt Buser
Roto Arcade

It sure is good to be back! The Court Report will appear regularly throughout the season, so this link is one you'll want to keep handy. We've got lots to talk about in the wake of the first full day on the NBA calendar (13 games), so let's get to the game news and notes.

Detroit (98) at New Jersey (101)

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New Jersey got most of what it wanted in the 101-98 win over the Pistons. Brook Lopez(notes) (25 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks) and Devin Harris(notes) (22 points, 9 assists, 2 steals) were excellent and Anthony Morrow(notes) (13 points, 3 threes), Terrence Williams(notes) (10 points, 6 boards, 4 assists), Derrick Favors(notes) (8 points, 10 boards, 1 foul), and Jordan Farmar(notes) (10 points, 2 threes, 2 steals) all contributed. Joe Smith(notes) started at power forward but wasn't needed (5 minutes).

The standout poor line belonged to Travis Outlaw(notes) (21 minutes, 5 points, 1-7 FG, 5 fouls), and he's also coming off a lackluster preseason. Avery Johnson likes Terrence Williams off the bench for now, but that could change if Outlaw can't up his level of play. The Yahoo! community is more heavily-invested in Williams as it is (67% owned to Outlaw's 18%), so this is more notable for those that nabbed Outlaw as a late flier. Troy Murphy(notes) is probable for Sunday and Austin Daye(notes) is a favorable matchup for most NBA power forwards, so I'm not going to read much into Favors' numbers, although his lack of fouls was clearly a positive.

The Pistons had eight players with at least 20 minutes played and none played more than Richard Hamilton's(notes) 32 (13 points, 3 assists). Austin Daye didn't shoot well (2 of 8, 4 points) and will be a much better fit at small forward once Tayshaun Prince(notes) is no longer on the roster. He won't always be this bad, but like most young players he's bound to show some inconsistency and his playing out of position isn't likely to help in that regard.

The DNP-CD for Greg Monroe(notes) was a disappointment and is a trickle-down from the decision to start Daye. Charlie Villanueva(notes) (23 minutes, 14 points, 4 threes) and Jason Maxiell(notes) (21 minutes, 11 points, 6 boards) saw the backup FC minutes, while Tracy McGrady(notes) played his requisite 15 minutes off the bench. Sure it's only one game, but it's hard to see much other than jumbled minutes and lines going forward for these Pistons until at least one vet is traded (likely Prince and possibly Maxiell).

New York (98) at Toronto (93)

Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) turned the ball over a whopping nine times but was good elsewhere (19 points, 10 boards, 2 blocks) and Raymond Felton(notes) delivered a solid performance after a shaky preseason (15 points, 6 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal). Wilson Chandler(notes) was excellent as the sixth man (29 minutes, 22 points, 8 boards, 2 blocks) and could be a very good fit for D'Antoni in the role, given his ability to defend multiple positions.

Two rookies were in the starting five for the Knicks: Timofey Mozgov(notes) was at center while Landry Fields(notes) drew the start at shooting guard. Mozgov is on a few rosters to start the season (8% owned) by virtue of his starting gig, but he had four fouls in seven minutes Wednesday, averaged 3.9 fouls in 20 minutes during the preseason, and is likely to foul his way into a reserve role behind Ronny Turiaf(notes) before long. Turiaf turned in a solid line (23 minutes, 8 points, 4 boards, 2 steals, 4 blocks) before leaving with a back injury that is not considered serious.

Fields (30 minutes, 11 points, 3 treys) is looking at a great opportunity to stick at shooting guard. He made 43 percent of his threes in the preseason, was solid in the summer league, and was impressive as a college senior. He's got good size (6-7, 215) and can play some defense, so you can bet Mike D'Antoni would like this to work out. In that scenario, Toney Douglas(notes) can back up both guard spots and Bill Walker(notes) and Roger Mason(notes) will get the scraps.

Anthony Randolph(notes) missed Wednesday's game because of a left ankle sprain and is expected to be out through the weekend. He'll have to fight his way into regular minutes after struggling through the preseason, particularly now that Chandler is also coming off the bench - the entire series of events adds up to one worst-case scenario.

Andrea Bargnani(notes), as expected, had the best numbers for the Raptors (22 points, 1 three, 6 boards, 2 blocks). Jarrett Jack(notes) was solid (16 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) and played 31 minutes to Jose Calderon's(notes) 18 (4 points, 7 assists), a split that could become familiar. Reggie Evans(notes) grabbed 16 boards and added two steals and a block in his 33 minutes and should be a pickup for all managers employing the mythical 'punt points' strategy. The fact that Amir Johnson(notes) had four fouls in his 13 minutes is precisely the reason why it's nearly impossible for fantasy owners (and the Raptors) to count on him for consistent production, and why Evans will likely stick at power forward.

Leandro Barbosa(notes) scored 13 points in 24 minutes but his wrist injury has him likely just playing on borrowed time. He injured the same wrist Friday that limited him to 44 games last season and said surgery is a necessity yet again, although he's going to try to play through pain for now. Sonny Weems(notes) and Calderon would benefit if he does struggle and has to shut it down.

Miami (97) at Philadelphia (87)

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The Heat looked less open for ridicule in their second game, and Dwyane Wade(notes) in particular had a much better game (30 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks). LeBron James(notes) had some numbers (16 points, 6 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) but is now averaging 8.5 turnovers after two games. Chris Bosh(notes) made half of his 12 shots and was serviceable (15 points, 7 boards, 1 steal, 1 block).

James Jones(notes) was the "other" player of note for the Heat, exactly what they need him to be with Mike Miller(notes) sidelined. Jones made six of his nine threes and finished with 20 points, while also adding a steal and a block. He's a career 39-percent shooter from long-range, and the only thing he'll need to do to keep getting those shots is to keep making a reasonable amount of them. Think about an add if you need threes and not many other supporting stats.

A few of the Sixers' starters looked lifeless in this one, evidenced by Jrue Holiday(notes), Spencer Hawes(notes), and Jason Kapono(notes) combining for eight points on three-of-16 shooting in 48 minutes. Andre Iguodala(notes) posted fine overall numbers (10 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals) and Elton Brand(notes) was excellent (12 points, 9 boards, 3 steals, 2 blocks), but the Sixers' reserves were who made this game even remotely close.

Louis Williams(notes) scored 15 and had seven assists in 34 minutes, Evan Turner(notes) came off the bench for 16 points, seven boards, and four assists in 31 minutes, and Thaddeus Young(notes) added 15 and two steals in 26 minutes. Doug Collins is hoping that Kapono's three-point ability (career 44%) can help the first unit with spacing, but he's a huge defensive liability and is very questionable as a starter in general. Don't be surprised if Young is in the lineup in his place before long. Nocioni is a dark-horse because of his shooting range (career 38% 3PM), but Turner seems more likely to remain a reserve.

Boston (87) at Cleveland (95)

Cleveland was up for this one and Boston was a bit sluggish after the much ballyhooed matchup with the Heat on Tuesday. The Cavs got contributions from a number of players: J.J. Hickson(notes) (21 points, 6 boards), Daniel Gibson(notes) (16 points, 8 assists), Ramon Sessions(notes) (14 points, 2 steals), Anthony Parker(notes) (10 points, 2 threes, 6 assists), Anderson Varejao(notes) (8 points, 10 boards, 4 assists), and Jamario Moon(notes) (10 points, 2 threes, 1 steal, 1 block).

Sessions got the start for Mo Williams(notes), with whom the Cavs were being overly cautious after he was limited in the preseason by a groin injury and away from the team for the past few days. Gibson may struggle to find enough minutes to make an impact when both Williams and Sessions are available, so don't get too excited after one game. Antawn Jamison(notes) was a non-factor in his first game as a reserve (21 minutes, 4 points, 2-6 FG) and we're going to have to wait and see how his role is defined moving forward.

Rajon Rondo(notes) posted another fine line for the Celtics (18 points, 9 assists, 3 steals), but the Big Three combined for 34 points on 12-of-30 shooting in the loss. Glen Davis(notes) had 14 points in 33 minutes and is looking sharp offensively thus far.

Chicago (95) at Oklahoma City (106)

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The Thunder got what they needed from Kevin Durant(notes) (30 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals), Russell Westbrook(notes) (28 points, 10 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals), and Jeff Green(notes) (21 points, 2 threes, 1 steal, 1 block) to put away the Bulls. Serge Ibaka(notes) also posted something of an ideal line for all involved parties (32 minutes, 8 points, 9 boards, 4 blocks) - Nenad Krstic(notes) may be - and stay - the starter at center, but Ibaka is going to make an impact this season.

Thabo Sefolosha(notes) started at shooting guard and did what he often does, scoring just one point in 25 minutes but filling it up elsewhere (4 boards, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 steals, 4 blocks). James Harden(notes) scored six points and had two steals in 20 minutes, but didn't see extensive time because Daequan Cook(notes) (18 minutes) and Eric Maynor(notes) (13) also got some run.

Derrick Rose(notes) attempted a whopping 31 shots and made 12 (0-for-4 3PT), finishing with 28 points and six assists in 31 minutes. Joakim Noah(notes) (18 points, 19 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Taj Gibson(notes) (16 points, 11 boards) both posted double-doubles, with Noah logging 39 minutes. While there are no complaints about that level of production, you wonder about the possibility of too many minutes after last season's battle with plantar fasciitis.

Sacramento (117) at Minnesota (116)

There are going to be a number of good fantasy lines any time teams combine to score 133 points. Nothing to complain about from the Kings, including a stellar effort from Francisco Garcia(notes) (22 points, 2 threes, 3 steals, 1 block) as he filled in for Tyreke Evans(notes) (suspension). DeMarcus Cousins(notes) had a solid NBA debut (14 points, 8 boards, 5 assists), although he did struggle with fouls (27 minutes, 5 fouls). Cousins and Jason Thompson's(notes) fantasy owners should note that Samuel Dalembert(notes) could return to the active roster by the end of the week, so minutes will be adjusted that point.

The T-Wolves had six players in double figures, including Kevin Love(notes) (11 points, 2 threes, 10 boards), but the kicker is that he totaled only 24 minutes because Anthony Tolliver(notes) was delivering the energy and defense that Kurt Rambis preferred. Tolliver did post a nice line (28 minutes, 14 points, 2 threes, 7 boards, 4 blocks) and was a plus-6, but Love left the locker room quickly after the game and this sets up internal friction one game into an 82-game season.

Atlanta (119) at Memphis (104)

The Hawks' new offense got off to a spiffy start, thanks in part to Marc Gasol's(notes) absence because of an ankle sprain. The Hawks shot 53 percent for the field, 50 percent from three, and 87 percent from the line. The team had six players in double figures, with a notable absence being Al Horford(notes), who scored just two points on one-of-five shooting and was kept on the bench (18 minutes, 3 fouls) while Zaza Pachulia(notes) was doing his thing (30 minutes, 17 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks).

Also of note for the Hawks were strong offensive performances by Mike Bibby(notes) (19 points, 4 threes) and Marvin Williams(notes) (15 points). Jeff Teague(notes) played 16 minutes and scored five points, but Bibby will have to regress for at least a few games before talk of a switch begins to resurface.

Gasol could be out through the weekend for the Grizzlies, but his status won't be determined until Friday. Zach Randolph(notes) left Wednesday's game with a bruised tailbone and will be evaluated on Thursday. Mike Conley(notes) (23 points, 8 assists), Rudy Gay(notes) (21 points, 10 boards), Darrell Arthur(notes) (19 points), and Sam Young(notes) (17 points) were the main contributors for the Grizzlies in the loss.

Milwaukee (91) at New Orleans (95)

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It was a mixed fantasy bag for the Hornets in the win. Chris Paul(notes) was excellent (17 points, 16 assists), as was David West(notes) (22 points, 7 boards), and Marco Belinelli(notes) was decent (18 points, 6-15 FG), as was Trevor Ariza(notes) (11 points, 4-13 FG, 4 steals). Emeka Okafor(notes) somehow managed to not attempt a shot or free throw in 26 minutes, and Marcus Thornton(notes) played just 11 minutes off the bench, although he did score eight points in those limited minutes.

Notables for the Bucks included Carlos Delfino(notes), who made five threes and had 19 points in 39 minutes, and Andrew Bogut(notes), who posted 15 points, 15 boards, and one block in his 36 minutes. After the game, Bogut said that both his hand and his endurance were OK. John Salmons(notes) couldn't find his groove (32 minutes, 5 points, 2-8 FG), while Corey Maggette(notes) came off the bench for 16 points (8-of-8 FT) in 20 minutes.

Indiana (109) at San Antonio (122)

Both teams shot well in this game (IND 53%, SAS 51%) but the final score came down to assists-to-turnovers (SAS 29:14, IND 20:23). The Spurs' veteran trio all turned in excellent lines and they also received good support from Richard Jefferson(notes) (16 points), George Hill(notes) (16 points, 2 steals), and James Anderson(notes) (10 points, 2 threes). DeJuan Blair(notes) was underwhelming as the starting center (20 minutes, 9 points, 3 boards) but is going to have a long leash with Tiago Splitter(notes) still limited by his calf strain.

The Pacers also got good numbers from what is now their own Big Three. Roy Hibbert(notes) scored a career-high 28 points and added nine boards and three blocks, Danny Granger(notes) went for 26 points, hit three treys, and had two steals, and Darren Collison(notes) had 19 points and seven assists. Josh McRoberts(notes) was limited by foul trouble (24 minutes, 4 fouls) but still turned in a respectable line (11 points, 1 three, 6 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks). McRoberts definitely deserves a bit more of a look from fantasy owners (10% owned) given his range of skills and the job security afforded him by Tyler Hansbrough's(notes) continuing struggles to return to game condition.

Charlotte (86) at Dallas (101)

This final score certainly could have been a lot different, considering the Mavs started the game with a 16-0 run and started the third quarter with a 21-10 run. Only one Mavs starter finished the game with less than a plus-25. The team got great initial games from Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (28 points, 11-13 FG, 13 boards), Jason Kidd(notes) (12 points, 2 threes, 18 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals), and Jason Terry(notes) (22 points, 2 threes, 6 assists, 4 steals), although Caron Butler's(notes) line could use some work (13 points, 5-16 FG, 2 boards).

Tyson Chandler(notes) (23 minutes, 8 points, 8 boards, 2 blocks) was something of a surprise starter for the Mavs over Brendan Haywood(notes) (20 minutes, 2 points, 3 boards, 1 block), with Rick Carlisle saying that he likes the way Chandler fits with the first team but that "you could flip a coin" in terms of their expected impact for the team. This arrangement likely means that Haywood was a bit overdrafted (113.9 ADP) and Chandler deserves a bit more love (27% owned), but Chandler of course will need to stay healthy for that to actually be the case and we've seen Haywood produce in a strict platoon before.

Tyrus Thomas(notes) played plenty and was very solid off the bench (30 minutes, 22 points, 6 boards, 1 steal). D.J. Augustin(notes) didn't do a lot with his 41 minutes (8 points, 2-10 FG, 5 assists, 1 steal) but he's going to get run, as the team has nobody else to turn to for major minutes. Friday's matchup with Indiana will be a good opportunity for Augustin to post better offensive numbers.

Utah (88) at Denver (110)

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Utah couldn't match Denver's energy in this blowout. The Nuggets were led by Carmelo Anthony(notes) (23 points) and the emerging Arron Afflalo(notes) (22 points, 3 treys, 2 steals), while Shelden Williams(notes) grabbed 16 boards (7 offensive) in his 28 minutes. Nene Hilario(notes) picked up a few fouls early and then wasn't needed much during the easy win (23 minutes, 13 points, 4 boards). Afflalo's refinement of his offensive game should allow Chauncey Billups(notes) to concentrate more on distributing and could also serve to limit J.R. Smith's(notes) role. The current disparity in Smith (80%) and Afflalo's percent-owned numbers (25%) doesn't reflect their probable fantasy impacts.

The Jazz's portion of the box score doesn't figure to be typical going forward. Gordon Hayward(notes) led the team in shot attempts (21 minutes, 9 points, 4-11 FG), Al Jefferson(notes) scored only six points on six shots in a team-high 31 minutes, and Andrei Kirilenko(notes) played only 19 minutes (2 points, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls) as Jerry Sloan went 12 deep in his rotation and only gave four players more 21 minutes. The Jazz get the opportunity to clean up their season averages Thursday, when they host the Suns for their home opener.

Portland (98) at LA Clippers (88)

All eyes were on Blake Griffin(notes) and he did not disappoint, despite his team's loss. In his first 'real' NBA game, Griffin scored 20 points, grabbed 14 boards (9 offensive), and added four assists and a steal in 39 minutes. Eric Gordon(notes) also started strong (22 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks), but the same can't be said for the rest of the Clippers' starters (Baron Davis(notes), Chris Kaman(notes), Ryan Gomes(notes)), who combined for 18 points on eight-of-35 shooting in 97 minutes. Rasual Butler(notes) made four of his six threes in 30 minutes and could push Gomes for the starting small forward gig in short order.

None of Portland's starters had any problems in this one. All five scored in double figures and played at least 32 minutes. Three had at least 10 boards and they also totaled eight steals and six blocks. After two games, Nicolas Batum(notes) is averaging 17 points on 58-percent shooting, 3 treys, 8.5 boards, 1.5 steals, and 1 block in 30 minutes.

Houston (128) at Golden State (132)

The major fireworks for the evening were saved for the late game. Golden State looked very… Golden Statey en route to 132 points, with Monta Ellis(notes) making 18 of his 24 shot attempts (46 points, 2 steals), Stephen Curry(notes) picking up where he left off (25 points, 3 threes, 11 assists), David Lee(notes) getting it done (17 points, 15 boards, 6 assists, 1 block), Andris Biedrins(notes) turning in a vintage line (8 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks), and Dorell Wright(notes) looking like a legit starter (15 points, 3 threes, 2 steals, 1 block). For the game, the Warriors shot 55 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 85 percent from the line.

Houston kept pace with the Warriors for the most part, with Luis Scola(notes) (36 points, 16 boards) and Kevin Martin(notes) (28 points, 17-17 FT) doing the major damage. Chuck Hayes(notes) got the start at center and posted a tremendous line (16 points, 8 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal). Yao sat because it was the second of a back-to-back - Hayes' 39 minutes were a bit of a surprise compared to Brad Miller's(notes) grand total of three minutes, but Rick Adelman felt from the outset that Hayes would be more apt to handle the expected pace of the game.

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