Court Report: Hello again, Brandon Rush

Phil Londen

Taking a look at the results from Monday night's eight games...

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Indiana pulled off the improbable, upsetting the Miami Heat in South Beach. Brandon Rush(notes) (38 minutes, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) started at the expense of Mike Dunleavy (17 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds). Keep an eye on this position battle next game, but in the meantime Rush looks like an excellent speculative pickup, as he might have cemented himself in the starting unit with his critical performance in this big win for the Pacers.

At point, Darren Collison(notes) got the start (22 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers) but T.J. Ford(notes) had the last laugh (26 minutes, 13 points, 1 three, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal). Collison was returning from a three-game absence from his ankle injury. It should take Collison a couple of games to round back into game shape, so just hope Ford doesn’t outplay him in the interim.

For Miami, Dwyane Wade’s(notes) wrist is clearly still bothering him (3 points, 1-13 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-5 FT, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers), although he refused to use it as an excuse for his poor shooting. With a performance like this, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wade on the bench for a game or two to get his wrist right. Miami’s other two superstars played well, with LeBron James(notes) contributing 25 points, five rebounds and six assists and Chris Bosh(notes) adding 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes) had a solid line in the Heat’s devastating loss (12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks), but his fantasy value is going to be spoiled by the impending acquisition of free agent center Erick Dampier(notes). Otherwise he’d be a definite waiver wire addition. With Udonis Haslem(notes) sidelined until the around the All-Star break as he recovers from foot surgery to repair a torn, expect Ilgauskas and Dampier to split time going forward.

The Boston-Atlanta game was a complete blowout from wire to wire, with the Hawks coming out flat and staying that way. The Celtics were clearly motivated after Sunday’s loss in Toronto and jumped the Hawks early. Don’t read anything into the distribution of minutes from Monday’s game because both teams went extra deep into their bench as a result of the lopsided game.

Rajon Rondo(notes) was absent again with his sore hamstring, and Nate Robinson(notes) got another start in his stead. Robinson played very well (16 points, 4 threes, 3 rebounds, 10 assists) and should continue providing value as long as Rondo sits. Rondo will likely be a game-time decision for Wednesday‘s game against the Nets but may sit out until Friday.

Atlanta’s box score from this Boston massacre is pretty ugly. The Hawks shot 35 percent as a team, with Mike Bibby’s(notes) 11 points on four-of-six shooting leading the way for Atlanta. The other four starters combined for six-of-29 shooting from the field and a paltry 16 points. This was a mulligan for the entire Hawks squad, with Jamal Crawford(notes) (10 points, 1 three, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers) having the closest thing that resembles a useful fantasy line. Atlanta’s five game week may not be as lucrative as initially expected.

Jeff Green(notes) and Kevin Durant(notes) both returned to action from their respective ankle injuries for the Thunder Monday night. Green’s return pushed Serge Ibaka(notes) back to the bench and his production certainly suffered (19 minutes, 10 points, 1 rebound, 0 blocks) as a result. James Harden’s(notes) production also fell off as well (18 minutes, 5 points) bringing Harden’s current run of fantasy relevance to an end.

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By his standards, Thabo Sefolosha(notes) has been scoring at a furious pace lately, averaging 9.8 points in his last five games. Sefolosha also had a rare double double against the Timberwolves Monday night, ending with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Thabo is an interesting deep league candidate, especially if he can keep his scoring up.

Incredulously, Darko Milicic(notes) played well, again (21 points, 9-14 FG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks), while Kevin Love(notes) gobbled up all the available boards (24 points, 17 rebounds). Well, the second part of the previous sentence was easier to believe than the first part. Michael Beasley(notes) (15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers) scored less than 20 points for the first time since he dropped 17 points on November 9th. He’s had an incredible run and was bound to cool off a bit at some point.

Jonny Flynn(notes) remained sidelined and Sebastian Telfair(notes) played poorly, making Luke Ridnour(notes) look like the player to own (17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists) at point in Minnesota off the bench.

Tiago Splitter(notes) followed-up his breakout performance on Sunday with a ten-second appearance against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Such is life of an NBA rookie playing behind Tim Duncan(notes). However, Splitter’s absence was more likely a result of poor matchups against both Dwight Howard(notes) (26 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and Rashard Lewis(notes) (14 points, 3 threes, 3 rebounds). Splitter just isn’t strong enough to handle D12 and not comfortable to chase Shard around the perimeter.

Matt Bonner(notes) also played well for San Antonio, notching 15 points, four threes and seven rebounds. Bonner was scorching from behind the arc (4-4 3PM) and makes an interesting option in deeper formats.

Vince Carter(notes) limped to the locker room and finished with a disappointing line of eight points, two assists and four fouls in 17 minutes. He appeared to roll his ankle and should be considered day-to-day until further notice. J.J. Redick(notes) got extended run in Carter’s absence (11 points, 1 three, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal) despite mildly spraining his finger in this one.

In what should be unsurprising news, Steve Nash(notes) returned to the lineup and Phoenix’s offense clicked again with Jason Richardson(notes) (26 points, 7-11 FG, 2-2 3PT, 10-10 FT), Channing Frye(notes) (15 points, 6-9 FG) and Grant Hill(notes) (17 points, 7-12 FG, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) all shooting lights out.

Brad Miller(notes) got bumped out of the starting lineup, while Chuck Hayes(notes) got the promotion. Miller posted a reasonable line in only 21 minutes (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists). Starter Luis Scola(notes) did most of his damage in the first half, with Jordan Hill(notes) getting hot late (14 points, 7-8 FG, 10 rebounds, 3 turnovers) against the Suns. Hill’s game looks like a fluke against the defensively challenged Suns.

Kyle Lowry’s(notes) six steals also deserve mention, as that is a great contribution to get at the start of a week-long head-to-head matchup.

Paul Westphal’s most recent lineup change stuck for another game (Tyreke Evans(notes)-Luther Head-Donte Greene(notes)-Carl Landry-Samuel Dalembert(notes)). The result: another loss for the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins(notes) finished Monday’s game in Utah with the best line of the night for the Kings with 18 points and nine rebounds. Beno Udrih(notes) (18 minutes), Francisco Garcia(notes) (17 minutes), Jason Thompson(notes) (15 minutes) and Omri Casspi(notes) (15 minutes) all remained in Westphal’s doghouse but will certainly be given another opportunity to contribute at some point this season. Westphal’s rotation is liable to change at any moment.

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C.J. Miles(notes) followed-up an excellent night of shooting in Utah’s previous game by staying hot and contributing across the board production (24 minutes, 20 points, 1 three, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks) for the Jazz. Notably, Miles did less of his damage from behind the three-point line than he did against Portland. Also, most improved player candidate Paul Millsap(notes) had a relatively weak showing with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Deron Williams(notes) also admitted that he is struggling with lingering issues after the Jazz’s victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. At this point, it is nothing to panic about but is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

David West(notes) played a great game (30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) for the Hornets, who ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in a tight game down the stretch. The preceding sentence was not a typo – the Clippers, in fact, knocked off one of the hottest teams in the league to pickup their second victory of the season.

Jarrett Jack(notes) made his debut for the New Orleans Hornets and gave Monty Williams quality minutes off the bench. Jack put up 12 points, three rebounds and four assists in 16 minutes of PT.

Al-Farouq Aminu(notes) returned to the starting lineup for the Clippers and responded with 16 points, two threes, four rebounds, two steals, two blocks and four turnovers. Both Eric Gordon(notes) (27 points) and Blake Griffin(notes) (24 points, 13 rebounds) stayed hot the Clippers as well. DeAndre Jordan(notes) also posted a decent line (12 points, 8 rebounds) in Chris Kaman’s(notes) absence.

Carmelo Anthony(notes) carried the scoring load (39 points, 10-24 FG, 2-4 3PTM, 17-17 FT, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers) for the Denver Nuggets against the Golden State Warriors. Al Harrington(notes) also played well (19 points, 5 threes, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) despite the return of Chris Andersen(notes) (18 minutes). Shelden Williams(notes) (13 minutes) looks like the most likely candidate to have his minutes pinched by the return of the Birdman.

Chauncey Billups(notes) sat out Monday’s game against Golden State after getting banged up in Denver’s last game while driving to the basket. Ty Lawson(notes) got the temporary promotion and had a good game (14 points, 5-8 FG, 2-3 3 PTM, 2-2 FT, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers), giving managers a preview of what can be expected if Billups gets moved at any point this season.

Monta Ellis(notes) was good to go after he suffered a hip injury against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, finishing with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Of particular interest to fantasy managers, however, is the position battle brewing between Dorell Wright(notes) and Reggie Williams(notes). Williams (16 points) got the better of Wright (2 points), although both players shot poorly from the field in this one.

Dan Gadzuric(notes) got extended minutes due to Golden State’s lack of depth at the four and five. Gadzuric finished with eight points, 11 points and two blocks and he is a decent plug-and-play option for deep leagues until David Lee(notes) returns. Lee is scheduled to get his stitches out tomorrow, and may be back in action sooner than expected. His return can’t come soon enough for the Warriors who have lost five of their last six games. In related news, Lee has missed the past six games with his elbow injury.

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