Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony (Getty)
We won't see Baron Davis play on Wednesday, but it does look like he'll make his Knicks debut sometime this weekend. Davis obviously will get his minutes at point guard when he does return, so how does it affect Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields? It shouldn't affect either tremendously, given that they are averaging 32 and 31 minutes on the season, respectively. Davis won't play big minutes, particularly right off the bat, and it's more likely that we see little-to-none of Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby (averaging a combined 33 minutes over the past two weeks) than see Shumpert and Fields lose much playing time. How the starting assignments are divvied up remains to be seen, but Fields has been picking up his production at the right time, averaging 15.8 points on 53-percent shooting, 4.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in 36 minutes over the past four games.
• There were a number of notables from the Raptors' Tuesday box score. Andrea Bargnani returned from his calf injury to score 36 points in 42 minutes, adding four threes, two steals, and a block. This performance pushed him to 13th in per-game rank, and it appears that the extra time off to make sure he was 100 percent was well worth it .. James Johnson turned in another strong performance (35 minutes, 18 points, 10 boards, 1 steal) and has now averaged 13 points on 48-percent shooting, 5 boards, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks in his four starts. Johnson's offense will remain sporadic at best, but his defense and general versatility will keep him in the starting five from here on out .. Aaron Gray (15 minutes, 2 points, 5 boards) replaced Amir Johnson (13 minutes, 5 points, 3 boards) in the starting five after Dwane Casey took exception with some recent lackadaisical play from Johnson. Gray isn't going to play big minutes in any case and Johnson did great things with 25 minutes last season, but you won't be blamed for not waiting things out in a standard league. Ed Davis barely left the bench (3 minutes) and that will continue in this current arrangement .. DeMar DeRozan played a season-low 23 minutes (4 points, 2-8 FG, 0-0 FT), eight less than Leandro Barbosa (31 minutes, 19 points, 3 threes). Doug Smith says it's not a sign that DeRozan is set for fewer minutes on a regular basis, and Barbosa's defensive shortcomings at shooting guard can often make up for any offense he contributes, but DeRozan clearly needs to regain some of his lost assertiveness before Dwane Casey does look to shake things up even further.
• Jameer Nelson continues to pile up useless lines, with Tuesday's being the latest stinker (24 minutes, 2 points, 1-5 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5 assists, turnovers, 0 steals). Nelson has said that the Dwight Howard trade drama has maybe affected his play, and his GM thinks that's mostly the issue. But what is more directly affecting the box scores is that Hedo Turkoglu's presence and Ryan Anderson's breakout have reduced a passive Nelson's role to the point of standard league irrelevance. Nelson has even been deferring to a more assertive J.J. Redick when the two share the court, as evidenced by Redick's increased assist and free throw rates. Turkoglu missed two games last week, during which Nelson averaged 14 field goal attempts and 7 assists in 32 minutes - in his other 14 games on the season, he's averaged 7.3 field goal attempts and 5.2 assists. Nelson has always been a streaky player and isn't in danger of losing many minutes to Chris Duhon, so something of a rebound at some point can't completely be ruled out, but he does not appear to be worth waiting on when you consider his per-game ranks of 114 and 137 over the past two seasons.
• The reason why Marcus Thornton was having such a difficult time recovering from a quad contusion? It turns out that it's actually a hematoma and will require at least another week of down time, and possibly two. Thornton's absence means more playing time for some combination of Donte Greene, Isaiah Thomas, Francisco Garcia, and Jimmer Fredette, although it's impossible to say with any certainty how Keith Smart's rotation will play out .. Also for the Kings: Chuck Hayes was a full participant in practice Tuesday and, although he won't be active Wednesday, looks very close to returning to the active roster.
• Status updates: It looks like Chris Paul (hamstring) will play Wednesday but Vinny Del Negro said previously that he'd see limited minutes if he were to return. Paul hasn't played in 10 days and the Clips are looking at six games in the next nine days .. Arron Afflalo (groin) is out Wednesday .. Ben Gordon (shoulder) is out Wednesday .. An MRI on MarShon Brooks' Achilles was negative - confirming tendinitis and nothing more serious - but he's out Wednesday .. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) and Nikola Vucevic (quad, knee) are both out Wednesday .. Josh Howard (quad) will be active Wednesday but play limited minutes .. Kirk Hinrich (shoulder) will be active for the first time on Wednesday. He'll play limited minutes to start but should eventually settle in behind Jeff Teague and Joe Johnson, who have each averaged 36 minutes since Al Horford was lost to a pectoral injury.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Now is the time for Byron Mullens to step his game up. He's averaged 8.4 points on 38-percent shooting over the past five games as teams have adjusted to his jumpshooting abilities, and he's totaled just eight attempts at the rim in those games. Mullens' defense hasn't exactly been spectacular, either, so his matchup with JaVale McGee on Wednesday will be worth monitoring .. Norris Cole got extra run Tuesday (29 minutes) because Mario Chalmers followed up six turnovers in the loss to the Bucks on Sunday with three turnovers in his first nine minutes against the Cavs. Chalmers didn't play in the second quarter but then had no turnovers in his 15 minutes in the second half .. Alvin Gentry is still trying to figure out if starting Markieff Morris is a good idea, and said he'd "look at" swapping him back out with Channing Frye if he feels it's better for the team. Morris has averaged 3.5 points on 29-percent shooting and 4 boards in 18 minutes during his four starts.
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- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Jameer Nelson