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Court Report: Raymond Felton picks up the pace

Matt Buser
Roto Arcade

Raymond Felton(notes) has been a catalyst for the Knicks' offense, particularly over the past few weeks.

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The Knicks got big games from three of the four main components of their speedball attack against Charlotte Wednesday. Raymond Felton had another very strong performance (23 points, 2 threes, 13 assists, 6 turnovers, 2 steals) and is now in the top 12 for per-game rank thanks to a very impressive recent stretch. Over the past eight games, he's averaged 20.8 points on 48-percent shooting, 87-percent foul shooting, 2 threes, 8.4 assists, 3.9 turnovers, 2.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 40 minutes. Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) scored 20 points and had six blocks (but only four boards), while Wilson Chandler(notes) went for 21 points, four threes, eight boards, and one block in 34 minutes. Danilo Gallinari(notes) failed to reach double-figures in scoring (9 points, 2-9 FG, 2 threes, 7 boards) for the first time in eight games.

The Bobcats countered the Knicks' up-tempo gameplan by benching Nazr Mohammed(notes) (DNP-CD) and starting Tyrus Thomas(notes) at center. Thomas responded with one of the best lines of his career (34 minutes, 26 points, 11 boards, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, 4 blocks), but Larry Brown made this move for matchup purposes and doesn't think it would work against most of the league's other teams. This was a spot start but still looks great for Thomas' ever-evolving game. Gerald Wallace(notes) couldn't get the offense going (8 points, 4-10 FG) but filled it up otherwise (8 boards, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals, 2 blocks). And D.J. Augustin(notes) had seven assists and no turnovers, giving him 76 assists and just 11 turnovers over his past 10 games (6.9:1 AST:TO).

Andrew Bogut(notes) missed Wednesday's game in Cleveland because of back spasms. An MRI showed no structural damage and the Bucks expect him to be active by the weekend … Carlos Delfino(notes) also missed the game, his seventh straight. He was re-evaluated Wednesday, where it was determined that he's about 90-percent free of concussion-like symptoms, and he should return to basketball activities in two weeks.

The Bucks struggled in the two-point loss to the Cavs, shooting just 38 percent from the field and 64 percent from the foul line. Brandon Jennings(notes) was way off (1-10 FG), as was Corey Maggette(notes) (2-8 FG). Jon Brockman(notes) got the start at center for Bogut but was overshadowed by rookie Larry Sanders(notes) (23 minutes, 8 points, 7 boards, 2 steals, 1 block). Sanders would immediately warrant fantasy consideration for defensive stats if Bogut were to miss any substantial length of time.

Mo Williams(notes) played through a sore thumb and scored 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including the game-winning jumpshot. He and Anderson Varejao(notes) (6 points, 13 boards, 2 blocks) were the only notable positives for the Cavs. J.J. Hickson's(notes) slide continued (20 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FG, 5 boards, 1 assist, 3 turnovers) and Antawn Jamison(notes) didn't have it on this night (28 minutes, 6 points, 2-9 FG).

Reggie Evans(notes) took advantage of a small 76ers lineup and his own teammates' shortcomings, grabbing a significant portion of the game's total rebounds (22 of 80) and posting his first double-double of the season (12 points, 2 steals, 1 block). Evans had scored more than six points just once in his first 13 games and was averaging 3.2 points entering the game … Elsewhere for the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani(notes) posted one of those lines we've come to know and love (24 points, 2 threes, 5 boards, 3 blocks) and Jose Calderon(notes) was strong in his second start (32 minutes, 16 points, 2 threes, 9 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals). Linas Kleiza(notes) was squeezed for playing time once again (13 minutes, 4 points) and will not make a notable fantasy impact if Sonny Weems(notes) remains the starter at small forward (35 minutes, 8 points).

Elton Brand(notes) served a one-game suspension Wednesday for his flagrant foul on JaVale McGee(notes). Thaddeus Young(notes) got the start in his place and was reasonably productive (29 minutes, 14 points, 5 boards, 2 steals, 1 block). The story for the sluggish Sixers, playing the second game of a back-to-back after Tuesday's overtime loss, was two points from Evan Turner(notes) in 16 minutes (0-0 FG, 2-2 FT) and eight points from Louis Williams(notes) on just one-of-11 shooting.

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The Nets had no answer for Shaquille O'Neal(notes) on Wednesday, and he made nine of his 10 shots en route to 25 points and 11 boards in 32 minutes. Rajon Rondo(notes) (hamstring) missed his third straight game and Nate Robinson(notes) struggled with fouls (20 minutes, 7 points, 5 fouls), so Ray Allen(notes) (40 minutes, 15 points, 3 threes, 7 assists, 3 turnovers) and Marquis Daniels(notes) (29 minutes, 4 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 1 block) helped with point guard duties. Rondo is also currently questionable for Friday.

Adding to the Celtics' injury news: Delonte West(notes) suffered a compound fracture of his right wrist and will be out of the lineup for a long time.

There likely isn't going to be a plethora of fantasy stats for any team that scores 83 points, and that was the case for the Nets against the Celtics. You can observe the mediocrity for yourself hereTerrence Williams(notes) was inactive for disciplinary reasons, and the team will announce Friday how they plan to deal with him for repeated violations of team policies … Troy Murphy(notes) was also inactive for the sixth straight game. Avery Johnson said he'll re-evaluate Murphy's conditioning on Monday and see if he can be of use to them, but Kris Humphries(notes) is locked in as the starter and they aren't going to take away any of Derrick Favors'(notes) reserve minutes, so his level of conditioning seems to be a moot point.

A succinct summary of the Heat's night versus the Magic can be found here. Dwyane Wade's(notes) horrific shooting slump continued (6-21 FG) and, while his wrist injury is obviously affecting him, he's got to be crushed by the loss of his good friend Udonis Haslem(notes). LeBron James(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) are going to get theirs for now, and D-Wade can if he can get right, but he's really in a bad place, and the team has nobody - zero - to help with Haslem and Mike Miller(notes) on the sidelines. It will be interesting to see how this team does in Philly on Friday (and of course everyone will be watching), as the 3-12 76ers aren't exactly playing good basketball right now.

The Magic ended up with a few good lines, starting with Dwight Howard(notes) (24 points, 18 boards) and Jameer Nelson(notes) (17 points, 14 assists, 5 turnovers). J.J Redick was solid (20 points, 3 treys, 5 assists, 1 turnover) in his spot start for Vince Carter(notes) (knee), and Brandon Bass(notes) was effective off the bench (26 minutes, 18 points, 6 boards).

Dirk Nowitzki(notes) continued his recent strong play with 34 points (9-15 FG, 14-15 FT, 2 threes) to lead the Mavs over the Thunder. Over the past six games, Nowitzki has averaged 31.2 points on 54-percent shooting, 1.5 threes, 8.3 boards, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 turnovers in 39 minutes. That slow start to the season suddenly looks a lot less ominous than it did a few weeks ago … Also notable for the Mavs: Tyson Chandler(notes) had his best game of the season (17 points, 18 boards, 1 steal, 1 block) and Caron Butler(notes) made a reasonable percentage of his shots (15 points, 6-13 FG, 1 three, 5 boards, 1 steal).

Serge Ibaka(notes) has now blocked just one shot in the past four games after averaging 3.8 in the five previous games. Buy low?

O.J. Mayo(notes) will be a reserve for the Grizzlies for the foreseeable future, with Lionel Hollins explaining it as an effort to increase the team's bench scoring. The move is also designed to jumpstart Mayo's offensive game - he's averaged just 9.9 points on 34-percent shooting over the past eight games and has struggled to find his offense alongside the team's starters. The early returns aren't great - Mayo scored nine points on four-of-11 shooting in 23 minutes on Wednesday - and it's tough to sell this as a positive for his fantasy impact on most nights. Xavier Henry(notes) is the new starter but isn't likely to see more than 15-20 minutes consistently.

The Pistons had 10 players see between 20 and 27 minutes of playing time on a night where they totaled 84 points, 11 assists, and three steals as a team. Yeah, it wasn't pretty.

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The Spurs needed overtime to get past Minnesota, rallying from 21 points down to move to 13-1 on the season. The Spurs were once again led by Manu Ginobili(notes) (26 points, 4 threes, 6 boards, 6 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 block) and Tony Parker(notes) (18 points, 1 three, 6 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal), but also got 19 points from Richard Jefferson(notes), 12 points from George Hill(notes), and between six and nine points from five other players.

That's got to be a tough loss for the young T-Wolves, who got valiant efforts from Kevin Love(notes) (32 points, 9-9 FT, 1 three, 22 boards) and Darko Milicic(notes) (22 points, 8 boards, 5 blocks). Wesley Johnson also did a little something (15 points, 2 threes, 3 blocks), but Michael Beasley(notes) was a bit short on offense relative to what we've seen lately (11 points, 5-12 FG, 1 three, 9 boards, 1 steal, 1 block).

Houston got a much-needed win against the floundering Warriors and turned in some excellent fantasy lines in the process. Luis Scola(notes) (24 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, 0 turnovers) and Kevin Martin(notes) (25 points, 14-15 FT, 3 treys) led the way, with Kyle Lowry(notes) (14 points, 1 three, 7 boards, 10 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals), Shane Battier(notes) (13 points, 2 threes, 6 boards, 4 blocks) and Chuck Hayes(notes) (16 points, 4-5 FG, 8-8 FT, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 turnovers) also coming along for the ride. Hayes got the start over Brad Miller(notes) (3 minutes) for matchup purposes. The Rockets made 39 of a whopping 51 free throws as a team.

Dorell Wright(notes) had one of his best shooting nights in a few weeks for the Warriors (24 points, 10-19 FG), but the team only got a combined nine assists and 38-percent shooting from Monta Ellis(notes) and Stephen Curry(notes).

Al Jefferson(notes) had another big game in the Jazz's impressive win over the Hornets (23 points, 10 boards, 1 block) and appears to be settling in. Over the past five games, Jefferson has averaged 17.6 points on 52-percent shooting, 9.4 boards, and 1.6 blocks. Deron Williams(notes) was absolutely huge in the win (26 points, 4 threes, 11 assists, 5 turnovers, 5 steals), and Paul Millsap(notes) was also productive (17 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals). We'll have to call this one a mulligan for Andrei Kirilenko(notes) (26 minutes, 0 points, 0-6 FG).

Chris Paul(notes) certainly showed up against the Jazz (17 points, 1 three, 9 assists, 1 turnover, 5 steals), but his teammates can't exactly claim the same. The non-Paul Hornets totaled four assists, 16 turnovers, and two steals in the beatdown by the Jazz … Jarrett Jack(notes) played 13 minutes in his second game with his new team (4 points, 1-4 FG).

Wednesday night's high-scoring affair was Chicago's 123-115 win over the Suns in double-overtime, a game in which the Bulls came back from 23 points down. As you might imagine, there were plenty of big numbers to go around. Notables for the Bulls were Derrick Rose(notes) (50 minutes, 35 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 turnovers), Joakim Noah(notes) (17 points, 15 boards, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals), Luol Deng(notes) (54 minutes, 26 points, 10 boards), and Kyle Korver(notes) (47 minutes, 24 points, 3 treys, 5 boards, 1 steal, 1 block). The top six players in the current Suns' rotation averaged 43 minutes played and all turned in good-to-great lines - you can view the specifics here.

A few status updates…

Brandon Roy(notes) practiced with the Blazers Wednesday and felt good afterward. He's scheduled to participate in Thursday's practice and the team's shootaround Friday, after which his availability for Friday's game will be determined.

Baron Davis(notes) took part in the Clippers' practice Wednesday but will be a game-time decision Thursday.

The Nuggets expect to have Chauncey Billups(notes) (wrist) back in the lineup on Friday.

Rodrigue Beaubois(notes) (foot) was cleared Tuesday to ramp up his non-basketball activities and he's expected to be a consideration for the active roster in three to four weeks, barring a set-back.

Kelenna Azubuike(notes) (knee) recently went through his first practice with the Knicks and felt good, and he could join the team's active roster sometime next week. He's a Watch List candidate but will likely struggle for minutes with Landry Fields(notes) and Toney Douglas(notes) ahead of him on the depth chart, at least initially.

Mehmet Okur(notes) (Achilles) scrimmaged with his Jazz teammates Tuesday without incident, but the team isn't going to push him to return to game action and he remains without a specific timetable.

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