Kyle Lowry made a surprise return to the court on Sunday, playing 18 minutes off the bench (1 point, 0-3 FG, 7 assists, 0 turnovers) in a blowout win over the Kings. His early return obviously complicates the point guard picture for the Rockets, and Goran Dragic has been a top five player over the past month. Dragic's minutes will come down as Lowry works his way back to 100 percent, but that's not going to happen immediately and we should see the two share the court regularly over the season's final weeks (Kevin Martin remains out indefinitely). Those of you that have ridden Dragic to the default h2h finals are likely to still get the majority of the production we've seen in recent weeks - after Monday's game, Kevin McHale said that Dragic will continue to play "long minutes" for the Rockets, who went 10-6 since he took over for Lowry.
• Lester Hudson came largely out of nowhere to average 24.5 points, 87-percent foul shooting (7.5 FTA), 5 assists, and 2.5 steals in 30 minutes during the Cavs' two games over the weekend. Injuries to Kyrie Irving, Daniel Gibson, and Anthony Parker opened up playing time for Donald Sloan, Manny Harris, and Hudson, and it's been Hudson that has taken full advantage. Quick background on Hudson: two huge seasons for Tennesse-Martin, followed by bit NBA roles and sporadic D-League stints over the past two years. This season's D-League numbers were very good, and 30-ish minutes look like a lock during the Cavs' five-game week [schedule]. The team will take no chances with Irving's shoulder, Gibson is done for the season, and Parker's eventual return will push Harris back to the end of the rotation. Byron Scott likes what he's seen from Hudson as the sixth man and plans to keep him in that role through the end of the season. There are no guarantees of continued production here, of course - he averaged 8.3 points on 32-percent shooting and 0.7 threes in 25 minutes over his first three games - but his scope of opportunity is substantial.
• Both the Cavs (Lester Hudson, Alonzo Gee, Donald Sloan) and Celtics (Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Greg Stiemsma) play five games over the final six days of the week, so consider the listed players for quantity and varying levels of quality. Teams with quality games on both Tuesday (only six games on the schedule) and Thursday (five games), ranked by descending matchup ease: CHA (@CLE, DET), DAL (SAC, @GSW), MIA (BOS, @CHI), and CHI (NYK, MIA).
• Status updates: Dwyane Wade (ankle) practiced Monday and is expected to play on Tuesday .. Kobe Bryant (shin) is out again Monday and officially day-to-day .. Magic on Monday: Dwight Howard (back) is out; Ryan Anderson (ankle) participated in shootaround and is probable; Hedo Turkoglu is out for the remainder of the regular season because of facial surgery .. Marcus Thornton (calf) remains day-to-day but looks like a real possibility for Tuesday .. The Nuggets should know more about Wilson Chandler's groin injury on Monday. Danilo Gallinari (thumb) is still dealing with some pain, but will play .. Gerald Wallace is day-to-day with a left hamstring strain .. Eric Gordon (back) is questionable for Monday .. Nene Hilario is hoping to return to the Wizards some time this week, but Trevor Booker looks like he may not return this season .. Jason Kidd (groin) will return to the lineup on Tuesday .. Andrea Bargnani aggravated his injured calf on Sunday and will have his status updated on Monday .. Jarrett Jack's season is over due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Greivis Vasquez has averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 assists, and 1.5 steals in the 10 games that Jack has missed so far this season .. Luke Ridnour (ankle) is improving but is doubtful for Monday .. Anderson Varejao (wrist) could return this week, but Byron Scott wants to be cautious .. For those of you still holding him in roto leagues: Brook Lopez has officially been shut down for the season.