November 28, 2009
Melo took advantage of the Knicks' "defense," Mike Dunleavy is back, and could the 76ers be thinking about bringing a familiar face back into the fold? Read on for Friday's action in bullet form …
• Not much defense in Denver on Friday, as the Nuggets came away with a 128-125 win over the Knicks. The teams combined to shoot 51 percent from the field, make 23 threes, and logged a 59:19 assist-to-turnover ratio. The big winners: Carmelo Anthony(notes) (career-high 50 points, 15-of-16 FT), Al Harrington(notes) (41 points, 4 threes, 10 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks), Chauncey Billups(notes) (32 points, 4 threes, 8 assists), David Lee(notes) (23 points, 10 boards, 4 assists), and Larry Hughes(notes) (16 points, 3 threes, 9 assists, 2 steals). Chris Duhon(notes) even got in on the action (12 points, 3 threes, 6 assists) now that his starting job is in jeopardy.
• Jrue Holiday(notes) will have to step into the void created by Louis Williams'(notes) broken jaw, an injury that is expected to sideline him for up to two months. Holiday was a mixed bag on Friday versus the Hawks (25 minutes, 2 points, 1-of-8 shooting, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 steals). Best-case scenario for him would be a poor man's version of what Williams was able to accomplish in terms of points, threes, assists, and steals. Holiday is a bit hard to project given his limited college resume, but he won't be lacking for opportunity in the short-term. That is, as long as the Sixers don't sign a particular unnamed recently retired former Sixer. … What made Williams so great for fantasy to this point was his fantastic efficiency (50% FG, 83% FT, 1.8 TO) – the fact that Williams is currently near the top of both the roto and h2h lists for "MVPs" is no coincidence, and he'll be sorely missed by his fantasy owners.
• Elton Brand(notes) missed his second straight game due to a sore right hamstring, but was a game-time decision and could be back when the 76ers take on the Spurs on Sunday. Jason Smith(notes) made his second start, totaling 14 points, five boards, a steal, and two blocks in 28 minutes. Smith is exactly the kind of player that the Princeton offense calls for, in that he's a big that can board, block shots, and step outside and hit the three. He won't get consistent playing time in the present without a major injury or a Samuel Dalembert(notes) trade, but he's one to pay particular attention to when he does get some run.
• Thaddeus Young(notes) had the offense working again on Friday (22 points, 3 treys), even if the supporting stats were nil (2 boards, 1 assist, 0 steals or blocks). He's been mostly up over the past four games, averaging 20.8 points on 56-percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 4.5 boards, and 1 steal in 43 minutes.
• Mike Bibby(notes) had arguably his best game of the season (21 points, 5 threes, 4 boards, 5 assists), and it came on the heels of a five-game stretch where he made 14 of 43 shots (33%) and averaged 5.4 points. Although he could improve on his season averages a bit moving forward (9.9 points, 1.5 threes, 4.1 assists), it's hard to hold out too much hope for him with Josh Smith(notes) and Al Horford(notes) being more assertive on offense and Jamal Crawford(notes) being added to the mix.
• Shaquille O'Neal(notes) returned for the Cavs on Friday and produced a decent line (30 minutes, 11 points, 8 boards, 1 block), but the Cavs' offense was sluggish overall in the 94-87 loss to the Bobcats (17 FTA, 14:16 AST:TO). Anderson Varejao(notes), Anthony Parker(notes), and J.J. Hickson(notes) combined for seven points in 70 minutes.
• Gerald Wallace(notes) scored 31 points for the second consecutive night and added 14 boards, his fifth straight double-double. G-Wall's averages in the six games since the Stephen Jackson(notes) trade: 19.5 points on 51-percent shooting, 0.8 threes, 9.7 free throw attempts, 11.5 boards, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 40 minutes. Other notable Bobcats in the six games:
Jackson: 41 min, 18.5 pts, 41% FG, 1.3 3pt, 4.8 reb, 3.8 ast, 3.2 to, 1.5 stl
Diaw: 34 min, 10.7 pts, 55% FG, 0.3 3pt, 4.2 reb, 1.8 ast, 0.7 to, 0.7 stl, 0.7 blk
Felton: 29 min, 7.3 pts, 40% FG, 0.2 3pt, 3.3 reb, 4.8 ast, 1.8 to, 1.8 stl
Chandler: 20 min, 4 pts, 43% FG, 5 reb, 1.8 blk
Augustin: 15 min, 3.8 pts, 35% FG, 0.7 3pt, 2.5 ast, 0.7 blk
Wallace's numbers have benefited from the attention that Jackson has commanded, and he's continued to pile up the boards thanks to Chandler's foul trouble and inconsistent availability. Jackson's usage has had a substantial negative impact on Diaw, at least through six games. He's seeing significantly fewer touches in the offense and appears to have lost many of his responsibilities as a distributor. Diaw was averaging 5 assists per game at the time of the trade. Jackson has also limited Felton's numbers and completed the marginalization of D.J. Augustin(notes).
• Nick Young(notes) isn't shy, that's for sure. He took a team-high 23 shot attempts in 37 minutes on Friday, en route to 22 points, four boards, and 5 assists in 37 minutes. Young totaled just 45 minutes of playing time in the Wizards' first 12 games, but has now totaled 42 points in 69 minutes in two starts since taking over for the injured Mike Miller(notes). Young has never had problems scoring, but has struggled to fill out the rest of the stat sheet. He's worth a no-risk add if you are in serious need of scoring help, but keep in mind that he won't typically be asked (allowed?) to handle more of the offense than Gilbert Arenas(notes) and Caron Butler(notes) combined (8-of-16, 18 points on Friday).
• Scoring 103 points against the Celtics is good, and shooting 56 percent from the field is great, but the Raptors had only 15 assists on 39 made field goals on Friday and a 15:25 assist-to-turnover ratio overall in their 116-103 loss. Given the dearth of assists, it's probably no surprise that Jose Calderon(notes) had another stinker (9 points, 0 threes, 4 assists, 3 turnovers). The Celtics shot 63 percent from the field on Friday, and the Raptors have averaged 114 points against over the past seven games.
• Congrats if you rolled with Rasheed Wallace(notes) in the starting lineup tonight (23 minutes, 15 points, 3 treys, 4 steals, 1 block), despite his zero points against the Knicks on Sunday and averages of 6 points on 29-percent shooting and 0.8 threes over his previous six games.
• A sprained left ankle pushed Ben Gordon(notes) to the Pistons' inactive list on Friday. The injury is not thought to be serious, but an official update is expected from the team on Saturday. Austin Daye(notes) started in Gordon's place (33 minutes, 13 points, 1 three, 5 boards). Jonas Jerebko(notes) had his best game of the season thanks to Al Thornton's(notes) defense – Jerebko went for 22 points and made all four of his threes, after having made three of 17 long-range attempts in his first 13 games.
• Chris Kaman(notes) shoot off a shooting slump (34% over his past five games) against the Pistons, converting 11-of-13 shots en route to 26 points in 36 minutes. Although his playing time has decreased slightly in recent games, I'm still worried about Kaman's workload to this point (37 minutes per game).
• Mike Dunleavy made his season debut and had pretty solid per-minute line (16 minutes, 13 points, 1 three, 2 boards, 1 steal, 1 block) in a blowout loss to the Mavericks. Although the fact that the Pacers were down by 26 at the start of the fourth quarter makes it tough to read a lot into individual lines, the downward trend for Roy Hibbert(notes) did continue (12 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 0 blocks). It's been a combination of foul trouble, matchups, and Murphy replacing Hibbert at center in the team's small lineup – in five games since Murph returned, Hibbert has averaged 5.8 points, 2.6 boards, and 0.8 blocks in 18 minutes.
• A tough night for the Rockets, as they scored only 84 points and shot 36 percent as a team against the Spurs. Trevor Ariza(notes) and Aaron Brooks(notes) combined to make 11 of 37 shots (30%), while starters Shane Battier(notes) and Chuck Hayes(notes) combined for zero points on 0-of-10 shooting in 44 minutes. Ariza is shooting 37 percent over the past 10 games, while Brooks is shooting 39 percent. While Ariza has put together very good counting stats over that stretch (17.2 points, 2.3 threes, 6.1 boards, 3.6 assists, 2.6 steals, 0.7 blocks), Brooks' overall line has been a real disappointment (14.6 points, 1.6 threes, 1.9 boards, 4.4 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 0.4 steals)
• Antonio McDyess(notes) logged his first double-double of the season (15 points, 14 boards, 2 steals, 1 block in 31 minutes) in his fourth straight start and sixth in the past eight games. I'd love to say that McDyess is ready to start putting up very good numbers consistently, but the Spurs really like to play all of their bigs and Matt Bonner(notes) will continue to get more run when the matchups dictate.
• Michael Redd's(notes) return to the starting lineup didn't exactly work out on the stat sheet for him (22 minutes, 8 points, 3-of-9 shooting) or Brandon Jennings(notes) (30 minutes, 12 points, 3-of-11 shooting, 3 assists, 3 turnovers), but plenty of credit should be given to Redd's rust level and the excellent pair of perimeter defenders that they faced (Thabo Sefolosha(notes), Russell Westbrook(notes)). Let's give it a bit more time before we start drawing any conclusions.
• After failing to crack the 10-point barrier in his first 11 NBA games, James Harden(notes) has now scored in double figures in five straight. Friday's line (15 points, 6-of-7 shooting, 3 threes) gave him averages of 16.8 points on 52-percent shooting and 2.8 threes in 27 minutes over the past five games.
• The Suns went deep into their rotation in the 25-point win over the T-Wolves, with nine players seeing between 17 and 27 minutes of playing time. Grant Hill(notes) was a +33 in 26 minutes and Robin Lopez(notes) saw his first action of the regular season and posted a great per-minute line (15 minutes, 8 points, 7 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks).
• Corey Brewer(notes) followed up 10-of-18 shooting on Wednesday with 1-of-11 shooting on Friday, dropping his season average from the floor back down to 37 percent. Ramon Sessions(notes) actually got some extended run against the Suns, and went for a team-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting in 31 minutes. If Brewer continues his putrid shooting, perhaps Kurt Rambis will get a bit more comfortable with the idea of Jonny Flynn(notes) and Sessions sharing the court. That said, there's only so much that can be done to help this team while Al Jefferson(notes) remains below 100 percent and Kevin Love(notes) remains inactive.
• Devin Harris'(notes) return to the starting lineup wasn't enough to help the Nets avoid dropping their 16th straight to open the season. Harris made six of 22 shots (27%) and had three assists (the Nets had only 10 as a team) in 38 minutes, although he did make 13 of 17 free throws. Courtney Lee(notes) played just three minutes in his third game since returning from a groin injury.
• Donte Greene(notes) got the start ahead of Beno Udrih(notes) on Friday – with Udrih returning from a bout with the flu – and followed up his awesomeness against the Knicks on Wednesday (35 minutes, 24 points, 6 threes, 6 blocks) with something a bit more pedestrian (16 minutes, 3 points, 2 blocks). Plan on Udrih being back in the starting five in Greene's place on Sunday.
• Spencer Hawes(notes) was on his way to a great line on Friday (16 points, 1 three, 10 boards, 2 blocks) before leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury. We should have a status update sometime on Saturday.
• A big win for the Grizzlies over the Blazers tonight, thanks in part to a 31-2 (!) first-half run that allowed them to go to the half with a 61-39 lead. Marc Gasol(notes) (19 points, 15 boards, 5 assists) and Zach Randolph(notes) (21 points, 9 boards) continue to be an exceptional fantasy froncourt duo. He's been absolutely massive for fantasy owners this season.
• Jamaal Tinsley(notes) edged Mike Conley(notes) in terms of minutes (26 to 22) and production (16 points, 5 assists to 4 points, 3 assists) on Friday. While the Grizz are certainly committed to Conley, they've won five of seven while getting very little from him, and his poor production is certainly a trend at this point. Over the past nine games, he's averaged 6.4 points on 32-percent shooting and 4.4 assists. Tinsley has been getting praise from his teammates since his arrival, so this is a situation that is clearly worth watching.
• Martell Webster(notes) was huge on Friday (24 points, 6 threes, 5 boards, 1 steal, 3 blocks) and has averaged 15.3 points on 51-percent shooting, 3 threes, and 6 boards in four games since re-joining the Blazers' starting lineup.
• Greg Oden(notes) filled it up again (13 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks) and is on a real tear. Over the past 9 games, he's averaged 13.3 points on 64-percent shooting, 8.2 boards, and 2.7 blocks. The fouls keep coming too, however – during the same stretch, he's averaged 4.2 fouls in 26 minutes.