Sat Dec 05 06:02am EST
Friday night's full slate of games featured the triumphant returns of Chris Paul(notes) and Kevin Love(notes), as well as big nights from Chris Duhon(notes), Courtney Lee(notes), and Pau Gasol(notes).
• We're getting to the point where NBA teams are starting to tighten their rotations, seeing what works and what doesn't with the personnel that is in place. The "what doesn't" of that statement also means that we're starting to see our first trade rumblings of the season. Tyrus Thomas(notes), Andre Miller(notes), Tracy McGrady(notes), and Elton Brand(notes) are a few names that are mentioned by Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, although they've got varying degrees of tradability. The New York Post isn't so sure there's much to the Thomas/Al Harrington(notes) rumor, but it should at least serve to get Thomas back on fantasy owners' radar. He's getting closer to a return from his broken arm, although it's been a few weeks since we've seen an official update.
• Jose Calderon(notes) finally committed another turnover (9 assists, 1 turnover on Friday). He had recorded 19 assists and zero turnovers over the past three games, and Friday's numbers pushed his assist-to-turnover ratio to 3.91:1 on the season. The 15 points and three treys on Friday were also more than welcome - if the presence of Hedo Turkoglu(notes) and Jarrett Jack(notes) mean his assists will stay lower than where we're used to, then fantasy owners are going to need the trade-off to be more made threes by virtue of catch-and-shoot opportunities that come from playing off the ball.
• Chris Bosh(notes) certainly came to the court on a mission after playing just 16 minutes in the embarrassing 146-115 loss to the Hawks on Wednesday. He posted one of his most complete lines of the season in 41 minutes (31 points, 16 boards, 4 assists, 2 blocks) as the Raptors beat the Wizards in overtime.
• The Wizards shot just 37 percent as a team but it still took the Raptors an overtime period to pull out the win. Take Gilbert Arenas'(notes) relatively strong shooting (12 of 26) out of the mix and the rest of the Wizards shot a combined 33 percent (23 of 69).
• Earl Boykins(notes) played 39 minutes off the bench Friday (14 points, 2 threes, 8 boards, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals) and has definitely brought a unique dimension to the Wizards (while almost completely eliminating Randy Foye(notes) from the rotation). With Mike Miller(notes) out another month or so, both Boykins and Nick Young(notes) have some deep-league value.
• Chris Duhon absolutely went off against the Hawks, with 25 points, four threes, 10 assists, no turnovers and a steal in 37 minutes of a 114-107 win. Duhon entered the evening's action averaging 6.9 points on 29-percent shooting, but has remained in Mike D'Antoni's good graces and locked in as the team's starter. Sadly, it would not be a shock if this is still his best line at the end of the season.
• Nate Robinson(notes) met with Mike D'Antoni on Friday morning to attempt for the two to reach some kind of mutual understanding, but he was a DNP-CD again on Friday night and it remains unclear what, if anything, was accomplished in the meeting. It's pretty safe to assume that the Knicks would be open to moving Robinson at this point, and it's also very likely that they'd want no contracts that run past the current season in return.
• Danilo Gallinari(notes) did not play Friday because of a sore right forearm but hopes to be able to return Sunday (NJN). With Gallinari out and Robinson grounded, the Knicks only played eight players against the Hawks.
• Josh Smith(notes) was on his way to a great line before he got himself tossed in the second quarter for arguing with a referee. He did at least provide some numbers for playing just 13 minutes (8 points, 5 boards, 2 steals, 1 block). Marvin Williams(notes) picked up some of the slack in his absence (20 points, 2 threes, 6 boards, 1 steal) and his other big game of the season (November 20) came on a night when Smith was limited to 24 minutes because of foul trouble.
• Brandon Jennings(notes) continues to struggle with his shot selection. His 6-of-20 performance on Friday dropped him to 30-percent shooting over the past seven games - during which the Bucks are 1-6 - and 41 percent on the season. Not much to say here other than he's a rookie and teams are starting to get a bit more scouting material on him, so now it's on him to make his own adjustments. His supporting numbers were certainly solid against the Pistons (5 boards, 8 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 1 block).
• I don't know how much longer Luke Ridnour(notes) is going to keep this up (21 points, 3 threes, 9 assists, 3 steals Friday), but he's certainly worth rostering in more than 30 percent of leagues in the interim. There aren't many good reasons to expect Michael Redd's(notes) return to be imminent.
• More foul trouble for Ersan Ilyasova(notes) (15 minutes, 5 fouls) led to another pedestrian line (8 points, 4 boards). Skiles will keep giving him the starts, but Hakim Warrick(notes) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute(notes) are more than willing to step in as long as he's creating the opportunities.
• Congrats to the Nets, who finally got one in the win column, a 97-91 triumph over the Bobcats. Brook Lopez(notes) continued his strong play (31 points, 14 boards, 2 blocks) and Courtney Lee was huge in his return to the starting lineup (27 points, 3 treys, 4 boards, 3 steals, 1 block). Lee is a lock for starters' minutes moving forward and should be an efficient source of threes and steals, although typically in smaller quantities than we saw Friday.
• Another stinker from Boris Diaw(notes) despite massive playing time (41 minutes, 4 points, 3 boards, 6 assists). The numbers don't lie when it comes to how marginalized he's been since Stephen Jackson(notes) arrived - in nine games, he's averaged 9.8 points, 3.7 boards, and 2.7 assists in 34 minutes. Diaw is a smart and versatile player, but can only do much much without the ball in his hands. It's hard to argue that he's not expendable in standard leagues, as this doesn't look like it will be temporary, but I'm inclined to give him through Week 8 to figure something out, as the Bobcats play the Knicks twice as part of a four-game slate.
• There was some good for the Bobcats on Friday, as Tyson Chandler(notes) logged just his second double-double of the season Friday (13 points, 12 boards, 4 blocks) in a season-high 37 minutes. Gerald Wallace(notes) had his second 20-rebound game of the season (13 points, 5 assists, 2 blocks) and has now averaged 12.3 boards over the past nine games, and Raymond Felton(notes) had his best offensive game of the season (28 points, 4 threes, 5 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals).
• Chris Paul was something of a surprise addition to the Hornets' lineup on Friday. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday and was considered a game-time decision, but was on an active roster in just 57 percent of Yahoo! leagues for his massive line (16 points, 1 three, 6 boards, 15 assists, 8 steals, 1 block). Welcome back, CP3, and those of you that rostered Darren Collison(notes) in the past few weeks can feel free to pursue other options. David West(notes)(17 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 3 blocks), Emeka Okafor(notes) (17 points, 13 boards, 3 blocks), and Devin Brown(notes) (19 points, 3 threes) played well with Paul back on the court, while Peja Stojakovic(notes) (8 points, 3-of-10 shooting) did not.
• Jonny Flynn(notes), Corey Brewer(notes), and Ramon Sessions(notes) were an absolute train-wreck against the Hornets. The trio combined for 15 points on 6-of-23 shooting (26%) and nine assists and seven turnovers in 64 minutes.
• Kevin Love made his season debut for the T-Wolves Friday, and posted a good line in 24 minutes (11 points, 2 threes, 11 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals). The threes (2-of-3) were an interesting wrinkle, as he made just two of 19 attempts as a rookie. He'll need some time to get back to game shape, but all involved parties are glad to have him back.
• A poor night for the Mavs' offense all around, as they shot 35 percent as a team and attempted 10 free throws in the 98-82 loss to the Grizzlies. The Grizz got big games from O.J. Mayo(notes) (25 points, 5 threes, 2 steals) and Zach Randolph(notes) (24 points, 15 boards). And don't look now, but Hasheem Thabeet(notes) (17 minutes, 4 points, 5 boards, 2 blocks) has seen playing time in each of the past seven games, averaging 4.4 points, 4.6 boards, 1.1 blocks, and 2.9 fouls during that stretch.
• Middling performances from most of the Bulls led to a 101-87 loss to the Cavs. The one notable was Taj Gibson(notes), who recorded his first double-double of the season (36 minutes, 14 points, 13 boards, 1 steal). Part of the reason for the Bulls' alleged interest in moving Tyrus Thomas is because of Gibson's reasonable production as a starter (8.4 points, 6.3 boards, 1.9 steals-plus-blocks over the past month).
• A move to the bench hasn't put a significant damper on Anderson Varejoa's fantasy impact. He saw another 29 minutes of playing time Friday - while starter J.J. Hickson(notes) played 20 minutes - and delivered 10 points, five boards, and three blocks. He's seen at least 27 minutes of playing time in seven straight games, averaging 7.7 points, 7.9 boards, 1 steal, and 1.7 blocks over that stretch.
• It was a fairly straight-forward win for the Celtics over the Thunder Friday, so I'll just use this space to point out that Serge Ibaka(notes) (24 minutes) and Etan Thomas(notes) (13) had an assist, and they've now played a combined 446 minutes on the season without recording as much as a single assist beween them.
• The Pacers fell behind the Jazz 32-14 in the first quarter Friday, with four starters (T.J. Ford(notes), Dahntay Jones(notes), Troy Murphy(notes), Roy Hibbert(notes)) failing to score. Murphy (16 points, 3 threes, 10 boards) and Ford (13 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal) were able to turn it around to some extent, while Jones (4 points, 1-of-6 shooting) and Hibbert (0 points, 1 rebound) were not. Hibbert's averages over the past eight games feature 4.8 points, 2.9 boards, and 0.8 blocks in 17 minutes. It's difficult to make a strong case for keeping him rostered at this point, despite the good numbers he posted in the early-going.
• While his offense has been all over the map (25 points on Monday, 2 points on Friday) it's good to see the big-time steals output from Ronnie Brewer(notes) (6 on Friday). He got out of the gate slow but has picked it up lately, averaging 2 over his past 14 games and 2.7 over his past six games.
• The Pau Gasol/Andrew Bynum(notes) frontcourt pairing certainly has worked out for both parties thus far. Gasol's Friday numbers (22 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) pushed his season averages to 18.3 points on 57-percent shooting, 10 boards, 3.9 assists, 1.4 turnovers, and 1.4 blocks. Bynum (19 points, 8 boards, 1 block on Friday) has seen his production decline a bit since Gasol returned, but he's still been excellent in the seven games (16.1 points on 56-percent shooting, 7.9 boards, 1.7 blocks).
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