Dwight Howard was a (very) late scratch, the big boys in Denver racked up some serious production against Blake Griffin and the Clippers, Phoenix is reeling, Westbrook is rolling, and Jeff Green and Marcus Thornton might be the same guy. Tuesday’s Dose breaks it down.
News broke after the 7 p.m. lineup deadline that Dwight Howard was being held out of Monday’s game due to an ankle injury. He’s day-to-day and stuck in one of my weekly lineups in a playoff week. I’m sure I’m not alone in that boat, but there’s at least some hope he’ll be able to play on Thursday, as the Rockets have a welcomed three-day rest between games. This was his first missed game of the season and after how things went for the Lakers last year, owners of Howard really don't have much to complain about thus far. Because Howard was out, Terrence Jones was able to get loose for one of his best games of the season, racking up 30 points, five rebounds, a steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers on 11-of-15 shooting. While this will be discouraging news to owners that dropped Jones a few weeks back, keep in mind that you probably didn’t miss him that much when he scored a total of 19 points over a four-game stretch from March 7-13. In any case, Howard should be back on Thursday and Jones should return to his hit-or-miss ways soon enough.
In other injury news, Kyrie Irving is likely out for the season due to a biceps injury, although the Cavs say he might be back in two weeks. The Cavs are still kind of in the hunt for the playoffs, but if they fall out of contention over the next two weeks, I find it hard to believe Kyrie will play again this year. In terms of fantasy, the dream is dead, and Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters are the pickups. The MRI on Danny Green’s wrist came back negative and he should continue to play through the pain for the Spurs. Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar suffered a groin injury in Monday’s practice and will see a specialist today. This is pretty terrible news for Farmar and his fantasy owners, and every time it appears that Kendall Marshall is about to get Wally Pipp’d, he gets sucked back in like Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III. If Marshall is somehow still available in your league, pick him up.
Denver Downs Clippers
I’ve written about the Nuggets big men giving it up to opposing power forwards and centers a million times this season, but they turned the tables on the Clippers last night. Yes, Blake Griffin still got his with 28 points, 12 boards, two steals, two blocks and 12-of-12 free throws, but DeAndre Jordan had just eight points, 11 rebounds and no blocks, which is a very quiet night for him. The Nuggets big men went bonkers, as Kenneth Faried had 18 points, 18 rebounds, a steal and a block, Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and nine rebounds, and J.J. Hickson came off the bench for 21 points and 11 rebounds. I didn’t see that coming, and this is really the first time all season all three Nuggets big men played well on the same night. The Clippers only have one more game on their schedule this week, and hope to have Darren Collison (flu) back against the Pistons on Saturday. Despite his absence, Jared Dudley didn’t even get into the game, while Willie Green and Reggie Bullock combined to hit just 5-of-17 shots while filling in for Collison and Jamal Crawford, who remains out with a calf injury.
Mavericks Beat Boston
I used to think Marcus Thornton was the most inconsistent player in the league, but Jeff Green has stolen his Thunder. Green was 2-of-12 last night for five points, nine rebounds and six turnovers, and I’m glad I put him on my bench for three games this week. Of course, he’ll probably blow up in the next one, as his game log looks like it’s been in a popcorn machine. His shooting and scoring fluctuate wildly, and he’s scored 5, 39, 9, 27, 12, 27, 15, 4 and 27 points in each of his last nine games. If you play him on the right night, all is right with the world, but if you had him in there yesterday, your week is probably off to a pretty tough start. He’ll have a chance to turn it around on Wednesday against the Heat. As expected, Rajon Rondo did not play for the Celtics in a second of a back-to-back on Monday. Phil Pressey came off the bench, allowing Jerryd Bayless and Avery Bradley to start at guard for the Celtics. Bayless had 18 points, six assists and three 3-pointers, while Bradley scored 11 with three steals and a trey. Kelly Olynyk broke free with 16 points, nine rebounds and a 3-pointer, but is actually the least reliable big man in Boston right now.
The Mavericks won the game, but there wasn’t much to see in the box score. Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 19 points and six rebounds, but only Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright joined him in double figures. The Mavericks are a pretty balanced team and one of the most boring ones in terms of fantasy use this season.
Rockets Crush Jazz
In addition to the monster game the Rockets got from Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley scored well in his second straight game, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and a full stat line. It may finally be time for Beverley to become a must-own player again. Omer Asik started in place of Howard and had 12 points, 11 boards and a block, but surprisingly, James Harden was quiet with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Chandler Parsons was just 3-of-5 for six points and seven assists. The Rockets destroyed the Jazz, so owners of those two stragglers should not be concerned. Jeremy Lin and Jordan Hamilton made the most of their garbage time with 17 and 15 points respectively, but there’s no reason to get excited.
Marvin Williams was back in the starting lineup over Enes Kanter on Monday and had five points on 1-of-6 shooting. Yee Haw! Kanter had nine points, nine rebounds and six turnovers off the bench, and the fact he’s not starting actually makes me sad inside. Derrick Favors and Alec Burks led the Jazz with 15 points apiece, but trust me when I say, there’s nothing to learn from the Jazz box score this morning. Well, except that Marvin probably shouldn’t be starting for an NBA team.
Thunder Beat Bulls
Russell Westbrook hit just 5-of-14 shots, but also hit three 3-pointers on his way to 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, just missing a triple-double in a fairly easy win over the Bulls. The question now becomes, will Westbrook play in both Thursday and Friday’s games? They are at Cleveland, minus Kyrie Irving on Thursday and at Toronto on Friday. While there’s a chance he plays in both games, I would not be surprised to see Scott Brooks give him Thursday night off, especially since Jarrett Jack will likely be the starting point guard for the Cavs. I benched Westbrook in League Freak, going with Jimmy Butler for four games instead. If Westbrook sits on Thursday, it was a smart move. If he plays in both, I’m pretty dumb. In any case, Westbrook got it done last night. Kevin Durant had a ho-hum 35 points and 12 rebounds, and it’s starting to feel like the Thunder are coming out of the West this year.
Taj Gibson led the Bulls with 16 points, Joakim Noah just missed yet another triple-double with nine points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and Carlos Boozer just missed a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. As for my guy Butler, he hit just 4-of-12 shots (as usual) and had 13 points. His overall stat line was fairly disappointing, but he has three more shots to get it going this week. C’mon, Jimmy!
Brooklyn Rocks Suns
All five Nets starters scored in double figures, led by Deron Williams, who hit 11-of-13 shots for 28 points. He may or may not have dunked in the game, but that doesn’t matter in fantasy. The most surprising line of the night came from Mason Plumlee with 14 points and 11 rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting. He had a grand total of 12 points and seven rebounds over his last two games, but looked great against brother Miles Plumlee last night. Joe Johnson had 19 points after scoring 16 on Saturday, and appears to be turning the corner, while I don’t know what to tell you about Andray Blatche. He had seven points in 21 minutes off the bench, and hasn’t been able to get it going, even though Kevin Garnett has been on the shelf. If he’s not starting for the Nets, he shouldn’t be starting for your team. And in case you haven’t noticed, the Nets are getting hot, and could be one of those teams that no one wants to see during the playoffs.
The Suns are reeling and officially out of the playoffs right now, but still have a chance to get in. Just four of them were in double digits last night, led by Markieff Morris’ 18 points and three rebounds. Goran Dragic had 13 points and just two assists, and Eric Bledsoe had 19 points, five rebounds and five assists in the ugly loss. Am I worried about Bledsoe’s return ruining Dragic and company? Not really, but I do think the Dragic we saw when Bledsoe was out won’t be around much going forward. Gerald Green played 31 minutes off the bench and was able to finish with 17 points and three 3-pointers, as he still clings to value despite Bledsoe.
Pacers Pound Sixers For 21st Straight Loss
I played Evan Turner in my daily leagues thinking he’d seek revenge on the Sixers last night, but he took it easy on them with four points on 2-of-7 shooting off the bench. Lance Stephenson led the way with 25 points, but didn’t have one of his better stat lines, while Paul George added 24 on just 4-of-14 shooting. The Pacers won this one pretty easily, but the Sixers weren’t fantasy pushovers last night, and haven’t been for several games now.
Hollis Thompson almost found his way into my daily lineup due to his incredibly cheap salary, but I chose to ignore him after looking at his game log. Despite starting for the Sixers, he had zero points on Saturday and had scored in single digits in 18 straight games. He certainly broke out of it last night with 17 points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers on 6-of-7 shooting in 41 minutes. If his salary is still at rock bottom, I may roll him out there on Wednesday against the Bulls. Thaddeus Young had another big game, Tony Wroten was solid with 17 points and four assists in the absence of James Anderson, and Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points, 13 rebounds and six turnovers as the Sixers lost for the 21st straight time. We still don’t know how long Anderson is going to be out with his thigh injury, but it looks like Wroten is going to have a nice run here, while Thompson is officially worth putting on the radar.
Hawks Beat Charlotte
After losing 14 of 15 games the Hawks have figured something out, winning four straight games, including Monday against the Bobcats. Paul Millsap went off for 28 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 12-of-20 shooting, but the rest of the Hawks box score isn’t too impressive. Kyle Korver quietly had 10 points, but also added nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers, Pero Antic double-doubled with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three 3-pointers, and Jeff Teague added 11 points, six rebounds, nine assists and three 3-pointers, despite hitting just 4-of-14 shots. DeMarre Carroll was also quiet with nine points, but filled the stat sheet, as usual, with six rebounds, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. All five Hawks starters were worth using this week, and all five came through last night, despite the scoring column looking a little light. Lou Williams is completely out of the rotation right now, so cut him if you must.
Al Jefferson’s week got off to a quiet start with 16 points, 12 rebounds and no blocks. He was joined by Kemba Walker (20 points, seven assists, full stat line) and Gerald Henderson (16 points, two 3-pointers) as the only other Cats in double figures. Henderson has now hit two 3-pointers in each of his last three games, which is a streak unlike any he has had before in his career. I have no idea if he’ll continue to keep pumping 3-pointers the rest of the way, but if he were to start making them consistently, his fantasy value would probably double.