The Sixers love to make excuses about how their season and vision has been railroaded by the absence of Andrew Bynum. Joakim Noah takes no pity.
Noah humiliated the Sixers’ front line on Thursday night to the tune of 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks. That’s what happens when you go to war with the likes of Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen up front. It’s the first 20/20/10 game since Shawn Bradley did it in 1998.
Although Noah put a scare in owners when he used the words “plantar fasciitis” while sitting out three games in early February, he’s shown no ill effects. He’s played in 10 straight games and is averaging more than 37 minutes a night during that span.
While owners know what they’re going to get out of Noah, the opposite can be said about Bynum. When he returned to practice last Friday, it looked like he turned a corner in his knee rehab. Think again. Coach Doug Collins admitted that Bynum has been unable to do any basketball activities since that practice, thus suggesting that his knee did not respond well.
Couple that note with the Skip Bayless report about Bynum’s “degenerative condition,” and the Sixers have a big problem on their hands. Perhaps the only reason he hasn’t been officially shut down yet is because the franchise knows that Bynum knee updates are the only thing keeping them in the news cycle.
DOWN GOES PEKOVIC
Nikola Pekovic was on his way to a huge game with eight points and three rebounds in the first nine minutes. Then disaster struck.
While battling with Antawn Jamison, Pekovic appeared to pull a muscle. He labored back down the court grimacing hard and holding his groin/abdomen. Pekovic then went to the locker room and was quickly ruled out for the game. Considering how tough this guy has proven to be, it’s scary. He’s been officially diagnosed with an abdominal strain, something that can turn into a sports hernia.
Sadly, there’s no real great add for fantasy owners to pounce on here. Look for Greg Stiemsma to fill in, just as he did when Pek missed seven games earlier this year. During that span, Stiemsma averaged 4.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night.
HOW CLOSE IS MO?
Mo Williams got some work in during Thursday’s practice, but Friday will be the big day. That’s when he’s said he plans on getting contact in on his right thumb for the first time since fracturing it on Dec. 22. If that goes well, a return to the court shouldn’t be too far behind. Owners in need of assists and 3-pointers should pull the trigger on an add.
CLIPPERS at PACERS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* Danny Granger finally got some shots to fall, going 5-of-10 for 12 points in 19 minutes. As I’ve been saying, he’s well worth a stash as the Pacers need him. Granger will be starting and pushing for 30 minutes within the next 10 days.
* DeAndre Jordan took a forearm to the nose and had to get X-rays, but was able to return late.
* Eric Bledsoe played through a calf injury for 13 minutes off the bench. He’s only a Chris Paul handcuff.
* With Roy Hibbert’s suspension over, Ian Mahinmi streamers need to move on. He gave us two blocks and five rebounds.
SIXERS at BULLS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* I talked about the reasons why Tom Thibodeau is so stubborn about using Kirk Hinrich over fantasy monster Nate Robinson in Rotating Rotations. Hinrich played 39 minutes, Robinson played 20 in this one.
* Even though Doug Collins’ favorite energy guy Damien Wilkins took a DNP-CD, Nick Young struggled once again in 26 minutes. Young scored six points and is now averaging 6.8 points on 29.7 percent shooting over the last six games. It’s scary because he’s in an ideal role as the starting shooting guard on a team that can’t score. I’m going to give him one or two more games before moving on.
* Richard Hamilton (back) was scratched, giving Marco Belinelli a start. Belinelli could only muster six points on 3-of-10 shooting, however.
WOLVES at LAKERS RANDOM THOUGHTS
* Andrei Kirilenko (calf) is going to be out a significant amount of time with his latest soft-tissue injury. Dante Cunningham will start at power forward, but he’s really a defensive stopper only. Derrick Williams is the one that’s locked in.
* Ricky Rubio had 13 assists and one steal. Over his last 13 games, he’s averaging 9.4 assists and 2.7 steals. Really special player.
* The Lakers are really settling into roles now. The rotation has been extremely consistent over the last month and Antawn Jamison has been one of the biggest beneficiaries. He had 17 points and eight boards Thursday and came into this one averaging 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 treys in his previous 12.
INJURY FAST BREAK
Jameer Nelson (knee) is doubtful for Friday. E’Twaun Moore and Beno Udrih are both deep-league options. … Jeremy Lin (ankle, hand) and James Harden (ankle) both missed practice. They’re on the good side of game-time calls for Friday. … Nene (shoulder) did not practice Thursday. Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin will share time if he sits Friday. … Stephen Jackson (ankle) is sidelined again, leaving a little more wing room for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. … Al Jefferson (ankle), Paul Millsap (new baby) and Randy Foye (new baby) are all questionable. … The Pistons said they are going to “proceed with caution” on Andre Drummond. I’m not stashing him yet as he could be eased back in slowly. … Kyrie Irving’s knee MRI came back clean and he has a shot to play Friday night. … Rasheed Wallace (foot) is out eight weeks after surgery. It’s possible he’s played his last NBA game. … The Hornets aren’t giving any details on Anthony Davis’ shoulder injury, just listing him as day-to-day.
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