Covering all the need to know information from Monday’s five games.
• The Miami Heat continued to roll on Monday night as a result of the efforts of their trio of superstars. Dwyane Wade(notes) (32 points, 14-17 FT, 2 threes, 5 rebounds) got hot early, LeBron James(notes) (20 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 turnovers) got hot late and Chris Bosh(notes) (23 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) was solid throughout. Outside of the big three, there weren’t many other palatable fantasy lines out of Miami. The only other event of note was Mario Chalmers(notes) getting the crunch time minutes at the expense of Carlos Arroyo(notes). Chalmers will likely make his way into the starting lineup eventually and should be monitored in deep leagues.
• Chris Paul(notes) struggled again (11 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), and is averaging only 5.0 assists in the Hornets’ last three games. In a related story, the Hornets have lost their last three games. David West(notes) played three quarters of excellent basketball against the Heat on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Hornets, West was stifled by Miami’s defense down the stretch, but still led his team in scoring and rebounding with 26 points and 12 rebounds. The other three starters and the bench also struggled in this one, leading to lots of ugly lines. However, that is to be expected though when going against the league’s second toughest defense.
• It’s official: he’s back. Carlos Boozer(notes) is back to full strength and the Bulls are rolling, with Monday’s victory over the Indiana Pacers being their sixth straight win. Boozer (22 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists) and Derrick Rose(notes) (17 points, 3-6 threes, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 turnovers) are starting to develop some chemistry. Rose sprained his wrist at the end of the game when he took a hard foul, but the x-rays came back clean on his wrist. He is also dealing with a number of other bumps and bruises and may be held out of Chicago’s next game for precautionary reasons. Regarding Rose so far this season, I’ll go ahead and eat crow and admit that his range looks to be legitimately out to the three-point line (shooting over 40 percent from downtown this season) despite my initial skepticism.
• The unsung hero during Chicago’s recent winning streak, however, has to be Luol Deng(notes) with Monday night (15 points, 6-11 FG, 3-5 3PT, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers) being no exception. Also flying under the radar in Chicago is Ronnie Brewer(notes), who is starting to rack up steals (15 steals in past four games) again and makes for an interesting pickup in deeper formats.
• For the Pacers, the main storyline from Monday night’s game was the absence of Danny Granger(notes), who sat out with a minor ankle injury that occurred during Saturday night’s game. In addition to Granger being out, Roy Hibbert(notes) took himself out of this game with early foul trouble and was limited to only 20 minutes. Solomon Jones(notes) got extra run as a result (28 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) and actually had more assists than Darren Collison(notes) (21 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists), Indiana’s starting point guard. Collison’s minutes were stolen in this game by T.J. Ford(notes) (27 minutes, 13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers) but not A.J. Price(notes) (DNP-CD).
• Brandon Roy(notes) struggled mightily (7 points, 3-16 FG, 0-4 3PT, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) in Monday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. You have to think lines like this are related to his bum knees (one of which he tweaked on Sunday against the Spurs), as his explosiveness and lift are being sapped. The only real silver lining for fantasy managers and Portland’s fans is the emergence of Wes Matthews. The undrafted Matthews posted another solid line (18 points, 2 threes, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) to lead all Blazers in scoring in this one. Also, LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) was limited to only 28 minutes by foul trouble as a result of having to guard Zach Randolph(notes).
• Randolph abused Portland’s frontline on his way to a double-double, animal style (25 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals). Rudy Gay(notes) also played well (16 points, 2 threes, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) while the remaining starters posted forgettable numbers. Of all the starters, rookie Xavier Henry(notes) (18 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers) was by far the worst and inexplicably continues to start over O.J. Mayo(notes) (29 minutes, 14 points, 2 threes) despite the fact that Lionel Hollins has other, more productive, options sitting on his bench (Tony Allen(notes), Sam Young(notes)).
• The Bucks got double-doubles from starters Brandon Jennings(notes) (23 points, 3 threes, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers) and Andrew Bogut(notes) (21 points, 10-12 FG, 1-6 FT, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls) while getting very little from the three remaining starters (John Salmons(notes), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute(notes), Larry Sanders(notes)). Milwaukee, however, was boosted to victory over the Mavericks by bench contributions from Keyon Dooling(notes) (16 points, 3 threes, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers), Chris Douglas-Roberts(notes) (14 points, 5 rebounds) and Ersan Ilyasova(notes) (12 points, 3 rebounds). Drew Gooden(notes) also returned to action, but understandably saw limited minutes against his former team.
• The reigning Western Conference player of the week, Dirk Nowitzki(notes), kept it going (30 points, 3 threes, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers) in Monday night’s loss to Milwaukee. Jason Kidd(notes) nearly triple-doubled (11 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers) and Tyson Chandler(notes) nearly double-doubled (11 points, 9 rebounds) while Jason Terry(notes) was pretty good in this game (12 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 turnovers).
• Utah Jazz officials backed off an earlier report that Mehmet Okur’s(notes) return was imminent and have resumed the no official timetable line. At this point, all we know for sure is that Okur’s activity is ramping up and that there have not been any major setbacks to date. Just remember that Okur is rehabbing from a very serious injury so temper expectations accordingly. In Monday night’s matchup with the Warriors, Deron Williams(notes) was awesome (30 points, 8-16 FG, 4-8 3PT, 10-11 FT, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers) again, Al Jefferson(notes) had a block party (13 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks) and C.J. Miles(notes) got hot (20 points, 2 threes, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers) off the bench.
• Stephen Curry(notes) sat this one out as he attempted to rest his troublesome ankle, which opened up more minutes for Reggie Williams(notes) who responded with a good outing (19 points, 7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals). David Lee(notes) did his damage at the free throw line (18 points, 3-15 FG, 12-14 FT, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers), as he was harassed by Jerry Sloan’s physical brand of Jazz defense in the paint. Remaining starters Andris Biedrins(notes) (8 points, 12 rebounds), Dorell Wright(notes) (20 points, 4 threes, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers) and Monta Ellis(notes) (16 points, 2 threes, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 7 turnovers, 5 fouls) all contributed while the bench let the Warriors down.
A few other injury updates:
• Aaron Brooks(notes) participated in most of Houston’s practice on Monday but is still not fully healed and is struggling with cuts and quick movements. There is no official timetable for Brooks’ return to action and he was described as being “a ways away” from returning by head coach Rick Adelman so hang onto Kyle Lowry(notes) a bit longer.
• Jose Calderon(notes) did not travel with the team for Tuesday’s matchup in Charlotte as a result of some mysterious foot soreness that is being characterized as minor in nature. Jerryd Bayless(notes) makes a great plug-and-play option in addition to being a solid speculative add based on his strong showing in Toronto’s last game.
• Contrary to an earlier news piece, Tyreke Evans(notes) will travel with Sacramento on its three game road trip but is questionable to play due to his on-going struggles with plantar fasciitis. Francisco Garcia(notes) should see increased burn if Evans misses any games, but keep in mind that Paul Westphal is notoriously fickle with his rotations and may opt for another player at the drop of a dime.
• Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson(notes) was spotted shooting jumpers during Atlanta’s practice on Monday leading to speculation that he might be ahead of schedule in his recovery from elbow surgery earlier this month. The short end of the original four-to-six week diagnosis would put Johnson back on the court around the New Year.
• Yao Ming(notes) feels that he is ready to get back to contributing for Houston, but the Rockets’ medical staff still has not cleared Yao to practice with the team. Best-case scenario sounds like Yao will be back in about one week’s time.
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