• Carlos Boozer(notes) took advantage of a thin Raptors frontcourt and easily had his best game of the season, scoring 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting while adding 12 boards, two steals, and a block in just 26 minutes. Derrick Rose(notes), still feeling the effects of his sprained wrist, deferred to his teammates during this one (6 points, 11 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 steals). Taj Gibson(notes) played 31 minutes off the bench (6 points, 3-11 FG, 6 boards, 1 steal, 4 blocks) and is going to see a lot more playing time moving forward, as the Bulls announced that Joakim Noah will undergo thumb surgery Thursday and miss the next eight to 10 weeks.
Noah had been playing with a torn ligament in the thumb since November 27 and had 11 points, 11 boards, and two blocks in 26 minutes versus the Raptors. He said afterward that he'd rather get it right now than wait, keep taking meds to stay on the court, and risk his availability during a potential playoff run. Omer Asik(notes) and Kurt Thomas(notes) will get a bit of extra run while Noah is out, but the real beneficiary here is Gibson, who averaged 11.3 points on 51-percent shooting, 6.9 boards, 0.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 27 minutes during his 14 starts while covering for Boozer early in the season. The Bulls play 27 games over the next eight weeks and 32 games over the next 10 weeks. If Noah were to return on the earliest side of that projected timetable, he'd come back one month before the start of the h2h playoffs.
• The Raptors starting lineup against the Bulls consisted of Jerryd Bayless(notes), DeMar DeRozan(notes), Sonny Weems(notes), Ed Davis(notes), and Amir Johnson(notes). Andrea Bargnani(notes) was a late scratch for this one because of a sore left knee, although it's something that has been giving him trouble for the past two weeks, and his short-term availability is in question. Jose Calderon(notes) missed his fourth straight game with a sore left foot and he is day-to-day. The Raptors got the lion's share of their offense from Bayless (20 points, 9-15 FG, 4 assists, 1 turnover) and Leandro Barbosa(notes) (21 points, 2 threes). Both Davis (32 minutes, 10 points, 10 boards, 1 steal, 1 block) and Joey Dorsey(notes) (29 minutes, 12 points, 13 boards, 2 blocks) posted double-doubles, while Amir Johnson continued his inconsistent ways (20 minutes, 1-6 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks).
• The Lakers coasted to an easy win against the Pacers Wednesday, staking a 14-point lead after the first quarter (36-22) and a 22-point lead at the half (59-37). The nature of the win made the minutes totals for Pau Gasol(notes) (36), Kobe Bryant(notes) (34), and Lamar Odom(notes) (34) a bit surprising, but fantasy owners certainly aren't going to complain. Andrew Bynum(notes) of course continued to be limited in his second appearance of the season (18 minutes, 1-4 FG, 5 boards, 3 fouls).
• Darren Collison(notes) played 34 minutes in the loss to the Lakers, a total he's only reached three times this season. His line was solid but not great (17 points, 7-12 FG, 6 assists, 0 turnovers) but he clearly played ahead of T.J. Ford(notes) (14 minutes) and A.J. Price(notes) (DNP-CD) on this night … It wasn't a banner night for Pacers' bigs: Roy Hibbert(notes) dealt with some foul trouble (31 minutes, 12 points, 6 boards, 3 blocks, 5 fouls) and Josh McRoberts(notes) was on a short leash (14 minutes, 0-2 FG, 1 rebound). McBob's averages over the past four games include 6.5 points and 2.8 boards in 17 minutes.
• Playing time has not been a problem for Brandon Rush(notes) as of late, whether he's started or come off the bench. Rush was a starter for defensive purposes against the Lakers and generated a bit of offense himself (32 minutes, 16 points, 2 threes, 4 boards), and his averages over his past eight games includes 34 minutes, 15.8 points on 46-percent shooting, 89-percent foul shooting, and 2.8 threes.
• Wednesday's 105-91 win over the Clippers was a pretty good representation of what we want from the 76ers' key players. Andre Iguodala(notes) was efficient (20 points, 8-10 FG, 1 three, 4 boards, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 block), Jrue Holiday(notes) filled it up (24 points, 3 threes, 6 boards, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal), Elton Brand(notes) delivered a diverse line (15 points, 6 boards, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, 3 steals, 2 blocks), and even Spencer Hawes(notes) got in on the action (16 points, 12 boards, 5 blocks). Hawes is definitely starting to look comfortable and should be showing up on more rosters by the day.
The Sixers have now won seven of nine games. Some averages during that span: Iguodala (13.2 points, 0.9 threes, 6.3 boards, 6 assists, 1.2 turnovers, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks), Brand (14.8 points, 53% FG, 8.7 boards, 1.2 steals, 1.4 blocks), Holiday (14.8 points, 1.3 threes, 5.9 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 1.1 steals), Thaddeus Young(notes) (24 minutes, 11.8 points, 56% FG, 5.3 boards), Spencer Hawes (24 minutes, 9.8 points, 51% FG, 7.3 boards, 1.6 blocks), and Jodie Meeks(notes) (28 minutes, 11.9 points, 2.2 threes).
• Baron Davis'(notes) 18 points versus the 76ers represent a new season high and mark just the third time he's reached double figures this season. Davis added two threes, five assists, and three turnovers in 27 minutes. Eric Gordon(notes) didn't turn in one of his better performances (16 points, 6-18 FG, 4 assists, 5 turnovers), but Blake Griffin's(notes) 20 points and 18 boards gave him 13 straight double-doubles. In those 13 games, he's averaged 24.9 points on 52-percent shooting, 13.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.1 turnovers, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks and 61-percent foul shooting. Also notable for the Clips was DeAndre Jordan's(notes) 15 points on seven-of-seven shooting (6 boards, 3 blocks). Over the past four games, Jordan has averaged 9.5 points on 71-percent shooting, 9.5 boards, and 2 blocks in 31 minutes.
• Wednesday's game of the night turned out to be just that. The Celtics topped the Knicks in an action-packed 118-116 contest, a game that could have been won by the Knicks had Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) released his end-game three-point shot just a half-second sooner. This was stars versus stars - the Celtics got 88 points from their top four scorers, while the Knicks got a whopping 103 from their top four scorers and played their starters an average of 42 minutes. The teams combined to shoot 53 percent from the field, 43 percent from three, and 89 percent from the line. The specifics can be found here, the highlights can be found here. One non-stat notable is that Rajon Rondo(notes) rolled his left ankle and was very clearly limited in the latter stages of the game. Rondo is really beat up these days, between his hamstring, plantar fasciitis, and this new ankle injury, and nobody should be surprised if he doesn't play Thursday versus Atlanta.
• The Cavs were a much more competitive group in Wednesday's matchup with the Heat than they were the first time around, but Miami's star power was ultimately too much for them in the 101-95 loss. Byron Scott played his four starters an average of 39 minutes, so there were actually some solid numbers to go around for Mo Williams(notes) (13 points, 9 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals), Daniel Gibson(notes) (26 points, 4 threes, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal), Antawn Jamison(notes) (15 points, 3 treys, 8 boards), and Anderson Varejao(notes) (18 points, 15 boards, 1 steal).
• The Heat got more of the same from LeBron James(notes) (21 points, 13 boards, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 1 steal), Dwyane Wade(notes) (28 points, 3 treys, 6 rebounds, 1 steal), and Chris Bosh(notes) (16 points, 4 boards, 1 steal, 1 block). Mario Chalmers(notes) got the start at point guard (14 points, 4 threes, 4 assists, 2 turnovers) in place of Carlos Arroyo(notes), who missed the game because of a death in the family. There hasn't been much talk of Chalmers moving ahead of Arroyo on the depth chart to this point, but clearly he represents the better fantasy option of the two.
• Things are going from bad to worse for the Bobcats, who lost by 23 points to the Grizz on Wednesday (113-80). D.J. Augustin(notes) was decent (10 points, 2 threes, 5 boards, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 steals), but that's about it for the Bobcats, who shot 41 percent from the field and had 15 assists versus 20 turnovers. Larry Brown went deep into his bench, but that just means that bad basketball players got some run. Brown also said after the game that the team acted like it didn't care and he had to "beg them" to play. There's no way Michael Jordan fires Brown (is there?) and it's going to take a few more years to clean up this mess, so let's just say Bobcats fans have my condolences … Gerald Wallace(notes) missed the game because of a left ankle sprain - consider him questionable for Friday at this point.
• The main contributors for the Grizzlies were Rudy Gay(notes) (23 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 2 blocks) and Zach Randolph(notes) (19 points, 9 boards). The blowout win allowed the Grizz to go deep into their bench, as well. O.J. Mayo(notes) had the green light during his 24 minutes and turned in his best line as a reserve (24 points, 10-15 FG, 3 threes, 4 assists, 1 turnover).
• The Hornets got production from something of an unlikely source Wednesday, as Marcus Thornton's(notes) 19 points in 24 minutes proved to be the difference in the 94-91 win over the Kings. The minutes were the most he'd seen in six weeks and the points were a season high, and he was called upon as Marco Belinelli(notes) (21 minutes, 3-9 FG) and Trevor Ariza(notes) (20 minutes, 0-3 FG) continued to struggle with their offense. I'd love to say that this will be the start of something good, but Williams still doesn't like what Thornton brings on defense and there has yet to be any indication that the team is considering a change at shooting guard. Over the past ten games, Belinelli has average 10 points on 34-percent shooting in 28 minutes while totaling 16 rebounds and five steals. Given the team's poor recent record and offensive struggles as a whole, maybe Thornton working himself back into the picture isn't the most unreasonable scenario.
• Tyreke Evans(notes) was a surprise addition to the Kings' starting five and ended up producing a very solid line in 43 minutes (22 points, 9-18 FG, 1 three, 7 assists, 4 turnovers, 1 steal). Evans missed Tuesday's game to rest his plantar fasciitis - after the game, he said he might as well keep playing on it if it doesn't get any better, while Paul Westphal said the team didn't want him to play before he felt great, so it's hard to know which scenario came to fruition … Beno Udrih(notes) was the other half of a very productive backcourt for the Kings Wednesday (20 points, 9-15 FG, 6 boards, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals).
• The Thunder had it working against the Rockets Wednesday, posting 58/64/97 percentages en route to 117 points. Kevin Durant(notes) had a big game (32 points, 12-18 FG, 2 threes, 7 boards) and Jeff Green(notes) contributed (21 points, 2 threes), while Thabo Sefolosha(notes) (15 points, 1 three, 9 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks) and James Harden(notes) (16 points, 2 threes, 4 boards, 4 assists, 2 turnovers) were a bit more productive than usual. Russell Westbrook(notes) actually had a relatively quiet game in this one (17 points, 3 boards, 5 assists, 2 turnovers). The Rockets didn't get enough past Kevin Martin(notes) (22 points, 5 threes), Kyle Lowry(notes) (15 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals), and Luis Scola(notes) (18 points, 5 boards, 2 blocks) to keep things competitive.
• The new-look Bucks gave the Spurs all they could handle in their 92-90 loss. Ersan Ilyasova(notes) (30 minutes, 13 points, 1 three, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block) and Chris Douglas-Roberts(notes) (40 minutes, 21 points, 2 threes, 2 steals, 1 block) are the new starting forwards for Milwaukee, and they were joined in the starting five by Keyon Dooling(notes), who got the start while John Salmons(notes) sat with back spasms. Both Ilyasova and CDR warrant fantasy consideration as starters, with Ilyasova being a bit more likely to regularly provide numbers outside of offense. Corey Maggette(notes) (5 minutes, 0 points) has been bad for the Bucks from the outset and now appears to be completely out of the rotation. Larry Sanders(notes) was a DNP-CD Wednesday and doesn't look like a factor for playing time while Drew Gooden(notes) is active (25 minutes, 20 points, 11 boards).
• Another game, another win for the Spurs, who improved to 21-3 on the season. And of course, the production came from Manu Ginobili(notes) (26 points, 2 threes, 6 boards, 1 steal), Tim Duncan(notes) (13 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks), and Tony Parker(notes) (16 points, 8 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, 1 block).
• Defense was something of an afterthought when the Suns played host to the Timberwolves. The Suns had seven players in double figures in the 128-122 win, led by Jason Richardson(notes) (29 points, 3 treys, 8 boards), Steve Nash(notes) (11 points, 19 assists, 4 turnovers), Channing Frye(notes) (21 points, 7 threes, 9 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks), and Grant Hill(notes) (21 points, 7-10 FG). Robin Lopez(notes) returned to the active roster, started at center, and was effective (24 minutes, 12 points, 8 boards). Lopez is already rostered in most competitive leagues (42% owned) but it's worth taking a peek at your waiver wire if you need big-man stats.
• The T-Wolves didn't get a win, but they certainly put together some nice lines. They were of course led by Kevin Love(notes) (23 points, 16 boards, 4 assists, 0 turnovers), but also got contributions from Wesley Johnson (17 points, 1 three, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks), Darko Milicic(notes) (16 points, 3 steals, 2 blocks), Michael Beasley(notes) (17 points, 1 three, 1 block), and Corey Brewer(notes) (20 points). Jonny Flynn(notes) made his debut and played 17 minutes (7 points, 1 three, 4 assists, 2 turnovers) while Martell Webster(notes) reached double figures for the second time in his two games (24 minutes, 11 points, 3 threes). The eight-man rotation we saw Wednesday should be the norm for the team going forward.
• Caron Butler(notes) matched his season high with 23 points (10-19 FG, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover) and Jason Kidd(notes) matched his season high with three treys (11 points, 4-6 FG, 7 boards, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal, 1 block) as the Mavs dispatched of the floundering Blazers. Dirk Nowitzki(notes) also had another solid game (21 points, 5 boards, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and the Mavs moved to 20-5 on the season.
• The Blazers lost their third straight and fell to 12-14 on the season, and got another uninspired effort from Brandon Roy(notes) (30 minutes, 4 points, 2-5 FG, 0-2 FT, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 steals). The lone bright spot for the Blazers was LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) (35 points, 10 boards). After the game, Roy said he's frustrated by what he's going through and is trying to find out where he can fit in to the offense when he's on the court. Over the past seven games, Roy has averaged 12.7 points on 32-percent shooting, 0.9 threes, 2.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 turnovers, and 1 steal in 35 minutes.
Other injury updates:
• Anthony Morrow(notes) has a strained right hamstring and will miss the next two to three weeks. Jordan Farmar(notes) will join the starting lineup in his place, while the newly-acquired Sasha Vujacic(notes) will also immediately see some run.
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