Court Report: Joe Johnson's clipped wing

Centralizing all the relevant news from a busy Wednesday night in the association.

The biggest news of Wednesday’s 12 games actually occurred off the court before any games had tipped off. The Hawks announced that struggling guard Joe Johnson(notes) will require arthroscopic surgery on his right (shooting) elbow to remove a loose body. The pain has been bothering Johnson for a while now, and partly explains why his numbers have dipped to start this season. Maurice Evans(notes) got the start in place of Johnson, but isn’t a viable fantasy player outside of deep leagues. More likely, the Hawks will lean more heavily on Marvin Williams(notes) (15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists), Mike Bibby(notes) (15 points, 4 threes, 3 rebounds, 6 assists) and Jamal Crawford(notes) (16 points, 8 assists). Williams (26 percent owned) looks like a solid add candidate going forward wherever he is available. The Hawks will also undoubtedly run more of their offense through Al Horford(notes) (20 points, 8-14 FG, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) in the post.

The Hawks beat the Memphis Grizzlies in their first game without their leader despite strong games from Zach Randolph(notes) (19 points, 19 rebounds, 2 blocks), Mike Conley(notes) (22 points, 10-13 FG, 9 assists, 4 turnovers), Marc Gasol(notes) (16 points, 6-8 FG, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers) and Rudy Gay(notes) (23 points, 2 threes, 4 rebounds). Noticeably absent from that list of players was O.J. Mayo(notes), who has struggled to adapt to his bench role this season. In the five games he has played off the bench this season heading in to Wednesday night, Mayo has averaged a meager 11.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in only 24 minutes. It’s definitely not time to give up on Mayo yet but he has without a doubt been one of the most frustrating players to own this season.

The silver lining out of Washington’s big loss to Toronto was the return of John Wall(notes), who played well off the bench (19 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers) after missing six of the Wizards’ last eight games. As a result, Nick Young(notes) only played 12 minutes while Gilbert Arenas(notes) struggled to find a rhythm (7 points, 1-10 FG). The Wizards also saw Al Thornton(notes) return to action, who played 16 minutes off the bench. JaVale McGee(notes) (21 points, 8-12 FG, 7 rebounds) and Andray Blatche(notes) (17 points, 6 rebounds) also had solid games for the thin Washington frontcourt with Hilton Armstrong(notes) serving a one-game suspension on the bench.

The Raptors beat up on the Wizards with an even offensive attack that featured seven players with double-digit point totals. DeMar DeRozan(notes) (20 points, 7-11 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-7 FT, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) led the charge with Andrea Bargnani(notes) (18 points, 8 rebounds), Sonny Weems(notes) (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), Jerryd Bayless(notes) (16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Leandro Barbosa(notes) (16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) all getting into the action. The Raptors also announced that Reggie Evans(notes) will be sidelined for about two months as he recovers from foot surgery. Amir Johnson(notes) supplanted Joey Dorsey(notes) in the Raps’ starting lineup, but was generally ineffective in only 21 minutes of PT (4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 4 fouls). Ed Davis(notes) notably got 24 minutes of PT off the bench in his season debut, ending up with 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Peja Stojakovic(notes) was held out with a swollen knee.

The Thunder’s visit to New Jersey resulted in a triple overtime victory on the road, which naturally means inflated stats for a few players on each team. For Oklahoma City, that would normally translate to Kevin Durant(notes) time, but with the Durantula caged, both Russell Westbrook(notes) (38 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 5 turnovers) and Jeff Green(notes) went nuts (37 points, 4 threes, 5 rebounds, 4 assists). It was also interesting to note that James Harden(notes) had a quality line (16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers) with Durant on the bench. Harden looks like a good plug-and-play option any time KD misses time.

With Devin Harris(notes) sidelined for at least two games with a sprained knee, the Nets needed their guards to step up. And step up they did. Jordan Farmar(notes) played one of the best games of his career, ending up with a co-team high 28 points, three threes and nine assists. Anthony Morrow(notes) contributed 25 points, three threes and five rebounds. Brook Lopez(notes) also continued his strong play of late with 28 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, marking his first double-double of the season. Kris Humphries(notes) continued his work on the glass by pulling down 15 rebounds and thereby limiting Troy Murphy(notes) to 15 minutes off the bench.

Wes Matthews is looking like a better pickup with each passing day. Matthews led the Blazers in scoring in their four-point loss to the Boston Celtics. Matthews (38 minutes, 23 points, 8-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 2 steals, 3 turnovers) thoroughly outplayed Nicolas Batum(notes) (15 minutes, 4 points), whose role on the team has diminished significantly at Matthews’ expense. Brandon Roy(notes) suited up for Portland and walked away with 18 points in 37 minutes. Roy Watch 2010-11 continues with no major news. In this case, no news is certainly good news. Joel Przybilla’s(notes) debut was delayed another game due to his lingering flu.

Paul Piece had a vintage game (28 points, 9-11 FG, 4-5 3PTM, 6-6 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers) while Rajon Rondo(notes) had a quiet double-double (10 points, 10 assists). Check out Glen Davis(notes) scoring totals over the past three games: 18, 17 and 16. Davis has also been rebounding decently while shooting good percentages and can be likened to a poor man’s Carl Landry(notes) (that is when Landry was getting minutes and playing well). Kevin Garnett(notes) also received five stitches in his chin, but ended up with a decent line of 17 points and eight rebounds. The injury is not expected to hamper KG’s production in any way at this point.

Looking at a Detroit Piston’s box score these days is generally not recommended. However, the box score from Wednesday night’s lopsided loss to Miami is a truly disgusting sight, and might even cause temporary blindness. Detroit shot 37 percent from the field as a team with only Greg Monroe(notes) (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Charlie Villanueva(notes) (10 points, 6 rebounds) breaking the ten-point threshold. Both coaches gave their benches plenty of minutes so don’t read too much into any lines from either team. However, Detroit has been a fantasy wasteland this season, with only Villanueva inside the top-100. More accurately, the John Kuester era as a whole has been pretty awful for the Detroit Pistons.

Miami’s starters got plenty of rest in this blowout, and none more so than Dwyane Wade(notes) (18 minutes, 17 points, 7-9 FG). LeBron James(notes) saw the most run out Miami’s Big Three, resulting in 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. Mario Chalmers(notes) also had his best game of the season (4 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers) and could be primed to give Carlos Arroyo(notes) some serious competition for his starting spot now that he is fully healthy.

Both Gerald Wallace(notes) (elbow) and D.J. Augustin(notes) (flu) were active for Charlotte’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets. Gerald ended up with 18 points and five rebounds while D.J. ended up with 13 points and six assists. Stephen Jackson(notes) was serving a one-game suspension for his conduct towards referees during Saturday night’s loss to Milwaukee. Charlotte didn’t really have much of a chance down the stretch against the Western Conference contender without their best player but put up a good fight for most of this game.

Emeka Okafor(notes) got hot early against Charlotte’s anemic frontline and finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Okafor had a little extra motivation to beat the team that drafted him second overall in 2004. David West(notes) (22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Chris Paul(notes) (9 points, 14 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers) also contributed to the Hornets’ victory, who pulled away in the end on Paul’s and West’s clutch play.

Carlos Boozer(notes) made his season debut (5 points, 2 rebounds) against Dwight Howard(notes) and the Orlando Magic, sending Taj Gibson(notes) to the bench. Boozer played 22 minutes to Gibson’s 23 minutes in the blowout, and Boozer reported after the game that his hand felt fine and there weren’t any setbacks. Start Carlos without hesitation going forward. Notably, Joakim Noah(notes) didn’t pull down a single rebound, which is more likely a function of wrestling with D12 than the return of Boozer. Case in point, the Bulls as a team got absolutely destroyed on the glass (44-21 disadvantage).

Orlando got Vince Carter(notes) (22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers) back from his knee injury. Surprisingly, the Magic won the matchup at point guard, with Jameer Nelson’s(notes) 24 points, four rebounds and nine assists trumping Derrick Rose’s(notes) 15 points, four assists and three turnovers. Brandon Bass(notes) led all bench players in this one (17 rebounds, 5-8 FG, 7-7 FT, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) and looks like the big to own off the bench for the Magic, and especially in deep leagues. Ryan Anderson(notes) only saw three minutes of run despite this being a completely one-sided affair, meaning he is thoroughly entrenched in Stan Van Gundy’s doghouse at this point. Rashard Lewis(notes) twisted his knee, but the injury is not thought to be serious.

Shawn Marion(notes) is undergoing a mini-renaissance in Dallas lately, with his latest performance (16 points, 2 threes, 8 rebounds, 2 steals) helping lead Dallas to victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dallas earned the W despite only getting marginal production from franchise player, Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (10 points, 4-11 FG, 1 rebound). Another difference maker was the fact that Tyson Chandler(notes) couldn’t be kept out of the paint (9 points, 18 rebounds), and Chandler has been one of the keys to Dallas’ defense all season long.

When Michael Beasley(notes) (16 points, 3 rebounds) and Kevin Love(notes) (12 points, 15 rebounds) aren’t playing flawless basketball, Minnesota doesn’t really stand much of a chance to beat a legitimate playoff team. Neither player played flawless basketball against the Mavericks, and Minnesota got handled. Wayne Ellington(notes) got 26 minutes of action and ended up providing a spark off the bench (13 points) for Minnesota.

Almost unbelievably, the Lakers have now lost four games in a row to Utah, Indiana, Memphis and Houston. Luckily for fantasy owners Kobe Bryant(notes) has been getting his (27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals), even though the Lakers haven’t been getting wins. Pau Gasol(notes) struggled with a hamstring issue en route to eight points, nine rebounds and three assists. Lamar Odom(notes) benefited from Pau’s struggles and ended up with a great line of 25 points, two threes, 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks. For the suddenly struggling Lakers, Andrew Bynum(notes) can’t get back soon enough.

Houston finally played like the team everyone expected to see from the outset of the season, despite missing Yao Ming(notes) and Aaron Brooks(notes) (again). Kevin Martin(notes) (22 points, 10-10 FT) and Luis Scola(notes) (14 points, 6-11 FG, 9 rebounds) were solid, but the real hero for the Rockets was Shane Battier(notes) (17 points, 5-7 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-3 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers). Battier scored 11 of his 17 points in the final three minutes of the game to help Houston hang on to win it. Congratulations to the Rockets, who needed this victory in a big way.

Deron Williams(notes) has been playing All-Star caliber basketball lately, to say the least (MVP caliber perhaps?). Wednesday night’s victory over the Pacers was no exception. Williams’ stat line was nearly flawless (24 points, 10-15 FG, 1 three, 3 rebounds, 16 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers). All of Utah’s starters padded their stats, including Al Jefferson(notes) (17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Andrei Kirilenko(notes) (18 points, 1 three, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block). The Jazz went 12 deep tonight and the game was effectively over by the end of the third quarter.

Brandon Rush(notes) returned to the starting lineup, once again sending Mike Dunleavy to the bench. Rush played 42 minutes to Dunleavy’s 16 minutes. Both players were efficient from the field, but provided little else in terms of statistical contributions in other areas. Danny Granger(notes) (14 points, 6-16 FG, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) and Roy Hibbert(notes) (15 points, 6-8 FG, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) chipped in, although the Pacers were simply outmatched by the Jazz in this one.

Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders(notes) nearly recorded a triple-double in this third career NBA start in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. Not only is that impressive on its own, but Sanders nearly did so with blocks (14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 8 blocks), which is much harder than the traditional points-rebounds-assists triple-double. If for some reason you had Sanders active Wednesday night, congratulations. However, don’t run out and scoop Sanders up off the waiver wire just yet. He is merely a stand-in for Andrew Bogut(notes), who is expected to be active for Milwaukee’s game on Saturday against the Magic. John Salmons(notes) gave his owners a glimmer of hope to the tune of 21 points, three threes, four rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and three turnovers. The Bucks also got Drew Gooden(notes) (10 minutes off the bench) as well as Corey Maggette(notes) (17 points in 22 minutes off the bench) back.

Carmelo Anthony(notes) continued to struggle (14 points, 4-13 FG, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and was eventually ejected from the game for arguing with an official. However, Melo was saved by Nene Hilario(notes), who gave his best performance of the season (24 point, 8-9 FG, 8-10 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers). Nene’s owners can breathe a big sigh of relief, as Nene is starting to exhibit his trademark efficiency once again. J.R. Smith double-doubled off the bench (20 points, 10 rebounds) while Chauncey Billups nearly double-doubled as well (16 points, 9 assists). You have to think that Shelden Williams will be heading to the bench at the expense of either Al Harrington or Chris Andersen sometime soon, as Shelden was pretty unproductive in the 15 minutes of PT he saw on Wednesday night.

The Clippers pulled off the biggest upset of the night by knocking off the scorching hot San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers were led by rookie Blake Griffin (31 points, 14-21 FG, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers) and breakout guard Eric Gordon (21 points, 2 threes, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers). Baron Davis also made his return after missing 14 out of the Clippers’ last 15 games. Davis was effective in 23 minutes off the bench (9 points, 10 assists, 4 turnovers). Rookie point guard Eric Bledsoe has to be looking over his shoulder at this point.

Tim Duncan posted a pretty poor stat line in the Spurs loss to the Clippers, considering the fact that he was matched up with DeAndre Jordan for most of the night. In fact, most of the Spurs struggled from the field (shot 36 percent from the field as a team) but none more so than Tony Parker (18 points, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers). George Hill (17 points, 3 threes, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals) and Gary Neal (12 points, 2 threes, 5 rebounds) were the only players that kept this game from getting out of hand.

Photos via Getty Images

What to Read Next