Court Report: Marquee Matchup

Wednesday's Warriors-Grizzlies matchup featured a plethora of the young season's big-time fantasy performers and did not disappoint.

The Warriors moved to 3-1 on the season on the strength of huge games from Monta Ellis(notes) (39 points, 9 boards, 8 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 steals) and Dorell Wright(notes) (25 points, 7 threes, 6 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks). David Lee(notes) also added 15 points, 16 boards, three steals, and a block in the win. Ellis and his averages of 30 points on 55-percent shooting and 2 steals currently sit at eighth in per-game rank, while Wright's 20.5 points, 4.5 threes, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks have him at sixth in per-game rank.

The Grizzlies played their starters extensively and got more big efforts from Rudy Gay(notes) (35 points, 4 threes, 7 boards, 2 steals), O.J. Mayo(notes) (23 points, 3 treys, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block), and Mike Conley(notes) (18 points, 7 boards, 13 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 steals). Gay's fantastic season numbers (26.4 points, 54% FG, 2 threes, 7 boards, 2.2 steals) have him second in per-game rank, while Conley isn't too far down the list at 16th (15.8 points, 1.2 threes, 5.8 boards, 9.2 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 3.4 steals).

The Warriors were once again without Stephen Curry(notes) (ankle) and plan to give him some more time off, with a focus on the long haul. The Warriors play host to Utah Friday and then play two sets of back-to-backs (Sun-Mon, Wed-Thu) - Curry appears likely to miss at least Friday's game and will be handled carefully if he does return early next week. Rodney Carney(notes) got the start Wednesday, but it will be Reggie Williams(notes) that remains the key benefactor while Curry is sidelined.

The Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph(notes) (back) for the fourth consecutive game and he remains day-to-day. The Grizz play a back-to-back on Friday-Saturday (@PHO, @SAC) and his availability has yet to be determined. It's going to be very interesting to see if/how Randolph's presence will affect the hot starts that Gay and Conley have put together thus far.

Orlando had the offense and the defense working against the hapless Timberwolves on Wednesday, got their bench involved, and provided nine usable fantasy lines in the 128-86 shellacking. I'll save the bandwidth and just point you to visual proof of the bounty here.

One specific that does deserve a mention was that Ryan Anderson(notes) got the start at power forward, pushing Rashard Lewis(notes) to small forward and Quentin Richardson(notes) to the bench. Stan Van Gundy called it more a function of the matchup with Kevin Love(notes), but Anderson produced in his 19 minutes (19 points, 6-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 3 boards, 3 blocks, 5 fouls) and clearly offers fantasy potential as a big that can consistently knock down threes. Deep-leaguers should make a speculative add in the event Van Gundy gets comfortable with the arrangement and he's a Watch List target for standard league managers with a three-point deficiency.

As a team, the Wolves shot 33 percent from the field (Orlando had 15 blocks), had 11 assists and 18 turnovers, and were outrebounded 56-40. Kevin Love technically had the best line for the Wolves (22 points, 1 three, 9 boards) but also made eight of 19 shots and had no assists versus five turnovers … Michael Beasley(notes) missed the game because of a bruised left hip but is hopeful of a Friday return … Darko Milicic(notes) missed all six of his shot attempts and is now four-of-28 on the season (14%).

Fantasy owners got a near-perfect line out of Josh Smith(notes) (22 points, 1 three, 11 boards, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 2 blocks), and the offense was a welcome sight after he had averaged just 10.2 points on 40-percent shooting in his first four games. Smith made his only three-point attempt of the game and is now three-of-five in five games after making none all of last season (7 attempts).

Jamal Crawford(notes) missed the game because of a turf toe injury and his immediate availability remains unknown. Jordan Crawford(notes) played 11 minutes against the Pistons (2 points, 2 assists) and would be the beneficiary if Jamal misses any more time.

The Pistons fell to 0-5 for the first time in 30 years, although Ben Gordon(notes) (42 minutes, 22 points) and Tayshaun Prince(notes) (37 minutes, 17 points) did their best to keep the team in the game. They were once again without Richard Hamilton(notes) (foot) and Rodney Stuckey(notes) played just 14 minutes (5 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) despite Will Bynum(notes) not being available (hamstring).

Austin Daye(notes) had another shaky outing (24 minutes, 2-12 FG), while Charlie Villanueva(notes) got plenty of run (36 minutes, 14 points, 1 steal, 1 block) and Greg Monroe(notes) once again led the team in boards off the bench (27 minutes, 7 points, 8 boards). Monroe now appears to be squarely in the minutes mix after starting the season with back-to-back DNP-CDs.

D.J. Augustin(notes) couldn't find his shot Wednesday (31 minutes, 5 points, 1-7 FG, 1-5 3PT) but did a few other things (6 boards, 7 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal) and hit two key free throws down the stretch in a close win for the Bobcats. Shaun Livingston(notes) is a long ways from inspiring a playing time controversy (19 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal, 1 block).

Troy Murphy(notes) saw his first action of the season Thursday, as he started and played 18 minutes in the Nets' loss to the Bobcats (2 points, 1-3 FG, 2 boards, 1 block). He'll be limited and figures to show signs of rust early, all while he adjusts to his new teammates. Murphy's return will cut into Derrick Favors'(notes) playing time at least a bit, although the rookie has certainly shown that he should stay a rotation regular.

Brook Lopez(notes) and Devin Harris(notes) both suffered minor shoulder injuries during the game, but both said they were fine afterward.

The 76ers took it to the Pacers and Elton Brand(notes) had another excellent line (25 points, 12 boards, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal, 2 blocks). After five games, Brand is now averaging 18 points on 56-percent shooting, 9.6 boards, 2.2 assists, 1 turnover, 2.6 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 37 minutes … Other Sixers or note: Jrue Holiday(notes) showed some good signs for the second consecutive game (35 minutes, 11 points, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 4 steals) and Andres Nocioni(notes) did little with his starting gig for the third straight game (14 minutes, 4 points, 1-4 FG, 2 boards).

The Pacers somehow managed to shot just 32 percent from the field, and it was a team effort. The lowlights included Danny Granger(notes) (2-14), Mike Dunleavy (2-11), Darren Collison(notes) (4-16), T.J. Ford(notes) (3-10), and Roy Hibbert(notes) (4-12).

The struggles continue for the Bucks' John Salmons(notes) (25 minutes, 9 points, 3-10 FG) and Drew Gooden(notes) (18 minutes, 6 points, 2-5 FG, 4 fouls). On this night, Ersan Ilyasova(notes) picked up his share of the slack for Gooden (35 minutes, 15 points, 2 threes, 7 boards). I'm not ready to say that jobs are in jeopardy, but clearly the 1-4 Bucks are going to need more than they are getting from Salmons and Gooden sooner than later.

Another game, another 15 assists for Rajon Rondo(notes), and on Wednesday he also added 17 points, eight boards, three steals, and a block. Oh yeah, and he netted me 53 points in the Buser Blog League.

Marco Belinelli(notes) showed some signs of life after a pair of very lackluster games, scoring 18 points on seven-of-12 shooting and four threes in his 25 minutes. His production, coupled with a season-high 31 minutes for Willie Green(notes) (8 points, 3-10 FG) meant a slow night for Marcus Thornton(notes) (14 minutes, 4 points, 2-9 FG). This takes a bit of the shine off of Thornton's season-high 17 points his last time out.

The Rockets attempted 14 more field goals than the Hornets in the 107-99 loss that moved them to 0-4 on the season, but also shot 42 percent from the field and attempted 24 fewer foul shots (18 to 42) … Yao Ming(notes) was productive in his 21 minutes (15 points, 5-5 FT, 5 boards, 2 blocks) and his averages after three games include 12.7 points on 47-percent shooting, 89-percent foul shooting, 7.3 boards, and 2 blocks in 22 minutes.

The Jazz rolled to a 125-108 win over the Raptors by way of big games from Deron Williams(notes) (22 points, 8 boards, 14 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals), Al Jefferson(notes) (27 points, 6 boards, 1 block), Paul Millsap(notes) (21 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 2 turnovers), and C.J. Miles(notes) (19 points, 5 threes, 1 steal, 1 block).

Andrea Bargnani(notes) of course led the Raptors in scoring (26 points, 2 threes, 8-9 FT), but what was nice to see was his also leading the team with nine boards, as he had averaged just three in the team's first three games. Reggie Evans(notes) averaged 16.3 boards entering the game but had only six in 33 minutes … Linas Kleiza(notes) struggled from the outset (21 minutes, 4 points, 2-6 FG) and eventually gave way to Sonny Weems(notes) (27 minutes, 23 points, 9-10 FT).

The Nuggets were without Nene Hilario(notes) Wednesday and kept the rotation tight, with only eight players seeing minutes in the one-point loss to the Mavs. Nene was a late scratch because of a strained left groin and is considered day to day. Carmelo Anthony(notes) turned in a double-double (20 points, 15 boards), Al Harrington(notes) was once again solid off the bench (32 minutes, 16 points, 1 three, 3 steals), and Arron Afflalo(notes) had a game you can feel good about (17 points, 7-11 FG, 3 treys, 5 boards, 1 steal, 1 block). Rookie Gary Forbes(notes) got the start in Nene's place (24 minutes, 12 points, 1 steal, 1 block).

The Nuggets were also without a defensive answer for Dirk Nowitzki(notes), who scored a season-high 35 points on 15-of-31 shooting and added 12 boards. Not one of Dirk's shot attempts was from three-point range, and he's made one of three treys through four games. His 0.6 threes on 1.5 attempts per game last season were both his lowest averages since his rookie season.

Richard Jefferson(notes) helped propel the Spurs to a 112-110 victory over the Suns on the strength of a season-high 28 points and four fourth-quarter threes. Jefferson has scored at least 16 points, made at least one three, and made over 63 percent of his shot attempts in all four games of the young season (his averages include 20 points, 66% FG, 2 threes). The supporting stats are bare-bones, but he certainly looks like a different player on offense thus far.

DeJuan Blair(notes) made his way onto plenty of rosters when he was announced as the Spurs' starting center, but another lackluster line (19 minutes, 4 points, 2-6 FG, 7 boards) makes four straight and he's quickly looking like waiver material. Tiago Splitter(notes) will need a bit more time to get to full game shape before he legitimately challenges for the starting spot (15 minutes, 7 points, 3 boards Wednesday), but it's going to happen at some point.

The Suns once again got little from their tired starting "power" forward Hedo Turkoglu(notes) (17 minutes, 6 points, 2-7 FG, 2 boards, 0 assists) and Robin Lopez(notes) was in foul trouble early (12 minutes, 4 points, 1-6 FG, 3 fouls), so they depended on reserves Hakim Warrick(notes) (31 minutes, 19 points, 7-9 FG, 5-6 FT) and Channing Frye(notes) (23 minutes, 3 points, 7 boards, 2 steals, 1 block).

The Clippers held the Thunder to 38-percent shooting en route to an easy 107-92 win. Kevin Durant(notes) and Russell Westbrook(notes) combined to make 11 of 40 shots (28%), with Durant missing all 10 of his three-point attempts … Eric Gordon(notes) led the way for the Clips, scoring 27 points, while Blake Griffin(notes) added 18 and nine boards. Chris Kaman(notes) was conspicuously absent from the party, as he scored eight points on three-of-seven shooting in 24 minutes, and his season averages stand at 11.2 points on 34-percent shooting in 31 minutes.

Eric Bledsoe(notes) made his second consecutive start for the injured Baron Davis(notes) and was quite good (38 minutes, 17 points, 7-10 FG, 2 threes, 8 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 blocks). Davis has a cyst behind his left knee that is causing swelling and it could keep him out of the team's upcoming four-game road trip. Bledsoe warrants an immediate deep-league pickup and Davis owners in all leagues should at least consider a handcuff. Bledsoe spent just one year in college but was reasonably productive as John Wall's(notes) backcourt partner. He was erratic offensively in summer league play but does have the potential to compile counting stats.

Lakers starters scored 98 of the team's 112 points in the win over the Kings, most notably via Kobe Bryant's(notes) 17th career triple-double (30 points, 3 treys, 10 boards, 12 assists, 1 turnover). Pau Gasol(notes) looked great (22 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks), as did Lamar Odom(notes) (18 points, 2 threes, 8 boards, 1 block) and Ron Artest(notes) (17 points, 3 treys, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals).

Foul trouble once again kept DeMarcus Cousins'(notes) minutes in check (20 minutes, 11 points, 3-13 FG, 6 boards, 5 fouls) and cleared the way for Samuel Dalembert(notes) to see ample playing time off the bench (28 minutes, 2 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks). Paul Westphal doesn't see any reason to change their roles right now and we should continue to see a platoon-like situation moving forward.

Francisco Garcia(notes) rebounded from a pair of poor lines in a very good way Wednesday (29 minutes, 17 points, 3 threes, 5 boards, 1 steal), while Omri Casspi(notes) put up a dud (22 minutes, 3 points, 1-5 FG) after a few productive starts.

Photos via Getty Images

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