• Brandon Jennings suffered a hyper-extended left knee in the third quarter of Wednesday's game versus Toronto, but was able to return and is not expected to miss any time moving forward. With that said, the Bucks play just once over the next six days (Saturday, POR), so if there are any concerns he may end up getting a game off. And hopefully his success against the Raptors' "defense" (8-of-14 FG, 4-of-7 3PT) will help him get out that the shooting rut he's been mired him.
• Does this sound familiar? Richard Hamilton is still at least a few weeks away from returning from his ankle injury - although he's allegedly feeling a lot better, his best estimate of when he would be back in the lineup was by January 1. Tayshaun Prince(notes) (back) remains, in a word, out. And Ben Gordon(notes) (ankle) will be a game-time decision again on Thursday after not playing on Wednesday.
• Josh Howard reacted well to his first game action in almost a month on Tuesday, but he's going to be closely-monitored in the short term. He'll sit out one of the team's back-to-back games this weekend (we don't know which as of yet) and a return to the starting lineup is likely to be down the line a bit. Rick Carlisle had this to say:
"There's no set schedule for getting him back as a starter. If you start, you get an extra dose of minutes just because there's a nonstop first six minutes of a half. There's no timeouts, and minutes get eaten up real quick ... We don't want to put him in that position again. We'll go game-to-game and we'll see where we are with it."
• Paul Westphal spoke to the reasons why Beno Udrih has come off the bench since missing the team's November 25 game with the flu. Starting the 6-foot-11 Donte Greene(notes) alongside the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Tyreke Evans(notes) creates defensive mismatches and usually opens things up a bit more for Evans, whereas starting Udrih (6-foot-3, 205) gives the opposition a bit easier time with matchups.
"When Kevin was here, one of the things we liked about him was that dilemma. It's hard to put a little guy on Kevin. When we were starting Beno, we gave up that to the other team."
Udrih's fantasy impact hasn't suffered mightily as a reserve - over the past seven games, he's averaged 13.4 points on 64-percent shooting, 1.3 threes, 3.7 assists, and 1 steal in 28 minutes. Greene has averaged 18 minutes and 7.6 points in that same stretch, while Evans has averaged 21.9 points on 49-percent shooting, 6.6 free throw attempts, 5.5 boards, 5.6 assists, and 1.6 steals.
• Brandon Roy(notes) has really been asserting himself lately, and that should only continue with Greg Oden(notes) done for the season. Over the past six games, Roy has averaged 25.7 points on 47-percent shooting, 19.2 field goal attempts, 7.7 free throw attempts, 5.5 boards, 4.8 assists, and 1.7 steals.
• The Pacers' first game since Danny Granger(notes) was lost for at least a month was not exactly a success. They made just three of 17 threes (18%) and shot 41 percent overall, and starters T.J. Ford(notes), Brandon Rush(notes), Troy Murphy(notes), and Roy Hibbert(notes) combined for 32 points in 110 minutes.
• Rodney Stuckey(notes) continued his strong play on Wednesday, scoring 20-plus points for the fifth time in seven games (27 points, 5 boards, 8 assists, 1 steal). Over the past seven games, he's averaged 22.4 points on 46-percent shooting, 87-percent foul shooting, 4.7 boards, and 5.4 assists. Taking a look at who the Pistons are missing (Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince) and who has been starting alonside him in recent games (Chucky Atkins(notes), Jones Jerebko, Jason Maxiell(notes), Ben Wallace(notes)), and perhaps it shouldn't be a huge surprise. He's pretty quickly risen to the top of the pecking order on offense (at shooting guard) while being surrounded by defensive-minded role players, but his role is hugely different when this team has its full complement of players.
• Game two for Allen Iverson(notes) in a 76ers' uniform wasn't exactly a success (11 points, 3-of-10 shooting, 0 boards, 3 assists, 6 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 block). But we'll have to give him a bit more time to get into game shape before we start decrying his potential long-term impact.
• It will be interesting to see if Eddie Jordan sticks with a more traditional lineup now that Iverson is on board. Over the past two games, Elton Brand(notes) and Samuel Dalembert(notes) have each averaged 39 minutes of playing time.
• Andrea Bargnani(notes) missed Wednesday's game because of a right ankle sprain, while Jose Calderon(notes) missed his second straight game with a strained left hip flexor. Both players are considered day-to-day.
• It was good to see Manu Ginobili(notes) actually turn in a good line Wednesday (20 points, 5-of-11 shooting, 2 threes, 3 assists, 2 steals). Now all we need is for him to start doing it more often than not, while also staying healthy...
• Position battle of interest: Delonte West(notes) has been trending upward (9.2 points, 51% FG, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals over the past six games), while Anthony Parker(notes) has largely been a non-factor in recent games (5.3 points, 41% FG, 0.1 steals over the past seven). The Cavs still like the idea of bringing West along on a slow-and-steady basis, but more team efforts like they produced Wednesday (85 points, 40% FG, 18:20 AST:TO) could expedite the process.
• Curry Line top 10: Marcus Camby(notes) (6.39), Jason Williams(notes) (6.05), Shane Battier(notes) (5.06), Rajon Rondo(notes) (5.00), Courtney Lee(notes) (4.93), Chris Paul(notes) (4.91), Ben Wallace (4.84), Mike Bibby(notes) (4.57), Anderson Varejao(notes) (4.53), and Jose Calderon (4.39)
Curry Line bottom 10: Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) (0.97), Jonas Jerebko(notes) (1.07), Trenton Hassell(notes) (1.10), Chris Kaman(notes) (1.13), Caron Butler(notes) (1.13), Dahntay Jones(notes) (1.31), Carl Landry(notes) (1.31), Paul Millsap(notes) (1.33), Al Harrington(notes) (1.35), and Kendrick Perkins(notes) (1.40).
For complete Curry Line standings, visit busersports.com.
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