Dose: Collison's big Thursday

Steve Alexander
Jonas Nader takes a look at some key position battles in the Western Conference

NBA Position Battles: West

Jonas Nader takes a look at some key position battles in the Western Conference

Thursday was a short, but sweet night in the NBA and that’s how we’re going to do it this morning. I took another FanDuel hit by not having Darren Collison, but I will live to see another day.  If you want to follow me on Twitter, just click here.

LA Clippers 110, Miami 93

Chris Paul had 26 points, 12 assists, three 3-pointers and just one turnover in the win, and had his way with the point-guard depleted Heat last night. Blake Griffin went off for 26 points, seven boards, three steals and a 3-pointer on 12-of-18 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan added 12 points and 11 boards on 6-of-6 shooting. Jamal Crawford struggled for the first time this year, hitting just 1-of-6 shots for five points, nine assists and a 3-pointer. Crawford had been rolling, so don’t read too much into his off night, and take solace in the dimes. J.J. Redick bounced back for 14 points after scoring just three points on Wednesday. Matt Barnes started, but suffered a calf injury and finished with nine points and a 3-pointer in the win. He’s been playing a bit better, but the injury will leave him a little iffy for Sunday against the Grizzlies.

Dwyane Wade sat out Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury and has now missed four straight. As usual, he’s perpetually day-to-day. Mario Chalmers started for Norris Cole (finger) in the second half and had 13 points, three assists, three steals and a 3-pointer for the Heat. Chalmers came in on fire and we were expecting more, but with Wade and Cole hurt, he’s certainly a must-own player right now. Chris Bosh had 28 points, seven boards and a 3-pointer in 32 minutes and remains one of the most reliable centers in fantasy. Shawne Williams had just seven points and three rebounds in 25 minutes, while Josh McRoberts returned and played 14 minutes, finishing with two points. It’s been a very slow roll with McBob thus far and owners probably need to make a drop-or-hold decision soon. He just doesn’t look healthy right now, but I suspect he’ll look a lot better in 30 days. Williams simply had an off night. Shabazz Napier played 32 minutes due Cole’s finger injury and had 17 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. If Cole is going to miss time, Napier is the guy you want to pick up, after Chalmers. Shannon Brown started the second half and had nine points in 21 minutes, but is not someone I’d think about picking up right now, especially when Wade decides to grace us with his presence. Luol Deng had 13 points in 28 minutes after returning from a wrist injury, and is a buy-low candidate. Cole suffered a dislocated left finger and did not return to the game, crushing the hopes of many daily leaguers who used him. He finished with no points and one assist in just 10 minutes, and this is just another reason that red-hot Chalmers (and maybe Napier) should be owned in all leagues. We still don’t have X-ray results, so there’s a chance it’s broken. If so, Chalmers and Napier are going to both see a big boost in value.

Sacramento 103, Chicago 88

Darren Collison was the man on Thursday, racking up 17 points, six rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and a block, while committing just one turnover. He didn’t hit a 3-pointer, but did make all seven of his free throw attempts, and is one of this season’s steals at point guard. DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and a block in 34 minutes, and wasn’t deterred much by Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. He was dealing with a hip injury coming in, but obviously wasn’t affected by it. He had five fouls again, and leads the league in that category. Rudy Gay played through an Achilles injury and had 20 points, seven rebounds and a 3-pointer in 35 minutes. He should be good to go. Omri Casspi stayed relatively hot with 14 points and a steal, and is worth keeping an eye on. Any time Gay is out, Casspi looks like a must-play, but he’s been producing even with Gay in the lineup. Jason Thompson started, but had just three points and four rebounds in 29 minutes. He was great in his previous game, but played more like his normal self last night.

Derrick Rose (hamstring, probably out a few more games) and Pau Gasol (calf, day-to-day) were out for the Bulls last night. Kirk Hinrich started at PG, but suffered a chest injury. X-rays were negative and he finished with nine points, seven assists and a 3-pointer in 29 minutes. If his chest is a problem going forward, Aaron Brooks is going to benefit. Brooks had 12 points, four assists, a 3-pointer and steal, and could be the last point guard standing if Hinrich joins Rose on the bench in street clothes. Jimmy Butler stayed hot with 23 points, eight boards and two steals in the loss to the Kings. Yeah, he’ll take a small hit if and when Derrick Rose returns, but is still going to put up solid numbers either way. Hang onto him at all costs. Joakim Noah got it going late and had 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block in 37 minutes, but I am a little concerned about him logging all these minutes. He’s an injury waiting to happen, but any time Gasol is out, Noah is nearly a must-play. Taj Gibson didn’t live up to the hype in another start, but was serviceable with his 12 points, eight boards and a block. With Gasol banged up and Noah likely headed that way, Gibson’s a nice add right now if you have room.

Injury Report

Many of the Grizzlies are iffy for Friday against the Celtics due to the team’s flu bug, including Courtney Lee, Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley have yet to show up on the flu-bug report, and here’s to hoping it stays that way.

Dwight Howard doesn’t sound likely for the Rockets on Saturday due to a knee injury, so plan on benching him if you can. Tarik Black will likely start in his place, but Donatas Motiejunas and Kostas Papanikolaou are probably the guys who get the daily-league boost in Howard’s absence. Pap had 19 points on Wednesday in Howard’s absence.

Dirk Nowitzki says his left ankle sprain isn’t a big deal and plans on playing against the Lakers tonight. Watch for updates, incase he’s wrong.

Blazer Nicolas Batum practiced again on Thursday and sounds like a go on Friday after missing several games with a knee injury. Prepare to get him back in your lineup.

Ricky Rubio (ankle) is hoping to be playing again by Christmas, which according to the Snoopy countdown clock on my kid’s wall, is still 33 days away. If you’re hurting at point guard, he’s worth stashing, but 30-some days is a long time to wait. Mo Williams is now starting over Zach LaVine, which probably should have happened on Day 1, and looks great. He’s worth a short-term pick up if you need a point guard.

Carmelo Anthony is dealing with a sore knee and likely will be all season for the Knicks. If you can get a stud in return, it might not be a bad idea to trade him before it becomes a real issue. Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) hopes to play on Saturday against the Sixers and if he can stay healthy, deep-leaguers might want to take notice. Jose Calderon is also expected to play through his calf injury that day, which will mercifully bring us to the end of the Shane Larkin experiment – at least until JC gets hurt again.

Bucks’ prodigy Giannis Antetokounmpo is iffy for Friday against the Raptors with an ankle injury, but my guess is he plays through it for the Bucks. Don’t look now, but he’s starting to produce in waves now that he’s finally in the starting lineup.

David Lee (hamstring) will be re-evaluated by the Warriors on Friday, which means I doubt he plays tonight against the Jazz. More goodies for Draymond Green.

Nikola Pekovic (ankle, wrist) hopes to start practicing with the Wolves again next week. He’s going to be banged up all season and Gorgui Dieng looks like a nice stowaway because of Pek’s inability to stay healthy.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is not expected to play for the Hornets on Friday, which should mean another start and more production for Gerald Henderson. Henderson was awful in his last game, but should bounce back tonight. Gary Neal is expected back from a concussion on Friday night, and should also see some nice run with MKG out.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart (ankle) is not expected to play for the Celtics on Sunday and still doesn’t have a target date. Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley should get all the minutes they can handle while he’s out. Keep an eye out for Rondo news though, as he’s dealing with a tender ankle. My guess is he’s good to go on Sunday.

Nick Young got a well-deserved flop warning for his move against the Hawks on Wednesday, which helped the Lakers win. Young’s return to the Lakers lineup is big and he should be picked up in leagues where he’s available.

Spurs C Tiago Splitter (calf) is out for Friday against the Wolves, which should mean more Boris Diaw. Matt Bonner is also iffy with a stomach bug, but I bet he plays tonight. Marco Belinelli is also questionable with a groin injury and Danny Green gets a boost if he’s out again.

DeMarre Carroll sounds likely to play on Friday for the Hawks after missing several games with a groin injury. That should send Thabo Sefolosha back to the bench.

Pacers swingman C.J. Miles could play against the Suns on Saturday after missing time with a concussion and a calf injury. He was awful when healthy, but if his shots start falling, he could be worth a deep-league look.

James Johnson was walking well without a boot on Wednesday and could be nearing a return for the Raptors. When it happens, he’s worth a deep-league look, while Patrick Patterson would take a minutes hit. 

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