There were six games on Monday night and plenty of injury news around the league. Dose breaks it all down.
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Injury & Rotation Roundup
Kobe Bryant (Achilles) could make his season debut on Friday, or closer to Christmas. He looked great on Sunday, took Monday off and will participate in Tuesday’s practice. And if that one goes well, I just can’t see him sitting much longer. I’m still guessing he’ll make an appearance on Friday, although I expect the Lakers to stay mum about his status right up until game time. But regardless of what I think, it’s anyone’s guess as to when we’ll see Kobe play.
Danny Ainge said something about Jeff Green not always being a “focal point of the offense” for the Celtics and I’m suddenly getting questions about dropping him for a guy like James Anderson. Look, Green’s slow start is a concern, but I clearly remember how dominant he was late last season and fully expect him to get back there at some point. Unless it’s a really good free agent, I’m hanging onto Green for now. Rajon Rondo did some 5-on-5 scrimmaging Monday and appears to be getting closer to a return from knee surgery. Ridiculous trade rumors aside, I’m guessing Rondo might be ready to play before Christmas.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has started the last couple games for the Pistons, but has scored a total of 14 points in them. Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to score 16 in each of them, and is still the guy to own for now. But as long as KCP is starting, he’s going to have a big game sooner or later. I just trust Stuckey more until further notice.
Coach Larry Drew said on Monday that he still has no timetable on a return date for Ersan Ilyasova. Of course he doesn’t. He’s got to be getting closer but I would suggest we start a Dorito Ankles Support Group for the owners of Ilyasova, Al Jefferson and Tobias Harris. I’ve never quite seen a more similar trio of day-to-day guys turn into an “out the first month of the season” group of guys. Speaking of Harris, he tested his ankle on Monday, while the Bobcats seem to think Al Jefferson could play on Wednesday. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Metta World Peace will be out on Tuesday with a combination of a sore left knee and the recent death of his sister. Simply put, his status for the week is in doubt, especially with the news that he had fluid drained from the knee on Monday. It does sound like he could be available on Saturday. Kenyon Martin could move into the starting lineup, but unless it’s suddenly 2006 again, I’m not interested in owning him and his old legs. Raymond Felton missed practice on Monday with his sore hamstring and pinched nerve in his hip, but the thought is he’ll play tonight.
Glen Davis could practice this week for the Magic after missing a year due to a foot and shoulder injury. It’s hard to say he’s going to step in and play a big role for the Magic right away, but it’s possible once his conditioning is right. Just keep a close eye on him.
Caron Butler practiced Monday and could return from his shoulder injury for the Bucks on Wednesday. If he was dropped in your league, he’s getting enough minutes and scoring opportunities to be picked up in most leagues. Brandon Knight was limited with his shoulder injury and could have a tough time getting his starting job back any time soon.
Lance Stephenson skipped Pacers practice on Monday with a foot injury but hopes to practice on Tuesday. If he’s in your lineup with three games this week, I’m pulling for him to practice today. Danny Granger was out with his lingering calf injury, which is good news for Stephenson.
Dion Waiters returned to the Cavaliers and says he didn’t have an altercation at a recent players-only meeting. He might have lost his starting job, and C.J. Miles should officially be on your watch list, along with Jarrett Jack, who has been struggling.
Rookie Trey Burke (broken finger) will practice with the Jazz on Tuesday and if he’s still available in your league and you need a point guard, grab him.
On a side note, I’ve got Rocky IV on as background noise (it’s 3:30 a.m.) right now and the James Brown lip synching in the ‘Living In America’ bit is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in a big-budget movie. It had to be said.
Game News & Notes
Trail Blazers top Nets
Mo Williams had another solid line on Monday with 12 points, five boards, six assists, three steals and two blocks, and is worth a look if you need a guard. He’s been putting up similar lines for a couple weeks now. LaMarcus Aldridge came through again with 27 points, eight boards and two blocks, while Wesley Matthews scored 24, and Damian Lillard added 19 points and nine assists. Nicolas Batum was eerily quiet with seven points and six boards, hitting just 2-of-5 shots. He hasn’t looked great thus far, and now is a good buy-low opportunity.
And speaking of ankle injuries, the Nets have no timetable on Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, so if you started Andray Blatche and Shaun Livingston this week, so far, so good. Blatche had 10 points, five boards, two steals and two blocks off the bench on Monday, while Livingston went off for 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting in a loss to the Blazers. Paul Pierce played through a groin injury and had 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting, while Kevin Garnett played on his old knees and had 16 points, eight boards and two blocks.
Bobcats fall to Bulls
Bobcats forward Jeff Taylor got loose for a career-high 20 points with five rebounds, a steal and two 3-pointers on Monday. Look at this as more of a fluke than anything else, but put him on your radar. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had just four points in 26 minutes, but is still a player I’m interested in holding as long as he’s starting. Josh McRoberts stayed relevant on Monday with 11 points, six boards, five assists, two blocks and three more 3-pointers, and is quite fun to own right now. Hopefully the return of Jefferson won’t hurt him. Kemba Walker was just awful again, hitting 3-of-14 shots for eight points and two assists. He can’t seem to make a shot right now and should be benched until he starts making them again. Gerald Henderson had 16 points and two 3-pointers on 5-of-15 shooting and is worth a look if he was dropped in your league.
Derrick Rose hit just 4-of-13 shots for 12 points and five dimes in 31 minutes last night, and still hasn’t looked like Derrick Rose. He will eventually get it going and he’s a tough player to put on your bench, even though it looks like he should be there on some nights. Luol Deng had 21 points, eight boards and two blocks, and hit a huge 3-pointer with 27 seconds left as the Bulls held off the Bobcats in a game that was closer than it should have been. Jimmy Butler, who has been highly underwhelming thus far, injured his right toe on Monday but played through it. He’s still doing enough to be owned in most leagues, and should only get better as the season progresses.
Mavericks beat Sixers
DeJuan Blair played just seven minutes on Monday, ruining hopes for many of us who rolled the dice on him this week. He was in foul trouble and the Mavs used a small lineup, starting Jae Crowder over Samuel Dalembert. Crowder hit just 1-of-8 shots for two points and six boards, meaning the experiment failed. Sammy D had eight points, 14 boards and three blocks off the bench and started the second half, so it’s possible the regular starters will be back for Dallas in the next one. Monta Ellis double-doubled with 24 points and 10 assists, Dirk had one with 20 points and 10 boards, while Shawn Marion scored 20 and Jose Calderon added 14 points and four assists.
For the Sixers, Evan Turner hit 10-of-22 shots for 26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two 3-pointers on Monday. Outside of his four-point dud on Saturday, Turner has scored at least 20 points in every other game this season. Tony Wroten had 19 points, three dimes and five steals in another start for Michael Carter-Williams and remains a must-start player until MCW returns, despite some awful free throw shooting. Maybe MCW will play on Wednesday, and maybe he won’t. James Anderson had 14 points, three 3-pointers, seven rebounds, three steals and a block on Monday, and continues to play just well enough to be owned in most leagues, while Spencer Hawes had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards to go along with a 3-pointer and three more blocks. Yeah, he’s cooled off, but is still a must-own, must-start player until the Sixers sign another center or he gets injured.
Thunder edge Nuggets
Reggie Jackson had 14 points, seven boards, a steal and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes on Monday and is averaging 11.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals over his last five, at least keeping him on the radar in most leagues. Russell Westbrook is back, going for 30 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three 3-pointers last night, and should be in all starting lineups. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was all world again, going for 38 points with a full stat line in the win.
Ty Lawson had 29 points and eight assists on Monday and is one of the hottest point guards in the league. Nate Robinson suffered a wrist injury, but X-rays were negative and it’s believed he will play on Thursday. Wilson Chandler played 32 minutes and had eight points, three boards, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 3-of-12 shooting. He’s shaking the rust off, but should now be owned in all leagues. J.J. Hickson went nuts with season highs of 28 points, and19 boards, and added two blocks in 33 minutes. Timofey Mozgov might push him, but Hickson is a must-own as long as he’s starting.
Warriors best Jazz
Stephen Curry suffered what appears to be a minor head injury on Monday and had a headache after the game. There’s been no talk of a concussion yet, so owners should keep their fingers crossed. David Lee had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Andrew Bogut added eight points, 13 boards and four blocks, and Klay Thompson scored 17 points with three more 3-pointers. Harrison Barnes scored 17 off the bench, but is still fairly unreliable as long as he’s not starting.
Marvin Williams had 16 points, eight boards, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers off the bench on Monday and is playing well to garner attention in all leagues. Alec Burks, on the other hand, was 0-for-5 with two points, and Williams could overtake him if Burks doesn’t start playing better.
Grizzlies top Clippers
Zach Randolph had 26 points and 15 rebounds in a tough Grizzlies win over the Clippers, and it looks like he’s starting to figure things out in the new Memphis offense. Ditto for Marc Gasol, who added 23 points, nine boards, eight assists and two steals in the win. Tony Allen was kicked out of Monday’s game after kicking Chris Paul in the face and could be looking at a one-game suspension. Jerryd Bayless would likely start in his place if he is suspended.
Chris Paul hit just 5-of-14 shots for 18 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists in the loss, and has now double-doubled with points and assists in 11 straight games and tied Magic Johnson in the feat. DeAndre Jordan stayed hot with eight points, 16 boards and three blocks and his dreamy season continues, while Blake Griffin showed no signs of his Achilles scare with 23 points and 11 boards. J.J. Redick cooled off with 12 points and one 3-pointer on 3-of-13 shooting, but will bounce back soon. The beauty of a five-game week is he has four more tries to make up for this one.