LeBron James, Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Ty Lawson, Ersan Ilyasova and Andre Drummond all had massive lines on Monday night, Derrick Favors went MIA, and the Lakers and Bucks both won on the same night for only the second time all season.
LeBron Blisters Bobcats For 61, But He’s Not The First
LeBron James simply went off in his clear mask last night. He hit eight 3-pointers, once of which was like something you’d see at a Harlem Globetrotters game. He couldn’t miss and was playing with the most confidence I’ve ever seen from him. He finished with a career-high and Heat franchise-record 61 points as the Heat crushed the Bobcats. The funny thing is, LeBron’s big night isn’t even the worst one the Cats have given up this season, as Carmelo Anthony torched them for 62 back on Jan. 24. I was about ready to get excited for Kevin Durant’s next matchup against Charlotte, but quickly realized that he has also scored 61 against the Bobcats this season - but it took him two games to do it. They also gave up 43 to Stephen Curry this season. The MVP race got a little tighter last night, especially considering Durant hit just 8-of-24 shots on Sunday…against the Bobcats.
Part of the reason LeBron felt free to shoot it whenever he wanted is that his good buddy, Dwyane Wade, was on the bench, resting in street clothes. I had a tough decision to make in a weekly playoff league regarding Wade. I decided to roll the dice and gamble that he’ll play tonight, and in the other two Heat games this week. As I wrote yesterday, even though all signs were pointing to a big week from Wade, he was bound to disappoint his owners. I’ve got him in the lineup and am just praying he makes it through the next three games in one piece, but I sort of wish I had just plopped him on my bench and rolled with a red-hot Will Bynum instead.
For Charlotte, Al Jefferson’s huge line of 38 points and 19 rebounds on 18-of-24 shooting was completely overshadowed by ‘The Mask.’ Jefferson’s had a monster season since recovering from a sprained ankle and is returning mid-second round value, according to Basketballmonster.com. Kemba Walker’s slump continued against Mario Chalmers, who was awful, hitting 1-of-7 shots for the Heat. Walker has hit exactly three shots in four of his last five games and is averaging 13.6 points on 31 percent shooting over that stretch. Hopefully he’s getting it out of his system just before the playoffs start.
Grizzlies Beat Wizards
I’m still not sure how it happened but Tayshaun Prince managed to get loose for 21 points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers on 8-of-11 shooting as the Grizzlies beat the Wizards. Ignore him. Marc Gasol had 10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals and three blocks for one of his most exciting lines of the season, but something still just doesn’t feel right about his game. It’s been a disappointing season and the knee injury is likely to blame.
Trevor Booker had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Wiz, and should be fantasy-relevant the rest of the way with Nene’s season likely over. All five Wizards starters were in double figures, with John Wall leading the way with another big stat line.
Nets Stun Bulls
Shaun Livingston had 14 points and five steals to keep his fantasy value alive, while Marcus Thornton crawled back into his hole, hitting 1-of-7 shots for three points in 20 minutes. Feel free to stash him, but don’t start him until he proves he can play well on more than one night a month. Joe Johnson finally came to play and hit 7-of-11 shots and three 3-pointers for 19 points, but still didn’t do as much as his owners need him to. Despite the absence of Kevin Garnett (back) again, Andray Blatche came off the bench and had 11 points, five boards and a steal. He’d be in so much better shape if Jason Kidd would just start him already.
The Bulls were led by reserve D.J. Augustin who hit 4-of-9 shots for 16 points and four assists, which pretty much tells the story. Joakim Noah cooled off in a big way with 10 points, six boards and just one assist, which should mean he’ll be ready to explode again in the next one, and Carlos Boozer had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the ugly loss.
Detroit Downs Knicks
I know you’re not going to believe this, but the Knicks lost again, this time in Detroit. Amare Stoudemire was a good daily play for me with 22 points and six boards on 9-of-11 shooting, but you have to watch for news on him carefully before using him, as he sits as often as he plays. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the losers with 28 points and with every loss it looks like he’s one step closer to leaving New York. Tim Hardaway Jr. was 0-for-6 and failed to score in 22 minutes, and simply isn’t doing much in fantasyland even when his shot is falling. I’m avoiding him and you probably should too.
The Pistons got 16 points, three assists, three steals and a 3-pointer off the bench from Will Bynum, who is hot enough to be owned in all leagues right now. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 3.0 boards, 5.8 assists and 1.0 steals over his last five games, and did last night’s damage in just 18 minutes. The player of the game was Andre Drummond, who racked up 17 points, a career-high 26 rebounds, two steals and three blocks on 6-of-9 shooting, destroying Tyson Chandler (18 rebounds) along the way. If you had Drummond, Kevin Love and LeBron in a daily money league, you probably won.
Bucks Stop Jazz
Ersan Ilyasova finally broke out with a season-high 31 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers on 13-of-14 shooting, but he obviously won’t shoot it that well again anytime soon. Khris Middleton cooled off with nine points and not much else, and I’ll blame it on Ilyasova’s big night. Middleton should bounce back. Ramon Sessions had 14 points, four boards and four assists off the bench, and is actually worth a look in deep leagues. And for you weekly leaguers, it’s time to pick up the Bucks as they go five times next week. Zaza Pachulia, Sessions, Nate Wolters, Jeff Adrien, Giannis Antetokounmpo and O.J. Mayo (who was awful) could all help weekly owners next week, but all are pretty risky plays, as well. The Bucks and Lakers both won on the same night for just the second time this season.
The Jazz saw a 27-point, 14-rebound explosion off the bench from Enes Kanter, who ruined Derrick Favors. Favors played just 19 minutes and hit 1-of-5 shots for two points, five boards and nothing else. Again, I don’t understand why Favors and Kanter can’t start together with Marvin Williams off the bench. If you somehow had Kanter and Ilyasova in a fantasy lineup, stop reading and go play the lottery. Gordon Hayward had 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting and might be heating up just in time for the fantasy playoffs, but outside of Kanter and Hayward, the Jazz were pretty bad last night.
Love Downs Denver
Kevin Love was a beast again with 33 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-21 shooting, while Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin (3-of-11, 16-of-17 free throws), Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea all played well for the Wolves, Barea is unreliable, but can be good if you play him on the right night (which is next to impossible to do). He saw some extra minutes with Ricky Rubio quiet (5 points, 5 dimes).
The Nuggets welcomed back Ty Lawson and he responded with 31 points, 11 assists, four steals and three 3-pointers on 11-of-16 shooting. We knew he was going to play through his broken rib well before tip-off so I’m hopeful you had him in your lineup. Kenneth Faried had 21 points and eight rebounds, while Wilson Chandler added 25 & 10, and would have been even better had he hit more than 2-of-11 3-pointers. Randy Foye hit four 3-pointers for 22 points, and the return of Lawson ruined Evan Fournier, who had just five points in 14 minutes. Timofey Mozgov started, but lasted just 10 minutes due to a potent combination of foul trouble and general apathy. You just can’t trust Tinafey.
Lakers Shock Blazers
The Lakers got a balanced attack from Wes Johnson (game-winner), Pau Gasol, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Farmar and MarShon Brooks all contributing. Every one of those guys were interesting plays this week with five games, although I was hoping for a little more out of Bazemore and Farmar. Farmar took a hit with Marshall’s reawakening, as he finally came through with a nice line of seven points, six rebounds and 11 assists. Maybe Marshall’s ready to get hot again. Bazemore took a hit by sitting most of the fourth quarter, as Mike D’Antoni inexplicably seems to be infatuated with Brooks, who doesn’t play defense. Whatever. Oh, and Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman didn’t even get off the bench last night.
The Blazers got nice games out of Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum (who is suddenly averaging 16.6 rebounds and 10.6 rebounds over his last five), Robin Lopez (9-of-13 for 19-16-3) and LaMarcus Aldridge, while Wesley Matthews’ 3-of-12 shooting for seven points is an easy target for the blame in the loss.
Kings Nip Pelicans
DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas didn’t do anything special, but enough to beat the Pelicans. The big news is that every time Cousins had a chance to bark at the refs he put his head down and went away. And that’s going to have to keep happening if he’s going to avoid a one-game suspension with one more technical foul. Rudy Gay was quiet with 14 points, but hit 5-of-10 shots, and if you just glance at the Kings box score, you’d guess they lost the game, regardless of whom they were playing. Reggie Evans led the bench scoring with 10 points and added 13 rebounds, but I don’t trust him unless he ends up starting over Jason Thompson, who had six points and five boards.
Anthony Davis was terrible with 13 points, four rebounds and zero blocks on 4-of-14 shooting, and didn’t do much of anything until the fourth quarter was well underway. He hasn’t looked right since a shoulder injury and I’m just hoping that he’s in good enough shape to keep playing through it. Tyreke Evans, on the other hand, appears to love his new starting gig and racked up 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting against his former team. He’s been on a massive tear since moving into the starting five and is a must-start fantasy player again. Brian Roberts had 15 points, two assists and a 3-pointer, as he continues to cling to fantasy value, while Eric Gordon was quiet again with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. That was a lot better than his two points on 1-of-13 shooting on Saturday, but still not very good. I recently had a dream that he scored 40 points, so maybe it’s coming against the Lakers tonight? Alexis Ajinca made another start and had four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes, but was in foul trouble against Boogie for most of the night. It obviously wasn’t a good match up for Ajinca, but I still have faith in him as long as he’s starting.
Tuesday Night Notes
The Spurs are at Cleveland and we’ll have to wait and see if any Spurs get ‘Popped.’ I’m guessing the regulars are all a go, but we’ll have to wait and see what Gregg Popovich has in mind. The Cavs should get Dion Waiters back tonight, but I don’t expect to see Anderson Varejao or C.J. Miles on the floor.
The Pacers may or may not have George Hill (shoulder) available, so watch for news. C.J. Watson’s worth a spot-start if Hill is out again. Jermaine O’Neal should be back for the Warriors and could be motivated against his old team.
Dwight Howard should play for the Rockets despite a sore back and Chandler Parsons (flu) sounds like a go. Jeremy Lin, along with Howard, is questionable with a sore back.
Kevin Durant should be ready to go despite dinging his ankle in his last game. The Thunder are interesting fantasy plays tonight. Yes, they’ll all torch the Sixers for big numbers, but the game could be over before halftime, so minutes are a concern if that happens.
Darren Collison remains a solid option with Jamal Crawford unlikely for the Clippers tonight, while it’s possible that Eric Bledsoe could make a surprise return for the Suns. I don’t know if it will happen or not, but it’s a possibility.