Yesterday I said the Knicks were bad. Well, The Bulls are playing worse at the moment. Sure a lot of that is driven by injury, but their on court form as well as the fantasy stock of their guys is very very low. I wouldn’t even be throwing buy low offers at guys like Joakim Noah at this stage. In other news, the players traded still haven’t suited up for games yet as not all players have had their physicals yet. They should all be available for Friday’s games.
WEDNESDAY 11TH DECEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder:
27 points (7/12 FG, 11/11 FT), 2 threes, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
Coming off his near triple double, Russ puts up the best line of the night with another superb, well rounded performance. The Thunder are the best team no one is really talking about and probably should be the favourite out West and Westbrook should be able to pull himself back into top 10 territory.
Honourable Mentions: Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Jason Smith, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans (5.5% owned):
22 points (8/14 FG, 6/8 FT), 0 threes, 16 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
In yesterday’s breakdown, I advised picking up Smith as a spot start for blocks and not only did he get two of those, but got season a season high in points and rebounds to boot. He’s ranked 98th for the entire season and while Davis is out, you could do much worse than hold onto Smith. (Just between you and me, how boring a frontcourt name combination is Jason Smith and Anthony Davis).
DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers:
5 points (2/3 FG, 1/6 FT), 0 threes, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
A real quiet game for Jordan, but at least he was able to get a valuable steal and a block and this is nothing more than a blip.
ORLANDO MAGIC @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Nikola Vucevic made his return, pushing Andrew Nicholson to the bench and fantasy irrelevance. Vucevic had 12 points and 14 rebounds in a welcome return. Jameer Nelson had another nice night and it looks like the trade rumours aren’t effecting his play. He had 17 points, three three, seven rebounds and six assists. Glen Davis had a big night as well, and as much as I don’t like him, he is performing at a high level recently. He had 17 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and a block. The return of Tobias Harris is imminent, and that should hopefully cut into Davis’ value.
The Bobcats had been playing very well, but suffered a let down here. Kemba Walker put up perhaps the strangest point guard line of the season. He had 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting, only four assists, but had three steals and an unbelievable four blocks. Cody Zeller had his best performance so far with 10 points and six rebounds, a steal and a block. Josh McRoberts has been great as the starter and it doesn’t look like he will be replaced any time soon. Jeffrey Taylor returned from his injury to start, but only had eight point with two assists. He is still a decent play while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS @ BOSTON CELTICS
In Doc Rivers return to Boston, his Clippers handled the Celtics relatively comfortably. Chris Paul was his usual self with 22 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Jamal Crawford had a nice game off the bench with 21 points, two threes, two blocks and a steal and is taking most of J.J. Redick’s value. Newly signed Stephen Jackson played his first game but has no relevance in fantasy.
Jeff Green is really turning it on of late, and poured in 29 points with three threes, four rebounds and a block. He is rewarding people who stuck with him after his slow start. Two guys who were available off the wire early the season, Brandon Bass and Jordan Crawford played very well again. Bass had 17 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while the Jordan Crawford resurrection tour continued with 20 points and nine assists.
DETROIT PISTONS @ NEW ORLEANS PISTONS
Rodney Stuckey returned from a few games off to put up 20 points with four assists and probably should be able to find himself onto the end of your roster in most leagues. Brandon Jennings had another awesome game, with 25 points, four threes, five rebounds, four assists and six steals. Sure, his FG% is poor, but his overall contribution has been very, very good this year. Greg Monroe had a big game of 28 points and 10 rebounds, but not much else and hit a dreadful 2-of-7 from the line.Speaking of bad percentages, Josh Smith, shot the ball 15 times and hit only five of them finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks.
Al-Farouq Aminu had another fantastic performance with 11 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and two blocks. His defensive numbers will continue whilst Anthony Davis is out and is a good chance to average double digit rebounds for the next few weeks. Ryan Anderson hit four threes in his 22 points, but only one rebounds, but threes are the main source of his value. Tyreke Evans made a surprise return from his ankle sprain and put up 14 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Jrue Holiday had another strong game with 19 points and eight assists and has been top 12 the last two weeks in fantasy.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS @ MILWAUKEE BUCKS
This had all the earmarks of a blowout and didn’t disappoint. In 24 minutes, Tim Duncan was able to put up a monster line of 21 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks. Tiago Splitter sat out again with his sore calf. It’s hard to gain much from the game, except from the fact that Marco Belinelli continues to play well, with 11 points and five rebounds on great shooting.
As much as it was hard to take anything from the Spurs side, it was just as hard to find anything of note from the Bucks in this demolition. It did allow Giannis Antetokounmpo to have his best game with 15 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block. One can only hope that the Greek Freak can get more minutes over Khris Middleton going forward. Look for John Henson to bounce back after a quiet night.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS @ MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
James Anderson had a great game off the bench with 16 points, two threes and eight rebounds, playing 31 minutes, relegating Hollis Thompson to only 19 minutes. I don’t think this bumps him back to fantasy relevance however. Spencer Hawes hit four threes, with three blocks and 20 points and Tony Wroten bounced back with 20 points also with a steal and a block. Evan Turner had a bad game with nine turnovers and 6-of-16 shooting, with eight rebounds and 13 points.
Against the Sixers, the T-Wolves were all due for big games and didn’t disappoint. Kevin Love had 26 points, 15 rebounds and five rebounds, Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 10 rebounds and even Ricky Rubio scored 21 points with two threes, seven assists and three steals. Surprisingly, Kevin Martin only hit 1-of-9 shots for five points in probably his worst game of the year, missing out on the Sixers bump.
CHICAGO BULLS @ NEW YORK KNICKS
Joakim Noah returned to the lineup with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, but had five turnovers, but it was Mike Dunleavy again with the best Bulls performance. He had 20 points, three threes, eight rebounds, three steals and a block and is a must own guy, especially without Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler. Carlos Boozer had a 12 point, 12 rebound double double, while Taj Gibson had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Gibson has cooled down a bit, but is still worth owning for the time being.
Carmelo Anthony is carrying the Knicks and did so again with 30 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and a block. Amar’e Stoudemire had his third strong game in a row, scoring 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. I don’t recommend adding him, but if he can get 25-28 minutes a game, and perform like this, he may have some value. Iman Shumpert stunk again, going scoreless in 13 minutes, but did grab two steals. Andrea Bargnani had only eight points and three boards and has cooled down significantly of late, coinciding with Stoudemire’s increase in playing time and performance.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER @ MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Off the bench, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb both performed exceedingly well. Jackson had 17 points and Lamb had 18 with three threes and Lamb is someone I’m on the verge of picking up as I feel his time is close, where he gets 30 minutes a game and can average 15 points off the bench, or even in the starting lineup. Kevin Durant scored 18 points, with six rebounds, two steals and a block, playing a slight second fiddle to Westbrook.
Jon Leuer had another nice game off the bench with Ed Davis sitting out again. He had 17 points, two threes, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks and is in the top 100 for the last month. He is worth an add if you are looking for points and boards shirt term. Kosta Koufos had 12 points, seven rebounds and a block and is playing very solidly and consistently. Zach Randolph had 17 points and eight boards, but shot poorly from both the field and line to torpedo his value. Jerryd Bayless started again without Tony Allen and scored 11 points with absolutely nothing else.
UTAH JAZZ @ SACRAMENTO KINGS
The Jazz pulled the upset, easily handling the Kings on the road. Marvin Williams returned from his injury and pushed Enes Kanter to the bench, dropping pretty much all of Kanter’s value with him. Williams had eight points, five assists and two steals and is a decent play in 12 team leagues. Alec Burks had another nice game with 17 points and four assists and seems to be a must add at this stage until he cools off again. Trey Burke only played 21 minutes, but still had 11 points and nine assists and is looking to be the Western Conference’s best rookie, particularly for fantasy basketball. Derrick Favors added three blocks to seven rebounds and 17 points but hasn’t quite exploded like many were predicting this preseason.
The Kings weren’t able to have Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy or Aaron Gray in their lineup, so it meant a heavy dose of the starters. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points with seven assists and is taking well to the new role. Derrick Williams backed up his great game with 13 points, seven rebounds and a block, while Jimmer Fredette got off the bench for 11 minutes, scoring 13 points. Ben McLemore had a real stinker with only four points and I think Gay’s imminent arrival will only serve to drop his value further and if you own him in 10, 12 or even 14 team leagues, he is probably not worth owning.
DALLAS MAVERICKS @ GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
I don’t know how the Mavs lost this game. The only thing I can say is Stephen Curry. The Mavs starters, bar DeJuan Blair all played well. Jose Calderon had 18 points with three threes and five assists, while backcourt mate, Monta Ellis had 21 points and three steals, but shot like Milwaukee Monta Ellis. Dirk Nowitzki hit three threes in his 21 points, with seven rebounds and two blocks and he should be back in the All-Star game this year. The Dallas centres are really struggling. Blair had four points, nine rebounds and two assists while Samuel Dalembert had four rebounds a block whilst going scoreless.
Stephen Curry is just having another amazing year. He brought the Warriors back in this, scoring 33 points with six threes, 10 assists and three steals. Klay Thompson was quiet with 1 points and three threes. Andrew Bogut pulled down 18 rebounds and two blocks and is having a nice season, particularly if you aren’t needing him for offense. Harrison Barnes scored 17 points in his 44 minutes, while David Lee had a double double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. It’s hopeful Andre Iguodala can return sometime next week.
GAMES ON THURSDAY 12TH DECEMBER
Each day after looking back on the games of the day, I will spend a little time looking forward, prognosticating if you will, what to look for in the coming day’s games.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
Jeremy Lin, PG, Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers
Lin will return from his injured knee against the Blazers and coming off the bench, I don’t think the Blazers have anyone who can go with him.
Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets
Crawford should be able to take advantage of the poor Nets perimeter D and put up another 20 point performance
Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets
Against James Harden, all opposing shooting guards should be able to excel, but Matthews has been excelling in his own right.
Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets
I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say Griffin will have KG beat in terms of athleticism. The Nets as a general rule allow a boost for opposing power forwards, so look for a big 20/10 game.
Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Clippers
As good as DeAndre Jordan has been this year for rebounds and blocks, opposing centres have still been able to have big nights and Lopez is the best offensive big in the game and should be able to get 25 or more points, with a couple of blocks.
PLAYERS TO PICK UP FOR SPOT START DUTY
This section highlight guys who are available in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and are a decent option if you are looking to stream a guy in for a day to give you the boost to put you over the edge in your matchup.
If you need points: Kevin Garnett, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Clippers
Garnett has been a shell of himself, but in terms of available points on the wire, he is the best of what’s left. The Clippers allow an extra 8% of points to opposition power forwards, so hopefully Garnett can get it going for once.
If you need threes: Willie Green, SG, Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets
Green has hit five threes in his last three games and is starting with J.J. Redick out and is a big chance for a couple of threes.
If you need rebounds: Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets
Lopez is right on the 50% border for ownership, but needs to be owned and is a massive show for double digit boards here against a fast paced Rockets team.
If you need assists: Darren Collison, PG, Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets
With only two games on, there aren’t many options on the wire, but Collison has been getting more minutes with no Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick and could easily get four to five assists going against the Nets backups.
If you need steals: Patrick Beverley, PG, Houston Rockets Portland Trail Blazers
Beverley best asset is his stealing ability and on-ball defense and should be able to force Damian Lillard into a couple of turnovers at least.
If you need blocks: Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets
As with rebounds, Lopez is your best bet for blocks. He should get a couple against the Rockets and it’s shocking to me he isn’t owned in more leagues.
As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below or on Twitter, @redrock_bball