Line of the Night: As long as we’re partying like it’s the year 2006, Joe Johnson (2.89) is crashing that party. On a night where a few guys blew up (more on that below) JJ scored 27 points against the not-exactly-defensively-inclined DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors, and filled up the box score with 3 threes, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks in 36 minutes. One reason to be encouraged if you’re a Johnson owner: since the Al Horford injury, Johnson has had scoring games of 23, 25, and 27 points.
Honorable Mentions: The Sixers continue to look like one of the NBA’s best teams with a win over the Bucks and continue to be led by the surging Andre Iguodala (2.87), who finished the game with 21 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 42 minutes on the court. Jrue Holiday (2.24) added 24 points on 11-17 shooting, with 5 assists and 5 steals and Spencer Hawes (0.59) made sure the love was spread around with 11 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks. Andrew Bogut (1.30) had a 20 and 11 with 3 blocks for the Bucks. But the rest of that Milwaukee starting lineup? Ugly.
John Wall’s (2.79) owners are dancing this morning thanks to a career-high 38 points, with 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals against the Rockets. I didn’t see the game, but I can only assume that Wall and the Wiz finally realized that Nick Young shouldn’t be the team’s primary facilitator. This performance is by far Wall’s best game of the season and the optimist in me wants to think that this is the start of a run for Wall, but I wouldn’t talk anyone out trying to sell high on Wall after this game. Bullets Forever uses a combination of tai chi and A-Team metaphors to attempt to explain the fact that Wall has become predictable to opposing teams and that’ll he’ll need to adapt his game to get out of his funk. I’m not sure they 100% get there, but I’ll read about B.A. Baracus any day of the week.
Ryan Anderson (2.55) continues his breakout season by channeling the ghost of Channing Frye to finish with 30 points – on 7 of 13 from three – and adding 7 rebounds against the Knicks. Anderson is leading the league by a large margin with 3.6 threes made/game, which is not exactly classic fantasy team building, but roll with it if you own Anderson.
There were a number of other great fantasy performances thanks to 11 NBA games last night. Kevin Durant (2.26) – with 28 points and 7 boards – and Russell Westbrook (1.85) – with 26 points, 7 boards and 3 steals – did their part to dismantle the Celtics. Kevin Love (2.15) had another ho-hum 33 points, 11 rebound game thanks to the Sacramento Kings, Mike Conley (1.93) had a near triple-double with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. And Josh Smith (1.29) continued his strong play post-Al Horford with 28 points and 15 boards.
I could go on, but there is still a lot to talk about, including…
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Technically, it’s Luke Ridnour (2.66), who scored 25 points and dished 9 assists to only 1 turnover starting alongside Ricky Rubio in the Wolves’ backcourt. Instead of Rubio burying Ridnour as I think most people expected, he’s getting as much run as he has at any point in his career (over 35+ minutes a game recently) thanks to the Wolves’ lack of shooting guard options. Ridnour is currently 34% owned in Yahoo leagues, but as long as he keeps playing alongside Rubio, he should be picked up in all 12+ leagues.
Pick Up Lines: Thabo Sefolosha (2.13) just wanted to remind everyone that not only does he still exist, but that’s he’s still the starting SG for the Thunder. Against the Big-AARP Boston Celtics, Sefolosha played a season high 34 minutes and scored 19 points on 7-9 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Expect his minutes and production to quickly drop back down to that 20 minute a game range he’s been averaging this season and leave him on waivers for now.
The Bulls’ Taj Gibson (1.64) went for 16 and 5 with 2 steals and 3 blocks in only 25 minutes on the court. Gibson has been burning it up on a per-minute basis recently, but the extra run last night was due to the Rose-less Bulls getting beat badly by the Grizzlies. He’s worth a look in deep leagues and becomes an immediate add if Carlos Boozer were to ever get hurt. Strike that, I mean when he gets hurt.
Good to see that someone finally told Ed Davis (1.13) the season is actually underway. Starting in place of the injured Andrea Bargnani for the third straight game, Davis scored 7 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and added 3 steals and 4 blocks in 40 minutes on the court. It’s good indication of what Davis can do when he’s at his best, although Bargnani is day-to-day and should return to the court soon, pushing Davis back to a 17-20 minute a game reserve role.
GUSTAVO! GMTR favorite Gustavo Ayon (1.13) scored 8 points, adding 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in only 20 minutes off the bench for the Hornets. The early reviews on Ayon are good – sounds like a plus defensive guy who’d win some Tommy points – and I would not be surprised to see him continue to see an increased role on the Hornets as the season roles on. Chris Kaman (0.34) was moved to the bench in this game because of his underwhelming play so far this season. Jason Smith (-0.74) started, but only saw 12 minutes and didn’t do much of anything, while Kaman most minutes at the PF position (24) and had the best offensive game of the three. New Orleans, you are officially a mess.
Quick Hits: Nels may not want to hear this, but Chandler Parsons (1.08) had another solid game for Houston – 8 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, a couple blocks and one nut sack to the face of JaVale McGee – and remains available in over 80% of leagues. Here’s my proposal: If the world can collectively get his fantasy ownership levels above 50%, we’ll stop talking about him.
Jermaine O’Neal (1.00) double-doubled with 12 and 11 against Kendrick Perkins and the OKC. That’s now 23 rebounds in the Celtics’ last two games. He’s worth a watch if you’re hurting for center help, but I remain dubious of his ability to both remain healthy and play with any type of consistency at this point in his career.
Mehmet Okur (0.98) scored 16 points on 3-6 from three. If you happen to need a center who is basically a three-point specialist, Okur is totally your guy.
Marreese Speights (0.75) had 16 and 12 in the Grizzlies big win over the Bulls. For anyone who is new to the pleasure of owning Speights, it’s sort of like if a roller coaster could ride another roller coaster while in a tilt-a-whirl. If you own him, he’s the type of guy you just have to play every night and live with the consequences – good or bad.
Randy Foye (0.64) got the start for the Clippers in place of the injured Chris Paul and responded with a bad karaoke version of Paul – 6 for 17 from the floor, for 13 points, 10 assists and 5 turnovers. Foye has some value while Paul is out – which should not be long.
Omri Casspi (0.87) – a minor GMTR sleeper going into the year – struggled through injuries and an inability to hit the three at the beginning of the season. I’m not going to say that’s he’s turned it around just yet – but yesterday’s 14 and 7 in 25 minutes against the Bobcats was at least a step in the right direction. Keep him on your watch lists.
Biggest Loser: In addition to the aforementioned defense against Joe Johnson, DeMar DeRozan (-1.00) managed to score an empty 10 points on 5-17 from the field against the Hawks. DeRozan is still just 21 years old and has had a lot of “learning opportunities” while on on the court this year. He’s also shooting just 41% from the floor and has taken a step back from where a lot of people expected him to be this season.
With Rose out, Joakim Noah (-0.70) should have been able to step his game up, right? Nah. Noah had 2 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes on the court and is disappearing faster than Dikembe Mutombo’s $10 million of gold.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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