With nine games on Monday night there is plenty of talk about. I kick things off with the injury report and then take a look at what you need to know, game by game. Follow me on Twitter by clicking this link and check out the NBA Season Pass, which includes weekly rankings, exclusive live chats, a daily hot pickups column, and much more. Click here. I will also be on the radio in Honolulu this morning at 11:30 ET with Bobby Curran, and you can listen here.
Walking Wounded Report
Bucks center Larry Sanders will miss six weeks or so after having surgery on his right thumb. Just the news already disgusted owners were waiting for, right? I know a lot of you are now even questioning whether or not you should even bother holding onto Sanders, and that is a personal decision each owner will have to make based on their level of patience, league size, center situation, and other factors. Personally, I don’t own him anywhere. And if I did, I’d have a tough time waiting for him to get back. What a disaster. Ersan Ilyasova’s ankle injury is still a big problem and it’s unknown if he’ll play on this week’s road trip. Hopefully you benched him in weekly leagues. With these two injuries, John Henson should now be owned in all leagues, while Zaza Pachulia also looks like a decent add, even though he missed Monday’s practice for undisclosed reasons. And if you were looking for another reason to own Caron Butler, these are two good ones.
Derrick Rose had 16 points and seven assists on 8-of-21 shooting Monday, but limped off the court near the end of the game with a hamstring injury. Yes, it could easily be related to overcompensating for his knee, then again, maybe not. In any case, we’ll know more later on Tuesday, so keep an eye out for updates. Tim Duncan got a semi-surprise DNP (rest) on Monday against the lowly Sixers, although we had the news up at Rotoworld well over an hour before game time, so hopefully owners were paying attention. Thank you Pop, for letting us know in advance. Tiago Splitter got Duncan’s minutes and had 11 points, six boards and a block, while Boris Diaw was a FanDuel disappointment with just eight points, five boards, three dimes and nothing else. Duncan should be back on Wednesday against the Wizards.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night's games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:30pm ET. Here's the link.
As I predicted in Monday’s Dose, Steve Nash has been shelved for at least two weeks with his bad back. Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks will all benefit, and that’s the order I like them in, although Meeks might be better than Farmar. As for Nash, I didn’t see much reason to own him, even when he was trying to play. Al Jefferson finally returned for the Bobcats and had 10 points, seven boards and no blocks in 28 minutes. At least he played, and owners now have to hope the ankle issue is officially behind him.
For the Rockets, Chandler Parsons played through a sore back and had 18 points in a ton of minutes, while Dwight Howard played through the flu and went off for 18 points, 24 boards, a steal and five blocks, and hit 4-of-12 free throws. I’d love to write about Howard one day and not mention free throws, but I don’t see it happening. James Harden played through his sore feet and had 26 points, 10 assists and three 3-pointers on 7-of-19 shooting, and while I’m worried about his feet and body in general, he also has some ’warrior blood’ in him when it comes to playing through injuries. Omri Casspi played through a sore knee and had five points, six boards, four assists, a steal and a block, but hit just 1-of-4 shots and zero 3-pointers tonight. And Francisco Garcia sat this one out with the flu.
Toronto’s Kyle Lowry is dealing with a sprained ankle and bum finger, but played through it on Monday with 16 points, four 3-pointers, two assists and a steal in 48 minutes of a double-overtime loss. The fact he played so many minutes makes me think his ankle is fine, but his finger will continue to slow him down offensively on most nights. As will guys like Rudy Gay hitting 11-of-37 shots last night, and DeMar DeRozan going 6-of-25. Gay tweaked an ankle, but continued to keep firing away, so he should be fine. Good thing it wasn’t a shoulder injury, or he might have taken fewer shots. Gay finished with 29 points, 10 boards, four steals, a block and three 3-pointers, but the poor volume shooting has officially become a buzzkill.
Wilson Chandler (hamstring) was slated to play, then was scratched on Monday at the last minute. I got burned and have him in a weekly lineup, so I hope you did a better job of paying attention than I did. Will he play this week? My Magic 8 Ball says, “Reply hazy try again.” LeBron James says he’s a go for the Heat Tuesday despite a sore back. Enough said. Kemba Walker hit just 3-of-11 shots for the Bobcats last night and is now 22-of-66 from the floor since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 5. He’s playing through it, but his shot has clearly suffered since the injury.
Tyreke Evans has a sprained left ankle and even before that, he was really struggling to fit in with the Pelicans. Is he droppable? In some leagues, dependent upon whom you would pick up. Ryan Anderson’s foot injury is still very painful and he’s decided to slow it down. Now I’m guessing he won’t return this week, but his arrival isn’t going to do Evans any favors, either. If Evans misses time, watch for Anthony Morrow to do some nice things.
Andrei Kirilenko’s back is still a pretty big problem for the Nets and there’s no timetable on his return. He’s a tough player to hold if you don’t have an IR spot. Memphis’ Quincy Pondexter left Monday’s game with a broken nose and I expect he’ll be back sooner than later with a facemask. Alex Len’s left ankle is still tender and it’s unknown when he might play again for the Suns, which is just more good news for Miles Plumlee. Matt Barnes (thigh) was back in action for the Clippers on Monday and had nine points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block in 22 minutes. Deep leaguers will want to keep an eye on him.
Game News & Notes
Pacers beat Grizzlies: Lance Stephenson went off for his first triple-double as the Pacers improved to 8-0 with a win over the Grizzlies. Stephenson had 13 points, 11 boards, 12 assists and three 3-pointers with just one turnover, and I’m sad to report that he was on two of my weekly benches with just three games this week. Roy Hibbert had just three points and seven boards in the win, but also blocked five more shots. That gives him 35 of them in eight games, which comes out to 4.5 per game. For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol (5-of-13, 15 points, 6 rebounds) and Mike Conley (11 points, 2 assists) both struggled again. The team is not picking up the new, fast-paced offense very well just yet, and I’m still not convinced that buying low on Gasol is a good idea.
Hawks take Bobcats: The Hawks improved to 4-3 with a win over the Bobcats, but Paul Millsap cooled off with just nine points and five rebounds. If you’ve wanted to trade for him, his owner might be a little more willing to work with you since he actually looked human last night. Al Horford had 24 points and five boards, but didn’t block a shot for the first time this season. It’s OK though, as he still has racked up 16 of them in just seven games. Jeff Teague had his fourth straight double-double and fifth in six games, as his breakout season continues. Cartier Martin got hot for 16 points, a steal and three 3-pointers in 20 minutes, while DeMarre Carroll had five points, 10 boards, a block and a 3-pointer in another start. Carroll is the more reliable player, but Martin officially belongs on the fantasy radar now. For the Cats, Josh McRoberts had another nice game with 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five 3-pointers. Perhaps no player has been as hit-and-miss as McBob this season, but if you’re still holding him, you have to love this line. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist stayed hot with 16 points, six boards and three assists, but did absolutely nothing in the second half. He’s a nice pickup if available in your league.
Spurs crush Sixers: Kawhi Leonard was back in the starting five on Monday and had 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer in the easy Spurs win. Baby steps. The best team name I’ve seen this season is “This is Kawhi we can’t have nice things.” Danny Green is officially hot and had 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and five more 3-pointers. He’s averaging 21 points, 8.5 rebounds, a steal, a block and 5.5 3-pointers over his last two games. He got off to a dreadful start, but it looks like he’s back. For the Sixers, Spencer Hawes stayed red-hot with 12 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers. Sell high if you want, but I am not moving him. There’s simply no one else to play center for the Sixers, so he should just keep on keepin’ on. Michael Carter-Williams (can we just officially call him MCW?) struggled to hit just 2-of-11 shots for a season-low eight points, but filled the stat sheet once again. And in case you’re thinking about moving him, he’s another guy I have no interest in trading. He’s just too fun to own.
Celtics down Magic: The Celtics got a win behind Jordan Crawford’s 16 points, five rebounds and 10 assists, while Avery Bradley chipped in with 24 points and three steals on 10-of-15 shooting. Kelly Olynyk also played well with 16 points, seven boards, five assists, a steal and a block, and props to you if you were able to pick him up recently. Jared Sullinger had 14 points, five boards, a steal and two blocks off the bench in 25 minutes, and it still looks like he’s about ready to break out. Gerald Wallace had just one point, five boards and three steals in 19 minutes off the bench, and it could just be a matter of time before he tracks coach Brad Stevens down in a dark alley and tries to beat his way back into the starting five. Victor Oladipo scored 17 for the Magic and Arron Afflalo played well again.
Bulls beat Cavs: The Bulls beat the Cavs despite another not so great line from Rose, and Mike Dunleavy finally made an appearance with 15 points and two 3-pointers off the bench. Just keep an eye on him. For the Cavs, Andrew Bynum started over Anderson Varejao and had 11 points, six boards and two blocks in 21 minutes, while Varejao was quiet with five points, six boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks off the bench. Maybe the bench role will keep Varejao healthy this season, but it’s hard to imagine Bynum not going down at some point, especially with the extra minutes he’s going to get starting. As my buddy @lolasportstalk said on Twitter last night, turkeys have a better chance of making it past Thanksgiving. Tristan Thompson was solid again with 14 points, 13 boards, a steal and a block, while Jarrett Jack backed up his best game of the season with his worst, going for two points on 0-of-6 shooting in 25 minutes. I am still in Jack’s corner and think he should be owned in 12-team leagues, despite the dud.
Rockets over Raps: The Rockets beat the Raptors in double-OT, but starting point guard Patrick Beverley backed up a great game with a disaster, that featured one point on 0-of-5 shooting and three turnovers in 24 minutes. Jeremy Lin rubbed it in our faces with 31 points, zero assists and three 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting. Beverley is still the guy I want to own, but the fact of the matter is this is a true timeshare, depending on who has the hot hand. For the Raps, Tyler Hansbrough fell back to earth with two points and three rebounds in nine minutes, while Amir Johnson showed signs of life with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a block in the loss.
Nuggets stop Jazz: J.J. Hickson responded to his first start at center with 14 points, nine boards and a block, while Kenneth Faried came through with 15 points and 13 rebounds in a Nuggets win over the Jazz. Anthony Randolph had six points and six boards in just 12 minutes, while Timofey Mozgov added 10 points and five boards off the bench. Hickson is the guy to own here. Ty Lawson had a double-double and is fun to own. Derrick Favors was nice for the Jazz with 21 points, 13 boards and three blocks, and it’s become a trend that opposing bigs tend to beat up on the Nuggets.
Blazers beat Pistons: Blazers center Robin Lopez broke out with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting, while Damian Lillard bounced back from a nightmare with 25 points, five boards, four assists and five 3-pointers. Wesley Matthews disappeared with three points in 30 minutes, while Mo Williams had 17 points and four assists in 32 minutes. Continue to ignore Mo-Will, and hold Matthews. Andre Drummond finally stayed out of foul trouble for the Pistons and hit 8-of-9 shots for 16 points, 16 boards, two steals and a block, while Brandon Jennings went off for 28 points and a full stat line. Rodney Stuckey wasn’t great with 13 points, but also had four rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and played a whopping 34 minutes off the bench. He’s worth a pickup in most leagues.
Clips edge Wolves: Minnesota lost a heartbreaker to the Clippers and got another monster line from Kevin Love. Don’t trade him unless you get an offer you can’t refuse. Nikola Pekovic dominated with 25 points and 10 boards, while Kevin Martin stayed hot with 30 points and four 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer were decent, but nowhere near the big stat lines they posted a game earlier. For the Clips, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points, 11 boards (three straight dub-dubs) and failed to block a shot for the first time this season, while Chris Paul stayed hot with 21 points and 11 assists. Blake Griffin added 25 points and 10 boards, while Jamal Crawford got hot in the fourth quarter for 18 points, six dimes and three more 3-pointers. J.J. Redick finally cooled off for just seven points, but he’s still a must-own player.