Beast of the Night: Dwight Howard was truly a beast last night, posting 45 points, 23 rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks against the Warriors. He shot 57 percent (12-21) from the field, 54 percent (21-39 â€“ the 39 attempts broke Wilt Chamberlain‘s 50-year-old record of 34) from the free-throw line and had three turnovers. Not much needs to be said here. Howard’s averages this season nearly match his output from 2010-11, except that he’s dishing out more assists (2.3 vs. 1.4) and turning the ball over less (3.1 vs. 3.6). The Magic only had two games this week, which means owners who unwisely benched the guy in weekly update leagues are kicking themselves this morning.
Lines for Discussion:
Josh Smith: 14-22 FG (64%), 2-6 FT (33%), 30 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO; Smith is really rolling right now. He’ll likely see a slightly bigger role now thanks to Al Horford‘s big injury. Since Jan. 3, Smith has been posting top 10 averages.
Joe Johnson: 7-18 FG (39%), 7-8 FT (88%), 2 threes, 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO; Johnson hasn’t been stellar this season, but he’s producing top 60 numbers so far. Horford’s injury could swing things in his favor, but his appeal remains limited, mostly due to his inconsistent shooting from the field.
Rudy Gay: 11-16 FG (69%), 3-4 FT (75%), 1 three, 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO; Gay has been a big disappointment so far this season. While his averages of 17.3 points, 6.8 boards, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 blocks are fine, his lackluster shooting from the free-throw line (65 percent) and his lack of threes (0.5 per game) are weighing his fantasy value down. He’s a top 100 player right now, a far cry from the second-round value most owners expected of him heading into the season.
Greg Monroe: 12-16 FG (75%), 8-8 FT (100%), 32 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO; This was a nice bounce-back game for Monroe, who struggled two days prior to this against the Mavericks. He had a worrisome start to the season but appears to be settling in now. Monroe has been a top 25 fantasy player so far, which makes him even better than advertised.
Stephen Jackson: 9-17 FG (53%), 4-4 FT (100%), 3 threes, 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 6 TO; Save for one clunker, Jackson has been solid in January. He’ll hit rough patches here and there, but he’s regaining his reputation as an all-around fantasy contributor with a weak field-goal percentage.
Kyrie Irving: 11-17 FG (65%), 2-2 FT (100%), 2 threes, 26 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 6 TO; This was a great line from the rookie, who’s returning top 75 value so far this season â€“ almost exactly what was expected of him. Irving doesn’t really hurt his owners in any category.
Steve Nash: 6-10 FG (60%), 3-5 FT (60%), 1 three, 16 Pts, 15 Ast, 3 TO; Nash has truly become a two-trick pony, averaging 12.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 10.1 assists and 1.2 threes per game. He’s still shooting solid percentages but isn’t anything more than a top 70 player so far this season.
Byron Mullens: 21 Pts, 4 Reb; If you need points, he’s your guy. If you need anything else, he’s not going to help much.
Zaza Pachulia: 10 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO; Scoop him up if you need a big man. Though he’s not going to be a consistent stalwart in your starting lineup, Pachulia will get plenty of run going forward.
Ivan Johnson: 12 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Blk, 1 TO; Thanks to that key injury to the Hawks’ frontcourt, Johnson could see extra tick for the rest of the season. Don’t expect much, but he’s worth monitoring.
O.J. Mayo: 18 Pts, 4 threes, 8 Reb, 3 TO; He’s averaging 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.3 threes in January. Make room for him if he’s still available.
Bill Walker: 14 Pts, 4 threes, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk; If Carmelo Anthony misses time, Walker could have some marginal value.
Brandon Knight: 20 Pts, 2 threes, 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 5 TO; Rodney Stuckey‘s return threatens Knight’s value, but the rookie’s been hot lately and should be owned in most leagues.
Jon Leuer: 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk; His last four games have been decent. Leuer deserves a look, though he’s not the most dynamic of players.
Ersan Ilyasova: 14 Pts, 2 threes, 6 Reb, 1 TO; He’s making a case for attention lately, but maybe not a definite pickup just yet.
Markieff Morris: 13 Pts, 2 threes, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO; After a clunker Tuesday, Morris bounced back strong with this line. He deserves to be owned in most leagues.
Michael Redd: 12 Pts, 3 threes, 1 Ast, 1 Stl; Don’t overreact, but give him a look if you need threes. Trusting his ability to avoid DNPs is not recommended.
Andrea Bargnani (calf): monitor his status, but expect a few DNPs
Derrick Rose (toe): consider him a game-time decision for tonight
Tracy McGrady (back): day-to-day
Marvin Williams (ankle): day-to-day
Al Horford (pectoral tear): out 3-4 months
Keyon Dooling (knee): questionable tonight
Jermaine O’Neal (knee): probable tonight
Richard Hamilton (groin): reportedly very close; monitor his status
Joakim Noah (thumb): probable tonight
Kwame Brown (pectoral tear): out at least three months
Carmelo Anthony (ankle, wrist): monitor his status
Andrea Bargnani (calf): monitor his status, but make other plans
Steve Blake (ribs): day-to-day
Grant Hill (quad): day-to-day
Rudy Fernandez (Achilles): probable tonight
Dorell Wright (knee): day-to-day
Jason Richardson (knee): he sprained his left knee in last night’s game; day-to-day
Amir Johnson and Ed Davis should get extra run should Bargnani miss tonight’s game against the Pacers.
John Lucas could have another good spot start in him if Rose misses tonight’s game against the Celtics. Also, see if Paul Pierce can break out of his slump.
Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal, Danny Green, James Anderson or Richard Jefferson â€“ who will be big tonight for the Spurs as they face the Trail Blazers? Also, see if Tim Duncan has even more magic left in him.
For Next Week:
5 games: LAC
4 games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NJN, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, WAS
3 games: GSW, IND, OKC, PHO, UTA
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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