Granted, they were riding a nice winning streak, but with a 0-2 record against and playing at Boston, how were the Miami Heat favored last Sunday? Throw in that Paul Pierce went 0-10 and that the Celtics won was pretty incredible.
I'm quite sure I haven't written more about another team or its individual players than the Sacramento Kings. I'm starting to think that DeMarcus Cousins still has a lot of maturing to do. If there's any silver lining, reportedly the altercation was over him wanting the ball on the last shot. That's a much better reason for an altercation as opposed to a fight over a gambling debt or some off-the-court issue. I've said this before and it bears repeating: Tyreke Evans will get shut down at some point. The time to trade Evans (if you can) is after the All-Star break when he returns and plays a few games. It's tempting to deal him over the break, but he'll only return 50 cents on the dollar after sitting out Tuesday's game.
If Mike Miller's injury from Tuesday proves serious, look at teammates James Jones and Eddie House to get an uptick in minutes. Unfortunately, whoever gets time likely will depend on who has the hot hand. Earlier this year it was Jones, lately (until the last couple of games) it's been House. House, who was mentioned here last week, has a tad more upside given that Jones hasn't played more than 16 minutes in any of his last nine games.
Each week we'll look at players who have received increased minutes. An uptick in minutes doesn't always translate into improved fantasy stats but at the very least offers some players to put on the radar.
Darrell Arthur, F, MEM - Arthur has found his scoring touch the last two games with totals of 36 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. He found 31 minutes off the bench Sunday, with the starting five getting its normal playing time. Basically, this means he could be in line for about 30 minutes if he can sustain close to this production. Outside of three-pointers, Arthur has the athleticism to post fantasy stats across the board. Keep an eye on his playing time to see if he continues his hot run.
Michael Redd, G, MIL - Yes, believe it or not, he's set to return to practicing with the Bucks on Monday. He's a huge injury risk after playing only 51 games the previous two seasons, but Redd still holds a career average of more than 20 points per game. When healthy, he's provided solid percentages for a shooting guard and can light it up from beyond the arc. I stashed him on my bench in one of my deeper leagues and suggest you grab a "Redd" lottery ticket as well.
Kelenna Azubuike, G, NYK - While there's no timetable, word out of New York is British-born Azubuike might return to the court in the near future. He should fit in nicely with New York's up-tempo style after his tenure with Golden State. With all the trade rumors surrounding the Knicks, he may be returning at the right time with minutes potentially up for grabs.
Carlos Delfino, F, MIL - "He looked like a" Carlos has taken full advantage of extra minutes Corey Maggette and his back injury have left behind, playing 41 and 35 minutes his last two games. The bad news is Maggette is supposed to be back soon, so it'll be hard for Delfino to keep pace following two-game totals of 47 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, eight three-pointers and six steals. If Maggette suffers a setback, be prepared to scoop up Delfino if you need help at small forward.
Shaun Livingston, G, CHA - Interestingly, D.J. Augustin was initially ruled out of Monday night's game but was able to play through a wrist injury. It's not a coincidence that Livingston has played better lately while Augustin has struggled from the floor (15 total points his last three games). In fact, you have to go back 11 games to find a contest where Augustin shot more than 50 percent from the floor. Only 25, Livingston was the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft, so the pedigree is there. He hovers over most point guards at 6-foot-7 and has a 6-11 wingspan. While Augustin's injury could account for his shooting woes, he's also been tied to trade rumors. Livingston could find himself in a nice situation for the second half of the NBA season.
Each week we'll look at certain players who can help your fantasy team in the nine categories most leagues use. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a certain category, there's no guarantee they will contribute in other areas.
Aaron Gray, C, NOR - With Emeka Okafor still sidelined with an oblique injury (something that tends to linger), the Hornets have turned to Gray for help. A space-eater in the middle, Gray had recorded two double-doubles in his last five games and is averaging 27.8 minutes and 8.6 rebounds per game during that span. Unfortunately, his upside is somewhat limited and he'll lose any deep league value he has when Okafor returns (possibly not until after the break). Only grab him if you're desperate for rebounds in the short-term.
Courtney Lee, G, HOU - Lee has made the most of his time off the bench for the Rockets lately, averaging 18 points in his last three games. He's drained eight threes during that stretch and could be in line for more playing time with Aaron Brooks struggling to find his shot. Since his return from an early-season injury, Brooks has only shot 97-for-287 (33.8 percent) from the field. A trade involving the Rockets backcourt could also open the door for more consistent playing time.
Tony Allen, G, MEM - Allen becomes another repeat offender this week, given his stats over the last three games. He put up a monster line last week against the Thunder with 27 points, five steals and three blocks. Allen now has 10 steals in his last three games and could be in line for more minutes if Rudy Gay's injury from Tuesday is significant. Watch how teammate O.J. Mayo is used when he returns from his suspension to see if Allen is worth a pickup.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.
None this week.