Are you still playing? I'm sure you are, especially if you're still reading the Box Score Breakdown. In that case, congratulations are in order. But, the hard work is just beginning and shrewd moves, to counter the myriad of injuries that are occurring is the name of the game at the pointy end of the season. That, and just make sure you have James Harden, because that man is awesome.
EVAN TURNER OVERDRIVE
Let's face it. I've belittled Evan Turner's basketball ability. You've belittled Evan Turner's basketball ability. NBA players have belittled Evan Turner's basketball ability. But, the former number two overall pick has been in blistering form, casually knocking out his second triple-double in the last month with 19 points (9-13 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), 10 rebounds, 12 assists and one block against the Nets. In fact, in his past four games, Turner is averaging 16.8 points, 0.8 three-pointers, 5.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 2.0 steals, shooting 57 percent from the field. Don't get fooled - he won't shoot at that clip for long, but for rebounds and assists, and even steals this season, Turner is a solid option. The fact that these big numbers have come sans Isaiah Thomas makes me a little hesitant, but you can't ignore Turner's total impact and needs to be looked at in nearly formats.
These guys all sat out Monday's action, for one reason or another.
- Dwight Howard (knee)
- Terrence Jones (lung)
- Paul George (leg)
- Rodney Stuckey (calf)
- Isaiah Thomas (back)
- Courtney Lee (hand)
- Cleanthony Early (ankle)
- Alexey Shved (rib)
- Tim Hardaway (wrist)
- Cody Zeller (shoulder)
- Brian Roberts (DNP-CD)
- Joakim Noah (knee soreness)
- Derrick Rose (knee)
- Nikola Pekovic (ankle)
- Ricky Rubio (ankle)
- Kevin Martin (hamstring)
- Justin Hamilton (migraine)
- Kevin Garnett (knee)
- Gary Neal (ankle)
- Gordon Hayward (shoulder)
- Garrett Temple (hamstring)
- Kris Humphries (groin)
FANTASY LINE OF THE NIGHT
At this point, what James Harden is doing for fantasy leagues is just ludicrous. Another 44 points (10-21 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 21-22 FT), four rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks in 43 minutes is testament to that. Only Anthony Davis can claim to have been a more valuable fantasy commodity than Harden this season and he shows no sign of tailing off. He's somehow taken his game to another level, providing a significant upgrade of what he was able to do last season, which was top five in itself.
ROTATION NOTES AND QUIRKS
Patrick Beverley lasted just 20 minutes due to a sprained wrist and his status for the remainder of the week remains up in the air and without positive news, holding him remains a challenge. Without Beverley, Jason Terry got 18 minutes for six points while Pablo Prigioni played 10 minutes. Terry would be the biggest beneficiary, but it would just push more onto Harden's plate and possibly increase Corey Brewer's role. Neither Terry or Brewer is a must own, but if I chose one, it would be Brewer.
With no Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Watson played 30 minutes, at times next to George Hill, racking up 23 points with four three-pointers and five assists. If Stuckey remains out, Watson is a nice add, particularly with the Pacers playing in the only game on Thursday.
Marcus Smart returned from his one game suspension, pushing Jae Crowder back to the bench, but was horrid, scoring just two points with two steals. THat's not what we can expect going forward, and if you liked his production before the suspension, he'll likely be at a similar level going forward. With Crowder back to the bench, his minutes remained similar and should hold similar value, despite scoring just nine points with five rebounds Monday.
Alexey Shved wasn't able to suit up after copping a knock to the ribs Sunday, forcing Shane Larkin into the starting five, but Larkin struggled in 44 minutes. He had seven assists, but only four points and three rebounds and with the Knicks not back in action until Wednesday and Shved's injury not appearing serious, adding Larkin isn't a great option. Langston Galloway took on the Shved all-encompassing offensive role, scoring 19 points, two three-pointers, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal and he makes a much more intriguing add if Shved remains out, but with 13 teams in action Wednesday, it's unlikely you'd get Galloway off your bench.
Nikola Mirotic was reprieved of going back to a minimal role with Joakim Noah sitting due to knee soreness, dropping 28 points with eight rebounds. His value is set to take a hit, but I'm not risking dropping him just yet on the off chance he keeps a 30 minute role. Odds are slim, but unexpected rests, like that of Noah on Monday, can happen. Jimmy Butler made his first appearance in over three weeks, playing a whipping 40 minutes, scoring 19 points and nine rebounds. If Tom Thibodeau is ready to deploy Butler at his usual exorbitant level of minutes, you should feel comfortable activating him into your lineup.
Kevin Martin added to the Timberwolves' growing injury list, with Lorenzo Brown playing 45 minutes in a spot start in an overtime game. Brown had 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, but it was fuelled totally by opportunity. If we hear that Martin and Gary Neal, and Ricky Rubio continue be out, Brown could be one of those no name type players who is an unfathomable add, but helps win a matchup.
Gordon Hayward sat with his sore shoulder, so Joe Ingles returned to the starting lineup, and scored 18 points with four three-pointers in 34 minutes. His role was inflated with Rodney Hood's gastrointestinal distress limiting him to 20 minutes, so I would just be chalking this up to a fluky 7-for-10 shooting night in an increased role. Ingles may snag another start, but for him to shoot this well again, a lot will have to go right.
With the Warriors destroying the Wizards, there's not a lot we can gain by studying the box score in too much detail, except to say that Klay Thompson returned from his ankle injury, forcing Justin Holiday back to the bench and Leandro Barbosa back to obscurity. Thompson played just 18 minutes for eight points, but it was a case of Kerr just easing him back in a blowout situation.
BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS AND ODDITIES
Trevor Ariza took a grand total of two shots, well down from the 11.1 shots he is averaging for the season, but at least he still contributed, by adding 11 rebounds and two steals, while Josh Smith tied a season-high by draining four three-pointers. Since joining the Rockets, Smith's three-pointers have risen, hitting 1.1 per game as opposed to 0.3 in Detroit. He's a must-own, at least until Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard return.
George Hill's hot streak continued, adding three steals and three blocks to 20 points as he continues to try and carry the Pacers to a playoff berth. His numbers in comparison to his 2013-14 campaign are streets ahead, but his impact next season will likely be muted by Paul George's return.
Despite starting the second half Sunday, Kelly Olynyk remained on the bench Monday, scoring an impressive 18 points with three three-pointers, five rebounds, one steal and one block in just 17 minutes. The production is awesome, the minutes are not, but he's one of the first players I look at on a nightly basis to see whether I want to grab, because it's quite hard to speculate during the playoffs and that's exactly what you'd be doing with Olynyk without a solid role available for him.
Brook Lopez is staking his claim as the league's best offensive center, scoring 31 points Monday bringing his average over his last four games to 24.8 points, combined with 8.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. If only this guy can stay healthy moving forward, we have a very impressive fantasy player on our hands.
With the Grizzlies pummeling the Knicks, Mike Conley only played 26 minutes, posting a mediocre line of seven points and four assists. This was his third game back from an ankle issue, so any rest the Grizzlies could give him would be an advantage, it just is a downer for your fantasy team.
Kemba Walker is fully back, scoring 29 points in 34 minutes, his highest scoring output since returning, but that hasn't relegated Mo Williams to a smaller role. Williams still played 34 minutes, alongside Walker for a good chunk, and scored 15 points with six rebounds and five assists. He should be owned in most leagues.
Aaron Brooks dropped 10 assists on the Hornets while scoring 13 points and is averaging 4.9 assists in his past seven games. That sort of production can be hard to find off the wire, so consider Brooks seriously, at least until Derrick Rose returns, if he does at all.
Zach LaVine shot poorly (7-19 FG), but still added 27 points including five three-pointers with four assists and is a someone you should own in a lot of leagues until Ricky Rubio returns or is ruled out for good, which is more likely to happen in my opinion.
In Utah, Trey Burke has retaken the bulk of the minutes at point guard, scoring 16 points with six assists and four steals Monday. Burke is averaging 16.8 points, 3.3 three-pointers and 4.8 assists in his last four games, in 30 minutes a night. That's good enough for most 12 team leagues.
- James Harden, G, HOU, 44 points
- Brook Lopez, C, BKN, 31 points
- Kemba Walker, G, CHA, 29 points
- Rudy Gobert, C, UTA, 17 rebounds
- Pau Gasol, F, CHI, 12 rebounds
- Derrick Favors, F, UTA, 12 rebounds
- Andrew Bogut, C, GSW, 12 rebounds
- Evan Turner, G, BOS, 12 assists
- Deron Williams, G, BKN, 10 assists
- Aaron Brooks, G, CHI, 10 assists
- Trey Burke, G, UTA, 4 steals
- George Hill, G, IND, 3 steals
- Donatas Motiejunas, C, HOU, 3 steals
- Gorgui Dieng, C, MIN, 3 steals
- Harrison Barnes, F, GSW, 3 steals
- Taj Gibson, F, CHI, 3 steals
- Rudy Gobert, C, UTA, 6 blocks
- Pau Gasol, F, CHI, 4 blocks
- George Hill, G, IND, 3 blocks
- Gorgui Dieng, C, MIN, 3 blocks
- Steph Curry, G, GSW, 5-8 3Pt
- Zach LaVine, G, MIN, 5-6 3Pt
- C.J. Watson, G, IND, 4-5 3Pt
- Josh Smith, F, HOU, 4-6 3Pt
- Chase Budinger, F, MIN, 4-8 3Pt
- Joe Ingles, G, UTA, 4-6 3Pt
- Vince Carter, G, MEM, 4-6 3Pt
- Andrew Wiggins, F, MIN, 49 minutes
- Zach LaVine, G, MIN, 46 minutes
- Lorenzo Brown, G, MIN, 45 minutes
- Gorgui Dieng, C, MIN, 45 minutes