I finished 10th in a DFS tournament on Sunday, missing a huge payday because I chose to play Mario Chalmers over Langston Galloway. The winning lineup was identical to mine (thanks, Carlos Boozer), except for Chalmers vs. Galloway. Sadly, my only other lineup did include the two point guards on the winning team (Gallo and Jordan Clarkson), and I was oh-so-close to using them both in my good lineup. DFS can be a cruel beast.
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After the disappointment of reversing Gallo and Chalmers in an NBA contest, my son and I went to a local restaurant to watch the Super Bowl. Coming from a family of Colts fans, it’s pretty clear that we were rooting for the Seahawks, because that’s what Colts fans do when New England’s involved. I wish I could describe to you the look on my seven-year-old’s face when Russell Wilson threw that inexplicable pick. The kid actually loves the Seahawks and, like the rest of the free world, was waiting for Beast Mode to win the game for his team. Pete Carroll’s explanation didn’t really work for me, or anyone not rooting for the Pats, but the play call was particularly hard to understand for a young fan obsessed with football and Madden video games. In short, it was a long night for him and is one of those games he will probably never forget. And lastly, the play Malcolm Butler made on the interception was a great one.
Now that I’ve worked through my SB depression with you, let’s get on to the good things that happened in the NBA on Sunday. There were only two games and Carmelo Anthony played well in a rare Knicks win. And after a huge stat line in his previous game, Jordan Hill’s hip flexor is a concern going forward for his owners. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Heat 83, Celtics 75
Hassan Whiteside was at it again on Sunday, racking up 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in a start for the Heat. As I said in Waiver Wired, I still can’t fathom how he’s not owned in every league in existence. Danny Granger started for Luol Deng, but had just six points, three rebounds and two assists on 2-of-6 shooting. Deng says he expects to play through his calf injury on Tuesday, so we can probably forget about Granger and James Ennis (8 points) going forward. Chalmers was a pretty big disappointment, hitting just 1-of-4 shots for four points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block in 26 minutes. Despite Sunday’s disaster, I will stand by Chalmers going forward for as long as Dwyane Wade is out with his hamstring injury. Wade could miss all of February, and Chalmers is eventually going to get hot.
Tyler Johnson, a guy most of us have never heard of, played 27 minutes and finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 4-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes. The North Dakota native, who played shooting guard at Fresno State, easily had the best game of his short NBA career, which has existed only since Jan. 13. Sunday was the third game he’s played in for the Heat and he had scored a total of just six points in his previous two games. In short, Sunday was probably a big fluke. The Heat guards were an overall disappointment, as usual, as Chalmers, starter Shabazz Napier and reserve Norris Cole combined for just 13 points and nine assists in the win.
The Celtics announced that Jared Sullinger was being benched for being late to Sunday’s shootaround. I pulled him at the last minute in my winning DFS league and went with Carlos Boozer instead, which proved to be the smartest thing I did this weekend. Sully hit just 3-of-11 shots for seven points, three rebounds and three turnovers in 19 minutes. He probably would have played more than 19 minutes if he was playing well, but he just didn’t have it. He should be fine going forward. Brandon Bass was solid, but not spectacular with 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks, Jae Crowder continues to disappoint (3 points), and Tyler Zeller went off for 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in the start for Sullinger. He should move back to the bench in the next one. Avery Bradley was one of the plays of the day with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a 3-pointer, but Evan Turner disappeared with zero points on 0-of-6 shooting in just 19 minutes. Like Sullinger, he just didn’t have it on Sunday. Bradley is struggling with hand and thumb issues, so owners should continue to watch for news on him on a daily basis. Marcus Smart played 30 minutes off the bench and handed out nine assists with five rebounds, a steal and a block, but missed five of his six shots to finish with three points. The Celtics still have time to hand the offense over to their rookie, but it will take a lot of patience to stick with him until it happens.
Knicks 92, Lakers 80
As you all know, I’ve been predicting a Carmelo Anthony shut down for weeks now, but he’s still getting it done. I will stand by my prediction that he won’t be playing in the fantasy playoffs, although he is making me a little nervous. And in case you’re wondering, I would love to see him play out the season, as he’s the best player on two of my fantasy teams. And despite his great line of 31 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 13-of-25 shooting, I just can’t see him playing much, if at all, after the All-Star break. If you can still trade him, I think you should take what you can get and run. Louis Amundson stayed relevant with six points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, and is a guy I featured in Waiver Wired this week. He’s playing well enough to be owned, which is weird to write
Jason Smith played 34 minutes in another start and had nine points, three rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer, and is also worth a look in deep leagues. Galloway bounced back from a dud with 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers on 4-of-11 shooting. Not a world-beating line, but better than what he did on Thursday. He should be owned in all leagues as far as I’m concerned. Jose Calderon had nine points, four assists and a 3-pointer, and is just biding his time before (likely) being traded. I think we can probably forget about Lance Thomas, who had scored 16 or 17 points in three straight games before scoring eight on Thursday, and just two points in 16 minutes on Sunday. Quincy Acy is out of the doghouse and had seven points, eight rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer, and is a guy you should put on your radar. Shane Larkin (20 minutes) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (23 minutes) are both worth keeping an eye on, but there’s no way you can trust either of them right now. I still don’t know why Hardaway hasn’t stepped up for the depleted Knicks, but it may never happen.
The Lakers lost Jordan Hill to a hip flexor early in the game and he says he will likely miss anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. That means Robert Sacre, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis will all see a boost going forward. Sacre missed all six of his shots for two points, eight rebounds, a steal and two blocks, but I think he’s worth a close look with Hill’s injury, especially since he was already starting with Hill healthy. Davis hit 4-of-6 shots for nine points, five rebounds, four assists and a block, and Boozer stepped up with 19 points, 10 rebounds and a steal on 6-of-15 shooting. He doesn’t block shots, but should get heavy run for the Lakers with Hill injured. Pick him up if you need a rebounder who can score. Tarik Black returned from his ankle injury and started the second half for Hill, but only had two points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. Deep-leaguers should keep an eye on him, but he’s still not a player that should be owned in most leagues.
Jordan Clarkson was solid with 19 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals and three 3-pointers on 6-of-13 shooting in 34 minutes. Wayne Ellington also started and played a whopping 38 minutes, but hit just 2-of-12 shots and a 3-pointer for seven points, two rebounds and a steal. Both of these guys should be in most lineups until further notice for the banged up Lakers. Wes Johnson hit 4-of-12 shots and two 3-pointers for 11 points and five rebounds, and is another Laker that could get hot at any time. Jeremy Lin was initially ruined by Ronnie Price, who is no longer in the rotation, and is now struggling for relevance in the shadow of Clarkson. He played 24 minutes and finished with four points, seven assists and two steals on 1-of-3 shooting in 24 minutes. He’ll have some nice games, but the Lakers seem to be focused on letting Clarkson develop over the rest of the season, which I’m fine with. The eventual return of Nick Young could also hurt Lin.
Young (ankle) said after Sunday’s game that he was healthy enough to play for the Lakers, but that coach Byron Scott elected to rest him. It’s possible that Young and Scott aren’t big fans of each other right now, but you still have to assume Young is going to play a big role for the Lakers down the stretch, with Kobe Bryant done for the season. Young is hoping to play on Wednesday, but it would be nice to learn more about his possibly strained relationship with Scott before then. When asked about his relationship with Scott, Young responded with “I don’t know.”
News & Notes
Ricky Rubio and Mo Williams could play for the Timberwolves on Monday, while Zach LaVine is expected to miss more time with his ankle injury. Rubio is probably going to need some time to get back in the mix, and he should split minutes with Williams until he’s ready for a full workload after missing a couple months with his severely sprained ankle. If Williams and Rubio are limited, or unable to play on Monday, look for a lot more Lorenzo Brown. Brown played all 48 minutes on Saturday and had six boards and nine dimes, but failed to score. He’s just the second player since 1984 to play all 48 minutes in a game without scoring, joining Dennis Rodman in that club. Yikes. And if you’re holding LaVine, it’s probably time to let go.
Rajon Rondo has been ruled out for the Mavericks on Monday with a facial injury and it’s possible he has a concussion. Devin Harris is going to be a popular DFS play, and Monta Ellis should also see a boost in his absence.
Anthony Davis practiced through his groin injury on Sunday and is listed as probable for Monday night against the Hawks. Atlanta gets the Pelicans, Wizards and Warriors this week, and something tells me the streak (19 straight wins) is coming to an end soon. Which is probably just fine with coach Mike Budenholzer, as it has to be becoming a distraction for the league’s best team.
Speaking of the Hawks, DeMarre Carroll is dealing with an Achilles injury and will have an MRI. He’s missed two straight games and while the Hawks don’t seem to be overly concerned, I’m a little worried about it. Carroll’s not a great fantasy player, but does seem to be the glue that holds the Hawks together, especially defensively. They host the Warriors on Friday night and whether the streak is intact or not, you should go ahead and set your DVR for a meeting between the league’s two best teams.
Mike Dunleavy is hoping to return for the Bulls on Wednesday after missing a month with an ankle injury. Once he’s fully healthy, I’m guessing he’ll be worth a pick up in many leagues.
Joe Johnson missed Sunday’s practice for personal reasons, but is expected to play on Monday. Deron Williams (ribs) went through a full practice on Sunday and could finally return to action tonight. He will likely be worked back into the mix slowly, and Jarrett Jack has been playing very well in his absence.