It’s that time of year when everything is predictable. You’ll hear that Adam Sandler song as the token musical nod to Chanukah amidst an endless sea of long dead crooners and sentimal pop. Plastic nativities with blinking lights will adorn lawns like stars dotting the night sky. Fox News will say that society is waging a war against Christmas because the minimum wage clerk only deemed to bid you adieu with a mere “happy holidays” instead of a more forceful “Merry Christmas.” It’s nice that fantasy basketball will still be uncertain enough to warrant your grey hairs. After a double double 2 games ago and a respectable 10/6 the game before, Al-Farouq Aminu went out with a 2 point, 2 rebound effort. Despite averaging 1.6 steals (at least 1 every game this season) and 0.9 blocks, he provided neither. He’s 53% owned, which means 14 team leagues go back and forth on ownership. He should be owned, and you’re just going to have to deal with the greatest gift of all, the fantasy basketball line that kicks you in the Christmas stocking.
Kyle Lowry – Fantasy owners rejoiced upon his return. Last night, he scored 20 points with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block. He also hit 4 from downtown.
Jose Calderon – Lots of people dropped him now that he no longer has a starting job, but that wasn’t the reason to own him. He had 9 assists last night, and is averaging 7.8 all year (7.2 career). He only had 9 points, but that’s because he shot like Andrea Bargnani and only made 3 of 14.
Andrea Bargnani – He missed 2 of 19, including 7 from behind the arc. He’s only been hitting about .410 for the season. Oh Andrea, you are a cruel mistress.
DeMar DeRozan – He played 51 minutes (double overtime, yo) and finished with 29 points, 7 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Gary Neal – Started but only shot 1-6 for 4 points in 29 1/2 minutes. He had 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 three.
Manu Ginobli – He only hit 1 of 7 from downtown (in fact, neither team shot better than 29% from deep), but overall had 15 points, 7 boards, 5 dimes and a steal.
Amar’e Stoudemire – Coach Mike Woodson said there was no time table for his return. Panes of emergency glass breathed a sigh of relief.
Steve Novak – As I’ve said a hundred times (give or take 90), Novak’s entire value is his deep threat. He hit 5 of 7 and finished with 18 points, but only had 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal and (surprisingly) 2 blocks.
J.R. Smith – Still seeing insane time off the bench. He almost played 31 minutes and tallied 15 points (1-4 from deep), 10 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal.
Raymond Felton – Joined Smith with a double-double, dishing out 10 assists to go with 14 points (1 three) and 2 steals.
Jason Maxiell – And like the ocean’s tides, Maxiell rises, Maxiell falls. He took two shots last night in 23 1/2 minutes, hitting both. He also had 4 rebounds and a block.
Kyle Singler – Sing me a song, you’re a Singler; do me no wrong, you’re a bringer of, well, not a lot, usually. His 16 point performance yesterday comes after two games where he scored 8 points total, and his 3 rebounds and 1 assist are part of his normal output.
Charlie Villanueva – Saw less than 20 minutes but still scored 17 points with 4 boards and a dish. You know how Jason Fox (from FoxTrot) will play a game like “Wizards of Warworld” and it’s meant to be, like, a nod to a real game, such as World of Warcraft? Well, consider Villanueva a facsimile of a real basketball player and not one that actually exists, i.e. don’t own him.
Jrue Holiday – I feel like I should talk about his 33 point, 13 assist game, because that is, you know, pretty good, and he only had one double-double all of last season. However, I will refrain from saying anything.
Lavoy Allen – Sort of played Center and had 11 points, 6 rebounds, an assist with 2 blocks. The Sixers are doing alright with a giant question mark at Center, but I’m sure they’d rather have their multi-million dollar giant instead.
Luis Scola – Let’s check in on Nathan Explosion: 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists in 21 1/2 minutes.
Rajon Rondo – He nearly had a triple dub dub with 15 points, 16 assists and 9 rebounds. Although he has at least 10 assists in 37 consecutive games, the rebounds aren’t really there, although this is the second game in a row with at least 8, which is really nice. You own him for the assists, but you’ll take any extra like a bonus nugget in your kid’s meal.
Paul Pierce – I had a dream about Paul Pierce the other day. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t sexual, although when I woke up my pants were gone and my pillow was crying in the corner. Last night, he had 23 points including 3 from downtown, and that’s The Truth.
Leandro Barbosa – He barely passed 10 minutes of game time but still hit 15 points. He hasn’t seen that many points since he started 11 days ago.
Moe Harkless – His new role as starter didn’t pay dividends last night, as Maurice saw less than 15 minutes for 5 points, 3 boards and a takeaway. I didn’t see anything about the reduced minutes being injury related.
Jameer Nelson – When a Jameer-o comes along, with the strength to carry on…20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block (and 5 turnovers).
J.J. Redick – Off the bench, he sneaker squeaked his way to 33 1/2 minutes, 21 points, and 2 assists.
Meyers Leonard – Oy gevalt, he was on the court to start the game and played 29 minutes, you’d think he could do better than 12 points, 3 rebounds and a block! He doesn’t even call his mother!
Kris Humphries – Finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, an assist and a block. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
Nicolas Batum – Nearly 38 minutes with only 12 points, 5 boards and 3 assists to show for it. He went 9/4/5 and 13/5/4 the prior 2 games, which they way Batum had been playing counts as a slump. His heavy minutes may be catching up (averaging about 8 more minutes per game as compared to last year), or he is just in a little rut and will turn it around shortly. Your call. Or not. Your choice. Or not.
Andray Blatche – He had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. With Gerald Wallace having ankle issues, Blatche is a short term buy. I will trade you Blatche for Batum, no lie. If you’re interested, I just have to grab Blatche off of waivers.
Grievis Vasquez – Thanks to 6 turnovers, his game otherwise suffered with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Grieving Vasquez.
Austin Rivers – He lost his starting job (a .310 FG% will do that to you), and last night he put up a performance of 5 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block. I can’t hate you, but I can’t love you.
Kenneth Faried – Faried’s double double of 14 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks helped the Nuggs chug over the former Charlotte Hornets.