The Atlanta Hawks, record-wise, are winners. They’re 12-7 so far this season. But, really, there isn’t a bigger batch of losers with winning records out there. They rely on Mike Bibby to give ’em 29 minutes per game. Marvin Williams still hasn’t turned into the dynamic swingman they hoped for … yet still starts for Atlanta. Jamal Crawford has an expiring contract on his mind and is playing like it. Or perhaps, I should say he played like it. I doubt he stays rutted for much longer. The newest boner sticking out of the Hawks’ waistband is that Joe Johnson‘s sudden elbow injury is going to force him to miss 4-6 weeks. Actually, he won’t miss 4-6 weeks. He’ll be there for all of the weeks. He’s just gonna sort of let them pass him by while not playing basketball. Crawfords Jordan and Jamal will both be playing basketball, as will Maurice Evans. Evans might even start to keep Crawford’s bench spark in tact. Either way, it won’t matter. Jamal will see a bump in minutes from 29 to about 35 and Evans will see a bump from 19 mpg to 23-25. Also, Bibby may have to play so many minutes that he gets the jelly legs like dehydrated marathon runners right before they fall face first onto the sidewalk. And although that last part might be kind of funny, the fantasy damage here isn’t. Out goes a third-round pick until sometime in January and in his place is either a sharpshooter with a dull shot or Mo Evans, a guy who probably won’t throw down anything better than 10/4 with a three here and there. Damn you, cold chill of December.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball last night:
Carlos Boozer – Made his season debut to the tune of 5/2/1 in 21 minutes. Did you bench him like I told you? No? Well, Chicago plays Boston next. Heed me, bro. Heed me.
Joakim Noah – 16 points, no rebounds. It was the first time in his career he played more than seven minutes and failed to grab a rebound. Honestly, this seems impossible to me. I didn’t watch this game but I picture Noah and Boozer constantly looking at each other with that I thought YOU had it – look on their face as the Magic go sprinting to the other end of the court.
Russell Westbrook – He played in a triple overtime game in which he was guarded by New Jersey’s backup PG and Durant was wearing a suit on the bench. I’m kinda surprised he only ended with a 38/15/9/3 stl line. Honestly, does anyone dance as close to triple-doubles as this guy? High school chaperons are putting balloons in between the two.
Brook Lopez – Yes, yes. The Nets and Thunder slugged on each other for 63 minutes last night and neither team played their bench much, so everyone had a monster game (except Durant and Harris, of course. HawHaw!) Even though Lopez ended with 28/11 and three blocks in 53 minutes, the fact that a career .505 shooter shot .304 from the floor last night makes me want to stick my head in the oven. How can you shoot 30 percent from the field when your “field” is no further than 15 feet from the basket?
Pau Gasol – 8/9/3/sore hamstring. Gasol hasn’t scored 16 points in the last four games, the Lakers haven’t won in the last four games. Career-high 39.4 mpg = gassed Gasol.
Matt Barnes – 14/8 in 30 minutes. He averaged 8/3.4 in 22 minutes in the previous five. The latter is closer to his norm, but Gasol is going to need a break sometime and it’s possible Barnes will see a small (and short) increase in minutes.
Baron Davis – Returned, came off the bench to drop 7/10 in 23 ½ minutes and was clearly on his best behavior. He looked winded in limited minutes, but I’d be shocked if he’s not L.A.’s starter two games from now. I’m also pretty sure he’s very sorry about the last three weeks.
Tony Parker – Frozen Tony-watch: Sat out most of the second half and has shot 11-for-37 (.297) in his last four games. If you added 10-for-11 from the charity stripe, you’d have the average Kevin Martin daily line.
J.R. Smith – 20/10/1 in 32 minutes. Carmelo still battled the flu, but he’s worth a stash (Smith, not Carmelo). So stash Smith either on your bench if you’ve got the room, or in the back of your brain in case someone else goes down in Denver and you need a hefty shot of scoring.
Larry Sanders – 14/10/8 blks in place of Andrew Bogut. It must be the position in Milwaukee rather than the player. If they start Corey Maggette at center one game and he does something other than drive to the basket, we’ll know there’s something magical about the team’s five-spot.
Xavier Henry – Mayo has improved his shooting efficiency playing 10 fewer minutes as Memphis’ sixth man. Unfortunately Xavier Henry is playing exactly how you’d expect a guy who pronounces his name as Zah-vee-ay to play and I’m still convinced this fun little experiment ends the second Memphis loses its second game in a row.
John Wall – Returned from his nagging ankle to drop a 19/1/8 line in 32 minutes off the bench. Only two turnovers. Good sign. Here’s another good sign.
Ed Davis – Shocked the world by making his NBA debut with an 11/6/2 blk line in 26 minutes. Here’s another good sign. Give it another game. If he approaches this again, deep leagues should take note. For now, everyone should take note that this is the Raptors and you should trust their personnel about as much as that of Con Air passengers.
Al Thornton – Returned to lineup. It’s a returnapalooza tonight! And just like most palooza’s, you have your main stage acts and the guys playing near the Port-O-Potties. 3/4/2, 1-for-5 from floor in 16 minutes.
Jerryd Bayless – 16/6/5 in 24 minutes. Went from 4.5 ppg in 13.5 minutes with New Orleans to 9.3 ppg in 16 minutes in Toronto. Also, I’m pretty sure most Canadians pronounce it Jare-eed. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than what they called him in N’Awlins: Jerry D.
Deron Williams – 24/3/16. Had 12/10 dub-dub after 14 minutes. And if they didn’t tabulate any other stats in order to earn a triple-double, he’d have had that at halftime too. Yezzir.
Juwan Howard – Took the same number of shots (9) and played 29 seconds more than Dwyane Wade against Detroit last night. This doesn’t have any fantasy implications. Just another reason to hate watching teams play the Pistons.
Paul Pierce – Hit four threes on his way to 28 points. That’s Wes Matthews being unable to handle the Truth.
Wesley Matthews – Scored 23 points in 38 minutes, including five treys, but only went 1-for-1 in the fourth quarter. He went similarly quiet after three quarters his previous game. The only person I want getting quiet after three, is the screeching infant that lives above me.
Willie Green – If team A played Green all 17 games this season and team B played Marcus Thornton all 17 games this season, who earned the most stats? Why, yes. Willie Green is shooting better from the field and earning more assists, points, steals and blocks. But the correct answer is Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook earned the most stats. And frankly, your answer of “Willie Green” just seems stupid to me.
T.J. Ford – Didn’t score any points 30 minutes into the game. I know this because while watching it on TV, a production mic picked up a guy yelling, “Give it to T.J.! He fuckin’ hasn’t scored yet!” I didn’t see who yelled it, but there’s no way he doesn’t own Ford on a fantasy team.