We had a smaller slate of NBA games last night, but obviously it’s not going to result in a slow news day on just the third day of a shortened season. The Lakers played their third game in three days and did the opposite of what everyone expected by blowing out Utah and looking like the fresher team. The Hawks looked fantastic blowing out the crippled Nets amid rumors that the Hawks are one of the teams looking to acquire Dwight Howard after it was leaked that the Magic wants to bring back established veterans in order to stay competitive after his departure. Here’s what else happened Tuesday.
Notes from Tuesday:
-Kobe Bryant may not have his jump out the gym hops back, but he is back to his old ways of filling the box score. With all the concerns about his wrist dying down, now may be the time to trade him for max value. He is currently averaging 27.7/6.7/5.7 and turning in 5th overall value. See if you can swap him for a more reliable first round option.
-Kevin Love did what Kevin Love does on Tuesday night, turning in a solid 31 point, 20 rebound performance. Love is establishing himself as a Top-3 option in fantasy and this may turn out to be closer to his average than you are thinking it will be. He also set a record in the game with 13 made free throws in a quarter.
-Rajon Rondo kept his hot streak going with a 22-8-12 line that backed up his 31 point performance from Christmas Day. With Pierce out he continues to carry the load and is proving that he is one of the elite point guards in the NBA. His owners should be hoping the Big 3 miss a lot of time this season.
-MarShon Brooks is a name to monitor after he poured in 17 points in 27 minutes for the Nets last night. Brooks could get en extended look whenever New Jersey decides to give up on what already looks like a lost season. He is a mere roster stash right now, but could become a valuable asset down the stretch.
-LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points on 10-15 shooting and also grabbed 8 rebounds. He is showing no ill effects in his recovery from a heart issue. He greatly improved his shooting percentage from his first game and looks to be an elite option this year.
Strong Plays for Wednesday:
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – Ibaka has been relatively disappointing so far, but more due to the minutes he is on the floor than his play. Scott Brooks toyed with his athletic big mans minutes all year last year as well, but Brooks will need Ibaka’s defense on Zach Randolph in tonight’s game. Whenever Ibaka plays a decent amount of minutes he is a solid source of rebounds, blocks and steals. Here’s to hoping Brooks runs him out there for 30+ tonight.
James Harden (OKC) – The Thunder/Grizzlies game is one that I am going to stack heavily tonight if you can’t already tell. Both teams are averaging over 98 possessions per game. That is the best indicator of a high scoring game. With Tony Allen and Rudy Gay preoccupied covering Durant, Harden should see a lot of mediocre defenders like OJ Mayo and Sam Young in this game.
Norris Cole (MIA) – This is a deeper league play for now, but Cole has proven he deserves most of the minutes at point guard for the running and gunning Heat. Cole doesn’t wait for the Big 3 to get the offense going and that is either going to impress them or they are going to get really tired of it. If he keeps playing like this though, it should keep him on the enough to be a 14/4/4 guy as long as the Heat stay on their 100 possession per game pace.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – Jordan and the Clippers face off against the Spurs tonight. He had 8 blocks in their Christmas Day game and should put up another inordinate amount of blocks against an unathletic Spurs frontline this evening. With Chris Paul running the offense he should also turn in his fair share of easy buckets.
Monta Ellis (GSW) – This Warriors/Knicks game is another that I’m stacking tonight. Both teams play at a frantic pace. With Steph Curry unlikely to play, Ellis should be in line for more shots and have the ball in his hands almost exclusively when he is on the floor. Not that this is anywhere near a good thing for the Warriors chances at winning the game, but fantasy owners won’t complain about Ellis likely getting close to 30 shot attempts.