Many of the stars we expected big games from last night let us down. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led a balanced attack for the Thunder that let down their fantasy owners, who had high hopes against a defensively challenged suns team. Amare Stoudemire sat out last night’s game with an ankle injury leaving Carmelo double-teamed most of the night in a blowout of the Kings.
Notes from Saturday:
-Andrew Bynum showed some of the all-world promise that many believe he can achieve if he stays healthy last night with 29 points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers offense worked from the inside out in the first game with their entire frontcourt intact. Bynum was a little winded, but looks like he is going to be a top center play the rest of the year.
-Kobe Bryant on the other hand saw his usage rate drop greatly with the return of Bynum. All the shots in the early Lakers offense were set up for Gasol and Bynum. To his credit, Kobe still finished a poor shooting night with a 17-10-9 line falling just short of a triple-double.
-Kyle Lowry continued his hot streak with 18 assists on Saturday. Running circles around up and coming defensive stalwart Jeff Teague, Lowry showed no ill effects of playing his third game in three days. Owners that snagged Lowry in the middle of drafts should be able to ride him all season. Daily owners should use him before his price rises.
-Jonas Jerebko got a lot of surprise run last night with Charlie Villanueva sitting out again with what we can only assume is an injury. He went on to post 20 points including 3 threes and 12 rebounds. The biggest problem with Jerebko is that the Pistons rotation is usually in flux and his minutes will likely be halved when Villanueva does return.
-Josh Harrellson got the start for Stoudemire last night and made the most of it. He scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds while hitting 4 three pointers. From the looks of him last night, he will be a must-start each time Stoudemire is out.
Strong Plays for Sunday:
Pau Gasol (LAL) – The Laker’s dominated the Nuggets inside last night and I expect that to continue tonight. While Bynum had the bigger game last night, Pau was just as effective. Bynum played a lot in his first game last night and the Lakers will likely rest him a little more tonight and let Pau handle the inside scoring load.
Ricky Rubio (MIN) – Rubio gets a nice matchup with a point guard twice his age on Sunday. While Rubio is going to have his ups and downs, he should be able to put up numbers in high scoring games like this projects to be. His passing ability and time on the court make him a double-double candidate every time he suits up.
Jose Calderon (TOR) – His backup Jarryd Bayless was injured last game and that leaves Calderon staring at close to 40 minutes per game until his return. This makes Calderon a points and assists double-double candidate each night. Calderon has shown All-Star ability in the past, but has been shackled in a timeshare for much of the last few years.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – Jordan should have a good night against the Trailblazers smallish frontcourt. Jordan’s main problem this year has been staying out of foul trouble. As such an aggressive shot blocker, he won’t cure this problem easily, but he has made it a point of emphasis.
Wesley Mathews (POR) – The Clippers biggest deficiency on defense is their lack of size at the shooting guard position. Mathews should be able to spot up effectively and shoot over the close outs of Mo Williams and possibly Chauncy Billups. Look for Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum benefit as well.