Pacers Provide Answers in Losing Effort
We got a better good look last night at what the rotation for the Indiana Pacers might look like now that they're at full strength. As expected, Danny Granger led the way with 22 points in 38 minutes. The lateral one, Mike Dunleavy, also scored 22 points coming off the bench to play 23 minutes. And Dahntay Jones chipped in for 21 one of his own in 32 minutes off the bench. The real loser here is Brandon Rush, who was held scoreless despite playing 15 minutes as the starting two-guard. Going forward it seems as if Rush is going to be the odd wing out.
Up front it was Jeff Foster and Troy Murphy who got the start at the center and power forward positions, respectively. Roy Hibbert saw just 10 minutes of playing time coming off the bench. What it looks like to me is that for now the distribution of minutes will depend more on the matchup. Hibbert has played more than 12 minutes just once over the last four games and that was against a big, long frontcourt in Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby. He's no longer a must-start. Though neither is Jeff Foster. But hey, we are talking about the Pacers here. I'm not sure we can find a set of healthy knees among their starting five. So things could change just like that.
Also In the Headlines
• The Allen Iverson to the 76ers talk is heating up. In the end we may not see him in Philly, but it's fun to talk about. Of course if he does sign, he's an instant add.
• Andrew Bogut surprised his owners by returning to action last night against the Bulls. He played his Aussie tail off, going for 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting with 15 rebounds, three steals and four blocks. Hopefully you caught word early on in the day and get him in your lineup. If not, no worries. The best news is that he's back and as dominant as ever. Chicago's 7-foot frontcourt combo learned that the hard way on Monday night.
• Monta Ellis was a big star last night, with his 45 points on 15-of-27 shooting, five rebounds and five steals. C.J. Watson had his most productive game of the season scoring 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, two three-pointers, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It would be easy to get excited about Watson, but really what do we know. He plays for Don Nelson. Deep leaguers can take the plunge, but standard league owners need not make the move just yet.
• Luol Deng posted his fourth straight 20-point performance with 22 on Monday night to go along with 14 rebounds. Teammate Joakim Noah got back on track by posting his first double-double in his last four games -- 16 points, 17 rebounds, a block and a steal. Both have far exceeded expectations this season.
• Luke Ridnour went for just two points and six assists in 18 minutes. He had been on a bit of a hot streak, and finally cooled off last night. I still like Ridnour over some of the other fringe point guards out there, but I think Charlie Bell is going to get in his way. It was Bell who dropped 16 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. it's funny, because the Bucks have been playing a small three-guard set of late. With Bogut back, though, it seems as if it's Ridnour who might lose the most minutes.
• Carlos Boozer with a huge line last night -- 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block. Ronnie Brewer, however, led the way with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting and three steals. On the seasons he's shooting over 50-percent from the floor and grabbing 1.5 steals per game. How can you not like that kind of value for a guy who's still available in 43-percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Lost and Found
• Elton Brand returned to action after missing three games with a sore hamstring. He came off the bench to score 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting and pull down 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. It's safe to say you can get him back in your lineup.
• Erick Dampier returned to action after missing eight games. He played 15 minutes and totaled just three points and one rebound. With the way that Drew Gooden is playing -- 15 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and two blocks in 25 minutes -- I wouldn't bother picking up Dampier.
• Mike Conley (shoulder) and Rudy Gay (family) missed last night's game. Conley might miss some time due to his injury, while Gay should return for Wednesday night's game in Minnesota.
• Mehmet Okur left last night's game early with a sore chest after logging just 15 minutes. As of this writing there is no definitive news as to the serious nature of his injury. Teammate Andrei Kirilenko missed last night's game with a strained back. He too is questionable for Friday night's game against the Pacers.
• Anthony Randolph sprained his ankle last night against the Pacers. It's looking like he might miss Tuesday night's game.
• Willie Green had a team-high 23 points in 38 minutes. He also grabbed eight rebounds and a steal in the start. He's one of the clear 'losers' if the 76ers bring in Allen Iverson. The other worry is that with Brand now back, Andre Iguodala will move back to his shooting guard position, so Green might lose some minutes in that way.
• Jrue Holiday struggled again with eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, four assists and four turnovers. I'm not adding him unless I'm in a roto league situation where I could use the assists. Other than that, he's clearly not ready for a standard add.
• Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a three-pointer last night. I know that owners were a bit concerned about the play of Ilyasova once Bogut returned. I think last night put those fears to rest. Who wouldn't take that kind of production from a waiver add?
• Jamaal Tinsley started in Conley's absence. He scored eight points on 3-of-13 shooting and dropped seven dimes in 30 minutes. The real surprise of the evening was the play of Marcus Williams -- 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, six assists, two steals and a three. Tinsley still has more value, for now. And should Conley return sooner, rather than later, Williams might not have much value at all going forward.
• Sam Young started in place for Rudy Gay at the small forward position. He had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and four rebounds. Once Gay returns on Wednesday, Young will have no value. He's a nice talent, though.
• We've got six games on the Tuesday night docket -- Wizards @ Raptors, Celtics @ Bobcats, Suns @ Knicks, Warriors @ Nuggets, Heat @ Blazers, and Hornets @ Lakers.
• Peja Stojakovic is questionable for tonight's game against the Lakers. Hopefully in weekly leagues you sat him anyway, with the Hornets playing just twice this week.
• Get your Knicks and Suns players in for tonight's game. I can guarantee there will be a ton of points scored.