Utah Concedes Fourth Quarter as Lakers Win Tenth Straight
In Los Angeles, drop tops may be optional, but fourth quarters certainly are not. The Utah Jazz had to learn that the hard way as they headed into the fourth trailing by two, only to end up losing the game by 24 points. Utah was outscored 28-6 in that final quarter. It got ugly real fast. Rookies Wes Matthews and Eric Maynor shot just 2-of-18 from the floor, while Deron Williams led the team with 17 points, though he shot just 6-of-14 on the evening. Was there a bright spot for the Jazz? I suppose you can say that C.J. Miles played pretty well coming off the bench. He scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting with two treys and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
The Lakers had little to complain about as they went on to win their tenth consecutive game, led by -- who else -- Kobe Bryant and his 27 points. Those on Lamar Odom watch saw him drop seven points in 30 minutes, making this the eighth consecutive game in which he's scored fewer than 10 points. Quickly. What happens first? Lamar Odom scores 10 points in a game or the Lakers lose? Starting this Saturday in Utah, the Lakers go on a five-game road trip, playing three of those games against teams who are averaging fewer than 93 points per game. My money is on Odom.
Also In the Headlines
• I'm still not buying into the Brad Miller experiment. Miller added four points on 1-of-6 shooting last night in 21 minutes. This was blowout city, baby -- sorry still riding the Dickie V. high from listening him rave about John Wall. James Johnson scored a career-high 17 points in 19 minutes. Yeah, it was that bad. Nothing you can do but keep running Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah out there until things fall apart.
• I spoke about this last week, but the blowout didn't do the hawks any favors. No starter hit the 30-minute mark. Jamal Crawford, on the other hand, was loving it. He hit 10-of-16 field goal attempts and shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc for 29 points in 34 minutes off the bench.
• Allen Iverson was not on his game last night against the Pistons. He made 3-of-10 shots from the field and dished just three assists to six turnovers. I think you're going to have to get used to seeing lines like this from Iverson on the occasion.
• Golden State had six players score in double-figures, which really comes as no surprise. The real treat was seeing Anthony Randolph on the court. There were questions as to whether or not he'd make the game, but he did indeed show up. And in 20 minutes he posted 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, nine rebounds, a steal and three blocks. This kid needs more minutes.
• Contrary to what I'd have you believe per my post yesterday, the Cavs are on a two game losing streak. Even while LeBron James scored 27 points -- on 8-of-21 shooting -- it was the shooting that did the Cavs in -- 40.0-percent from the floor. Not a single Cleveland player looked rather inspired last night. Delonte West had 14 points, but he chipped in with just three assists to four turnovers.
• Houston wasn't much better, shooting 40.5-percent from the floor. However, Shane Battier had himself a fine evening -- 14 points, four threes, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Battier now has eight blocks over the last three games. Shane's doin' work.
Lost and Found
• Brandon Jennings left last night's game briefly after hyperextending his knee. The Bucks are off on Thursday, so it's to his benefit that he'll be able to rest it.
• Kirk Hinrich returned to action for the first time since November 23 (thumb). He wasn't much help, as he went 0-of-9 from the floor and posted just three assists to three turnovers. Sleeper alert! Honestly, you could do much worse than Hinrich in deep leagues.
• Andrei Kirilenko did not travel with the team to Los Angeles. Therefore, he did not play.
• Ben Gordon sat out last night (ankle). Not really surprised here, as he only limped to 11 minutes of action on Sunday. His status is in doubt for Thursday night's game against the Nuggets, though it's advised to keep yourself updated.
• Andrea Bargnani also missed last night's game with a sore ankle. Make sure you check on his status for Friday's game against the Hawks. Teammate Jose Calderon (hip) wasn't available last night either. Calderon didn't travel with the team to Milwaukee, so make sure the news is in his favor on Friday before slotting him in.
• Omri Casspi played, despite being deemed questionable (back spasms) prior to the start of the game. Casspi once again scored in double-figures -- the eighth time in his last night -- with a career-high 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, two threes and seven rebounds. He's trending toward being an option in 12-team leagues, but should be off the board in any league deeper than that.
• Joel Przybilla looked better last night in his second start since Greg Oden went down. He scored 12 points on 4-of-7 from the floor, eight rebounds and one block in 29 minutes. A respectable line. I still would put him on the short list of available centers on the wires who can help you in the rebounds, blocks and FG% categories.
• Dahntay Jones is the new Danny Granger -- meaning that he's the team's leading scorer, not the fifth best fantasy player. Jones led the Pacers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, three rebounds and two assists against the Trail Blazers. He an instant add in most formats, though his value is limited. Stay positive Granger owners.
• Tyler Hansbrough has interesting value. He double-doubled last night -- 13 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes. It's just the first time in his young career, but he has some of that "this guy could be a nice second-half fantasy baller" air about him.
• Ryan Gomes has been on fire of late. He scored 21 points last night on 10-of-16 shooting and six rebounds against the Hornets. Gomes has dropped 20.3 points and shot 61.3 FG% per game over his last six. I think there's something to the fact that Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are now becoming a more effective duo in the paint. Gomes his a nice mid-range game and between having the two bigs in the middle and Johnny Flynn penetrating the paint, he's been more effective of late on the offensive side of the ball.
• C.J. Watson is the another guy that fantasy owners are sleeping on. He's available in nearly 90-percent of leagues, yet he showed last night that he should be getting the call from more owners -- 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, two treys and five steals in 30 minutes. Watch out for Watson, who was ranked 72nd overall last week in eight-category leagues. He's creeping up.
• Jarrett Jack got his second straight start -- 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven assists and three steals -- and should remain a nice addition as Calderon is still struggling with soreness in his hip.
• Roko Ukic and Luke Ridnour get a caution flag stamped next to their stat-lines from last night. Ukic came out of nowhere and scored a season-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, with two threes and four assists in 25 minutes. Whoa, mule. Slow down. Ridnour chipped in with 15 points in 14 minutes, though he too has little value. The story here really was how poorly the Raptors played on defense. Each Milwaukee starter hit double-digit scoring totals, while the Bucks as a team shot 52.5-percent from the floor and 42.9-percent from beyond the arc. Ukic and Ridnour should remain on the waiver wires in any league that has 12 teams or fewer.
• Jonas Jerebko double-doubled for the second straight game -- 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. He's the new Ersan Ilyasova. John Kuester has made it clear that Jerebko is going to remain on the court even after Tayshuan Prince returns, so he might be a safe value guy to ride while he's hot.
• Marcus Thornton looked strong last night scoring 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting with three treys and two steals. Although I've tossed the "rookie two-guard to watch in the second-half" tag around between Thornton and DeMar DeRozan a few times already, I think they both are on the rise and should be watched closely.
• Three games tonight -- Denver at Detroit, Boston at Washington, and Orlando at Utah.
• Remember to check the status of Kenyon Martin, Ben Gordon, and Andrei Kirilenko. Though, with only three games, you can probably just run them out there without having to make any tough decisions.