Saturday, January 26, 2008

NBA Top 10 Jan. 25

On big NBA nights, such as last night, I will begin to post a "Top Ten Plays" video from that night, courtesy of YouTube and NBATV. Enjoy!

Last Night...

Unfortunately now that I'm back on campus, many of my updates may not be until the next morning. Please bear with me, but I am now back in the Midwest central time zone (Wisconsin), whereas I was in the Pacific (California) when I began these daily entries on Winter recess. This has only been my second one, but I am just putting this out there for those of you check at the late stages of the night. Without further ado, here are last night's news and notes:

- The night's games began on ESPN between the Magic and the Pistons in Auburn Hills, MI, where DET won 101-93. Carlos Arroyo got the start with Jameer Nelson out of this game. He was solid (16pts, 6assts), but that's expected out of Carlos. Earlier this season, he was a very solid option given the starts and minutes while Nelson was out as well. Keep an eye on Nelson's status as Arroyo makes a fine short term pickup if Nelson is due out for an extended period. Also on the Magic side would be my eye on the Evans/Bogans PT situation, Bogans got the better end in this one off the bench with 10pts in 24mins to Evans' 2pts in 20mins. Detroit won this game in Detroit style, getting help from a lot of sources with Rip having the big game at 32pts, 8rebs, 8assts on 14-22 shooting in a great performance.

- Memphis visited the Wizards in D.C., where Washington continued to show they are a very good team even without Gilbert Arenas, who, many of you have probably heard, may be returning post-ASB (All-Star Break). Gasol was missing in this Memphis loss. He had been doing much better in the rebounding and blocks departments before this injury (double figure rebounding in 6 of the last 7 games and averaging 1.8bpg in the last 10). Gasol may be back for their next game, but I would put it as doubtful more than questionable for the injury he has (sore back). Kyle Lowry had a rare good game in this one (13pts, 10assts), but he's not getting any sort of consistent PT with Conley getting all the opportunities and starts.

- Phoenix visited Lebron and the Cavs in a great 110-108 win for the Suns. Ira Newble got the start in place of Sasha Pavlovic on the Cavs' side, while Daniel Gibson continues to come off the bench. I suppose Mike Brown believes Gibson is best served on that team as an instant offense option off the bench, like a Ginobili, Barbosa or Ben Gordon. Anyways, Pavlovic is due out for a while, but I wouldn't advise picking up Newble. He's gonna get the starts, but as seen probably not the minutes and even if he did get the extended PT, he's one of those guys who won't help you in the fantasy fields.

- In the biggest blowout of the night, Toronto demolished the Bucks 106-75 in Canada. On the Bucks side, no one played over 30 minutes and no one was effective in their PT either. With the Raptors, they are beginning to shine more and more like the surprise team everyone saw last season led by Chris Bosh, who had 32pts in this one. Bargnani has now put up double figures scoring in his last couple of games (16.5ppg) after not scoring 10+ in the previous 8. Also, I'm convinced that in the guard-thin East, Jose Calderon should be an All-Star. He's been nothing short of spectacular with his starts in the absence of TJ Ford. Sam Mitchell has already hinted that once TJ returns, which he will, Calderon will remain the starter, which is deserved. Calderon is one of the best PURE PG's in the NBA, which is a dying breed. He doesn't score like Chris Paul because his team doesn't need him too (and it's difficult putting anyone in the same breath as Chris Paul right now), but he's arguably the most efficient guard in the league. He's got a 5.37 Asst:TO ratio (8.6apg, 1.6tpg), which is completely ridiculous, shoots 51% from the field, 43% from three and 92% from the line. Simply put, the guy just doesn't make mistakes. He also leads the Raps in steals, albeit at only 1.1spg. He had 11pts, 12assts and 2stls in this contest, which doesn't astound anyone, but it just shows how consistent a player he is as well.

- Boston got another tough game last night, as they seem to get every night now. This time it was against the streaking Minnesota Timberwolves, who own 2 straight for the 1st time this season before this contest. The final score was 87-86, as the C's won on Kendrick Perkins' tip in down the stretch. I believe the Wolves may have something figured out. They've got a decent nucleus of young talent and when Foye gets back into the rotation, I'm not sure if Telfair at PG is the position he will take over in the starting lineup. Telfair is actually playing pretty decently, putting in about 10ppg and 6apg night in and night out. He led the Wolves in scoring in this one with 18 and dished out 6. Minny led for most of the game, but couldn't close out the Wolves, which they will learn in time. Boston got another great game out of KP, who had 21pts including the gamewinner. He's been a decent source for defensive cats (Rebounding and Blocks) this season and if he puts in a few more good scoring outputs, he's a good option for spot starts in your leagues. There's no reason to expect consistency out of the young fella though.

- New York and Philadelphia, two great basketball cities and two horrid NBA franchises. These two clashed in MSG last night, with the Knicks coming out on top. I don't have much to say about this game except that the final score was 89-81. Isiah Thomas does seem to be finding some sort of balance between his bench and starters though. David Lee and Nate Robinson had 14pts and 13pts in 26mins and 27mins, respectively. New York was playing Philly, however, who needless to say have their own issues.

- LAC@NO, this was just a bad game. Chris Paul got wherever he wanted, dishing out 14 assists in this one, although only shooting 3-12 for 8pts. Peja had a big scoring output with 26pts, including 6-9 from three. The bench was great again for NO, who got 14 out of Pargo and 12 from Rasual Butler (4-5 from three), who might have found himself back into the rotation after this one.

- Kobe had 40pts, 10rebs in Dallas last night and the Lakers shot 56% from the field in this one, but the Mavs weren't going to lose this game. Dirk and Josh Howard both had 26pts/10rebs nights. The game was a good one, but the refereeing was questionable with the two teams combining for 76 FTs attempted (Kobe was 17-21 and Dirk/Josh combined for 18-21). Farmar had a big game off the bench for the Lakers with 18pts and he's been good recently scoring in double figures 6 out of his last 7 games. He's a valid pickup in deep leagues and an trustworthy option for spot starts.

- Charlotte beat the Bulls at the UC in dowtown Chicago on the back of Emeka Okafor (21pts, 16rebs, 4blks). For Chicago, they got the services of Chris Duhon back, who wasn't much of a fantasy factor before, but with the emergence of Thabo Sefolosha (13pts, 10rebs last night), he might have lost his spot in the rotation, playing only 12mins in his return. Andres Nocioni played well again with 25pts and while Ben Gordon and Luol Deng are out, he is probably the best option fantasy-wise on this Bulls team.

- In Utah, there was a shootout between two of the badder defensive teams, but better offensive teams. The score was 127-113, Utah, and there was no shortage of production. The main guys were all there. Kevin Martin led the way for the Kings with 32pts, 7rebs. Utah had a great nights from Boozer (33pts, 10rebs), AK-47 (25pts, 6rebs, 6assts, 4blks) and Deron Williams (16pts, 14assts). Something to note on the Kings' side was the start of John Salmons at forward in place of Mikki Moore. This should give the Kings more offensive firepower, although they already have a ton. It's hard to say how Salmons will fare with Bibby, Artest, Martin and sometimes even Brad Miller as the options ahead of him, but it does guarantee that Salmons will have more consistent PT. Pick him up at your discretion, but I will tell you that I already have in one of my leagues. He had 13pts in 37mins last night.

- Jason Kidd had another triple-double (13pts, 11rebs, 10assts and also 2stls, 2blks) as the Nets lost in Mile-High. Denver was missing Carmelo Anthony again, but pulled out the win. Kenyon Martin (20pts, 7rebs) and Linas Kleiza (23pts, 11rebs) filled in nicely, while AI was AI with 30pts. Josh Boone has also been more than solid lately (13pts, 14rebs in 33mins), while Sean Williams (14mins, 2pts, 4rebs on 1-7 shooting) has struggled. It seems the factor in Williams' production and PT has not been foul trouble lately, but instead the return of Antoine Wright in the rotation (27mins, 13pts). If this is to be the case, then Sean Williams is droppable because Nenad Krstic is close to returning to the lineup. This will create even more difficulties for Williams to keep consistent PT in the rotation. My personal move on this is to wait another game or two and observe Sean Williams' numbers and PT in the those games and if the minutes continue the way they currently are, then I will drop him for a different piece.

- Houston has been on a roll lately winning 4 straight and 8 of their last 10, including this one at the Rose Garden in Portland. As I've mentioned before, T-Mac is back, although Adelman continues to bring him in off the bench, which has worked well so far, considering he's still getting starter minutes (35 in this one for 15pts). As expected, Rafer Alston (20mins, 9pts) and Luther Head (4pts, 17mins), as well as other guard options for the Rockets are now relatively useless for fantasy with the return of McGrady. No one was spectacular for the Rockets as they got the ugly win (40% shooting, 20 TO's). For Portland, Brandon Roy led the way with 23pts, but no one else really contributed. As a team, the Blazers shot 35.7% from the field and commited 16 TO's. This was a Rockets game of the past years when Jeff Van Gundy had been the coach.

- The last game of the night was between Atlanta and Seattle in the great northwest. In past seasons, this game would have been meaningless at this stage of the season, but this year Atlanta currently holds the 7th seed in the East at 18-21 and they are the franchise that has been without a playoff berth for the longest current consecutive number of seasons. The Hawks had a decent lead for most the game and eventually won with a huge game out of Marvin Williams (33pts, 7rebs, 3stls), the former 2nd pick, who has been one of the most consistent players in the league this season (double figures in EVERY Hawks game he's played this season, but one in late November). On the Supes' side, Chris Wilcox reentered the starting rotation and had 18pts, 7rebs on 7-9 shooting in 31mins. Rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green continue to struggle from the field. Durant had 17pts, but shot only 7-21 from the field as he continues to be one of the worst players in the league effecting FG% in fantasy. Jeff Green played 19mins in this game to score a total of 1pt on 0-3 from the field.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I'm making this about a cool forum that I've been a part of this NBA season that is quite a bit different from fantasy. It's called QuickGM and it's a nice simulation of you, the fan being able to manage NBA players, making trades and the such to create the best team under the salary cap. Your team will be judged by your peer GM's at the end of the trading deadline in the form of a Tournament, of which each matchup is voted by other players in the league, round by round. The next season (season 6) will begin within the next week as season five's tournament is just ending. Please join only if you plan to be competitive and play accordingly within the rules. There's nothing at stake except your pride and ability to try and assemble the best possible combination of players to win the title!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tonight's Games

Only three games were on tonight in what I like to call the "TNT night".

- Milwaukee beat the Pacers at home tonight in a battle of bad teams. There's not really a better way of putting it. Both of these teams are talented in some aspects, but just aren't good enough to win even in the East. Jamaal Tinsley missed this game and Travis Diener actually had a solid game with the start in his absence (15pts, 9assts). Starters keep getting injured for Indy, yet it seems Troy Murphy gets no closer to starting again. He seems to be stuck on the bench for the foreseeable future. Michael Redd led the Bucks to the win with 37pts in this one, while Mo Williams struggled in his return (9pts, 9assts) after missing a game with a pinky injury.

- The first TNT game was a battle of the last two NBA Champs, who are now at opposite ends of the spectrum right now, SA@MIA. Miami was actually close in this one to pull off an upset of the defending champs at home, but they eventually lost their 15th straight despite D-Wade's 27pts, 9assts, 4stls and Mark Blount's 23pts. San Antonio got another huge game out of Tim Duncan, who had 30pts and 11rebs on 14-19 shooting.

- The next game was another great one at Oracle Arena in Oakland between the Nets and Warriors. Al Harrington hit 4 threes to help GS go up double digits in the fourth, but as the Warriors tend to do, they allowed the Nets to catch back up and eventually only won by 2, 121-119. The Nets got some big performances from Josh Boone and their "Big 3". Boone had 21pts and 17rebs (a career high), most of the points coming towards the end of the third when Don Nelson went with bad strategy, admittedly, in the "hack-a-Boone" (Boone was 7-15 overall from the line and 34% shooting coming into the game). RJ added 34pts and VC 29pts. Golden State got some crazy performances. I already hinted toward Al Harrington, who was 0-4 before the 4th and hit 4 straight 3's at one point, finishing with 19pts. Baron had a triple-double (25pts, 12rebs, 10assts while adding 5stls for good measure), doing his best impression of his idol and Bay Area native, Jason Kidd. And then there's Monta Ellis who scored a career high 39 in this one. It was a classic GS game and was exciting throughout, both teams putting on great runs at one point or another

The Annoucement of the 2008 All-Star Starters

Although most of the All-Stars aren't really much of a surprise, as the NBA has been putting out periodic updates as to how the voting has been progressing, it's still a fun night for the TNT crew to analyze the starters of this year's game in New Orleans (I get to assess the picks as well). Here are the actual starters, for those of you who don't know yet:

G1: Kobe Bryant (LAL)
G2: Allen Iverson (PHI)
F1: Tim Duncan (SAS)
F2: Carmelo Anthony (DEN)
C: Yao Ming (HOU)

G1: Dwyane Wade (MIA)
G2: Jason Kidd (NJN)
F1:Kevin Garnett (BOS)
F2: Lebron James (CLE)
C: Dwight Howard (ORL)

Out of this group, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony are the two first time starters, with Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson being 1st time starters on the East and West, respectively. These picks are hard to argue with for the most part, but you can definitely argue against some of them. Here are who my starters would have been (based on their season up until now and team standing):

My West:
G: Kobe Bryant
G: Chris Paul
F: Tim Duncan
F: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Marcus Camby

My East:
G: Joe Johnson
G: Chauncey Billups
F: Lebron James
F: Kevin Garnett
C: Dwight Howard

As you can see, there are 3 changes on the West (all involving Denver Nuggets) and 2 on the East. I'm not trying to take away anything from the current starters, as they have all been good enough to merit starting positions. The guys I've replaced them with, however; have had better seasons up until this point. Here's the reasoning:

Chris Paul over Allen Iverson: This had to be the easiest one, even though the West is unbelievably deep at guard. Chris Paul IS the MVP at this point of the season. I shouldn't have to explain this, but I will. He's the leader on the team with the best record in the West, even though they are also in the best division in the NBA (southwest: SAS, DAL, NOH, MEM, HOU). There isn't a better division, don't bother trying to argue. He is also having a statistical season that the NBA might never have seen before. His averages of 20+ppg, 10+apg and close to 3spg have never been done. He also only turns the ball over 3 times a game, which is ridiculous as a point guard who touches the ball every single time down the court, which makes him good for the best efficiency ratio in the NBA as well. Don't bother asking me, I have no idea how they figure that out mathematically, but I do know that the higher it is, the better and he's the BEST.

Dirk over Melo: This one is a bit painful, but there's no doubt in my mind Dirk should be the other starting forward in the All-Star game. He's THE #1 option on his team, which Melo is arguably the #1 at this point. Dirk's stats are a bit down this season from normal, but for Dirk, those numbers are still ridiculous. His team is also ahead of Anthony's by 3 games as well, which might mean his team is better, but I don't think anyone will argue that the Nuggets have a lot of talent.

Camby over Yao: I am Chinese. Just getting that out there even though I might get more hate for this pick. Honestly though, Camby's having one of the best defensive years for a center in a long time. His presence allows the Nuggets to play the way they do, which involves a lot of gambling on defense. The fans got Denver completely wrong. They picked two All-Star starters from the Nuggets and neither was arguably their MVP, which IMHO is Marcus Camby. Without him, I don't believe they are leading the Northwest division right now (0.5 gm ahead of POR). Yao is leading his team right now both ends, but in the deep West, the Rockets at 23-19, are not in the playoff picture.

Joe Johnson and Chauncey Billups over Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd: I lumped this one together since the AS voting does not differentiate SG and PG. Chauncey Billups has to be starting in the East, which is so thin at guard this season, for whatever reason. Detroit is in second place and beat the Celtics at home, when they were hot at home. The Pistons are still arguably the best team in the East, if not the league and Chauncey is their statistical leader and takes most of the big shots when they need them. Jason Kidd would then be the 1st guard I take out of the starting rotation. I love Kidd's game and his leadership on the Nets, but if they aren't in the playoffs at this point in the season, he can't be starting with his inefficiencies from the field. Even though he's putting in 11.4-10.5-8.3, shooting 37% on a bad team kills the argument. D-Wade and Joe Johnson provides a very difficult decision for me. Joe is a bad percentage shooter as well (41%) and his statistical season is actually worse this season as compared to last season, BUT here's why he's starting over Wade. Wade's playing on a team that has lost 14 straight this season. He's putting up great numbers, but his numbers are down across the board from last season as well, on a team that needs him to do more. He's also missed 8 games, which isn't that many, but they can't win with him IN or OUT of the lineup. If you thought the only reason I picked Joe was because of Wade's team's struggles, it's not true. Joe is THE guy on a Hawks team that is the 6th seed right now in the East. He's the main option on offense and he's the guy who makes plays happen for his teammates (21.9ppg and 5.4apg, both lead the team). He also plays the 2nd most minutes per game (41.1 to AI's 41.7) in the NBA, having not missed any games this season. Dwyane Wade is the flashier pick, but Joe Johnson is the rightful guy.

Like I've said before, I don't think any of the decisions that were actually made were undeserved, just that some of the picks may have been for players that were less deserving that others. I will admit I saw Marc Stein's similar column in "The Daily Dime" on ESPN before I wrote this, but I thought he did it too soon, before the results even came out. Many of these picks are similar, but they are my own. I would not start a blog to copy other writers' ideas. I will probably write and similar entry once the bench players are released as well in a couple of weeks.

Rudy Gay's Slam Dunk Promotion

This is Rudy Gay's dunk contest promo. It's actually a really cool way for him to put himself out there and get the fans involved. He's one of 4 contestants who will be participating in the '08 All-Star dunk contest during All-Star weekend, which will take place the weekend of February 15th. The four contestants in the AS dunk contest will be returning champ Gerald Green (MIN), Dwight Howard (ORL), who competed last season, Jarmario Moon (TOR), a relatively unknown rookie who's been a professional basketball journeyman and Rudy Gay (MEM), shown in this video. The AS starters were also announced tonight on TNT. However, this is about Rudy Gay, who is putting himself out there for the fans and trying to make the dunk contest special again.


A LOT of stuff happened last night to be aware of, but I was a bit busy to make those updates. I apologize for that and will make some of those points now:

- Cleveland murdered the Wizards last night in the 3rd quarter, scoring 43 pts while holding the Wiz to just 17. Because of this, most of the regulars in this game got limited playing time due to the score late in the game. With that said, keep all you Cavs and Wizards in your lineups and watch their next contests.

- Detroit won in Philly in normal Detroit fashion (86-78). I wouldn't even mention this game, but I wanted to call attention to two areas, Tayshaun Prince and the Philly youngsters. Prince deserves attention because he's been unbelievably streaky and, in a word, bad this season. His averages are 13ppg, 4.7rpg and 3apg on 44% shooting. Those don't seem that bad, but he's a guy who should also give you a 3 and close to a block and steal every night. He averaging a total of 1.5pg in those 3 categories. He's a guy who won't hurt you for having him, but he's having a bad fantasy season. He's a guy who always seems to get some hype for potentially breaking out on a team with aging stars and as a guy who's got all the skills in the world, but he's always been around 15-5-3. He's still pretty close to those numbers right now, but he's usually very consistent and solid. This year he's been very streaky with production and seems to be declining while he should be a rising star. My take on him is that if you're in a H2H league that's not very deep, he's worth a drop for hot players. For Philly, they've got 4 huge talents coming off the bench right now. I've mentioned Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams a few times. At this point, Louis Williams isn't a secret in the fantasy world anymore. Thaddeus Young, Jason Smith and Rodney Carney are relative unknowns however. Young and Carney are both great athletes who will get playing time before the end of this season. Carney's a 2nd year guy, who needs to get evaluated and Young has already shown flashes. Smith is good player as well, who will get the starting job sooner than later from what I've seen. He's going to get Reggie Evans' starting spot before the end of the season and it won't be because of injury. He's a legit big, who could succeed in the league. These 4 guys got the 6th-9th spots in the rotation in the game last night and they need to be watched because a pickup of one of them will be a factor in one of your leagues late in the season. It happens every season and this season is no exception.

- Not much on Dallas/Charlotte since it was a pretty quiet game (102-95 Dallas)

- Toronto won in Boston. That's huge in its own right, but for them to get 20-7-7 from Bargnani was even bigger. Calderon was the hero who hit the game-winning "and 1" bank shot. Eddie House missed his tie attempt and so did Ray Allen off the offensive rebound. The Celtics are showing that the players on their team are human. They're having some struggles, but with the All-Star break approaching, I believe they will be more than fine. People who expected 70 wins might be slightly disappointed, but that was a ridiculous expectation for a team that's not even that deep.

- Orlando killed the Grizzlies in Tennessee, 112-85. Mo Evans got the better of the the time-share with Keith Bogans last night, but he still wasn't worth keeping on my team, as I dropped him for Thabo Sefolosha, who keeps starting and producing (more on him later).

- The shocker of the night was in Minnesota, where Phoenix lost not only the game, but also sole possession of 1st place in the west. Al Jefferson had a career high 39pts and added 15rebs for support. Needless to say, he was unstoppable last night. Corey Brewer showed some life off the bench with 13pts on 6-11 shooting in 30mins. The loss last night created a tie with New Orleans after they won against Portland.

- Speaking of which, the final score was 96-81. In a battle of two young teams, the better (IMHO) won. Chris Paul is showing the world why he is THE MVP of the NBA. He's got his team percentage points ahead of Phoenix as the best team in the deeper, better western conference. Jannero Pargo was the lift off the bench in this game with a season high and game high of 24pts. This Hornets team is showing that they're legit, just by keeping on winning, while other supposed "better" teams are struggling. No one on Portland could get a rhythm with the whole team shooting under 40% for the game.

- Chicago got a win without the services of Luol Deng and Ben Gordon, both out with various injuries. Deng could be out for a few weeks so monitor that situation closely as I will for the next few days for updates. As I mentioned before, Thabo Sefolosha should be getting picked up in most leagues now, after his production since being inserted in the starting rotation. He can help with points, steals and somewhat in rebounding, which is more than solid from a guy off the waiver wire. Nocioni and Thabo are the subjects of rumors as of right now, but these can't really be taken too seriously since Noc has always been at the center of rumors with his value. IMHO, it would be a dumb trade for the Bulls since they're not getting the big man they need out of the trade.

- In the Atlanta @ Denver game, the final score didn't matter too much to me, but the ridiculous fantasy line that Josh Smith put up did. He had his 1st career triple-double and it was in Josh Smith fashion. He had 22pts, 12rebs, 10assts, 5blks, 3stls and bad shooting (8-23). That's a ridiculous line. Carmelo also missed this game due to his hig ankle sprain and it's not yet certain how much time he will miss, but that's another situation that needs to be closely monitored. Oh yeah, Marcus Camby had 21rebs and 4blks.

- LA probably should have beaten SA last night, even in San Antonio. They were up 9 at halftime, but fell apart in the 3rd quarter. Kobe had a big night with 29pts, 12rebs, but his night was no match for Duncan, who had a classic performance with 28pts, 17rebs and 3blks.

- Houston pulled out a tight one in Seattle after they were down by 10 in the 4th quarter. McGrady came off the bench again and was fantastic. He played 34mins and had 28pts, including big plays down the stretch. For Seattle, they played well, but couldn't hold on. Chris Wilcox only played 15mins and scored 4pts, still apparently not 100%. This is a great opportunity for owners to try and trade Nick Collison at high value. Wilcox will return to the starting rotation soon, but for owners with Collison right now, they can try and trade him to a less knowledgeable owner, not understanding the situation in Seattle.

- One game after Sacramento seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, they lose to the lowly Clippers. They allowed the Clips to shoot 57%, which I believe could be a season high. Chris Kaman had a 20pt-21reb game in this one and shot 9-13 from the field. If you were to trade Kaman at any point of this season, it'd be NOW or right before the All-Star break. There are many people who are skeptical of Kaman's performance thus far this season, like myself, but there are also people who believe his game is legitimate and he's a great value center. My feeling is that he's got some motivation to be doing what he's doing, but he can't keep it up. He's never proven he's a player of this caliber and once their All-Star, Elton Brand, returns, Kaman has even less chance to keep this up. If you need other categories and are good for rebounds, you TRADE Chris Kaman. John Salmons was apparently injured in the Kings' last contest and returned to play 22mins in this one. He only had 8pts on 3-8 shooting so if you did drop him, you didn't miss much.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1st Day of Classes

Stupid title, but I thought everyone should know that after my month-long winter recess. I'll start off by letting everyone know about Damon Stoudamire, who is meeting with Grizzly officials very soon to negociate his buyout, which is definitely going to happen. Rajon Rondo owners should be most attentive to this because I do believe the sources that say the C's are Damon's #1 choice and he will probably sign with them for the vet's minimum. With that said, there were only 2 games on this Tuesday after MLK day.

- Grant Hill returned today after missing time with his appendectomy surgery in a win (114-105) for the Suns at the Bradley Center. Milwaukee hung around in this game, but the Suns were just too much. He had 8pts in 28mins as Boris Diaw returned to the bench to play 24mins and score 5, dish 5 and rebound 5. It's time to get Hill back into those rosters and drop Diaw. On the Buck side, Bobby Simmons returned to the starting rotation for 35mins and 15pts. Like I've said before, he's a decent option, but he is injury-prone and doesn't help you that much in any area so if you need a guy bad, he's a good spot start every once in a while.

- Jersey visited the Kings in the 2nd game. Big News in this one as Kevin Martin, Mike Bibby and Ron Artest all started in place of Francisco Garcia, Beno Udrih and John Salmons. It's tough to say how these guys will be affected fantasy-wise, but I would only keep Udrih until the trade deadline out of these 3. The Kings have been trying to move Bibby for a while and Udrih would get most of his numbers back if that happens to be the case. The Kings dominated this game too, winning each quarter and eventually by 34, 128-94. Udrih and Garcia were both effective off the bench with 14pts and 13pts, respectively. Salmons only played 2mins so it's probably time to drop him or if you choose to wait, the All-Star break should be your decision point. The Kings are a talented team and I fully expect them to use this lineup until a major move is made, considering how effective it was tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Big Monday

Huge night of games tonight, 13 in total so this might not be the most specific entry...

- Started off in Charlotte, where the Cats played the Spurs well (lost 95-86 however). Surprising start on the SA end with Jeremy Richardson at center (only played 11 minutes and hit one 3). SA won in SA fashion.

- Washington sweeps the season series against Dallas at home today (102-84). Josh Howard had 32 points, while Caron Butler had 25pts, 9rebs, 5assts and 5stls.

- Boston killed New York in MSG 109-93 in an NBA version of the Super Bowl, except the Knicks are far from making any sort of championships. Rondo returned in this game for 14pts, 4stls.

- Portland beat Atlanta in the south in OT. Travis Outlaw is "Mr. Clutch" for the Blazers, scoring a team high 23pts and playing more minutes than 4 starters (with the exception of Roy). Joe Johnson did all he could with 37pts, 7assts, 4 treys and no TOs. Anthony Johnson missed this game and Acie Law started in his place, although Tyronn Lue outplayed Law and played more minutes (18pts to 7pts and 24mins to 19 mins).

- Indy won in Philly 110-103. Jermaine O'Neal is still out and Kareem Rush started in his spot, scoring 25 pts. He's only useful for scoring so pick him up if you need points. Otherwise, he's relatively useless.

- T-Mac came off the bench to play 29mins and score 16pts, as Houston won at home against the lowly Sonics. Yao had 30pts, 17rebs. Bonzi Wells got the start at SG and scored 16pts as well. Jeff Green had 15pts on 7-17 shooting as I dropped him for a spot start tomorrow for Yi Jianlian (4pts, 6rebs tonight...).

- Bringing us to the beatdown of Milwaukee at the hands of New Orleans. Tyson Chandler was the story with 20pts, 15rebs for the Hornets to win 106-92. The Bucks got 13pts, 15rebs from Bogut. Royal Ivey started at forward to play 16mins, scoring 5pts, as Bobby Simmons came off the bench for 8pts in 23mins.

- Utah pounded the Clips at Staples, with 7 Jazz in double figures, but none over 20pts in a balanced effort. The Clips are just not very good.

- Minnesota got a rare win in Oakland, as they beat the Warriors 109-108. Gomes had 35pts, 11rebs to lead the way. Monta Ellis scored 28, but it wasn't enough as the captains Stephen Jackson and Baron combined for 10-27 from the field for 33pts.

- Memphis won in a showdown of bad teams at home 104-90 against the Bulls. Mike Miller and Rudy Gay both had 24pts and 10rebs to lead the way for the Grizz. The Bulls got Luol Deng back, who started and scored 13pts in 26mins. Thabo and Kirk started at the guards and should continue to start since Chris Duhon was inactive in this one. Thabo is a good option at guard if he continues to start. He's got good length and athletic ability, making him a good all-around fantasy contributor in steals, rebounds and points (may be a little erratic).

- Orlando took down Detroit at home, as the Magic needed a solid win with their recent struggles. The Pistons played a great team game with 6 players in double figures, but the Magic had Hedo Turkoglu down the stretch who had 26pts, 8assts total in the contest. Mo Evans got the start, but was outplayed 2:1 by Bogans, in terms of PT. Evans played 16mins, Bogans 33.

- Cleveland brought their mini-win streak (3 W's) into Miami, who had lost 13 straight. They extended their own win streak to 4, while creating more questions in Miami. The Heat, two seasons removed from a title, have not lost 14 straight. That's ridiculous. This team needs to do something, but it really can't with Shaq on the books for another 2 seasons and $40+ million and D-Wade's huge contract. On the Cavs' side, Lebron was a beast again (28pts, 5 dimes and 4stls) and Anderson Varejao (4pts, 10rebs, 2blks) continues to play more minutes than both starters Big Z and Drew Gooden (33 to 30 and 26, respectively). He should not be available in any leagues considering the center eligibility factor.

- The final game was the second of a doubleheader at the Staples Center in LA, where Denver was the second visiting team. LA held the lead for most of the game and eventually beat the Nuggets handily, 116-99. Carmelo Anthony left the game in the 2nd quarter with a sprained ankle and didn't return, but it was reported the MRI came back negative. Wait for further news before panicking about this injury. He sounds like he will be day-to-day. Kenyon Martin returned in this game and played well (16pts, 11rebs, 8-11 FG's), while Linas Kleiza came off the bench again and was very productive (20pts, 4 treys). The Lakers was a complete team effort with Kobe leading the way even if he only took 7 shots, making 5, and scored 17pts. He led the Lakers to this victory as well as any other player in the league and had a season high 11assts. He's putting his name into the conversation for MVP for sure if the Lakers continue to win without the services of Andrew Bynum, who's out for another 7 weeks.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BACK! With News and Notes From the Playoffs and Lone NBA Game

The NFL has got to give itself some wiggle room for playoff times. I mean, why does it have to alternate year-to-year which Conference title game comes first and second? I understand that the ratings are going to be through the roof either way, but isn't the point to make as much money as possible without hindering the game-play and allowing the audience to enjoy the game to a maximum? If so, then the Packers/Giants should be playing in the 3:00 pm Eastern Time slot and the Pats/Chargers should be in the primetime (6:30 pm eastern) slot. Who thinks that the Packers and Giants playing in sub-zero temperatures is going to be fun for the players and fans? Honestly, these fans are paying ridiculous amounts of money to freeze their tails off. New England won't be warm either, but it sure as hell isn't Lambeau Field at the coldest time of year. With that said, I am hoping the NFL will change its ways and switch it up. I get trying to be fair to both conferences by doing this, but it's a little ridiculous. Before I get to the game(s) in both leagues, I wanted to mention the little vertical notes on the left. I'll gradually put more of my "Fav 5's" up as my entries grow, with this "NBA Players" one being the 1st.

Now to the NFL:

The Pats are now 18-0, beating the Chargers 24-12 in a decent game. The Chargers started both Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, but it wasn't enough. Surprisingly enough, this was a battle of the defenses. Rivers threw 2 picks, while Brady threw 3 (with also 2 TDs). LT only got 2 carries for 5 yards the whole game as he watched most of this one from the San Diego sideline. San Diego looked to threaten in the 3rd when Antonio Cromartie intercepted Tom Brady (3rd INT) in the end zone from within in SD 10 yard line. It was a huge momentum turner, but the Pats overcame it, like they've overcome every obstacle this season. Moss was held without a single catch in this one, but the 2 running backs, Kevin Faulk (8 catches, 82 yards) and Laurence Maroney (25 carries, 122 yards and a TD) were huge in this game to help the Pats reach another Super Bowl. The Pats failed to cover the spread (-14) in this game again. I believe it’s been 9 straight games without a cover now, but clearly they don't care about those sorts of things.

On the NFC side, a replay of the "Ice Bowl" was in the making, as this Green Bay game was the 3rd coldest in NFL history (-1 degrees, -23 with wind chill). The Packers and Giants both opened the game throwing the ball and Brett Favre, the messiah, was wildly ineffective with his small passes to both his running backs and wide receivers for small gains. The game was close throughout and actually needed OT for another Giants road win (+8 in this one). I thought coming in that a huge factor would be the Giants running game versus the Packers. The Pack feature their lone back, Ryan Grant, who played for the Giants and came out of nowhere in the middle of the season, while the Giants used their 2-headed running attack with both Brandon Jacobs, a beast, and Ahmad Bradshaw, a quick and deceptive back. Grant only got 13 carries for 29 yards in this one, while the Giants' duo combined for 37 carries, 130 yards and 2 TDs. It was clearly a game-changer. Brett Favre threw the ball 35 times for 2 TDs, but the Giants controlled the ball better with their running to give Eli Manning 40 throws. Favre looks to have gotten a better line, but he had 2 INTs, while Eli is still perfect this postseason with ZERO picks. The Giants move onto Super Bowl XLII to meet the Pats for a rematch of the final regular season game, which the Pats won in the 4th quarter 38-35. Good Luck getting a ticket for this one.

One game in the NBA tonight and it was in Phoenix. I don't understand why they would even have a lone game tonight, but whatever. It was a loss by the Nets (who have lost 3 straight against the Knicks in ONE season). Nothing was too much out of the ordinary. Phoenix was clicking on all cylinders in a home beat down of a bad team. Boris Diaw had a solid game, still starting for Grant Hill, with 14 pts, 10 rebs, 6 assts, 2 stls with no TOs. I guess he'd be a decent starter for a couple of weeks, since he's been solid in the past with some PT, but I personally don't believe he's a good player with a better post player on the floor with him. He's shown in this game that his fantasy game is sweet if he's on.