Last night was the typical Thursday night lull in the schedule. TNT had a solid double-header from Miami and Salt Lake City and the one other game ended up coming down to the final shot of overtime.
Friday morning also means it’s time for our top 5 and bottom 5 teams which we’ll run each week for the rest of the season. So here’s 3 lists of 5 from last night, 5 to think about adding for the weekend, and the top and bottom 5 teams in the Association.
5 stars of the night
1. LeBron James-Mia: LeBron shook off his illness that caused him to be sent home from shoot around to help the Heat get to 10-4 by routing the Lakers in Miami. He finished with 31 points,
2. Kevin Martin-Hou: Martin had 27 points in the first half against New Orleans but trailed off and finished with just 32. He added 8 rebounds and a steal while the Rockets held on to win and get to 8-7.
3. Pau Gasol-LA: Gasol tried to lead the Lakers comeback against the Heat and finished with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assits, and a block. Unfortunately for him and Lakers’ fans, the rally fell 9 points short and the Lakers fell to 10-6.
4. Samuel Dalembert-Hou: I’ve been touting Dalembert as a great addition and he came through again last night with 17 rebounds, 15 points, 2 blocks, and 2 assists. His biggest rebound was his 9th offensive rebound which he slammed home for the winning score at the end of OT.
5. Al Jefferson-Uta: Jefferson had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in last night’s loss to the Mavs. Dallas played well down the stretch and dropped Utah to 9-5 after losing just their 2nd game of the season in Salt Lake City.
5 solid starts
1. Shawn Marion-Dal: Marion finished 10-17 and scored a team-high 22 points while chipping in 7 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block. He led the Mavs to their first win in their last 3 close, late games while running their record to 9-7.
2. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum had 15 points and 12 boards to go with a pair of assists and a couple blocks.
3. Kyle Lowry-Hou: Lowry had his across-the-board production as usual despite a 4-11 night shooting. He finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and a block.
4. Paul Millsap-Uta: Millsap had 16 points to go with 13 boards, 2 assists, a steal, and a block in a mammoth 40 minutes.
5. Jarrett Jack-NO: Jack had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in the Hornets loss to the Rockets. New Orleans fell to just 3-12 on the year.
5 surprising lines
1. Rodrigue Beaubois-Dal: Roddy had 17 points in 18 minutes while making 6 of 9 shots and 2 of 4 from long-distance while adding 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
2. Courtney Lee-Hou: Lee had 26 minutes off the bench in just his 2nd game back and scored 17 points on 7-12 shooting with 2 three-pointers, 3 steals, 2 boards, and 2 assists. He’s owned in 0.0 percent of leagues so monitor his minutes to see if this is an outlier or becomes a trend.
3. Jason Smith-NO: Smith started his 3rd game in a row at PF for the Hornets. In his first game he had just 2 points, but has looked solid in the last 2. Last night he had 17 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks, a steal, and an assist in 29 minutes.
4. Gordon Hayward-Uta: Hayward averaged under .3 steals per game but last night had 4 to go with 3 boards, 9 points, a block and an assist.
5. Devin Harris-Uta: Harris had a miserable game for the Jass last night shooting 0-7 from the field and finishing with a single point with a steal, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.
5 to think about adding for the weekend
1. Leandro Barbosa-Tor: Barbosa has 20 points in 3 of his last 5 games and has stepped it up for the Raptors thin backcourt. Toronto plays Portland tonight at home before heading to LA to face the Clippers on Sunday. He’s available in 81% of leagues.
2. Tayshaun Prince-Det: Prince is still available in over 85 percent of leagues even after scoring 20, 20, and 29 in the last 3 games. His Pistons face off against Memphis in Detroit tonight and Portland tomorrow, also at home.
3. Marreese Speights-Mem: If you need boards and high shooting percentage, check out Speights at Detroit and home against Sacraments. He’s available in over 86 percent of leagues and has good value in the short term since Zach Randolph is still a ways from returning.
4. Jodie Meeks-Phi: Meeks is hit or miss. If his shot is on he can go off (26 points a week ago), but if it’s off he loses minutes to Evan Turner. He’s available in over 98 percent of leagues, but he’s a high-risk/high-reward gamble if you need to catch lightening in a bottle. The Sixers are home against Atlanta tonight before hitting the road for an away game in Miami tomorrow.
5. Mike Miller-Mia: Miller’s still getting his legs under him, but he plays in a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday against Philly and Milwaukee at home in Miami. With D-Wade still ailing and not expected to return, Miller (owned in 17 percent) could be in line for minutes, 3’s and points. He’s also a sneaky good rebounder.
5 top teams in the league
1. Chicago Bulls-The Bulls have the best record in either Conference even with Derrick Rose missing significant time. They’ve also played as many games as anybody in the league and are undefeated at home (6-0) in their great start to the season.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder-The Thunder tripped up at Washington which dropped them from our top spot, but still have the #1 spot in the Western Conference with a 12-3 start.
3. Atlanta Hawks-Atlanta got a convincing win at home over the visiting Blazers and with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson on fire they can keep up with anyone in the league scoring. Their interior defense is a concern going forward, but for now they lead the Southeast by .5 game with an 11-4 record and are winners of their last 4 in a row.
4. Miami Heat-Miami has won their last 2 and are 10-4 overall while leading the league in scoring, averaging 106.6 points per game
5. Philadelphia 76ers-The surprise team of the league to this point in the season the 6ers are 10-4 behind a 6-1 record at home while leading the league in Average Point Differential with a +13.6 differential. They would be ahead of the Heat if they hadn’t dropped their last game to the Nuggets. They host the Hawks in what could be an early playoff preview tonight.
5 bottom teams in the league
1. New Orleans Hornets: Without Eric Gordon this team continues to struggle having lost their last 6. to fall to just 3-12. They’re averagint just 86.8 PF and giving up 91.7
2. Washington Wizards-The Wiz and their fans get at least a week’s reprieve from the bottom spot for their victory over the Thunder. They still have the least wins in the league with just 2 in their first 14 games.
3. Toronto Raptors-The Raps have dropped their last 6 while falling to 4-11. They’re averaging just 85.1 points per game.
4. Detroit Pistons-Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight have shown signs of promise and there may be a time soon when they aren’t on this list. Right now though their league-worst 85.0 scoring average and their 3-12 record makes them the 4th worst team in the league.
5. Charlotte Bobcats-The Bobcats allow a league worst 101.7 points per game and would be higher on this “worst list” if it wasn’t for the promise of Kemba Walker and Byron Mullens.