Each morning I’ll delve into what the NBA had to offer fantasy basketball owners from the evening before. Some were good, some were bad and some were, well, more interesting than that biker outside the bar last night who was trying to sell you tickets to a Journey concert. So grab a coffee — maybe a Danish or two — and start your day off with the latest edition of “The Morning After”.
Pretty much the entire New York Knicks roster: It’s little surprise that the Knicks would start winning once the erratic play and antics of J.R. Smith were laid to rest. In a shocking move, coach Mike Woodson — a known Smith apologist — benched the mercurial shooting guard for the entirety of Thursday night’s game against the Heat. Smith’s absence proved to be the jolt the Knicks needed. Sure, they were coming off a season-high tying two-game winning streak, but their 10-point win over the defending champs was huge. Their were lots of players who put up fantasy-worthy games. Carmelo Anthony led the charge (like he has all season) with 29 points (12-24 FG, 3-8 3-pointers), eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. He continues to trail only the Thunder’s Kevin Durant for the league’s scoring title. With Smith out of the picture, Raymond Felton attempted 14 shots (his most since Nov. 8) and connected on six of them, giving him 13 points on the night. By dishing out a season-high 14 assists, he was able to achieve his first double-double of the season. Andrea Bargnani (19 points, five rebounds), Iman Shumpert (12 points, nine rebounds, three assists) and even Amar’e Stoudemire (14 points, 11 rebounds) got into the act as well. It was a good night if you are a Knicks fan or have any Knicks players (aside from J.R. Smith) on your fantasy team.
Chris Bosh, Heat: The Miami Heat will need all members of their “Big Three” to be clicking to win in this year’s playoffs, and with Dwyane Wade’s knee forcing him to sit games out, Chris Bosh needs to step it up. Thursday’s game was an example of how he sometime’s just lets his fantasy owners down by seemingly “taking a night off”. His six-point (3-of-10 shooting), nine-rebound stat line was easily his worst since November. January has not been a good month for Bosh. In five games he is averaging 13 points and 7.8 rebounds and shooting just 45.1 percent from the field. His 0.2 blocks is just embarrassing for someone who’s averaged 1.1 swats in his 11-year career. His points per game and field goal percentage in January are the lowest of any month this season. Owners can’t always expect nights like his 37 and 10 demolishing of the Blazers on Dec. 28, but this is just getting ugly.
… AND THE INTERESTING:
Derek Fisher, Thunder: The 39-year-old guard had 12 points (on four trey) and six boards in 24 minutes. The rebounds and three-
pointers were a season-high and the points and minutes were second only to the 13 points and 25 minutes logged vs. Minnesota this past Saturday.
Evan Fournier, Nuggets: After playing a grand total of four minutes over his previous four games, the second-year pro is averaging 19.6 minutes through five January games. He’s making good use of his time, too, scoring 11.2 points, hitting 1.8 three-pointers and grabbing four rebounds. He could be a player to keep any eye on with the Nuggets actively shopping disgruntled point guard Andre Miller.
Norris Cole, Heat: With Mario Chalmers sidelined (Achilles), Cole became the starting point guard by default, scoring 12 points and dishing out two assists in 35 minutes. In four games as a starter, Cole is averaging 7.8 points, four rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes, as opposed to the 23.8 minutes he’s getting off the bench. The 27-year-old Chalmers is due to hit free agency this summer and Cole (25) is one of the few young Heat players, as well as one of the few signed beyond this year. If the front office plans on letting Chalmers walk, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cole start to get more minutes as an audition for next year’s starting point guard spot.
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