Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rajon Rondo has third triple-double of season

Before tonight's win over the Bucks, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had a total of one made field goal in the Celtics' previous four games.

In addition to being suspended for two games, Rondo was held scoreless by the Cavs on 0-of-6 shooting last night and made one of six field-goal attempts against the Pistons, before getting ejected, on February 19th.

Tonight went much better for Rondo, who got his third triple-double of the season.

Rondo scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 10 assists tonight. There have been a total of nine triple-doubles this season in the NBA and Rondo has one-third of them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 9

With the NBA All-Star Weekend now behind us, the top three teams in the NBA going into the second half are separated by only one-half game in the standings.

Based on NBA futures (from, however, the Miami Heat are the clear favorites to win it all.

Here are the odds to win the NBA Championship: Heat 6/5, Thunder 4/1 and Bulls 5/1. Coincidentally, that is the order of our top three teams in our Consensus NBA Power Rankings.

The No. 4 team in this week's rankings, San Antonio, has 15/1 odds to win it all while the Clippers (8/1), Lakers (10/1), Knicks (10/1) and Mavs (12/1) all have better odds.

Interestingly enough, the Knicks have a losing record (17-18) through the first half, but the surprising emergence of Jeremy Lin has the enthusiasm of Knicks' fans at Linsane levels. It's hard to imagine tickets for a regular-season game involving a team with a losing record going for more than tickets for the NBA Finals in the previous year, but that is what happened with Thursday's matchup between the Heat and Knicks.

When it comes to the Atlantic Division, the Sixers were the feel-good story at the beginning of the year as a surprise team. With a five-game losing streak to end the first half, they are getting little respect from oddsmakers.

Sportsbook has the 76ers at 50/1 to win it all.

While nobody should expect them to win it all, they have much higher odds than division foes with losing records: the Knicks (as noted above) and the Celtics (25/1).

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Portland Trail Blazers (+2.50)
- Biggest drop from last week: Memphis Grizzlies (-2.50)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers (5)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Out of the Knicks' remaining 31 games, how many will they win? (Over-Under: 18.5 games)

John (follow on Twitter):

In looking at the Knicks final 31 games, I'm going to take the under on 18.5 wins. I actually think it's reasonable to think they might get close, even 18 wins, but I'm not taking them to win more than that down the stretch. Jeremy Lin is coming back down to earth a bit, but he's not going to be facing the freak athleticism that Miami has every game. I think Lin will settle in to being a good point guard, which will help the Knicks stay firmly in playoff contention. Depending on how they gel after getting back some key players from injury, most notably Carmelo Anthony, I think the Knicks have the potential to make some noise in the playoffs. I'd also give them a 60-percent chance or so of jumping Philadelphia and winning the division.

Sean (follow on Twitter):

I'm gonna go with under 18.5 games. I think the Knicks will finish 16-15. The Knicks definitely have the pieces to be a good team, but I am selling because of one thing ... Defense. Amar'e/Melo have yet to "buy in" defensively, and that will be costly down the stretch. Mike D'Antoni looks like a deer in headlights too often. The Knicks will need a major shake up to contend with either Chicago or Miami.

Kevin (follow on Twitter):

Their first game after the break may not be so tough: Cleveland at home on February 29th. That said, the first half of March will likely dictate whether they go over or under that total. Six of their first nine games in March are on the road. Only two of those nine games are against teams with losing records (but both are on the road): Boston and Milwaukee. If they go 5-5 to start the second half, they will have a realistic shot to finish 19-12 (or .613). However, they do have a challenging start to April (at Indiana, at Orlando, vs. Chicago and at Chicago) as well. I think the Knicks, who were 17-18 in the first half, finish the season above .500 but will win 18 games or less in the second half.

[Note: Dan will return from a cruise through Central America today and won't participate in our consensus rankings this week, but it will be business as usual next week.]

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 9, click here.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joe Johnson has tendinitis and will miss All-Star Game

The Atlanta Hawks will be without Joe Johnson, their leading scorer, for tonight's game and Thursday's game and he will sit out the All-Star Game this weekend.

The good news, however, is that the MRI on Johnson's knee shows that there is no structural damage and that Johnson has tendinitis. He will be reevaluated before their first game after the break, which is against the Warriors on February 29th.

It is just tendinitis,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “From that standpoint, it’s just going to be on feel, how he feels with treatment and therapy. … For us, it’s important that he gets well to where it settles down from a pain standpoint.”

“Particularly with tendinitis,” Drew said. “It’s just one of those things where you have to allow the knee to rest to where it is not getting the constant pounding.”

With Johnson out of the lineup tonight, Willie Green will start in his place. Green has played at least 20 minutes in three of his past five games Green has scored at 17 points or more in all three games.

Johnson is averaging 17.6 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game and leads the team in three-pointers made (1.8 per game).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rajon Rondo suspended two games

The Celtics will be without point guard Rajon Rondo for their next two games.

Rondo was ejected after throwing the ball at a referee in yesterday's game against the Pistons.

And according to the team (via Twitter), Rondo has been suspended for two games.
Rondo, who ranks second in the NBA in assists (9.6 per game), will miss tonight's game at Dallas and Wednesday's game at Oklahoma City.

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 8

Over the weekend, John Trifone wrote about the odds to win the Western Conference and Eastern Conference based on futures from

The team that he liked (likes) the most is the San Antonio Spurs, who have 5/1 odds to win the Western Conference.

San Antonio is a dangerous team. As John put it yesterday, "Many, including myself, had written off the Spurs going into the season, as a team that was just too old to be a factor in the shortened season," but they are "poised to prove everyone wrong."

Not only are they are a 10-game winning streak, point guard Tony Parker is quietly having a great season. He's playing as well as anyone in the month of February: 25.8 points, 7.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 8.8 free throw attempts per game this month.

That said, the Spurs are still fourth in our power rankings and the top three teams have been there the entire season (although the order has not always been the same): Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls.

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: New York Knicks (+4.50)
- Biggest drop from last week: Denver Nuggets (-4.00)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors (4)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Of the teams currently seeded 9th (or lower), which team has the best chance to make the playoffs?

John (follow on Twitter): Portland Trail Blazers

I think that the Eastern Conference is actually set the way it is. There may be some swapping of position, but I don't see one of the teams on the outside looking in making a serious run at the playoffs. Milwaukee had a chance, but when Bogut went down and Jeremy Lin showed up in New York, I think that pretty much sealed it for the Bucks. I'd also be very surprised to see any of the other bottom feeders in the East get in. The West is a little more open, with some pretty decent teams currently out of the playoffs. Utah, Portland, and Minnesota all have a reasonable chance to dislodge either Memphis, Houston, or Denver. I'd give Portland the best shot at it. They're playing relatively mediocre ball at the moment, just 4-6 in their last 10 games and only a game above .500 for the season, but they have the talent to make a push down the stretch. Denver has severely cooled off since over-achieving in the first month of the season and is currently the eight seed, although they are actually tied with Houston and Memphis in record. Portland is just a game back from all three teams, so they are certainly right in the mix. I think LaMarcus Aldridge and Company have the best chance of any team currently on the outside looking in to make the playoffs.

[Note: John sent this to me before the Nuggets lost a thriller in Oklahoma City last night.]

Kevin (follow on Twitter): Minnesota Timberwolves

One of the teams that I think could surprise some folks is the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are a deep team -- only three players are averaging more than 30 minutes per game this season: Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour. They have 12 players that are averaging more than 15 minutes per game. While Love is a double-double machine, Rubio has been the biggest difference from last year to this year. He is averaging 8.5 assists per game, which ranks fifth in the NBA, and 2.3 steals per game, which is tied for second in the league with Chris Paul.

[Note: Dan is on a cruise through Central America and won't participate in our consensus rankings this and next week. Sean had to travel unexpectedly and will miss this week only.]

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 8, click here.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kevin Durant scores career-high 51 points vs. Nuggets

Entering tonight's game, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant was averaging nearly 27 points per game and ranked third in the league behind Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

He nearly doubled his average tonight as he set a career high with 51 points.

In addition to Durant's 51 points, teammates Russell Westbrook scored 40 points and Serge Ibaka finished with a triple-double.

Before today, a player has scored 40-plus points only nine times and Kobe had four of the nine. Durant was the first player this season to score 50-plus points.

Aside from that trio and James Harden (10 points), no other Thunder player reached five points.

Triple-double for Serge Ibaka: 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks

In their overtime win over the Nuggets, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka had double-digit blocked shots for the third time this season.

What was unique about tonight's game versus the first two this season?

Not only did Ibaka block 11 shots, which is a career high, but he also scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

It was the first triple-double with points, rebounds and blocks since Washington's JaVale McGee did it last year and only the ninth time it has happened since the 2000-01 season.

Ibaka now has 54 blocked shots in 11 games during the month of February.

Trifone: A Look at the NBA Odds (Futures)

A little over a week ago, I was reviewing some of the odds to win the Western Conference, and saw the Spurs at 12-1. At the time, I think they had won six in a row, and were right in the mix with the Clippers for the No. 2 seed. I thought it was a fantastic bet.

Since then, the Spurs have won another four in a row, including a road win at the aforementioned Clippers. Tony Parker is quietly, or maybe not so quietly, having an MVP season, putting up another 30-point game to go along with 10 assists, while Chris Paul had 21 points and 6 assists. Many, including myself, had written off the Spurs going into the season, as a team that was just too old to be a factor in the shortened season.

It also appeared as though their window to win another title had passed.

The last time the Spurs won the Championship was 2007, and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili haven't gotten any younger. The Lakers and the Celtics had once again become the class of the league, and then when Lebron went to Miami and Durant and Westbrook started to emerge as the most athletic team in the league, the Spurs seemed to be falling out of contention. And yet, it would seem that they are poised to prove everyone wrong.

They are currently on a 10-game winning streak, with Tony Parker playing as well as he ever has. The Spurs will be able to limit the minutes of their aging players down the stretch, and their experience, combined with their infusion of youth (with guys like DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal making an impact), make San Antonio a dangerous team.

If the Lakers fail to acquire Dwight Howard by the trade deadline, I think this year's Western Conference Finals will come down to the Spurs and Thunder. The West is certainly more wide open than the East, which seems destined to come down to the Bulls and Heat, but the Spurs are showing they may have one more championship run in them.

Win the streak aside, they are playing better ball this year than anticipated, and they have put themselves in a great position. They can certainly lock up home court against all but the Thunder, but even if they fail to do so, they have shown that they have the experience to win on the road in the past. Even this year, they are above .500 away from home, and have some impressive road wins against the likes of Memphis, Philadelphia, and the Clippers.

Current odds on the Spurs to win the West are 5-1 (on, which I feel is a decent bet. I loved them at 12-1; I think 5-1 is a more accurate number, but still a solid bet on a team that's playing great basketball. San Antonio is 15-1 to win the title, but truth be told, I don't think any of the listed odds for the NBA Championship are great. The Heat are going to be huge favorites, and justifiably so, as I see LeBron getting his first ring at season's end.

I think the real money to be made here is being able to pick the Western Conference Champ, and the Spurs at 5-1 look to have the most attractive odds.

(FYI: the Thunder are 1.6-1 or +160, and with a league as deep as it is, I don't like the bet on a team that hasn't been there before. While the Thunder may be the most likely to go, the odds to bet it just aren't good enough. I'd take a flyer on the Lakers or Clippers at 4.5-1 before putting money on OKC to win the West.)

As far as the Eastern Conference goes, I really don't see a lot of good value. The Heat are 1-2 to win the conference (-200), meaning you have to give odds if you want to take them to make the Finals. After Miami, the Bulls are 2-1 to get there, and Chicago really seems to be the only other realistic option. The next closest team is 12-1. The Heat and Bulls are such heavy favorites that it makes taking one of those long shots a pretty foolish bet, and given that the odds reflect this, I don't really care for the bet on Miami or Chicago either. I could see a team like the Knicks or Sixers potentially upsetting Chicago, but I can't see them beating the Heat as well. Because of this, I'm not a fan of any of the bets in the Eastern Conference.

For my thoughts on the futures' bets in college basketball, click here.

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Super Lintendo scores 28 to go with career highs of 14 assists and 5 steals

The bad news: Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin had another seven turnovers today and he has now turned the ball over 52 times in his eight starts.

[And one of my fantasy teams, Super Lintendo, would definitely appreciate a reduction in turnovers.]

That said, Lin scored 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting in today's win over the defending champions while also setting career highs in assists (14) and steals (five).

Not only has Lin scored 20-plus points in eight of his past nine games, but the Knicks are 8-1 during that span.

With the addition of J.R. Smith, who knocked down three three-pointers in the first quarter today, and the expected return tomorrow of Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are positioned well going into the second half of the season.

I'm guessing they will make a big jump in our consensus power rankings (tied for 18th last week) tomorrow.

Trifone: Some NCAA Championship Futures to Capitalize On

I was looking over the odds to win the NCAA championship (at, and thought I'd see if I could find a few long shots to win the tournament. It's a little comical going down the list because there are so many teams paying enormous odds.

Gonzaga, for example, is 75-1. Bookies aren't fools, though.

They offer the huge payouts because the likelihood of one of these teams winning is far worse. I'd love to get 500-1, but Northwestern simply isn't going to rattle off six in a row in March. There were, however, a few bets; none of which I would call true "long shots" that are giving pretty good odds that have a legitimate chance to win it.

I'll say, for the record, that I think that this is the year that Calipari wins his first title, as I think that Kentucky is the best team in college basketball. Kentucky is a 2-1 favorite, which doesn't seem like very good odds, but may be pretty close to accurate. If Kentucky made a run at it and got to the Final Four, you could certainly try and hedge your bet at that point, already having 2-1 on the Wildcats. Still, taking Kentucky against the field at only 2-1 is a tough proposition.

So what are some other reasonable wagers?

Georgetown at 25-1 seems like a pretty good bet to me. They are currently number 10 in the nation and have only one loss outside of conference play. The Big East may not be as good as it's been in recent years, but it's still one of the toughest conferences in the country, and with a halfway decent draw, Georgetown could certainly make some noise.

Michigan State at 12-1 is another decent play. The Big Ten is the premiere conference this year and Michigan State has posted a 10-3 record in conference play. They are currently number seven in the country, and let's be honest; doesn't Tom Izzo make the Final Four like every year?

North Carolina and Syracuse are both 8-1. Carolina has underachieved this year. They certainly have the talent to win it all, but have yet to put it all together this season. In the UNC-Duke rivalry, I'm a Carolina guy, but to date they haven't made me believe they're going to win it all this year. I'd stay away from them, even at 8-1. Syracuse, on the other hand, is a more intriguing play. Their only loss this season was on the road to a solid Notre Dame team. No team goes undefeated anymore, especially not in a conference as competitive as the Big East. Earlier in the season, Syracuse looked pretty unbeatable. They have been a bit more vulnerable of late, with very close victories at home against West Virginia and Georgetown, and with just a one-point road win at Louisville. Still, Syracuse has been impressive, and if they can rebound the ball, they can beat anyone in the country. They're a virtual lock for a one seed, so should be positioned for a deep run. I'll take 8-1 on the Orange.

The last bet I like is a Missouri team, who is also 8-1 to win it all. Missouri is for real this year, losing only two games (both in conference), and currently ranked third in the nation. Since losing at Oklahoma State on January 25th, Missouri has rattled off seven wins in a row, beating Texas and Oklahoma on the road, as well as number eight ranked Kansas and number six ranked Baylor. Missouri has great guards, and can hit free throws down the stretch; something that can be extremely important at the end of tight games.

All of these futures wagers are tough to predict, especially because the bracket you draw plays such a big role. But at this point in the season, these are a few of the bets I like. Georgetown's 25-1 looks the most attractive, but my favorite bet would be Missouri at 8-1.

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Brook Lopez to make season debut Sunday

New Jersey's Brook Lopez has yet to play in a game this season. That will change Sunday.

Lopez is expected to start on Sunday against the Bucks.

“It’s going to be great, because a lot of the things that he does you just can’t teach,” [coach Avery] Johnson said, per Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News. “You can’t teach seven foot tall, his touch, he’s bigger and stronger than he’s ever been and he’s ready to go. We’ve done everything in terms of communicating with the doctors, and Tim Walsh our trainer, we’ve taken every precaution under the sun. We think he’s ready and he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

In his first three seasons in the NBA, Lopez has seen his scoring average increase from 13.0 to 18.8 to 20.4 points per game last year.

Although he saw his rebounding average drop to 6.0 per game last year from 8.7 in 2009-10, Lopez has shot more than 50 percent from the field, more than 80 percent from the line and averaged 1.7 blocks per game in his career.

Derrick Rose out vs. Nets

When the Bulls face the Nets this afternoon, they will be without point guard Derrick Rose again.

It will be the 10th game this season that Rose has missed and fifth in a row.

"I'm feeling decent," Rose said, per KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. "We're just trying to be smart, make sure the pain is totally gone."

"Derrick did a little bit more, but we’re going to wait and see how he feels (Sunday)," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He’s getting closer and closer. He’s responding well to everything, his treatment, his increased workload. We just want to be patient."

After today, the Bulls have two more games, both at home, before the All-Star break: Monday (vs. Atlanta) and Wednesday (vs. Milwaukee). They don't return to action until Tuesday, February 28th.

It would make sense to let Rose use the next 10 days to recover instead of risking it against the Hawks or Bucks.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 7

Who needs Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire?

Without both of their "superstars," the Knicks have continued to win behind their new superstar Jeremy Lin. Nearly cut by the Knicks themselves, Lin has taken the NBA world by storm.

It has led to words like Linsanity, Lincredible, Linning, etc.

No player has scored more points in his first four starts than Lin, who has scored 20-plus points in five straight games including a career-high 38 points against Kobe and Lakers on Friday night.

From getting MVP chants at Madison Square Garden and "overrated" chants on the road in places like Minnesota, how could you not root for a guy that is sleeping on his brother's couch and was an unknown about a week ago? (And this is coming from a Sixers' fan, i.e., I hate the Knicks.)

The Knicks have moved up a couple of spots in our power rankings to No. 18 from No. 20 (tied with Milwaukee) in last week's rankings.

Like last week, the top three teams all have No. 1 ranks from at least one of our four rankers, but the Thunder and Bulls are tied for the No. 1 spot. On the other hand, the bottom three teams were unanimous choices with the Wizards, Hornets and Bobcats as the worst three teams in the league.

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs (+2.50)
- Biggest drop from last week: Denver Nuggets (-3.75)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Indiana Pacers (7)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Who will win the Southwest Division this season?

John (follow on Twitter): San Antonio Spurs

The Southwest Division is one of the toughest in the league, with four of the five teams above .500, and the top three teams within 2.5 games of one another. I like the Spurs to remain atop the division. While they have been left off most people's lists as being a legitimate contender, I think the Spurs have a real shot this year. They have fallen off from what they were a few years ago, and I think most people think they're just too old now. It's tough to argue, though, that the Spurs are playing great ball. They have a 13-1 home record and have experience over most other teams in the West come playoff time. If the Lakers fail to make a big splash before the trade deadline (i.e., get Dwight Howard), I think that Oklahoma City is the clear favorite in the West, with few other teams being able to challenge them. With the Clippers losing Billups and Dirk not playing like the MVP he played like last year, I think the Spurs are the closest real contender, and I expect them challenge to represent the West. Right now, I have them in the Western Conference Finals, with a sporting chance against the KD and the Thunder.

Sean (follow on Twitter): Dallas Mavericks

I think the defending champion Mavericks win the Southwest division this year. I think they are going to make some moves towards the trade deadline to improve their team. The short season is definitely hurting them thus far since they have the oldest starting five in the NBA, but I think they will overtake the Spurs at some point this season, and never let up.

Dan (follow on Twitter): San Antonio Spurs

In what has been the most competitve divison in the league this year, the Southwest Divison will most certainly come down to the wire. I have the San Antonio Spurs coming out on top, as even in this compressed schedule I love thier veteran poise. The Spurs have also been the hottest team lately as they have won seven in a row, and are an impressive 13-1 at home. I love the Spurs to take this divison down even over the defending champs.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): Dallas Mavericks

Going into the playoffs last season, the Dallas Mavericks were widely considered to be a team ripe for an early-round exit from the postseason. Instead they kept disproving their doubters along the way to winning the NBA title. The Mavs had some key losses in the offseason like Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea last year, but they added Lamar Odom, arguably the league's best sixth man. Although Dirk Nowitzki is averaging only 18.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, his lowest averages since the 1990's, I expect him and the Mavs to get on a roll and win the Southwest Division. That said, I expect half of the West's playoff teams to come from this division.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 7, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

Rajon Rondo has second triple-double of season

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had his second triple-double of the season in today's win over the Bulls, who were without point guard Derrick Rose.

Rondo finished the game with 32 points and 15 assists, both of which were season highs, and had 10 rebounds.

Before this afternoon's game, Rondo was only averaging 8.2 points, 9.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game in the month of February.

Since entering the league in 2006, Rondo has nine triple-doubles, which ties him for third during that span with Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Only Jason Kidd (32) and LeBron James (23) have more triple-doubles since the 2006-07 season.

Jared Dudley has his first double-double of season

Suns swingman Jared Dudley had his best game and first double-double of the season last night.

Dudley set a season high with 10 rebounds and tied his previous season high in points with 20. In addition to his double-double, Dudley added two steals and two blocks to his stat line and converted on three of six three-pointers.

In his past three games, Dudley has made eight of 13 three's. Plus, he has now scored in double-digits in eight consecutive games.

After averaging only 9.8 points in December and 10.6 points per game in January, Dudley is averaging 15.5 points this month.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

MRI reveals Anderson Varejao has fractured wrist

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without center Anderson Varejao for at least a few weeks.

Per Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Varejao suffered a fractured wrist in last night's one-point loss to the Bucks.

While the initial X-ray did not show a break last night, the MRI did today.

Varejao is averaging 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season. Varejao ranks third on the team in scoring and first in rebounding.

Only 10 other NBA players are currently averaging a double-double in points and rebounds.

Cleveland (10-15) is currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, but they trail the Bucks, who are in eighth place, by only 1.5 games.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jeremy Lin has career-high 38 points, outscores Kobe

Coming into tonight's game against the Lakers, Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin scored 20-plus points in three straight games and had his first career double-double.

When Kobe Bryant was asked about Lin yesterday, he said, "I don’t even know what he’s done. Like, I have no idea what you guys are talking about. I’ll take a look at [the tape] tonight though."

Not only did Lin, who was undrafted out of Harvard, outscore Bryant, 38-34, but Lin has now scored more in a game than any other Knick this season.

Although he may sleep on his brother's couch, he's turning into a superstar.

"We think he needs a better haircut," [Lakers forward Metta]World Peace said (via ESPN). "I don't like that style. You're in New York, fashion's capital. Change your haircut. You're a star now. Wear some shades. Put down the nerdy Harvard book glasses, put on some black shades with some leather pants. Change your style. ... He should wear leather pants. He's the type of guy that should wear leather pants and some nice shoes and change his fashion. You're Jeremy Lin, for God's sake."

In his past four games, Lin has 114 points, 32 assists, 15 rebounds and seven steals.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jeremy Lin follows up career night (25 points) with another career high (28)

Before this weekend, Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin had yet to score in double-digits this season.

Over the weekend, the Harvard graduate created buzz by scoring a career-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting in their win over the Nets.

Last night against the Jazz, Lin set a new career high with 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field including one three-pointer and converting on seven of his nine free throws.

In the past two games combined, Lin is 20 of 36 from the field, has scored 53 points with 15 assists and four steals.

Lin is owned in only 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Andrew Bynum has 20-20 in loss to Sixers

After 12 straight games with less than 20 points, Lakers center Andrew Bynum scored 20-plus points in his fifth consecutive game.

During that span, Bynum has made 41 of 65 field goal attempts (63.1 percent).

Not only did he score 20 points in tonight's loss to the Sixers, who were without Elton Brand, but Bynum added a season-high 20 rebounds.

Before tonight, a player has finished with 20-plus points and 20-plus rebounds only 10 times (and Orlando's Dwight Howard had five of them).

Amare Stoudemire to miss tonight's game due to brother's death

The brother of Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire was killed in a car accident this morning, per the Orlando Sentinel.

Our condolences go out to Stoudemire and his family.

As you might expect, Stoudemire is headed to Florida, where his brother lived, and won't play tonight against the Jazz.

"My thoughts and prayers and everything is with him," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said, per the NY Daily News. "Whatever time he needs to take, he'll take. And we'll get him back as soon as possible.

"I know he's very close to his brother so my heart goes out to him. He cherishes his family. He does a great job of maintaining all the relationships. It's just a trying moment for him."

On the season, Stoudemire is averaging 18.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 6

For the first time this year, we have a tie at the top of our NBA Consensus Power Rankings.

Although the Miami Heat had one of our four first-place votes (and three third-place votes), the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder are tied for first. However, all three teams are within one game of each other in the NBA standings and are in a different tier from the rest of the NBA.

At the other end, the Bobcats are a consensus choice for last in our power rankings, but the Pistons, Hornets and Wizards are all bad, really bad, as well.

Fortunately for the teams at the bottom, the potential rookie class is stronger in 2012 than last year's rookie crop.

[In our NBA mock drafts, which we released over the weekend, both Brendan Donahue (see his mock) and I (see my mock) had Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis going first overall.]

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Los Angeles Clippers (+4.75)
- Biggest drop from last week: Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets (-2.75)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets (5)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Who is the NBA MVP so far this season?

John (follow on Twitter): There are a few solid candidates for MVP through this point in the season. It's mostly the usual suspects, with some of the favorites being Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, or even Kevin Love. However, in my opinion, the MVP through this point of the season is LeBron James. Although Miami is pretty stacked, Dwyane Wade has had a nagging injury that has kept him out for much of the season. Still, LeBron has the Heat just a game out of the No. 1 seed in the East behind on the Bulls. In their one meeting this season, the Heat were able to eek out the win behind a 35-point effort from LeBron. In addition to being the best player on what I feel is the best team in the league, Lebron's statistics are incredible. He's averaging over 29 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He's not far off from averaging a triple-double, which is pretty amazing. There's still plenty of season left, but I have a feeling LeBron will continue playing at a high level and lock up the MVP at the end of the season. The bigger question is going to be if he can shrug off last season's Finals and lead the Heat to a title.

Sean (follow on Twitter): My No. 1 team has the league's MVP on it, and that is the Bulls Derrick Rose. In terms of value, Rose is the No. 1 player in the league. The Bulls would not be where they are without Rose.

Dan (follow on Twitter): So far the MVP of the season has to go to the old warhorse in Kobe Bryant. Byrant is maintaining an unbelievable pace right now, as he is averaging 38 minutes per game, and also leading the league with 29.4 points per game. Kobe is doing all of this after losing Lamar Odom, Phil Jackson, and playing with a pulled ligament in his wrist. It has been impressive to watch Kobe develop his game, and the return of the mamba as he is fueled by all the slights this year.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): In the history of the NBA, only three players have averaged at least 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists: Oscar Robertson (four times during the '60's), Michael Jordan (1988-89 season) and LeBron James (so far this year). Plus, he's tied for 10th in the NBA in steals per game (1.7). With the Heat also one of the top three teams in the NBA, there is absolutely no doubt that LeBron is the clear frontrunner for the award so far this year.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 6, click here.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Drafts and Mock Draft Database Updated

The 2012 NBA Draft will be held in New York City on June 28th, which is exactly two months after Day 3 of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Not only did we update our 2012 NBA Mock Draft Database this morning, but we also released our first two NBA Mock Drafts for 2012.

For draft order, we used the inverse of our NBA Consensus Power Rankings.

Brendan Donahue's top five picks are:

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
2. New Orleans Hornets: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
3. Washington Wizards: Michael Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
4. Detroit Pistons: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
5. Toronto Raptors: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

See all of his first-round mock here.

Kevin Hanson's top five picks are:

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
2. New Orleans Hornets: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
3. Washington Wizards: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
4. Detroit Pistons: Michael Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
5. Toronto Raptors: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor

See all of my first-round mock here.