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It would have been tough enough for the hapless Washington Wizards to square off against the Chicago Bulls on the road with a full lineup, but they did so Tuesday without injured teammates Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Josh Howard. Predictably, the Bulls took the Wiz down 98-79. Not all was gloomy for the Wiz in fantasy terms, though.
JaVale McGee managed to get a triple-double by scoring 11 points, swiping 12 boards and swatting away a dozen shots. Of course, not all was rosy for the Wizards center, as he hit only 5 of 14 shots and was busy celebrating his trip-dub with a technical for hanging on the rim while his team was busy losing a game by double digits. Luckily, acting like a buffoon isn't a negative in Fantasyland.
Another bright spot for the Wiz was rookie Jordan Crawford, who made the most of the absence of Young and Howard to crank out a career-high 27 points (10-21 FG), 4 dimes, 3 boards and 3 3s in 48 minutes of work. The Wiz did a nice job acquiring this talented scorer from the Atlanta Hawks and we should see more nights like this as the season winds down. His upside will be capped when Young gets back from his nagging knee issue, but Crawford has proved capable of producing even as a reserve by averaging 16.6 points over the previous three games.
• Taj Gibson had 9 points and 13 rebounds and Kurt Thomas had 8 points and 15 rebounds against the Wiz on Tuesday. Both big men got extra run because Carlos Boozer remained out with an ankle injury and Joakim Noah was sidelined by the flu. It sounds like Boozer and Noah should be back on the hardwood to face the New Jersey Nets on Thursday, which pretty well would dry up any value Gibson and Thomas might have in the short term.
• There's no doubt that Tyler Hansbrough loves to play against the New York Knicks. He busted them up for a career-high 29 points on the road Sunday then topped that with 30 points (12-17 FG) at home Tuesday. His overall fantasy game is disappointing for a 6-foot-9 power forward, because he isn't a great rebounder (only three boards Tuesday) and doesn't block shots (one in his past nine games). However, since he's averaged 25.2 points and 2.0 steals over his past five games, there are plenty of fantasy teams that can use his help.
• Al Horford returned from his sprained ankle Tuesday after a one-game absence. He only had 15 points (7-12 FG) and 5 boards, but that was in part because the Hawks took advantage of a 110-85 blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks to limit Horford to 31 minutes. Look for the big guy to push 40 minutes Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.
• Devin Harris and Paul Millsap are expected to be game-time decisions when the Utah Jazz face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Harris strained a hamstring late during Monday's game, while Millsap has missed four straight due to a sore knee. If Millsap was able to practice Tuesday, it's safe to assume he'll be back in the mix Wednesday. The final decision for both probably won't come until they test their maladies during pre-game shoot-around.
• Andre Iguodala has been dealing with irritated cartilage under his kneecap for the past couple of weeks. Basically, he has "runner's knee" and would have to rest it to completely shake off the pain. Dre didn't seem too concerned about it, though.
"I've had this once before and I've had the tendinitis since college, so it's just something you deal with when playing a lot of basketball."
Iguodala probably will be in the lineup Wednesday, but it's the kind of nagging injury that could force him to miss some games or diminish his production down the stretch.
• Eric Gordon will not return to action Wednesday. It sounds like his ailing wrist is getting better, but we won't see him on the floor again until at least Saturday when the Los Angeles Clippers play the Cleveland Cavaliers.