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Danilo Gallinari and Ryan Anderson each returned to the lineup on Monday. As is typical for this season, though, there was still plenty of star power in street clothes.
Kobe Bryant (shin) and Dwight Howard (back) each missed a second straight game. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Howard hasn't been ruled out for Tuesday, but he's considered doubtful to play against the Washington Wizards. After sitting out against the Detroit Pistons, Howard has now missed three of the past five games.
Meanwhile, Bryant's shin is reportedly improving, but there's still no timetable for his return. After Monday's narrow win over the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown was discussing the importance of having Kobe healthy for the playoffs. Reading between those lines, it wouldn't surprise me to see Kobe miss more time. The Lakers visit the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
As for those back in action, Gallinari (thumb) played 30 minutes in the Denver Nuggets' annihilation of the Golden State Warriors. As he did following his first lengthy layoff, Gallo again struggled with his shot (4-of-11), but he contributed six assists, five steals, a couple of 3-pointers and a block to go with his 15 points.
Anderson, who'd missed three games with an ankle injury, played just 23 minutes as the Magic trampled the Pistons. He finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a pair of treys.
• Stepping in for Darren Collison (groin), George Hill finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his first start for the Indiana Pacers. Should Collison remain sidelined, Hill would be a solid fill-in with the Pacers visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. The decimated Cavs are one of April's prime fantasy matchups.
• Eric Gordon (back) missed the Lakers-Hornets game and is day-to-day. Marco Belinelli (20 points, four 3s) is fantasy-worthy in Gordon's absence, but the Hornets player you really want is Greivis Vasquez (18 points, 11 assists, five treys). He'll be the point guard the rest of the way with Jarrett Jack (foot) done for the season.
• A reminder that Gregg Popovich is always looking at the big picture, and fantasy owners aren't in it: The San Antonio Spurs rested Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on Monday. Expect plenty more of this, as the Spurs play 11 times in the regular season's final 17 days.
• As expected, Andrea Bargnani (calf) missed the Toronto Raptors-Pacers game. A blurb on NBA.com noted that Bargs could sit out the remainder of the season due to recurring left calf tightness. The lottery-bound Raptors certainly have ample reason to be cautious with Il Mago.
• For some positive injury news, there's Kyle Lowry. In his second game back after missing a month with a bacterial infection, Lowry totaled 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 23 minutes. Despite Lowry's increase in playing time, Goran Dragic (22 points, seven assists, four triples, three steals) still played 41 minutes. With the Houston Rockets squarely in the playoff picture, Dragic should continue to run the show, but it appears Lowry can help fantasy teams over the final two weeks.
• Dwyane Wade (ankle) is pronouncing himself ready to play against the Boston Celtics.
• Remember way back in January when Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy wasn't happy with Glen Davis? Yeah, that was a while ago. In his past five starts, Davis is averaging 20.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He's a practically perfect fill-in for Tuesday against the Wizards. Incidentally, the Magic are hoping to have Howard back for Friday's game against the Atlanta Hawks.
• With Hedo Turkoglu (facial fracture) sidelined for the remainder of the regular season, J.J. Redick (20 points, four treys Monday versus the Pistons) is seeing a bigger role in the offense. Expect more good things against a Wizards team that's 25th in opponent's shooting percentage.
• In a matchup that only fantasy owners could care about, the Cavaliers offer some big-time fill-in potential when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats. Lester Hudson, coming off a 26-point, six-triple performance against the New Jersey Nets on Sunday, should again be worth multiple 3s and steals. And Tristan Thompson (15 points and 15 boards versus the Nets) should do well against the struggling Bismack Biyombo. Donald Sloan (14 dimes against the Nets but only 3-of-13 shooting) is a riskier proposition, but also a possibility.
• With Gerald Wallace (hamstring) very iffy, Gerald Green should again see major minutes for the Nets against the Philadelphia 76ers. Though the Sixers allow a league low 88.5 points, they've surrendered 97.3 points during their four-game losing streak. Green, by the way, is coming off a 32-point performance against the Cavaliers.
• Marcus Thornton (thigh) may play Tuesday. Thornton's return would crimp the value of trendy add Terrence Williams (13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals over his past five).