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Rick Carlisle hasn't been pleased with his point guard recently, but fantasy owners shouldn't be overly concerned that Darren Collison came off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
Collison played 30 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers, finishing with 12 points, six assists (versus four turnovers) and five steals. He was a plus-9 for the night and was on the floor at the end of the Mavs' two-point loss. Even Collison's 5 of 11 shooting was a positive, considering that he was 30 percent or worse from the floor in four of his previous six games.
Perhaps a message was being sent to Collison, who has frustrated the Mavs' coach with his erratic offense and poor defense. However, Carlisle downplayed Collison's reserve role, telling ESPNDallas.com: "He's our starting point guard, but tonight he came off the bench. I mean, Jason Terry was our starting 2-guard, but he came off the bench for four years. It's not that big a deal."
And it probably shouldn't be a big deal for fantasy owners, either, since the Mavs currently don't have a realistic alternative to Collison. Dominique Jones, who's considered a good defender, made just his second career start Tuesday, but the third-year pro went 0-for-5 from the field with three assists and four turnovers in 17 minutes.
Elton Brand also came off the bench for the second time in three games. In his return to Philadelphia, Brand had a season-high 17 points in just 19 minutes.
• Marcin Gortat thinks very highly of Jermaine O'Neal -- in fact he's told the Phoenix Suns that they can deduct the funds from Gortat's salary to re-sign O'Neal for the 2013-14 season. If you're not getting warm fuzzies from this story, you're probably an exasperated Gortat owner. The Polish Hammer was again limited in minutes (24) and all things statistical (six points, three rebounds) Tuesday, continuing a trend that's seen him average just 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his past six. Meanwhile, O'Neal was a whopping plus-24 in his 21 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game was also notable for Luis Scola, who scored 14 points off the bench while the guy who recently replaced Scola in the starting lineup, Markieff Morris, had just four points. Appropriately, each played 24 minutes. I'm guessing Suns coach Alvin Gentry has his own motivations, but if his goal is to mess with fantasy owners, mission accomplished. Did I mention Goran Dragic has played 31 minutes or fewer in six of his past eight games?
• Jeremy Pargo (8 points, 5 assists, 5 turnovers) had another tough outing (as I thought he might). Kyrie Irving's replacement is shooting just 29.6 percent (11-of-37) over his past three games. Speaking of the Cavs, Dion Waiters (16 points, 7 assists) bruised his left hand against the Suns. The rookie returned after X-rays revealed no breaks, but he'll undergo an MRI on Wednesday.
• The Toronto Raptors lost again, but rookie Terrence Ross (19 points, five rebounds) provided some consolation in the blowout loss to the Houston Rockets. The eighth overall pick played 36 minutes and went 9 of 17 from the floor. Fantasy owners will need to see much more from Ross (he was a combined 1 of 9 with three points in his previous two games), but the opportunity is there for the youngster once he figures it out.
• In case you're wondering, Kobe Bryant had his 114th career 40-point performance Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers. And if you're wondering about his 10 turnovers, chalk it up to the flu. Illness kept Bryant out of morning shootaround.
• Gregg Popovich doesn't want to overuse Tim Duncan in back-to-back situations, so Duncan could see limited minutes -- or perhaps a DNP -- when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Orlando Magic. The Spurs face the Miami Heat on Thursday.
• Kyle Korver (back) didn't practice Tuesday and is questionable for the Atlanta Hawks, who host the Charlotte Bobcats. Korver is averaging 3.1 3-pointers per game over his past 10, with multiple 3s in nine of those games.
• In leagues of at least 12 teams, Randy Foye is a fill-in possibility when the Utah Jazz visit the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets are yielding an incredible 10.0 triples per game, and they just allowed Caron Butler to bury nine from downtown Monday. Foye himself had a season-best 20 points and four treys in his previous trip to New Orleans on Nov. 2.
• Nene (foot) is a game-time decision for the Washington Wizards, who host the Portland Trail Blazers. After playing in his first two games of the season, Nene sat out again Monday.
• Mike Conley (illness) should play against the Raptors. He missed the Memphis Grizzlies' previous game against the Cavs on Monday.