Serge Ibaka has 10-block night

February, 2, 2012

Serge Ibaka might have had a triple-double on Wednesday night for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Dallas Mavericks if he'd managed to put the ball in the basket, but he'll settle for four points most nights if he can manage 11 rebounds and 10 blocks at the same time. He's the first player to have 10 or more blocks in a game since JaVale McGee had 12 against the Chicago Bulls last March.

There had been a lot of talk about whether Ibaka could lead the league in blocks coming into this season; he's been a significant margin behind McGee and DeAndre Jordan so far, but Ibaka is a good candidate to improve as the season wears on. He simply hasn't looked like himself this season, but he's too good to struggle all season.

Looking back

• It happened against the Phoenix Suns, so it's probably a mistake to read too much into it, but Greivis Vasquez had a phenomenal game off the bench for the New Orleans Hornets. Vasquez has averaged 13.7 points and 8.0 assists on 53.8 percent shooting from the floor over his past three games. It's worth remembering, here, that Hornets starting point guard Jarrett Jack has been a backup for most of his career, so it's not impossible that Vasquez continues to earn big minutes as the season progresses, and he's a nice pickup right now if you need the assists.

• After really struggling against the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers found his stride again in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, finishing with 16 points and five assists on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor. Chalmers is having a really nice season so far, and his high field goal percentage (nearly 50 percent) has been a huge part of that.

Drew Gooden continues to play great basketball filling in for Andrew Bogut for the Bucks. Gooden played 39 minutes in the win over the Heat, with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Gooden is having his best season in terms of assist rate, so it makes sense that he's managed to average 3.0 assists per game over his past five contests. Everyone knows he can rebound and score, but if he can keep passing like this, he's going to continue to be a very important midseason pickup for everyone who managed to get him after Bogut went down.

Nikola Pekovic continued to get significant playing time for the Minnesota Timberwolves, playing 30 minutes in their loss to the Indiana Pacers. Pekovic, amazingly, is averaging 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds on 58.1 percent shooting in just 24.4 minutes per game over his past five games, and if he keeps playing like this, those minutes are going to keep going up. If you need help in rebounding and field goal percentage, he's definitely worth a look.

• The Boston Celtics struggled a bit defensively at the start of the season, but they seem to have worked that problem out. If you disregard the disaster that was their first three games of the season, they're giving up an average of 83.7 points per game, which would put them in first place by a significant margin extrapolated over a whole season. They've done a lot of this without Rajon Rondo, too. The point is -- in case you forgot while they were struggling -- you might want to sit your lesser fantasy guys when they go up against the Celtics.

Looking ahead

• The New Orleans Hornets face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, and it could be a good night to get Jason Smith and Emeka Okafor into your lineup. The Spurs have given up some pretty decent numbers to opposing big men; while they did a good job on the Houston Rockets' starting front line on Wednesday, backups Patrick Patterson and Jordan Hill were productive in limited minutes. Smith, in particular, had a great game against the Suns on Wednesday night, finishing with 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting, and he's shooting 63.9 percent over his past five games.

• The Utah Jazz played extremely hard in their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and might be a little beat heading into Oakland to face the Warriors on Thursday. The Warriors, however, have been getting absolutely killed by opposing small forwards this season, and C.J. Miles is averaging 14.2 points in just 22.0 minutes per game over his past five. He's not worth playing every night, but he should definitely be in your lineup against the Warriors.



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