DeRozan, Calderon shine in 3-OT special
There are few things as friendly to fantasy hoops teams than an overtime game. One of those things is a double-overtime tilt, while yet another is a triple-overtime run like the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz had Monday night. Both teams had stats aplenty as the Jazz downed the Raps 140-133, but there were a couple of major statistical standouts for the Raps, in part due to the continued absence of Kyle Lowry.
DeMar DeRozan played a whopping 60 minutes and took 33 shots. He hit 16 of them and finished with 37 points, 8 boards, 6 dimes and 2 steals. He's locked in as a primary scorer for the Raptors -- he took 17 shots and topped 40 minutes in each of the Raps' previous two games, which did not require extra periods -- though he still offers little besides scoring. Case in point: He hit just 1-of-6 3s on Monday, which means he has yet to drop more than one 3 in a game this season.
Also going bananas Monday evening was Jose Calderon, who played 50 minutes and ended up with 20 points, 17 dimes and 5 turnovers. The point guard continues to be a quality fantasy option whenever he gets enough play. Starting PG Lowry already has been ruled out for Tuesday's game against the Indiana Pacers, so look for Calderon to continue dishing out plenty of assists. After Tuesday's contest, the Raptors next hit the hardwood Saturday against the Boston Celtics, so it's possible that Lowry will return from his ankle injury then. However, keep in mind that Lowry has been prone to injuries in recent years, so Calderon remains a quality roster stash or waiver-wire target the next time Lowry goes down.
• I prefer to talk about the success of breakout players I recommended, which is why I've given plenty of lip service to Jrue Holiday early this season. Why shouldn't I? Seven games into the season, he's doing everything I thought he would. Holiday is averaging 19.1 points, 9.0 dimes, 1.6 steals and 1.6 3s per game. He's also taking and making more FTs than ever and is shooting a career-best 46.7 percent from the field. Unfortunately, he's been a Titanic-sized anchor in leagues that count turnovers. He had eight of them Monday after fumbling away the rock seven times in each of the previous three games; he is now averaging 6.0 turnovers per game. If he keeps turning it over and the Sixers get on a losing streak, coach Doug Collins may have to rein in Holiday, which could affect his total output.
• J.J. Hickson torched the Atlanta Hawks' frontcourt Monday night for 19 points (8-14 FG), 18 rebounds, two steals and a block. He's now averaging a legit double-double (11.4 points, 11.7 boards per game) this season. He doesn't do much else, like block shots, but every team can use a double-double play, and Hickson is in position to maintain this pace going forward.
• With Kirk Hinrich out Monday, Nate Robinson started for the Chicago Bulls against his old Boston Celtics team. He had a mediocre performance, finishing with 11 points (3-7 FG, 4-4 FT), 7 dimes, 4 turnovers, 1 3-pointer and 2 steals. We know that Robinson is too flighty to be a reliable long-term fantasy play, but he can post some quality numbers in short stretches. So, as long as Hinrich is out (he is listed as day-to-day), Robinson should be in your lineups.
• Nikola Pekovic poured in 20 points to go with six boards Monday night before going down with a sprained ankle. The severity of the injury wasn't immediately clear, but his toughness was. As he hobbled around on his bum wheel after the game, Pekovic said, "I don't use crutches." Hopefully it isn't a long-term issue, but he'll have a day off to rest before the Timberwolves' next game Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham would see a boost if Pek ends up sitting out.
• The Sixers announced Monday that Andrew Bynum's timetable for a return has been pushed back another three weeks. That means he won't return from his knee injury until at least late December or even January. It's also a completely fluid schedule, which means he could be out much longer if things don't improve. Hopefully, you didn't blow an early pick on him. If it makes you feel any better, at least you didn't spend millions of dollars to add him to your roster like the Sixers did.
Fastbreak Player of the Night
After his initial explosion to begin his tenure with the Houston Rockets, James Harden has cooled off considerably. In fact, he hasn't even hit the 20-point mark the past five games after posting 48 and 44 in his first two contests. That could change Wednesday when his Rockets invite the New Orleans Hornets to Houston. The Hornets are weak enough that Harden should have his way and post big stats in the Fastbreak game.