Paul Pierce enjoys near-perfect night

December, 20, 2012

Paul Pierce has certainly been up and down a little this season, but Wednesday night against the Cavaliers, he had one of the better performances of his long career, finishing with 40 points on 13-for-16 shooting from the floor and 8-for-8 shooting from the line. He was 6-for-7 on 3s and racked up eight rebounds, five assists and three steals just for good measure. He's at the stage where he's probably not capable of back-to-back performances like this, but it's good to see he's still got it once in a while.

Looking Back

Kyle Lowry is out indefinitely and the Raptors' guard rotation is looking pretty thin, but Alan Anderson is making the most out of his opportunities off the bench. He put up 16 points, three 3-pointers and two steals in a win over the Pistons, and is now averaging 19.3 points, 3.7 3s, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in his past three games. If you need 3-point shooting, it would appear that's the category in which he's the most likely to provide you with some help.

• It came during a blowout, but Gerald Green gave the Pacers his best game of the season with 21 points, including four 3s in just 23 minutes off the bench in a win over the Jazz. This alone doesn't make him worth picking up in fantasy leagues, especially given the total lack of production across the rest of his line, but the Pacers really need him with Danny Granger out. If Green can regain his ability to be a shot creator from last season with the Nets, there's a chance he'll carve out some more minutes in the rotation moving forward.

• With the 76ers struggling to figure out a rotation with Jrue Holiday out of the lineup, Dorell Wright has made the most of the opportunity of late. He had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Rockets to back up a 25-point effort against the Mavericks last time out. Of course, both these games have been losses, so if you're not desperate for 3-point shooting, you might want to look elsewhere.

Jeremy Lin, meanwhile, might be figuring it out for the Rockets. In their win over the 76ers, he followed up a nice performance against the Knicks with 18 points and six assists on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor. It should probably go without saying that Lin's not as bad as he's looked so far this season, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt with regard to being able to figure out how to play alongside James Harden effectively (and he's been lighting it up all season when Harden sits). If you haven't traded Lin yet, now's probably not the time.

Looking Ahead

• The Timberwolves have some lineup questions heading into Thursday night's meeting with the Thunder, as Kevin Love is dealing with a hyperextended right arm and Ricky Rubio with a sore right knee. As such, I'm looking for a big night out of Nikola Pekovic. The Thunder, great as they've been defensively this season, are capable of giving up big production to opposing centers, and Pek is averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds on 56 percent shooting from the floor over his past five games.

• The Heat are in the bottom 10 in the league in giving up 3s to opponents, so it should be a good night for O.J. Mayo, even if the Mavericks will probably struggle against the Heat as a whole. Additionally, this game features two of the poorer rebounding teams in the league, so it will be interesting to see if someone like Chris Kaman or Chris Bosh outproduces his normal numbers.

JaVale McGee has been tough to get into the lineup recently, as he's playing just 17.4 minutes per game over his past five, but he's also averaging some pretty ridiculous numbers in those minutes: 11.8 points (67 percent shooting), 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. That's production worth having in your lineup, and it's worth pointing out that last season, he was really good against the Trail Blazers, his Thursday night opponent, averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games. I'd make sure to play him this time around.

Fastbreak Player of the Night

• I really love the matchup against the Trail Blazers for Ty Lawson. The Nuggets' point guard has been through some struggles this season, but he was great against the Blazers last season, averaging 19.3 points on 56 percent shooting in three games, and the Blazers' perimeter defense has been basically nonexistent so far this season. I'm expecting a big night for Lawson on Thursday.



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