Noah crushes the glass
For Indiana, Danny Granger had an odd night in terms of fantasy stats. He was 9-for-23 from the floor, and didn't make a single 3-pointer, but he finished with 22 points, six rebounds, six steals and only one turnover. No one else for the Pacers had a line even worth mentioning, but, it should be noted, the Spurs tend to do that to opposing teams.
LeBron simply didn't get enough help against the Bulls. He scored 39 points, but the rest of his team was just 20-for-57 from the floor, good for a robust 35 percent. After racking up 10 assists in his 50-point game against the Knicks, LeBron only had one assist against the Bulls to go along with only three rebounds. Clearly, the new guys are still learning to play with each other in Cleveland and Anderson Varejao's 2-for-11 performance last night makes it abundantly clear that the Cavs do, in fact, miss Drew Gooden's ability to score points in the low post. That said, I still think it's worth owning Delonte West, especially in head-to-head leagues, where his production could be extremely useful in the fantasy playoffs. His numbers should get better as he gets more comfortable playing with LeBron, and just in time, too.
The story for the Bulls was a huge night on the glass for rookie big man Joakim Noah. After averaging fewer than six points and six rebounds in his past 10 games, Noah finished with 13 points and 20 rebounds Thursday. He's worth owning in keeper leagues, clearly (though I dropped him for Houston's Carl Landry just Wednesday in mine), but in most leagues, I think he'll continue being too inconsistent to use. His large rebounding numbers tonight were likely the product of the Cavs missing 51 shots. Don't expect another performance like this out of Noah for a little while.
Speaking of Landry, the Rockets' rookie big man put up 17 points in 24 minutes against the Nowitzki-less Mavericks, continuing his good habit of being ridiculously productive whenever he gets on the floor. He should see his minutes increase bit-by-bit as the season progresses, because with Yao out for the rest of the season and the playoffs, Landry becomes valuable as a guy who can possibly command a double-team in the post come playoff time. For this year, his value may end up being a bit negated as defenses learn his strengths and weaknesses and start game-planning for him. That said, as we learn every year, you can't teach energy, and Landry gets a lot of his buckets on position and hustle, which is a good sign. In keeper leagues, I think he has some real value for next season if the Rockets don't bring back Chuck Hayes or Dikembe Mutombo.
Luis Scola's value, on the other hand, isn't going anywhere. He's putting up 15.4 points and 6.4 rebounds on 65 percent shooting from the floor in his past five games, and I see no reason why, in the absence of Yao, he can't continue putting up those kinds of numbers for the rest of the season. He's no ordinary rookie; most people expected him to come in and be productive right away, and it looks like he's finally fulfilling that promise.
On the Mavericks' side, it was just another terrible, terrible night for Jason Kidd. He finished with seven points, six rebounds and six assists, but he had four turnovers and was absolutely torched by Rafer Alston to the tune of 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers. In fact, Houston only turned the ball over five times as a team and scored 113 points. You're not going to win many games when you're a minus-7 in turnovers for the game, and it's looking like part of that problem might be Kidd. It should also be noted that Nowitzki didn't play in this game -- due to a suspension for decking Andrei Kirilenko in Utah -- which certainly didn't help the Mavs on the offensive end. I suppose Kidd's name recognition makes him an automatic start still in fantasy leagues, but if he was on my team, I'd really be thinking twice before playing him against any good point guard. Struggling against Chris Paul is understandable, but struggling against Rafer Alston is, to me, a major red flag.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.