David West helping to carry Hornets
• Kevin Love, Timberwolves: 23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals against Dallas.|
• Derrick Rose, Bulls: 24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists against the Pacers.
• David West, Hornets: 40 points (15-25 FG, 10-10 FT), 9 rebounds, 6 assists versus Sacramento.
• Mike Bibby, Hawks: 7 points (2-9 FG), 1 rebound in 31 minutes against Philadelphia.|
• Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavaliers: 4 points (2-11 FG), 6 rebounds versus the Pistons.
• Mehmet Okur, Jazz: 6 points (1-7 FG), 3 rebounds, 5 fouls against the Trail Blazers.
The underlying lesson in this performance is that it was against the Kings, a team that simply doesn't play defense. They have been battling the Wizards all season for last in defensive efficiency, and the Hornets scored 111 points on just 91 possessions, shooting better than 53 percent as a team, even though Paul was just 5-for-15 from the field. Rasual Butler shot his way out of a slump, with 18 points and four 3-pointers, ending a seven-game stretch in which his highest scoring output was 14 points. Even Julian Wright got in on the action, converting seven of his eight shot attempts and posting a solid all-around line of 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and one block in 31 minutes. It was Wright's third consecutive start at center, and with Tyson Chandler expected to remain out for a week or two more, Wright is turning himself into a value pickup.
The Kings' best defensive player, Francisco Garcia, has again been pushed to the bench thanks to the return of Andres Nocioni (23 points), leaving a starting lineup with offensive potential but little defensive intensity to speak of. The team long ago seemed to mail it in, with just seven wins in the past three months, so fantasy stars and yeomen alike will continue to post monstrous lines against the team.
Under the Boards
Tuesday was the second Bulls game in a row Brad Miller (37 minutes) received more minutes than Joakim Noah, and his phenomenal all-around play -- he had 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds against the Pacers -- is starting to deserve notice. Noah's starting job could be at risk soon. Jarrett Jack is off and running as the Pacers' starting point guard, now averaging a whopping 40 minutes per game in his past four contests. The strange thing is, the man he replaced, T.J. Ford, is also flourishing in his bench role; the difference is that Ford, who's shooting 60 percent in five games off the bench, can't continue his hot shooting forever, while Jack has averaged 18.0 points and 1.5 steals per game since the All-Star break. Pacers forward Troy Murphy returned from his knee injury and posted a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) in 37 minutes, while his short-term replacement, Jeff Foster, had a DNP-CD just a couple of days after consecutive 16- and 18-rebound performances. It's safe to get Murphy back in your lineup. Manu Ginobili made just his fifth start of the season -- and first since Dec. 9 -- and, with 17 points and three assists in 29 minutes, seems close to returning to his normal level of production. That's just in time for the Spurs, who, after losing by one point to the lowly Thunder at home, are just 5-6 in their past 11 games. With 11 assists against the Nuggets, Chris Duhon had just his second double-digit assist performance this month, but both have occurred in the past five games and he's back to averaging 8.6 assists per game in that span. The peripheral stats could use some work, but it looks like, after a significant bump in the road, Duhon's value is on the way to recovery.Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.