Green's struggles continue
Andre Miller, Trail Blazers: 22 points, 16 assists, 3 steals versus the Clippers.|
David West, Hornets: 20 points (9-13 FG), 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks against the Jazz.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: 29 points (13-24 FG), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals versus the Bulls.
Jeff Green, Thunder: 6 points, 1 rebound in 14 minutes against the Bulls.|
Joe Johnson, Hawks: 11 points (4-15 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists versus the Heat.
Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers: 6 points (3-12 FG), 4 rebounds, 6 assists against the Clippers.
While Kevin Durant dominates and Russell Westbrook dazzles, Jeff Green is skidding into 2010. Monday in Chicago, Green managed six points and just one rebound while playing a season-low 14 minutes. In his past six games, Green is averaging 9.3 points, 3.8 boards and is shooting 39.3 percent. More significantly, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is showing he won't hesitate to sit Green when he struggles. For the season, Green is averaging 35 minutes a night, but he played just 16 minutes at New Jersey on Dec. 28 and only 27 minutes at Utah on Dec. 31.
After the Bulls game, Brooks told the Oklahoman that Green "just did not have it going. We had to look for a matchup, and we found it. Nick [Collison] and Serge [Ibaka] did a great job of sparking us."
While Green's points and rebounds are down slightly from a season ago, where he's really hurting is in his 3-point accuracy. The 23-year-old is shooting 29.4 percent from downtown after making 38.9 percent of his triples in 2008-09. If this keeps up, as we get deeper into January, fantasy owners in daily lineup leagues might consider benching Green on nights when other viable options are available.
Of course, Green is talented enough to shoot his way out of this skid. Perhaps it happens as soon as Wednesday, when the Thunder host the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets yield 7.2 3-pointers a night, fourth-most in the league.
• Durant (25 points, 8 rebounds) apparently tweaked his ankle early on against the Bulls. He didn't come out, but the injury may have hampered him, as he failed to score 30 points for the first time in eight games.
• More serious injury news can be found with -- surprise -- the Portland Trail Blazers. Brandon Roy spent the final minutes of Monday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers getting his right hamstring treated. Afterward, Roy said his hammy was "pretty sore," so it's fair to wonder if he can go against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. The Blazers are already without Steve Blake (pneumonia) so, with or without Roy, they'll continue to lean on Andre Miller (22 points, 16 assists), who had his best line of the season against the Clippers.
• Just when I was wondering what happened to all the 3-pointers, Devin Brown drops five of them en route to a 30-point performance against the Jazz. Actually, Brown has been productive from distance for a while -- he averaged 2.0 triples in December. Unfortunately, he doesn't give fantasy owners anything other than 3s, but Brown is a viable spot play in leagues of at least 12 teams. For instance, looking a little ahead, you could scoop him up this weekend, prior to the Hornets' Sunday-Monday back-to-back in Washington and Philadelphia on Jan. 10-11. The Sixers are the NBA's worst team at defending the 3, and the Wizards aren't much better in this regard.
Martell Webster could be headed for another big night on Tuesday. He's an especially appealing plug-in if LaMarcus Aldridge, who's missed the past two games with a left ankle sprain, sits out again. With Aldridge sidelined, Webster had 21 points, 11 rebounds and four 3s against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 2. He had five more 3s -- to go with 25 points and six boards -- Monday against the Clippers. Grizzlies opponents are shooting 48.0 percent (second in the league) while swishing 6.8 treys a night (eighth in the league).
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.