Paul enjoys best game since return

March, 30, 2010
03/30/10
10:32
AM ET
MONDAY, MARCH 29
HIGHLIGHTS
Pau Gasol, Lakers: 26 points, 22 rebounds, 2 blocks against the Hornets.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 3-pointers versus the Nuggets.
Deron Williams, Jazz: 26 points, 14 assists, 5 3-pointers against the Knicks.
LOWLIGHTS
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets: 10 points (3-16 FG), 9 rebounds versus the Mavericks.
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets: 11 points (3-14 FG), 6 assists against the Mavericks.
Toney Douglas, Knicks: 5 points (2-7 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 steals versus Jazz.
A week ago in this space, I got to tell you that Chris Paul came back. Today, I can tell you that Paul is back.

In easily his best performance since his return from injury, Paul played 39 minues and registered 15 points and 13 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. Though the New Orleans Hornets are eliminated from postseason contention, the team said all along that when Paul was ready to play, he would play.

As for Darren Collison, he scored 17 points, but saw just 21 minutes against the Lakers. He remains a good play for this week -- one would assume he'll get a few more minutes during the Hornets' next three games, all promising matchups versus the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and at the Memphis Grizzlies and New Jersey Nets this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the Hornets handle that road pair, which will be their first back-to-back set since Paul's return.

Looking Back

New York Knicks not named Al Harrington (26 points, 17 rebounds, three triples) struggled in Salt Lake. Danilo Gallinari was just 2-of-10 from the field against the Utah Jazz, while Toney Douglas had just five points and only one assist. Douglas' second straight poor showing prompted an appearance from Sergio Rodriguez (14 points in just 19 minutes). After singing Douglas' praises for three solid weeks, I'll stick by the kid, but I'll note again that, awhile ago, Mike D'Antoni hinted that Rodriguez could get another shot running the point for the Knicks.

Andrei Kirilenko (calf) sat out for the eighth time in 10 games. He'll be reexamined prior to Wednesday's tilt with the Golden State Warriors.

Looking Ahead

• I'm starting to wonder if hot tub time machines are real, given how Beno Udrih has looked like Oscar Robertson of late. In the five games that Tyreke Evans has missed, Beno Udrih is averaging an otherworldly 18.2 points, 11.8 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals. You can still add Udrih -- he's available in about 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues -- but note that Evans is expected back when the Sacramento Kings visit the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Baron Davis (back) will miss the Los Angeles Clippers' three-game road trip, making Steve Blake (98 percent availability) an intriguing add. The Clippers visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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