Carlos Boozer has best game with Bulls
In his fourth game of the season, Boozer turned in his most impressive performance, amassing 29 points and 12 boards against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While Boozer is fitting in well with the Bulls, fantasy owners should consider how his new teammates are faring. I know it's early, but I'd be a little concerned if I was a Derrick Rose owner. In four games with Boozer, Rose has produced his two lowest-scoring games: 15 points versus the Orlando Magic on Dec. 1 and 11 points against the Thunder. There were mitigating circumstances in each contest: Rose played only 32 minutes in the blowout loss to the Magic, and on Monday he simply had a bad night from the field, going 3-of-13. However, those 13 attempts tied a season low for him. Of course Rose will continue to have monster performances -- like the 30 points and 11 assists he registered against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 4 -- but with Boozer in the lineup it appears he's more willing to embrace the distributor role. Rose is averaging 17.8 shots in his past four games; in his first 14 games, he averaged 22.0 attempts.
It's a similar story with Luol Deng, who averaged 16.2 shots before Boozer but has only 12.3 attempts in his past four. Deng did, however, go 9-of-16 against the Thunder to finish with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
There's only one basketball, but there are lots of rebounds. That's why I'm not as worried that Joakim Noah's numbers are down with Boozer in the lineup. Despite averaging 8.4 boards with Boozer, Noah has reached double figures in rebounds the past three games. Against the Thunder, he managed 12 boards, even though foul trouble limited him to 21 minutes.
• Darko Milicic didn't miss a shot against the New York Knicks, but he did end up missing most of the game. After a 4-of-4 start against Amare Stoudemire, Milicic sustained a bruised quad and left after eight minutes.
• Dwight Howard (14 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks) returned, but Jameer Nelson (stomach virus) missed his third straight game. That's quite the flu bug that's biting the Magic, who head west for four games starting Thursday.
• Blocks being as hard to come by as they are, fantasy owners should take notice of Larry Sanders. The Milwaukee Bucks rookie had two more rejections against the Miami Heat. In the past seven games, when the Bucks have been without Drew Gooden and/or Andrew Bogut, Sanders is averaging 2.4 blocks, along with 8.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 0.8 steals.
• Just when it appeared Baron Davis (4 points, 8 assists) was headed back into the starting lineup, he injured his hamstring against the Sacramento Kings. Chris Kaman missed the game after reinjuring his left ankle Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
• The Kings are a bad team that is making life miserable for fantasy owners. After being pulled from the starting lineup and playing no more than 20 minutes in his previous nine games, Omri Casspi (21 points, 10 rebounds, 2 3-pointers) played 34 minutes off the bench against the Los Angeles Clippers. Will it last for Casspi? Has it lasted for Luther Head, Jason Thompson or Donte Greene? Kings not named Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins aren't worth the trouble right now.
While J.R. Smith is coming around, don't overlook his teammate Arron Afflalo. Smith and Afflalo should do well against a Charlotte Bobcats team that yields the fifth-most 3-pointers. Smith remains available in about 35 percent of ESPN.com leagues, while Afflalo can be had in nearly 40 percent of leagues.