Raymond Felton snaps shooting slump

January, 25, 2011

Raymond Felton has been one of fantasy's best all season. Jeff Green has been a disappointment and an afterthought. But each player emerged from prolonged shooting slumps Monday.

Felton registered 15 assists -- his second-highest total of the season -- and four steals, but his break-even shooting performance (7-of-14 from the field) against the Washington Wizards was perhaps most pleasing to fantasy owners. In his previous nine games, Felton had shot better than 40 percent only once. He'd connected at a rate of just 27.8 percent (40-for-144) during that span.

While there's been talk about Felton wearing down, he catches a break with the schedule in the near term, as the New York Knicks play just 13 times in the next five weeks. Fantasy owners can only hope that Felton -- who was seventh in the NBA in minutes played going into Monday -- regroups in February and then carries fantasy teams through the Knicks' killer March and April schedule.

Green, meanwhile, made eight of his 13 shots, including a couple of 3-pointers, and finished with 19 points and seven rebounds against the New Orleans Hornets. It was his biggest offensive output since Dec. 19, when he had 19 points against the Phoenix Suns.

Like Felton, Green's numbers in his previous nine games (10.9 points on 37.6 percent shooting) weren't pretty, but really, the 24-year-old has been struggling for weeks. Take away the 37 points he amassed in a triple-overtime win over the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 1, and Green averaged just 13.5 points in December. He may have hit a low in his previous game against the Knicks on Jan. 22. Green scored just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting and was benched for most of the fourth quarter by Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks. However, Brooks continues to back Green, and the Thunder's schedule -- starting with Wednesday's tilt at the Minnesota Timberwolves -- is pretty favorable through the All-Star break.

Looking Back

• A typically productive night from Chris Paul (24 points, nine assists, three steals) ended in near disaster when he aggravated a left ankle injury while making a critical defensive play in the Hornets' win over the Thunder. While Paul said that he'd be OK, he also indicated that he would have been unable to play had the game gone to overtime. The Hornets visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

• Apparently, Samuel Dalembert's defense made the difference against LaMarcus Aldridge (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists), who was just 4-of-14 against the Sacramento Kings. Aldridge had averaged 26.3 points in his previous 20 games, and he hadn't been held to single-digit scoring since Dec. 5.

• The Milwaukee Bucks continue to confound fantasy owners. Corey Maggette (four points, four rebounds), who'd averaged 16.2 points in his previous nine games, played just 20 minutes against the Chicago Bulls while Chris Douglas-Roberts (30 points on 13-of-21 shooting) went off. CDR had averaged just 3.7 points in his previous six. One thing that is apparent is Carlos Delfino (three points in 31 minutes) will need some time to rediscover his stroke after missing 10 weeks with a concussion and lingering symptoms.

• The surprising offensive star of that Bucks-Bulls game was 38-year-old Kurt Thomas (22 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks). Surprise doesn't really cover it: Thomas hadn't scored that many points in a game since 2005, when he was with the Knicks. Thomas is averaging 6.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals in place of Joakim Noah -- who, by the way, is talking about returning before the All-Star break.

Jerryd Bayless (15 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, two steals) had a monster game, but it's not a trend. Jose Calderon (flu) could return for the Toronto Raptors when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

• The Suns limped to the end of their five-game road trip. Most disconcerting for fantasy owners is that Vince Carter appears to be having more trouble with his knee. VC played just 22 minutes against the 76ers, and in the final four games out east he shot 25 percent (10-of-40). While Marcin Gortat played only 10 minutes against the up-tempo Sixers, he remains a free-agent find after notching double-doubles in his previous three games.

• With Mo Williams (hip) out for several weeks, it's time to claim Ramon Sessions (16 points, six assists, four rebounds), who's still available in about 75 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Other free-agent possibilities include Daniel Gibson (19 points, five assists and a pair of 3s), Darko Milicic (15 points, six rebounds) and Ryan Anderson (21 points, four 3s), who all can be had in at least one-third of ESPN.com leagues.

Looking Ahead

Eric Gordon (wrist, back) has a torn tendon in his right ring finger, but apparently that's the least of his injury problems. While his Los Angeles Clippers teammates traveled to Texas on Monday, Gordon underwent MRIs on his back and his sprained right wrist. He could rejoin the team Tuesday in Dallas or Wednesday in Houston, but he's questionable for both games. Randy Foye could see extended minutes should Gordon sit.

• With Francisco Garcia sidelined, Omri Casspi is a solid play against the Charlotte Bobcats. Casspi is averaging 12.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 3s in his past three, and the Bobcats allow the fourth-most buckets from downtown.

Neil Tardy is fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?