Carmelo Anthony shines without dimes

February, 8, 2011
02/08/11
9:49
AM ET

The Houston Rockets elected not to double-team Carmelo Anthony on Monday. I mention this just so Melo owners know who to thank.

Anthony lit up the Rockets for 50 points, tying a career high. In addition to the points, he gave owners awesome percentages -- 16-of-24 from the field (including a couple of 3-pointers) and 16-of-18 from the line -- as well as 11 boards and three blocks.

For what it's worth, Anthony tormented two very good defenders in Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes (one at a time of course) en route to his monster performance. And the strategy worked: The Rockets defeated the short-handed Denver Nuggets.

Fantasy owners can only hope more NBA teams will follow the Rockets' lead.

Looking Back

• Yes, I said the short-handed Nuggets. Denver played without Nene (illness), and Chauncey Billups left after only nine minutes of action. Billups was diagnosed with a left knee strain and will have an MRI on Tuesday. The good news is he left the arena without any orthopedic assistance.

• The Cleveland Cavaliers can't win, but they do have players who can help fantasy teams. Most notably there's Ramon Sessions (19 points, 13 assists, six rebounds, two steals), who surprisingly remains available in about 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues. In his past four starts, the 24-year-old is averaging 19.8 points, 10.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 58.7 percent from the field and 92.6 percent from the line. Anthony Parker (seven points, four steals) is also a good grab in leagues of at least 12 teams. He was only 3-of-10 on Monday, but in his past four he's averaging 12.8 points, 2.3 steals and 2.0 3s.

• A wild night in Charlotte, where the Bobcats upset the Celtics. Stephen Jackson (11 points, three rebounds) got tossed early, and Captain Jack owners are now counting the T's. Jackson is just three technical fouls away from the 16 that trigger an automatic one-game suspension. D.J. Augustin (nine points, four assists, two 3s) took a back seat to the bigger Shaun Livingston (18 points, four rebounds, three assists) down the stretch. While Livingston, who's topped 25 minutes played in just two games this season, shouldn't be a threat to start, Augustin's recent shooting woes (just 34.8 percent in his past six games) are a concern. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins (eight points, seven rebounds, three blocks) had another encouraging performance, which was much needed for a Celtics team missing most of its post players, including both O'Neals.

Peja Stojakovic (eight points, five rebounds) started and played 20 minutes in his Dallas Mavericks debut. Facing a Cavs team that allows a stunning 8.9 3-pointers per game, the 33-year-old went just 3-of-9 from the floor, including 1-of-6 from distance. I don't see Peja making much of a fantasy impact, but if you're streaming players the Mavs do have a couple of favorable matchups the next two Thursdays.

• And in case you didn't know, Kevin Love (27 points, 17 rebounds, 14-of-14 from the line) was stellar again, recording his 37th consecutive double-double.

Looking Ahead

• Love's Timberwolves are facing their own injury problems. They could be without Michael Beasley (ankle) and Darko Milicic (hip) when they visit the Rockets on Tuesday. If I had to grab one fill-in on this team, it'd be Anthony Tolliver, who had 12 points (on four 3-pointers) and seven rebounds in 28 minutes Monday.

• The biggest fantasy star who might not see the court Tuesday appears to be Al Horford (back), whose Atlanta Hawks host the Philadelphia 76ers.

• While many fantasy owners, myself included, were hoping to see more of Tony Allen during O.J. Mayo's suspension, it's second-year pro Sam Young who's getting the extra run. Young himself is averaging a healthy 2.2 steals in his past five, and on Monday he tied a career high with 22 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. He's another Tuesday fill-in possibility, as the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Leandro Barbosa (hamstring), who was playing well before going down, could return against the Milwaukee Bucks. Aaron Brooks (suspension) will return against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he could be deep in coach Rick Adelman's doghouse at this point.

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

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