Carmelo Anthony shoots well in return
The New York Knicks went into Tuesday night having lost nine of their previous 10 games. Fortunately for the Knickerbockers, they got Carmelo Anthony back and played the hapless Detroit Pistons, who had the same record in their previous 10. The end result was a crushing 113-86 victory for the Knicks, but there were some side stories of interest to fantasy folks.
First, Melo looked good and said afterward that he felt "refreshed" following a two-game absence to rest his sore ankle and wrist. He scored 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting (including a pair of 3s) and dished out six dimes, though he mustered just one board and turned the rock over four times. Despite feeling better, he wasn't ready to commit to playing all three games in the upcoming back-to-back-to-back stretch that begins Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.
In other Knicks news, Amare Stoudemire turned his ankle before the second-half warm-up when he tripped on a rope used during the halftime entertainment. He played through it, but with three games in three nights ahead, it's something to keep an eye on. Iman Shumpert was back in the starting lineup at the point, despite coach Mike D'Antoni saying earlier in the day that he felt Shumpert was better off not working at the 1. Clearly, D'Antoni likes Shumpert but hasn't figured out his best role. Until he does, Shumpert will have limited fantasy worth -- he had 6 points, 6 dimes, 3 turnovers and 2 steals in 35 minutes Tuesday -- especially if Baron Davis (back) ever joins the Knicks' backcourt.
• With MarShon Brooks likely out at least a couple of weeks with a fracture in the little toe on his right foot, Anthony Morrow is back in the starting lineup for the New Jersey Nets, playing significant minutes and taking a good number of shots. In fact, he's had double-digit field goal attempts in each of his past eight games and scored 14 or more in each of his past six contests. Last night, he took 17 shots in 37 minutes and wound up with 28 points and five 3s. He doesn't do much else in fantasy terms, but if you need scoring and 3s, Morrow can lend a hand.
• Jerryd Bayless made his second straight start for the Toronto Raptors Tuesday, and for the third straight game, he scored in the teens (14, 17, 18 points). As I noted in my Tuesday chat, I love Bayless as a sleeper right now. He's healthy, and with Andrea Bargnani out for a while, the Raptors need a scorer. Remember that in eight April games last season, he averaged 22.5 points, 1.8 3-pointers, 5.6 dimes and 1.1 swipes. You can't expect that level of scoring a nightly basis, but it proves he can ball.
• After sitting out a couple of games to rest a sore ankle, Ty Lawson returned to the hardwood Tuesday evening. He played 35 minutes in an overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (three fewer minutes than backup point guard Andre Miller) and mustered just 12 points to go with four dimes and five turnovers. He's a terrific buy-low player, because of his ability to post great percentages from the point, while adding dimes, swipes and 3s. It should just be a matter of time before he really busts loose.
Stephen Jackson was a DNP-CD Monday against the Pistons, which can be read as the official moment that Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles welcomed S-Jax to his doghouse. Will Skiles take Jackson out for a run on Wednesday? Not surprisingly, Skiles wouldn't tip his hand Tuesday, so we'll have to wait and see. Jackson, at least, is saying the right things.
"And you know what, for the most part, Scott is right," Jackson said. "We are playing well without me in the lineup."
Jackson's still worth holding onto, because despite his advancing age (33) and his troubles with Skiles, he still has the potential to be a solid fantasy option if they can get on the same page.