Raymond Felton starts, Jamal Crawford sits

March, 6, 2012

For the first time in four games, Raymond Felton got the start on Monday. For the first time in a while, fantasy owners were happy to have Felton in their lineups.

Felton turned in a solid effort with 11 points (on 5-of-10 shooting), 10 assists, 2 steals and a 3-pointer. It was just the fourth time this season he reached double figures in dimes. In his four games as a reserve, Felton averaged just 6.8 points and 4.5 assists. During that time, he was dumped in about 20 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

Meanwhile, owners who were getting great production from Jamal Crawford got a gut punch. After averaging 20.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 treys in the four games he started at point guard, Crawford had just five points in 19 minutes against the New Orleans Hornets.

This might not be the last twist in the fantasy fortunes of Felton and Crawford. The Portland Trail Blazers are 10th in the Western Conference and about to embark on a seven-game road trip, and both players have been prominent in trade rumors.

Looking back

Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Nene Hilario (calf) returned to the Denver Nuggets on Monday, playing limited minutes in an overtime win against the Sacramento Kings. Gallo managed just four points, while Nene went for six points, four rebounds and a couple of blocks. Meanwhile, the "Manimal," Kenneth Faried (20 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in 37 minutes), turned in another beastly performance. His stats are sure to take a hit once Gallinari and Nene are at full strength, but Nuggets coach George Karl has said he wants to give Faried at least 20 minutes a night. While I'm on Denver, Ty Lawson is simply playing the best basketball of his young career. In four games since the break, he's averaging 19.5 points, 12.0 assists, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 3s and 1.5 steals.

Stephen Curry (foot) scored 12 points with a pair of triples in his first significant action in four games. Coach Mark Jackson said he limited Curry to nine minutes because his Golden State Warriors were routing the Washington Wizards.

• More ugliness from the Wizards: Andray Blatche (four points, four rebounds) played just 13 minutes in his second game since returning from a calf injury. Afterward, he complained about being booed by Wizards fans. Meanwhile, legions of fantasy owners wish they had the same opportunity. The Wizards did get a good garbage-time showing from Nick Young (25 points, four 3s), though. Young had missed the previous contest with a bruised knee.

Richard Hamilton just cannot stay healthy. In his third game back after missing a month with groin and thigh problems, Hamilton injured his shoulder in a collision with Roy Hibbert. Rip left after just 83 seconds and will be examined on Tuesday.

• Others sitting out Monday included Wolves center Nikola Pekovic (foot) and Raptors big man Amir Johnson (knee). Both are considered day-to-day.

Russell Westbrook is turning into a 3-point threat before our eyes. Although Westbrook was only 6-of-20 from the field on Monday, he knocked down two more from beyond the arc. He's averaging 1.6 triples in his past eight games and 1.2 3s since the start of February. Through January, Westbrook was just 10-for-44 (22.7 percent) from downtown; since then, he's 22-for-62 (35.5 percent).

Looking ahead

Some of us were hoping for better things, but J.R. Smith has been just atrocious in his stint with the New York Knicks. The most dropped player in ESPN.com leagues faces the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Although the Mavs allow an above-average number of 3-pointers, they hold opponents to just 34.0 percent from beyond the arc, seventh-best in the league. Not that this should discourage you from filling in with Steve Novak, who's nailed 3.5 3s per game in his past 13 games.

Chris Bosh (personal) and Bismack Biyombo (shoulder) are expected to return Tuesday, while Joe Johnson (knee) is questionable. Biyombo, who's missed the past two games, averaged 2.2 blocks in February. Brook Lopez is expected to miss three weeks after he rolled his right ankle on Sunday.



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