Zach Randolph looks sharp in return

March, 19, 2012
Zach Randolph is back, while Monta Ellis returned to Oakland in his Milwaukee Bucks debut.

Randolph, out since Jan. 1 because of a knee injury, came off the bench in two games over the weekend. He scored 25 points in 25 minutes (though he went only 7-of-14 from the line) against the Toronto Raptors on Friday, then produced 13 points in 24 minutes against the Washington Wizards on Sunday. He added nine rebounds in each game. Randolph is expected to start for the Memphis Grizzlies when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Ellis, meanwhile, had 18 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals in a team-high 38 minutes, leading the Bucks past the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

However, other recently traded players were less statistically impactful in their debuts:

Playing limited minutes, Ramon Sessions totaled 17 points and 11 assists in his first two games with the Los Angeles Lakers. In a stunning home loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday, Sessions was just 1-for-7 from the floor, but 8-of-10 from the line. … Gerald Wallace had 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 37 minutes for the New Jersey Nets on March 17. … Stephen Jackson played just 17 minutes for the San Antonio Spurs, finishing with five points against the Dallas Mavericks on March 17. … And Nick Young scored nine points off the bench in 29 minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. He made only one field goal but was 7-of-8 from the line.

Looking back

• If Sunday's Cleveland Cavaliers-Atlanta Hawks game is any indication, we could be seeing plenty of Kyrie Irving down the stretch. Irving has averaged only 31 minutes per game this season, as Cavs coach Byron Scott has been reluctant to push his prized rookie. However, following Sessions' departure, the Cavs are without a true backup point guard, and it showed against the Hawks. Irving (19 points, 10 assists) played 37 minutes, including the entire third quarter. And when Scott gave him a breather for four-plus minutes to start the fourth, the Cavs saw an 8-point deficit balloon to 16. Meanwhile, Daniel Gibson (three points, eight rebounds) was a minus-14 in his 23 minutes. Gibson and Anthony Parker, both natural shooting guards, are the Cavs' remaining options to run the offense when Irving is resting.

• It's tough to follow up back-to-back 21-point, 15-board performances, but Jason Thompson (13 points, 10 rebounds) registered another double-double against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thompson's promising stretches never seem to last, but perhaps Kings coach Keith Smart is getting through to the fourth-year pro.

• Each team was missing a starter in the aforementioned Kings-Wolves contest. Tyreke Evans (ankle) warmed up, but couldn't play. John Salmons (15 points, three assists) got the start in his place. Meanwhile, Nikola Pekovic (ankle) was inactive for the third time in the past eight games. The Wolves are in action again Monday, so consider Pekovic questionable for the Warriors.

• I'd be remiss if I didn't give a virtual tip of the hat to the Manimal. It's not so much that Kenneth Faried put up 18 points and 16 rebounds against the Boston Celtics on Saturday. It's not so much that he did that while not missing a shot (5-of-5 from the field, 8-of-8 from the line). It's that he did all that in just 24 minutes. Keeper-league gold, that kid is.

Looking ahead

Derrick Rose (groin) might not accompany the Chicago Bulls on their two-game road trip, which begins Monday against the Orlando Magic. C.J. Watson, who also is hindered (ankle) but is playing through it, had 20 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler could both be active when the Denver Nuggets host the Mavs on Monday. It will be interesting to see how coach George Karl doles out minutes now. Chandler, by the way, is still available in most leagues.

Rodrigue Beaubois is a nice fill-in play versus the Nuggets should Shawn Marion (knee) miss another game. With Marion sidelined against the Spurs on Saturday, Vince Carter slid over to small forward and Beaubois (18 points, eight rebounds) started at shooting guard. The Nuggets allow a league-high 8.3 3-pointers per game, and they also yield the third-most points.

Richard Jefferson was a putrid 2-of-14 shooting in his first game with the Warriors, but for deeper leagues I'm actually a bit intrigued by his potential with his new team. R.J. logged 38 minutes in the overtime loss to the Jazz on Saturday, and that could be a trend. In the aftermath of their deadline-day maneuverings, the Warriors have a paper-thin roster that will have to navigate a hellacious schedule (24 games over the season's final 39 days). Jefferson -- along with Klay Thompson, Nate Robinson, David Lee and Dorell Wright -- should all play a ton down the stretch.



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