Season-bests abound Wednesday
As good of a season as Jose Calderon has had this year, he may not have had a better game than last night. He converted a three-point play to beat the Celtics, and finished with 24 points, three 3-pointers, 13 assists and 3 steals while shooting 8-of-10 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line. He and Chris Kaman are hands-down the top draft day bargains of the season.
Also of note in the Raptors-Celtics game, Andrea Bargnani turned his best performance of the year with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 dimes. Maybe coach Sam Mitchell calling out Bargnani's toughness in the Toronto Sun got Il Mago fired up.
Keeping the best game of the season theme going, here are a few more that went down on Wednesday:
Kirk Hinrich filled it up with 38 points, four 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 steals. He hasn't played a game close to this level all season. Maybe playing without Chris Duhon will be helpful. Call it the Thabo Effect.
Big Al Jefferson was huge against Phoenix with 39 points, 15 rebounds and 2 steals. The Wolves have now beaten two of the better teams in the Western Conference in successive games. This is the second huge game Jefferson has had against the Suns. Back on December 8, he posted 32 points, 20 rebounds and 4 steals.
Jannero Pargo can safely call last night his finest outing of the year after notching 24 points, two 3-pointers and 5 assists in a win against Portland. Deep leaguers should take note. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bobby Jackson will miss the rest of this week's games with a strained right hammy, and Pargo is getting his minutes.
Richard Hamilton is having a heck of a season, especially with his field goal percentage. Last night, he shot 9-of-12 from the field en route to 21 points and is shooting an unguard-like 50.3 percent on the year. This makes him a rare 50/80 player, shooting 50 percent or better from the field and 80 or better from the line. If you are looking for help in these categories, Hamilton makes for a nice trade target.
You have to love what Devin the Dude is doing this month. Last night, Harris went for 23 points and 9 assists on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. This month, he is averaging 16.1 points and 5.7 assists on 52.4 percent shooting from the field and 81.9 percent from the line. The best part? He can probably be had without great cost.
Check Josh Smith's line last night against Denver: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 5 blocks and 7 turnovers while shooting a maddening 8-for-23 from the field. What other player tosses a triple-double with a combined eight steals and blocks yet makes his owners groan?
Linas Kleiza had another good night (23 points) and should continue to have a strong week as the Denver Post reports that Carmelo is likely to sit on Friday and may not be back until Sunday.
Tim Duncan lit up the Lakers last night with 28 points and 17 boards, but he isn't alone in doing so. Starting centers (Duncan started at center last night) have averaged 19.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks against the Lakeshow since Andrew Bynum went down.
If I owned Tracy McGrady, I would use last night's numbers (28 points, one 3-pointer and 5 dimes in 35 minutes) to advance a trade. Try to avoid bringing up the 1-for-6 from the line.
It is not looking good for John Salmons (8 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist) and his owners. He is averaging just 18.4 minutes and 4.2 points per game in his past five and you can't pin this on his sprained left ankle. There just aren't minutes enough on this deep Kings team despite his stellar play.
Yesterday, I made a big trade, giving up Dwight Howard in exchange for Chris Kaman. I took quite a beating on my league message board for it and have written a short defense, which will appear on the site later today. I'm not trying to rub it in at all, but here are last night's lines from Kaman and Howard, respectively:
Kaman: 20 points, 21 boards, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 9-of-13 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws.
Howard: 16 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 5-of-7 field goals and 6-of-9 free throws.
Guy Lake is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.