Boozer back to balling

November, 6, 2009

It's been a while, but Carlos Boozer poured in 27 points on 12-for-20 shooting versus, of all teams, the San Antonio Spurs. The last time Boozer dropped as many as 27 points in a regular-season contest was on March 28, 2008 versus the Los Angeles Clippers, so this was definitely a long time coming. And his primary competition for playing time, Paul Millsap was middling, with nine points, six rebounds and four fouls in 26 minutes.

The big night still puts Boozer at just 15.6 points per game, six-tenths of a point below last season's mark, but the bright side is that he's averaging a full shot attempt more per game, while his assists have also shot up. Meanwhile, Millsap is averaging 24 minutes and 4.4 fouls per game after averaging 3.8 fouls in 30 minutes last season. It seems Millsap will never learn how to stay out of foul trouble, and unless Boozer gets hurt or traded, his fantasy value is quite limited considering he was, on average, the 89th player selected in drafts. If you do own him, you should have expected this; you have to be ready to either be patient or to cut bait now and go fishing on your league's waiver wire. As for Boozer owners, things look back to status quo. He seems well on his way to putting last season's disappointment behind him and proving himself worthy of the third- or fourth-round pick it probably cost to grab him. Now he just has to stay healthy.

Carlos Boozer, Jazz: 27 points, (12-for-20 shooting), 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks versus the Spurs
• Shaquille O'Neal, Cavs: 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks (zero free throw attempts) in 31 minutes versus the Bulls
Deron Williams, Jazz: 27 points (11-19 from the field), 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block versus the Spurs
Manu Ginobili, Spurs: 11 points (3-for-8 shooting), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 3-pointer against the Jazz
Mehmet Okur, Jazz: 10 points (4-for-10 from the field), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 fouls in 28 minutes versus the Spurs
Mo Williams, Cavs: 11 points (4-for-13 from the field), 6 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 3-pointer versus the Bulls

Browsing the Box Scores

Tyrus Thomas came off the bench to log 12 minutes, which has to be considered a good thing given that he was doubtful due to the flu. Taj Gibson started and had a nondescript game in his place -- 11 points on 12 shots and seven rebounds -- and it will be interesting to see if head coach Vinny Del Negro uses this as an opportunity to further limit Thomas' minutes in the future.

• He's owned in just 8.9 percent of leagues, but Anderson Varejao, who posted a double-double for the second consecutive game, deserves a long look. Despite Shaq joining the fray in the Cavaliers' front court, Varejao's defensive quickness is more vital to the Cavs than ever, and this could be the year Varejao finally averages more than 30 minutes per game. He doesn't hurt you anywhere and is great filler when you're in-between quality pickups and you just need a solid and stable player.

Looking Ahead

• Pay close attention to the Kings' games Saturday against the Jazz and Sunday versus the Warriors. Assuming Kevin Martin's broken left wrist keeps him out for about two months, a lot of playing time -- and shot attempts -- should open up for Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih and Omri Casspi. Andres Nocioni also should benefit, as the Kings suddenly need playmakers, and Nocioni has never been shy about chucking up shots.

• Keep in mind that both Andrew Bynum (elbow) and Pau Gasol (hamstring) are expected to miss Friday's contest. Andris Biedrins (back) and Ronny Turiaf (knee) are questionable for the Warriors, and you should also keep an eye on Leandro Barbosa (wrist) and Trevor Ariza (virus), whose statuses are also up in the air. Veterans Tayshaun Prince (back) and Richard Hamilton (ankle) are also expected to be unavailable through the weekend. Bump up your expectations of Lamar Odom, Josh Powell, Anthony Randolph (crosses fingers), Shane Battier and Will Bynum.

Charlie Bell played 34 minutes in a start against the Bulls on Tuesday despite four fouls, and chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. He's not a bad option when the Bucks face the Wolves on Friday and host the Knicks on Saturday. Rasual Butler also may be an option in deeper leagues against Golden State Friday, as Al Thornton is questionable with the flu.



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