NBA Today: Amare Stoudemire’s Shooting Woes
After Thursday’s breakout, you probably missed your chance to pick up Toney Douglas.
It was a quiet night in the NBA Thursday, with just a pair of games on tap. Let’s take a look at what transpired on the hardwood last night.
Knicks 120 Bulls 112
The Knicks finally broke out of their shooting woes. After sinking just 29.1 per cent of their shots through the first three games, they canned 40-of-80 field goals attempts Thursday to dispatch of Chicago.
The amazing part of this shooting display is that New York’s main man – Amare Stoudemire – managed to nail just 5-of-17 shots, and some of the attempts he put up were just plain ugly. This career 54.2 per cent shooter is sinking them at a rate of just 39.4 per cent so far this season. Stat also furthered his disconcerting early-season trend of fumbling the ball, committing another eight turnovers, running his total to 25 in just four games. Time for some stick ‘em, Amare!
The news wasn’t all bad, as at least Stoudemire nabbed his first steal of the season and pulled down eight boards with two blocks, but this was not exactly a vintage effort. And coming off the heels of Tuesday’s game being postponed because of “asbestos gate,” this isn’t shaping up as a good week for Stoudemire owners.
On the plus side for the Knicks, popular pre-season sleeper Toney Douglas had a major breakout, nailing 9-of-14 from the field – including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc – and all seven of his freebies for a career-high 30 points. For good measure, the second-year guard added four steals and four boards, while turning it over just once (are you taking notes, Amare?).
If Douglas hasn’t already been scooped up in your league, he sure will be now after this explosion. Of course, this isn’t the first time he’s been a waiver wire darling. If you recall, last March we recommended Douglas after he took over the PG duties for the Knicks.
Douglas’s breakout will likely limit the minutes of Bill Walker, a guy that came out of nowhere last season, and one that has intrigued us, because we think he could really do some damage with more PT. Remember that last season he averaged 1.9 three-pointers for the Knicks after coming over from Boston in a mid-season deal. And Walker has canned four more from downtown in the last two games. Just sayin’…
For the Bulls, it was interesting to see that the second unit got plenty of burn down the stretch, making a late run while Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah were on the bench. The first two sat most of the final quarter, while Noah didn’t see any action in the fourth. What’s up with that? Hey Tom Thibodeau: you really want to piss off your main dudes?
At shooting guard, Ronnie Brewer got a bit more burn Thursday, playing almost 13 minutes after seeing just six minutes in each of the past two games, but Keith Bogans continues to get the lion’s share of minutes in this position battle. I don’t get it, personally. Bogans has done nothing so far, while Brewer – even in his tiny portions of PT – has flashed his potential. Thursday, for instance, he went 2-for-3 from the floor for four points, pulled down two boards, had two steals and an assist. This is a guy that put up serviceable numbers for several seasons on a deep Jazz squad. Watch Brewer’s minutes closely; if he starts getting closer to 20 minutes per game, it will be time to put him on your watch list. Once that creeps up into the 25 MPG range, jump on him fast – he’ll be a great source of steals, with decent point totals and a fine shooting percentage.
Thunder 107 Trail Blazers 106 (OT)
After losing two straight, the Oklahoma City Thunder stepped up in a big way Thursday, first battling back from a 13-point third quarter deficit to force overtime, and ultimately coming away with a huge win in Portland.
For the Thunder, centre Serge Ibaka continues to be a defensive force off the bench and while his numbers Thursday weren’t mind-blowing (11 points on 4-for-4 shooting, seven rebounds, two blocks), he saw more action than starter Nenad Krstic, and remains in line for an increase in minutes going forward. Even if he never overtakes Krstic for the starting job, Ibaka looks like he’ll be the more valuable Fantasy asset this season. Last season, he was a fine source of blocks; this season, he’s also going to help you in points, boards and percentages (check out his improvements from the line), so if he’s still available – which is unlikely – grab Ibaka immediately.
So if Krstic is a Thunder starter not worth owning, what does that make Thabo Sefolosha? Case in point: on Thursday he had his finest shooting game of the young season (3-for-5 with his first trey) and it resulted in a whopping seven points. You’d think as a tough, defensive specialist, Sefolosha would at least be garnering more than 1.7 SPG. Unless you’re in some crazy-ass huge league, go ahead and ignore Thabo.
The Blazers, meanwhile, are dropping like flies. Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, of course, are both still recovering from surgery, but on Thursday Portland lost another pair of players. Fabricio Oberto announced his retirement before the game, citing a prior cardiac condition that induces palpitations. And rookie guard Elliot Williams’s first season has ended before it started. He had yet to get on the court during a game, but he dislocated his right patella in practice on Wednesday, an injury that will require season-ending surgery. See ya next year, kid.
As if the team wasn’t shorthanded enough, Rudy Fernandez missed Thursday’s game because of back spasms.
Well, I guess now’s the time to get the injury issues out of the way.
Wesley Matthews looked like he had been making headway in his position battle with starting SF Nicolas Batum, but on Thursday – even with Fernandez MIA and the game going into OT – Matthews didn’t even see 20 minutes of action. It’s disappointing to his owners, but on the plus side, he still enjoyed a decent game, going 4-for-8 from the field and 5-for-7 from the line for 13 points and a season-high two steals. We’d like to see Matthews getting 25 MPG consistently before suggesting anyone make a move for him, however.