Best of the Night: Kevin Durant
What were the odds that the leading scorer in the NBA would do good in a home, overtime game against the paper-thin defense of the Golden State Warriors? Pretty darn good. Durant came away with 39 points on 12-23 shooting, converting 10 of 12 free-throws, hitting 3 three-pointers and adding 6 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal and a block -- not to mention barely taking best-of honors away from Stephen Curry, whose stat line was nearly identical. No one takes on a bigger scoring load than Durant, and with Jeff Green gone, there's no reason to think he won't be the leading scorer in the league next year as well.
- It took nearly until the beginning of April, but Stephen Curry at last had a 30-point game in the month of March. Curry collected 35 points, making 5 three's to go with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Curry's percentages (48% FG, 93.2% FT) make him an elite player, but as long as Monta Ellis is around, he'll never produce in volume as much you'd like.
- And speaking of Monta Ellis, the league's leading shot-taker had an interesting night versus the Thunder. He had 20 points, 11 assists, 2 three's, 3 steals and 2 rebounds, but made only 9 of 30 shot attempts. Ellis is a fantastic scorer and is capable of producing in just about every category other than blocks; yesterday's game was his third straight with at least 10 assists. However, his field-goal percentage has plummeted since the beginning of the year, and with 30-shot-attempt outings like this one, it's not hard to see why.
- Kyle Lowry's late-season push to become the Most Improved Player of 2010-2011 season moved in the right direction on Tuesday, with Lowry getting 16 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 three's at New Jersey. In only a few short months since taking over for Aaron Brooks, Lowry has morphed into a consistent triple-double threat and should not be overlooked by those looking for an affordable point guard for next year.
- Considering he didn't even play in the fourth quarter, Chuck Hayes' 8 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals look even more impressive. He may be a terrible offensive player, but he's the only center on the waiver wire capable of putting up a triple-double, and usually does fantastic against weak defenses such as Cleveland, Phoenix, Golden State, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
- Marcus Thornton had yet another great scoring night, getting 24 points and 11 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns. Thornton's been terrific in Tyreke Evans' absence, but don't get suckered into thinking those stats will be there a year from now. There's no such thing as a reliable scorer on one of the worst teams in the NBA, as the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers can attest. Once Evans reclaims his starting job, Thornton's numbers should take a sizable drop.
- 84 of the Miami Heat's 90 points at Cleveland came from four players, with Chris Bosh (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists), LeBron James (27 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (24 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 three's, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and surprisingly Mike Bibby (23 points, 7 three's) doing the bulk of the work. Unfortunately, 90 points weren't enough to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, which obliterates the notion as recently-heard as yesterday that the Heat had at last "figured it out."
Worst of the Night: Samuel Dalembert
The Kings' center didn't do a whole lot versus the Suns, playing only 12 minutes and coming away with 0 points, 6 rebounds and a block on 0-4 shooting. He's still a pretty nice spot-start if you're in need of blocks, but with youngsters DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson around, don't expect the aging Dalembert to get a lot of playing time as the season winds down.
- The Rockets beat the Nets by 25 on Tuesday, but it wasn't thanks to Chase Buddinger, who provided just 10 points and 3 assists on 4-11 shooting. Buddinger's a good shooter, and has been a decent fantasy option since moving into the starting lineup following the team's trade of Shane Battier. But he's incapable of creating his own shot, meaning that he'll never be a big-time scorer on a team with Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. Buddinger is averaging 8.8 points on 33.3% shooting over his past five games.
- Vince Carter had only 9 points on 4-8 shooting in 16 minutes against the Sacramento Kings. It wasn't necessarily a bad performance, but the fact remains that Carter was only a fringe fantasy play while he was in the Suns' starting lineup. And now that he's coming off the bench, it's not only possible, but probable, that Vince Carter will never again resurface as a fantasy player worth owning.