By Ben Hubner


Jamario Moon and Josh Smith are not to believed.
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
"Pau and I just couldn't connect tonight. We weren't sure who was covering who.''

-- Grizzlies forward Darko Milicic explaining, quite well, his team's defensive troubles on Tuesday.
Tonight: An update on the NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League. After starting the fantasy season 0-5, Spike Lee the obscure director and New York-native, best-known for School Daze and Crooklyn won his first fantasy matchup, but is still tied with Kenny Smith for last place with a record of 1-5. Meanwhile, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons sits atop the standings at 5-1, tied with the Bill Laimbeer to his Larry Bird, super-tan Access Hollywood host Tony Potts. Check out's Fantasy Index.
Larry Hughes, Cavaliers
118-105 win vs Pacers
36 pts, 13-17 FG, 5-8 3-pt FG

Craig Smith, Timberwolves
102-88 loss at Wizards
36 pts, 14-22 FG, 8-9 FT

Richard Hamilton, Pistons
113-103 win at Grizzlies
27 pts, 11-16 FG, 5-7 FT

Jason Kidd. Good at basketball. Triple-double. You get the point. Tuesday night he had 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, good for the 93rd triple-double of his NBA career. Apparently, this is what happens when Jason Kidd mails it in. While most disgruntled players openly sulk and pout, and do the bare minimum so they at least appear to be trying, Kidd sticks it to the man, too: He does just enough to record triple-doubles. Sorry, Jersey, that's all you get.
Richard Jefferson, Nets
91-82 loss vs. Clippers
21 pts, 6-21 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG

Josh Smith, Hawks
100-88 loss vs Raptors
5 pts, 2-11 FG, 0-1 3-pt FG

Deron Williams, Jazz
97-89 loss vs Blazers
11 pts, 4-14 FG, 1-3 3-pt FG

Well, for a night. LeBron James, Anderson Varejao and Larry Hughes were all relegated to the bench on Tuesday, though for reasons not so much related to basketball merit. TheBron, after missing five games with a dysfunctional digit, returned to score 17 points in his relief role. And, after a lengthy holdout where the two sides could not agree whether he should be unimaginably wealthy, or just obscenely wealthy, Varejao played for the first time this season. As it turned out, the same could be said for Larry Hughes. (Not the part about the holdout, but the part about his, figuratively, not having played yet.) Hughes exploded for a season-high 36 points on 13-of-17 shooting in just 26 minutes, and even a rusty Varejao scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds in limited minutes. Cavs head coach Mike Brown probably kept Varejao and James from starting so nobody would expect much from them in their return. But, whether it was genuine caution on Brown's part, or a ruse simply designed to lower expectations, they once again looked like a competitive basketball team. So, rightfully or not, what transpired Tuesday night restored Cleveland's faith in all the King's men.
For the first time, the Spurs looked like they missed Tim Duncan. The Warriors are fast, frantic and free and, most importantly, willing and able to impose their style of play upon their opponent. The Spurs are usually the exception, but they are, more than we knew, tethered by Tim Duncan's discipline, and Duncan's in particular; not just coach Gregg Popovich's. Tuesday night's 96-84 loss to the Warriors was a great example why. After all, Duncan's production was not just supplemented, but exceeded. By Matt Bonner, no less. Once more, louder this time: Matt Bonner! Though he sounds like a hilarious replacement, he actually scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. So what was missing, instead, was Duncan's placid demeanor, which immunizes the Spurs from submitting to another team's style. But without their anchor the Spurs were basically adrift at sea, committing a season-high 21 turnovers and losing for the first time in six games. Though to be fair, perhaps the Spurs, for any number of reasons not necessarily relating to Duncan's absence, were uncharacteristically awful, since the second-highest scorer for San Antonio was Manu Ginobili with 13.
Though there was only one D-League game on Tuesday night, six players scored 20-plus points, hoping to thrust themselves into consideration for D-League Star of the Night. That, or they scored a lot so they would be called up to an NBA team and sign a multi-million dollar contract. Either one. But Darius Washington led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting, and his team won, so here he is, pictured. His Toros beat the Vipers, 119-113, also thanks in part to Keith Langford, who scored 26 points and collected 12 rebounds. The Toros also got 22 points from familiar face and name DerMarr Johnson.
The Jazz had won eight straight games at home. Their record was several games better than the Blazers' entering Tuesday's game. And they had Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. This is the case for why the Blazers' 97-89 win over the Jazz was an upset. Really, though, it was just marginally unlikely, or maybe reasonable to expect a Blazers win, for three reasons. 1. The Jazz had lost their last three coming in; 2. Anyone can win on any given night, smart guy; and 3. Martell Webster, though he did not disclose this to anyone, planned on not missing very often. He scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 5-of-8 from three.
Kevin Durant. Good at basketball. Best rookie. You get the point. On nights like Tuesday night, Durant has almost nothing to play for. His Sonics were absolutely blasted by the Bulls, 123-96, and they were put away early. Sensing this, P.J. Carlesimo insulated him from the disheartening development and limited him to just 24 minutes, hoping his mind might wander on the bench. Durant still managed to lead the Sonics in scoring with 16, shooting 5-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. It was enough to keep his season average for points per game above 20. So, OK, he had something to play for.