Games Played Week 20
5 Games: MIL
4 Games: BOS, CHA, DEN, GSW, LAC, MEM, MIA, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, UTA, WAS
3 Games: ATL, BRK, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL
2 Games: LAL
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It was a crucial weekend of fantasy hoops, as the playoffs are approaching or underway, and the owners of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins may have been sweating things out until the end. Davis had a brutal week before Sunday’s explosion, while Cousins also saved his best for Sunday last week. Davis went off for 32 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks in an overtime win against Denver, while Cousins poured in 28 points and 20 rebounds in an ugly loss to the Nets. Cousins is still one technical foul away from a one-game suspension, but I wouldn’t mind writing that sentence every week for the rest of the season. I own Davis and Cousins in League Freak and will be rolling out a six-man lineup of Goran Dragic, Russell Westbrook, Lance Stephenson, Davis, Cousins and Jimmy Butler this week. And while that looks pretty good on paper, I’ll need Davis to show up every night if I’m going to go deep into the playoffs. And as we’ve seen with him all season, he seems to be posting monster lines or ones that don’t help very much. Boom or bust, baby.
Nerlens Noel posted a short and sweet tweet on Sunday that simply red 4-4-14. The Sixers play at Boston that day, which happens to be where Noel is from. Of course, there’s been no confirmation from the Sixers and reports are that Noel is simply “wishing” he could play that day, as he continues to recover from knee surgery. Maybe he’s just fired about going to Boston, or maybe Philly will actually let him suit up and play that day. Either way, I have absolutely no interest in picking Noel up, regardless of how deep the league. The only exception would be in a dynasty league. As for what Noel will do when he finally plays next season, he’s going to still be a rookie and we haven’t seen him play basketball in over a year. I’m going to let someone else draft him.
Did you happen to catch interview with Joakim Noah’s dad on Sunday? He was trying to be polite and answer the questions, but lost his mind when Noah played solid D on LeBron and then shot free throws on the other end. Watching and listening to his dad’s reaction to the sequence was much better than anything he could have said to Lisa Salters, and I’ve attached the video here in case you haven’t seen it.
Dwyane Wade played three of his four games last week and finished up strong on Sunday with 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals on 7-of-16 shooting. LeBron James had a full stat line, but hit just 8-of-23 shots for 17 points as the Bulls handed the champs their third straight loss in overtime. As an owner of Wade in a weekly league in which the playoffs are underway, I have a decision to make this week. The Heat play on Monday night against the Wizards and Wade has to be considered 50-50, at best, after playing overtime on Sunday. The Heat then play on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, so I’m leaning toward playing him, as three games of Wade sounds better than four games of Mo Williams, right? And if he happens to play tonight, it’s a bonus.
The most surprising story line from Sunday was the Lakers holding off the Thunder for a 114-110 win. Kevin Durant rolled to an early triple-double and Russell Westbrook did Westbrook things (20 points, near triple-double, 7-of-23 shooting), but it was Jodie Meeks and Ryan Kelly who stole the show. I am facing Meeks in a two-week playoff game against my longtime rival Amy, and he had the game of his life against the Thunder. He hit 11-of-18 shots, six 3-pointers and 14-of-14 free throws for a career-high 42 points. He also had four steals for good measure and his monster line leaves me in quite a hole heading into Week 2. And the fact I currently have John Henson AND Jeff Adrien in my lineup due to their five games played leaves me feeling whatever the opposite of confident is. And Amy’s rolling with Brandon Knight, so whatever games-played advantage I feel like I’m getting from those two crapshoots is pretty much negligible. Hit me on Twitter and talk me out of one or both of them.
The Lakers also got a great game from Ryan Kelly, who hit 5-of-10 shots and two 3-pointers for 12 points, five rebounds, eight dimes, a steal and two blocks. Kelly, Pau Gasol, Wes Johnson, Kendall Marshall (zero points, 10 assists), Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Kent Bazemore all remain intriguing fantasy starters, but the Lakers only have two games this week, making them nearly impossible to use in weekly leagues.
Kenneth Faried had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets in the overtime loss to New Orleans, while four Nuggets scored in double figures. The thing to remember about the Nuggets is that you want to use the opposing power forward and center against them whenever possible. They’re the reason Anthony Davis looked like Hakeem Olajuwon yesterday, and they constantly give it up to opposing bigs. And that is key to remember when setting daily lineups.
Andre Drummond, who is also on Amy’s team, went nuts with 18 points and 22 rebounds against the Celtics, but somehow didn’t have a block. Stephen Malkmus took Drummond in the second round of a mock draft we posted on Rotoworld prior to the season, and while many of us scoffed at the pick, it’s not looking so bad nowadays. Another one of Amy’s guys, Josh Smith, also got it done on Sunday with 28 points, 11 boards, three 3-pointers and a block. When you get a dose of “good Josh” on your fantasy team, good things happen.
The Celtics got 27 from Jeff Green, 11 points, 18 dimes and three steals from Rajon Rondo, and 18 points, six boards and a 3-pointer from Kelly Olynyk, despite the fact he played just 18 minutes. Pick him up. Kris Humphries hit 9-of-13 shots for 20 points, 11 boards, two steals and two blocks, as his season of inconsistency carries on. He’s so hit-or-miss it’s not even funny, but he’s hot again, and I may end up grabbing him instead of dealing with the John Henson headache that is sure to happen.
Isaiah Thomas was a bust on Sunday, hitting 3-of-14 shots and committing seven TOs for one of his worst games of the season. The Kings lost to the Nets and Thomas’ bad game was a big reason why it happened. DeMarcus Cousins racked up 28 points and 20 rebounds for one of the lines of the day, but it wasn’t enough.
The Nets didn’t have any ground-breaking performances outside of Marcus Thornton’s 27-point (5 3-pointers) explosion off the bench. The guy is all-world or a complete dud right now, going for 27, 4, 20, 3 and 25 points in each of his last five games. I’ve been hyping him as a guy to pick up and stash since the day he was sent to the Nets, and still feel that way. He helped me win some cash in a daily league on Sunday, but if you play him on the wrong day, he can also kill your chances at winning anything.
James Harden sent Sunday’s game against the Blazers to overtime with a cold-blooded 3-pointer and finished with 41 points, 10 rebounds, six dimes, six steals, a block and seven 3-pointers as the Rockets held on for the win. He’s coming into form just in time for the playoffs and is finally living up to all the hype we gave him back in September. Jeremy Lin got loose for 26 points in 34 minutes, and I’m still not sure where it came from. Pick him up, but don’t expect him to score that many points again this season.
The Blazers got 28 & 12 from LaMarcus Aldridge, while Wesley Matthews finally broke out of a funk with 26 points, four 3-pointers, three steals and a block in the loss. Underrated center Robin Lopez had 11 & 11, while Nicolas Batum stayed strong on the glass with eight points, 12 boards, six assists, a steal and two blocks, but hit just 4-of-10 shots.
I hit Amir Johnson in Waiver Wired with the news that Patrick Patterson will be out for at least a week with an elbow injury and he had 15 points, two rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer on 7-of-9 shooting. The Raps play four games per week from here on in and Johnson is a must-own player at this point. Kyle Lowry posted a monster triple-double and DeMar DeRozan’s breakout season continued with 25 points, seven boards and two 3-pointers. Owning the right Raptors is the equivalent of fantasy gold right now. Terrence Ross may be on waivers in your league and he came through with 15 points and three 3-pointers, so give him a look if you need treys.
Kevin Love did it again, racking up 26 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough for the Wolves to get by the Raps. Corey Brewer had one of his better games of the season with 17 points and six steals, and is also worth a look in most leagues.
Paul George had 27 points, 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers, but the reeling Pacers fell to the Mavericks on Sunday. The Pacers have now lost four straight games, including one to the Bobcats, and they can play all the defense they want. If Roy Hibbert doesn’t start contributing on offense, I’m not sure they will get to the Eastern Finals. George Hill came out of nowhere for 20 points and a full stat line, and Lance Stephenson came through with 21 points, a bunch of numbers, and hit 8-of-10 shots and 3-of-3 3-pointers in the loss.
The Mavericks were led by Monta Ellis and Devin Harris, who each scored 20 points, but I still don’t trust Harris and his cloudy injury history enough to throw him into a lineup right now.
The Warriors got 26 points and nine boards from David Lee, while Klay Thompson scored 22 with four 3-pointers in a win over the Suns. Stephen Curry played through a quad injury and had 18 points and nine assists in 30 minutes. He’s a little shaky coming into the week, but I think you still have to start him as long as we don’t get any negative reports on Monday. Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal were basically invisible against the center-less Suns last night, and I don’t think you can plug either guy into a weekly lineup right now.
The Suns got 24 points, six dimes and two 3-pointers from Goran Dragic, while Gerald Green continued to cook with 25 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers. It will be very interesting to see what happens to both guys if Eric Bledsoe plays on Wednesday, which is his expected return date from knee surgery. He could even play tonight if he’s feeling up to it, so it’s time to get him back in your lineup. I would not hesitate to play Dragic or Green this week, as Bledsoe is expected to come off the bench, but it would be foolish to think Bledsoe’s return isn’t going to negatively impact Green. P.J. Tucker had 11 points and nine rebounds, Channing Frye went for 16 points and two 3-pointers, and Markieff Morris struggled with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting. His brother Marcus Morris wasn’t much better, hitting 4-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for 11 points, four boards and four assists, but all the Suns I mentioned are worth owning in most leagues.
For a complete run down of all the NBA injuries, click here for the Injury Report. Good luck in the Playoffs and your daily endeavors!