Despite a rather light seven-game slate, Friday night was full of compelling stories due to a slew of breakout performances. Iman Shumpert stayed hot and Pero Antic put everyone on notice but while all of that and more was going on, one of fantasy’s most prized assets went down.
1. CP3 Hits the Deck
In the midst of a stellar game in which he already had 19 points and six assists in just 21 minutes, Chris Paul suddenly went down with a right shoulder injury after colliding with Monta Ellis in the third quarter. He left on his own power but the diagnosis is not good. The fantasy stud is expected to miss 3-5 weeks but that could change pending further tests. There is speculation that he may need surgery and while that’s unfounded at this point, the 3-5 week timetable likely keeps him out until at least the All-Star break. In his absence, Darren Collison lit up the Mavericks, scoring 20 points with four assists in 35 minutes and will be a must-own player while Paul recovers.
2. Jordan has career night
While Paul’s loss was a huge blow to Clippers fans, the team’s franchise center was there to ease the pain as he scored a career-high 25 points to lead the squad past Dallas. He hit a fantastically efficient 11-of-14 shooting and added 18 rebounds and three blocks for good measure. Yes, he was 3-7 from the line but that’s become par for the course with Jordan. It’s possible that Jordan’s numbers could take a hit with a facilitator like Paul out of the lineup but Collison and Jordan looked pretty good on Friday. Jordan’s usage rate may actually climb if he’s asked to take on a bigger offensive role going forward.
3. Lakers duo light up Jazz
Both Kendall Marshall and Pau Gasol did a number on the Jazz Friday night with the pair combining for 43 points, 23 boards, and 23 assists. In his first start as a Laker, Marshall gave fantasy owners a treat, scoring 20 points while handing out 15 dimes. He grabbed six boards to complete a trifecta of career-highs as the Lakers won. Yes this was against the hapless Jazz defense but the early returns are encouraging. He likely won’t be this good every night but with Jordan Farmar out for the next four weeks, Marshall will get all the run he can handle. If he’s somehow still available in your league, pick him up right now.
Pau on the other hand just looked like vintage Pau Gasol as he torched the Jazz front line with 23 points and 17 rebounds. His eight assists put him just shy of a triple-double while his three blocks were just icing on the fantasy cake. With Kobe Bryant out and the Lakers relying more and more on reserves, Gasol should be the man in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.
4. Antic puts fantasy world on notice
Pero Antic started for the first time this season on Friday, putting up 16 points and seven rebounds in 26 productive minutes. He knocked down four three-pointers and looks like he could stick in the starting unit going forward. The undrafted Macedonian had a long European career before signing with the Hawks last summer so the big man can certainly play. He won’t block many shots but his range from deep is a huge asset as a center and is certainly worth a look in fantasy leagues.
5. Curry buries Hawks despite high turnovers
Andre Iguodala may have saved the day for the Warriors with a late triple Friday night but it was Stephen Curry who got them to the finish line. The sharpshooter scored 22 points with nine assists, eight rebounds, and five steals as his club outlasted Atlanta 101-100. Curry did turn the ball over nine times but when he gives you everything else, it’s hard to get mad about it. He’s been on fire over his last two games, averaging 29 points, 10.5 assists, and 4.5 steals. Keep running one of fantasy’s top guards out there.
6. Shumpert continues to roll
The Knicks shooting guard did it again on Friday night, logging 26 points with four rebounds, five assists, and six triples. It’s taken a while but Carmelo Anthony and Iman Shumpert are finally showing some court chemistry. In the two games since Melo’s return, Shumpert has been outstanding, averaging 26.5 points, five boards, two steals, and an amazing six three-pointers per contest. Obviously the long-range shooting is not going to last, nor will the high scoring output, but these outbursts are encouraging. For a guy who was basically irrelevant in fantasy circles, Shumpert is suddenly on the radar and worth picking up. If he can continue to put it all together on a regular basis, he may hit the expectations fans had for him coming into the season.
7. Harden dominates Knicks
Despite Shumpert’s big night, his opposition was even better. James Harden torched the Knicks for 37 points, seven boards, six assists, and five triples. He was also 12-12 from the charity stripe, capping a highly efficient night. Like Shumpert, Harden has been on fire over his last two, but unlike the Knicks guard, Harden has been doing this all season. After some slight struggles from downtown, Harden is now locked in, draining 10-21 from deep over his last two.
8. Humphries still providing value off the bench
Despite his bench role, Kris Humphries continues to be a key cog for the Celtics. On Friday, he played over 23 minutes, scoring seven points with 12 rebounds and a block. Over his last three games, he’s averaging about 12 points and 10 rebounds a game; certainly useable numbers for the end of your fantasy bench. His minutes may fluctuate, but right now you could do worse on the waiver wire. If you need some cheap boards and points, Humphries is your man.
9. Holiday puts up a dud
Although the Pelicans won Friday night, Jrue Holiday was not the main reason; in fact, you could say they won in spite of the point guard’s brutal performance. Holiday shot just 2-11 from the floor and had just four points, five assists, and four turnovers in 33 minutes. While this is a disappointing showing, Holiday had been on fire up to this point and he should bounce back in the next one.
10. Anderson leaves on a stretcher
In a scary scene, Ryan Anderson was taken off the court on a stretcher during Friday’s game. He collided with Gerald Wallace and suffered a bit of whiplash, which resulted in a cervical stinger. He gave the thumbs up while on the stretcher and was seen moving other extremities so hopefully he’ll make a full recovery. The timetable for his return is unknown at this point, which is a tough blow as Anderson had been rolling as of late. If he misses any significant time, Al-Farouq Aminu would see extended action.