In addition to Durant’s massive line, last night’s 12-game slate included a huge performance from Chris Bosh along with a real stinker courtesy of Michael Carter-Williams. With an action packed Friday to cover, let’s dive right in.
Durant’s colossal performance
Kevin Durant turned in an absolute gem on Friday night against Golden State, notching a career-high 54 points as the Thunder prevailed. The MVP candidate was outstanding, knocking down 19-28 shots, five of which came from deep, and 11-13 from the line. He added four rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block for good measure, capping a fantastic fantasy showing. He turned the ball over five times but who cares when he’s dropping 54. Durant has been on fire in 2014, averaging over 36 points per contest. He’s scored over 30 points in eight of his nine games in January and over 40 three times. He’s without question the top player in fantasy and owners can just enjoy the ride.
Rondo is back
The Celtics star point guard returned from his ACL injury on Friday, playing 19 minutes in his season debut against the Lakers. Despite the restriction on minutes, Rajon Rondo still put up eight points, four assists, and two steals on 4-9 shooting. He showed flashes of brilliance in limited action and should ramp up his playing time over the next few games. Shockingly, due to the poor shape of the Eastern Conference, the Celtics are actually contending for a playoff spot which means that Rondo could help Boston sneak in. He should pay dividends for fantasy owners who stuck with him over the last three months.
While Rondo was making all the headlines, his teammate was doing all the scoring. Rookie Kelly Olynyk came off the bench and showed signs of life, scoring a career-best 25 points with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one block. The big man was hot earlier this season but cooled off before Thanksgiving. Through December and January he was averaging just five points and 3.5 rebounds per contest so his upside has been severely limited. While this explosion is notable, owners should wait to see if he can do this again or at least produce anything resembling low end value before making a move.
Bosh propels Heat
Although LeBron James did his thing on Friday against the Sixers, nearly notching a triple-double with 21 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists, the bigger story was his teammate Chris Bosh. Filling up the stat sheet, Bosh notched 25 points on 11-18 shooting with six boards, four assists, two steals, and a season-high five blocks. He’s been locked in over his last two and with Dwyane Wade already ruled out for Saturday’s contest, the big man could go off once again.
Speaking of Dwyane Wade, the shooting guard didn’t look too happy celebrating his birthday on Friday. The 32-year-old didn’t have his mojo against Philadelphia as he took just six shots in over 25 minutes, making three of them for eight points, two assists, and two rebounds. He did add three blocks so it wasn’t a complete loss for owners. However, Wade dropped just eight points on Wednesday and the fact that he’s out on Saturday leaves a lot to be desired for owners, who’ll have to chalk this week up as a loss and hope that he gets back on track soon.
MCW stinks at home
The Rookie of the Year frontrunner looked out of sorts on Friday as the Sixers dropped one at home to Miami. Michael Carter-Williams was flat out bad, hitting just 1-7 shots from the field for seven points and five turnovers. It was easily one of his worst games of the season but in general the starting unit was pretty underwhelming throughout the contest. The good news is that his poor showings are few and far between so owners shouldn’t feel too bad. However, if you’re looking to snag him in a trade, now is a great time to float an offer at an annoyed owner.
Melo’s funky night
Carmelo Anthony had by far his worst shooting night of the season on Friday against the Clippers, knocking down a paltry 4-23 shots from the field. That’s just over 17%, and while Melo did hit 16-16 shots from the charity stripe, he likely buried a number of teams fighting for field goal percentage in head-to-head leagues. On the bright side, Anthony finished with 26 points and a season-high 20 rebounds to go along with two steals and two three-pointers. The Knicks have now lost three straight after winning seven of the previous eight games. All of this points to Carmelo jacking up more shots to compensate for his team’s inconsistency.
While Anthony dealt with shaky performances from most of his teammates on Friday, J.R. Smith was actually one of the bright spots for the Knicks. The squad’s sixth man scored a season-high 24 points on 9-18 shooting with three triples, four rebounds, and two assists. He’s now scored over 10 points in four straight games and looks to be back in the good graces of Coach Mike Woodson. He’s certainly worth picking up after this one as Smith is known to get hot and go on scoring binges.
Pistons frontcourt disaster
Both Josh Smith and Greg Monroe were absolutely useless on Friday as the two combined to shoot just 2-13 from the field for eight points, three rebounds, three assists, and three turnovers. Those numbers are real which is amazing considering the pair combined for almost 40 minutes of floor time. The Pistons were blown out by the Jazz on their home court which is obviously not an ideal situation. While the duds from both Monroe and Smith are frustrating, owners will just have to swallow this bitter pill and hope that they can both get back on track against Washington Saturday night.
Both Manu Ginobili and Jamal Crawford provided sparks for their respective clubs on Friday. First, Crawford lit up his former team in Madison Square Garden, dropping 29 points off the bench to help lead the Clippers to a victory. He knocked down five triples and hit 11-13 shots from the free throw line. The return of J.J. Redick momentarily halted some of Crawford’s production but the streaky sharpshooter appears back on track now.
In San Antonio, Ginobili lit up the Blazers for a season-high 29 points but it wasn’t enough as the Spurs lost. The Argentina native added four three-pointers, seven rebounds, and five assists, treating owners to a vintage fantasy line. Ginobili has been holding mid-late round value all season but he could see a few DNP’s down the stretch, making him a sell-high guy at this time.
Iggy bottoms out
Just one week ago Andre Iguodala busted out with a quintessential line against the Celtics, but last night the Warriors’ small forward was downright terrible. In nearly 30 minutes of game action Iguodala shot just 1-8 for two points. He added just three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in what was one of his worst games of the season. There are certain games in which Iggy simply doesn’t get involved in the offense early on and when that happens, it’s very difficult for him to catch on as the contest progresses. On Friday night against Oklahoma City, that’s exactly what happened and as a result, fantasy owners were left with a very shallow line. Iguodala has been hit and miss since his return and unfortunately until he starts to produce more consistently, his fantasy value will fluctuate greatly.