There were several big time stories from Friday night including LaMarcus Aldridge’s big game, Klay Thompson’s injury, and the returns of Terrence Ross and Paul Millsap. With plenty to cover, let’s get right to the action.
Rondo buries Brooklyn
Looking like his normal self, Rajon Rondo lit up the Nets on Friday to the tune of 20 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and four steals. He added four triples for good measure and although he had seven turnovers, he is slowly but surely regaining his All-Star level form. Over his last five games he’s averaging 17 points, 10 assists, and two steals per game. The Celtics still have five back-to-back sets the rest of the way but if Rondo’s health and performances continue to improve, he may be given the green light in some of those contests. Either way he’s paying dividends for owners with each passing game.
Butler cools off in loss
After a five-game stretch in which he averaged 17 points and two steals per contest, Jimmy Butler came back down to earth on Friday night against Memphis. The swingman attempted just three shots from the field, making one, on his way to eight points, three boards, two assists, and two steals. Butler still led the team with over 42 minutes and as long as the minutes are there he’ll be a top notch fantasy option. Meanwhile, teammate Joakim Noah continued to produce with 15 points, eight boards, six assists, and two blocks. Even on a night in which the Bulls only scored 77 points, the big man still found a way to help fantasy teams. Over the past two weeks, Noah has been a top-20 player.
Aldridge double-doubles in style
LaMarcus Aldridge led an admirable comeback attempt on Friday night but the Blazers ultimately fell to the Mavericks. Portland was down 42-14 at one point but then Aldridge turned on the jets, finishing with 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, and three steals. The big man was coming off a disastrous 1-13 performance on Wednesday so this was a great bounce back game for owners. Aldridge’s All-Star teammate Damian Lillard wasn’t as impressive as he scored just 10 points on 3-10 shooting with four assists and five turnovers. Lillard is in a bit of a funk over his last two games but it’s nothing to be concerned about long term.
Wolves run wild over Pistons
Minnesota took Detroit to task on Friday night, burying the Pistons early on behind some stellar performances. Kevin Love led the way with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists while frontcourt teammate Nikola Pekovic added 17 and nine. In the backcourt, Ricky Rubio nearly notched a triple-double with 11 points, eight boards, and nine assists while Kevin Martin poured in 24 points. The Wolves are a fun team to watch from a fantasy perspective and while Friday night’s individual performances aren’t anything out of the ordinary, the fact that four of the five starters posted high end lines is impressive.
CDR is making some noise
Chris Douglas-Roberts made his second straight start on Friday night and looked good, dropping 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals, and one block. He also added four three-pointers and is officially someone to consider adding. Yes, Gerald Henderson could return from his calf strain soon but he’s already been ruled out for Saturday and isn’t going to be re-evaluated until next week. In the meantime, CDR looks like a very intriguing option in the short term.
Ross returns with a bang
Terrence Ross returned to action on Friday after missing one game due to a sprained ankle and looked great, dropping 18 points as the Raptors beat the Kings. Ross scored all of his points from beyond the arc, netting six triples with one steal, and one block. The streaky forward is always a good option as a three-point specialist and should be a solid low-end option for the rest of the season.
Denver duo comes alive
The Nuggets have had a rough season but a juicy matchup against the defenseless Lakers brought the fans to life on Friday night as both Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson led the squad to a victory. Faried, who has been mildly disappointing all season, looked elite in scoring 32 points and 13 rebounds on 14-20 shooting. Ty Lawson added 30 points, 17 assists, and five triples to put a button on the high-scoring affair. This will probably go down as Faried’s best game of the season but for Lawson, while this type of line is fantastic, isn’t necessarily shocking, which is a credit to his improvement this season.
On the opposite side of the ball the Lakers were an absolute question mark from a fantasy perspective. Jordan Farmar and Ryan Kelly both went off for 24 points apiece while Wes Johnson and Kent Bazemore combined for just seven points. The Lakers only play two games next week, making everyone not named Pau Gasol a risky option.
Adrien is the new Buck on the street
Milwaukee big man Jeff Adrien set a career-high in points on Wednesday with 15 points and topped himself again on Friday, blowing up for 20 points and 10 rebounds. Adrien is bringing a new level of intensity to the team’s frontcourt and although the Bucks rotation seems to be perpetually in flux, Adrien is now averaging 12 points and nine rebounds over his last four games and is certainly worth a look in deeper leagues.
Millsap makes a smashing return
Paul Millsap returned from knee soreness after a five-game absence on Friday night and looked well, scoring 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. He did turn the ball over six times, however a bit of rust was expected. He didn’t record a block or a steal but he did manage to hit a triple as the Hawks got routed by the Warriors. Atlanta is in a huge funk, having dropped 10 of the last 11 games but with Millsap back in tow, the squad should be able to regain its form and stay in the playoffs. Millsap should be good to go the rest of the way.
Thompson goes down
Klay Thompson went to the locker room after a nasty spill early on during Friday’s game against the Hawks and did not return. He was diagnosed with a lower back strain and was held out for precautionary reasons. Thompson certainly didn’t look great as he headed off the court but he sharpshooter has yet to miss a game in his career and is expected to play in Sunday’s game.