Suns at Lakers: Metta World Peace had a phenomenal game vs. the Suns, posting 22 points, five 3s, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. I think Mike D'Antoni's system will benefit nearly every Lakers player, by increasing the team's pace and thus their total points, shot attempts, rebounds, assists, etc., but I still don't view Metta as a must-own player. The rest of the Lakers' lines were status quo, as Kobe scored his 31 points and Dwight and Pau both double-doubled with a few blocks. Steve Blake is still out with a strained abdomen, so Chris Duhon played backup PG in the Lakers' final game under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
Random Player Notes: Steve Nash (fractured leg) was ruled out for at least another week -- he'll be re-examined next weekend.
Klay Thompson left Friday's game with the flu, and we'll keep an eye on his status for back-to-back road games on Sunday and Monday.
LeBron James has the flu so keep an eye on his status for Saturday night's game at Phoenix.
Ersan Ilyasova came into Friday night shooting 28 percent from the field and 43 percent from the FT line, and he admitted this week that he feels pressure to live up to the big contract Milwaukee gave him this summer. “I have had trouble sleeping lately,” Ilyasova told beat writer Gery Woelfel. “I just got to keep working and find my rhythm.” As I've said before and will say again, Ilyasova is too talented for fantasy owners to bail on him after two awful weeks. Almost every player goes through a slump at some point in the season, so let's just hope Ersan is getting his out of the way now.
Kawhi Leonard was shockingly shut down on Friday for 10-14 days due to right knee tendinitis. The second-year player is averaging under 29 minutes per game and nobody could have seen this coming. Stephen Jackson gains the most in his absence, and I also expect Danny Green to pick up minutes in the rotation. Kawhi holds more value in roto leagues, where I would not drop him, but in head-to-head leagues the decision depends upon individual league sizes, rules, and available FAs.
Kenneth Faried leads the NBA with a ridiculous 6.0 offensive rebounds in just 30 minutes per game. For some perspective, consider that the Celtics as a team are averaging 6.8 offensive boards. Every team is coached to put a body on him once a shot goes up, yet his incredible motor, coupled with athleticism and a terrific rebounding IQ, allows him to consistently gain inside position or chase down loose balls.
Coming into Friday's game, Jazz announcer David Locke Tweeted the following: "Mo Williams has taken 3 free throws in his last 186 minutes on the floor and 73 shot attempts." Mo averaged a microscopic 1.5 FT attempts per game in a backup role with the Clippers last year, so we can't blame this on his strained abductor making him tentative. The low volume seriously detracts from his otherwise sparkling 94.7 percent FT shooting.
Keep an eye on Darren Collison, who should continue to emerge as a fantasy treasure for the Mavs this season. “He has the opportunity to run the team, to be the trigger man for everything we do,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “We want him to be aggressive both to score and to create opportunities for his teammates.