Random update: LeBron James (leg) went through Saturday's shootaround and will play vs. the Sixers.
Andrew Bynum (knees) reportedly practiced for the first time on Friday. This sounds like huge news, and he's worth a speculative add, but I'm reserving judgment until we hear how his knees react to the workout. There have been so many setbacks and qualifications about his return that it's hard to be optimistic with only 30 games remaining on the Sixers' schedule.
Deron Williams (ankle) suffered another 'tweak' during Friday's game, which he finished with 15 points, three 3-pointers and 13 assists in 40 minutes. He had platelet-rich plasma therapy during the All-Star break, he had another cortisone shot on Thursday, and he's admitted that he'll probably need surgery to clean out bone spurs in his ankles. Whether there's more going on than just bone spurs is debatable, but there's no doubt that D-Will's status down the stretch is very tenuous. The Nets are fully aware that he's ailing and they need him as close to 100 percent as possible to have any chance in the postseason, so I'm anticipating at least a handful of precautionary DNPs.
The Nets lost at home to the Rockets despite D-Will's solid double-double and nice games from C.J. Watson (17 points, three triples, four rebounds, five dimes) and Brook Lopez (27 points on 13-of-21 FGs, six rebounds). Watson started at SG because Joe Johnson was resting his foot after a plantar fasciitis flare-up -- Johnson went through part of Saturday's practice but remains questionable for Sunday.
The Rockets were the beneficiaries of Johnson's absence and D-Will's pain, stealing a win in Brooklyn behind Carlos Delfino's 22 points (including 6-of-9 from downtown), five rebounds, five assists and one steal. Delfino started on Friday but he'll likely shift back to a sixth-man role with Thomas Robinson inbound from Sacramento. Delfino's upside takes a major hit in a bench role, but he's been a top-100 fantasy player all season and should get even more perimeter looks with Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris traded away. Chandler Parsons, meanwhile, scored 10 points with a decent all-around line in 40 minutes, showing no ill effects from his recent ankle sprain.
Maurice Harkless scored 19 points in Friday's loss, tying his career high, while chipping in nine rebounds (six offensive) with one steal and one block. Moe even hit a 3-pointer tonight, and as Matt Stroup pointed out before Friday's game there's simply no reason he should be available on waiver wires. He has the faith of rookie head coach Jacque Vaughn, no competition for minutes, and he's a 19-year-old player on a developing team with the third-worst record in the NBA and 27 games left on the schedule. Game on.
Kenneth Faried had six points, four rebounds and a block in 23 minutes on Friday, his lowest playing time this month. He hasn't done much in the past three games, but one look at his February averages should calm his owners -- 12.6 points on 57.5 percent FGs, 9.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks in 30 minutes per game. Ty Lawson blew up again for 27 points, four rebounds and 12 assists, and he seems to be in cruise control, but the bench also deserves praise for keeping Denver in the game. Wilson Chandler made 8-of-15 shots for 22 points, Andre Miller racked up 19 points, seven assists and three steals, and Corey Brewer scored 12 points with two assists. They all played under 30 minutes, but the only players under 20 minutes were Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee, as George Karl once again proved unafraid to play small lineups for long stretches.
The Kings stumbled in Atlanta on Friday, their fourth consecutive loss, but Isaiah Thomas provided a bright spot with a career-high 30 points, four 3-pointers, six rebounds and nine assists in 37 minutes. He made 9-of-18 FGs and 8-of-9 FTs, and he's now averaging 19.1 points, 1.7 threes, 4.7 assists and 1.0 steals in February. To be kind to Keith Smart for once, I'll say that unleashing IT2 late in the season is better than not doing it at all. Thomas' big game overshadowed mostly solid nights from DeMarcus Cousins (26 points, 13 boards, three steals) and Tyreke Evans (15 points, eight boards, six assists).
Jarrett Jack scored 30 points to help the Warriors earn a much-needed win over the Spurs. He made 11-of-22 FGs and 7-of-9 FTs, with 10 assists, a steal and a block. The All-Star break was wonderfully timed for Jack, who has battled a variety of bumps and bruises, and in the Warriors' past four games he's averaging 23.0 points, 2.3 threes, 7.0 assists, 0.8 steals, while making 52.5 percent FGs and 90.5 percent FT. Those are simply elite fantasy numbers, and as long as Mark Jackson deploys small lineups there are no obvious impediments to Jack's rest-of-season value. Andrew Bogut was out last night with back spasms and neither Stephen Curry nor Klay Thompson played particularly well (a combined 11-of-31 shooting), but the Warriors also got a big lift from David Lee, who scored 25 points and grabbed 22 rebounds.
The Lakers always seem to struggle vs. the Trail Blazers, but they came away victorious on Friday thanks to Kobe Bryant's 40 points, as well as Dwight Howard's 19 & 16 with two blocks (Dwight 'tweaked' his troublesome shoulder, but appears to have avoided any serious aggravation). This was Kobe's first 40-point game since December, and his owners can only hope that he decides to commandeer the Lakers' offense for a final playoff push (the Lakers are 3.5 games behind the Rockets for the eighth seed). Antawn Jamison pitched in 16 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes, continuing his recent surge of efficient bench play (16.7 ppg in past four games). Until he steals more minutes from Earl Clark (11 points, five boards in 30 minutes) I'm not biting on Antawn for sustainable value. Clark also sprained his pinkie finger during the game, though it didn't cost him any time and shouldn't be a factor going forward.