Pistons vs. Celtics
STUCKEY ON YOU
Rodney Stuckey drew the start against the Celtics on Wednesday and had 22 points with two boards, four assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. Calderon's status is up in the air and the Pistons aren’t likely going to be giving the point-guard keys back to Brandon Knight. At the time of Knight’s demotion from the PG spot, he ranked dead last on assist-to-turnover ratio, so Stuckey should be the man at the one for the while JC is on the shelf.
Greg Monroe went off with 24 points, 17 boards, three assists and two steals on 11-of-22 shooting. He leads the league in shot attempts at the rim this year and it’s no surprise after he finished second behind DeMarcus Cousins last year. He’s a beast. Other Piston storylines include Charlie Villanueva putting up a Holiday-esque 2-of-17 from the field and Knight also struggled with just 2-of-10 makes from the floor. Jonas Jerebko scored 19 points, but he’s been way too inconsistent all year. Andre Drummond was also a letdown with eight points, nine boards and one steal while shooting 4-of-6 from the field and missing all three free throw attempts. If you care about FT%, he’s not someone that should be on your team right now.
GREEN WITH ENVY
Anyone that doesn’t own Jeff Green has to be jealous. He’s on a tear right now and busted loose again on Wednesday to the tune of 34 points, six boards, one steal, four blocks and three 3-pointers on 13-of-19 shooting. He’s been flirting with second-round value in the past month and he’s probably going to wind up on a lot of championship fantasy teams.
Brandon Bass wasn’t too shabby with 17 points, seven boards and three blocks on 6-of-8 shooting. He’s surprisingly had the look of a must-start guy while KG has been out, so act accordingly. Paul Pierce was a game-time decision and was solid with 17 points, three boards, five assists and one 3-pointer in 33 minutes. He’s fine.
Wolves vs. Bucks
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
The Spaniard slayed the Bucks with the best fantasy line of his career, scoring 19 points with four boards, 12 assists, eight steals and five 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting in 34 minutes. Ricky Rubio’s five treys were a career high and he shot 5-of-6 from downtown. The long-range J has been a bugaboo for him and he entered tonight shooting just 23.4 percent from deep on the season. He spent a nice chunk of his rehab working on his jumper, but it hadn’t really paid off up until tonight. He’s shot just 32 percent on jumpers in his career, but the 22-year-old still has plenty of time to improve. His eight steals also gave him the league lead with 2.41 per game, just a hair above Chris Paul’s 2.40.
Nikola Pekovic was also a stud for the Wolves with 27 points, eight boards and one steal on 11-of-14 shooting. He’s ranked second in the league in shots at the rim and he’s one of the best centers in fantasy as long as he’s healthy.
COLONEL SANDERS’ DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOWN
Larry Sanders logged his fourth double-double in a row on Wednesday with 11 points and 10 boards in 34 minutes. He added four assists, one steal and two blocks on 5-of-12 shooting. Sanders has been a different player since the All-Star break and it’s largely due to discipline. Since the break, his minutes, points, boards and free throw shooting are up while his blocks and fouls are down. He’s still blocking 2.3 per game in that span and it’s encouraging to see him not trying to block anything with a basketball to keep his fouls in check.
Ersan Ilyasova went bananas with 29 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers on 12-of-21 shooting. You might be surprised to know that he is ranked fourth in the league for 3-point percentage on the season. He’s also crushing since the break and it’s hard to believe many people were dropping him back in November.
Mike Dunleavy turned in a nice Roto line of 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes. It’s his second productive game in a row and he’s worth a look in standards. Brandon Jennings (13 points, eight assists and three steals) and Monta Ellis (18 points, five boards, three assists, one steal, one block and two triples) were solid in the loss. J.J. Redick scored eight points with no threes, so he’s making his owners angry these days and he’s not a must-own player anymore.
Magic vs. Spurs
IF I HAD A NIKOLA EVERYTIME I HEARD...
Nikola Pekovic wasn’t the only Nikola that was great on Wednesday, Nikola Vucevic went off with 16 points, 14 boards, four steals and two blocks on 7-of-13 shooting. Anyone that picked him up on Saturday has to be sitting pretty and he’s almost a lock to lead the Eastern Conference in total rebounds.
Beno Udrih may have had his last go ‘round on Wednesday with 14 points, eight assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes. If he’s still sitting out there in your shallow league, it doesn’t make much sense to pick him up since Jameer Nelson could be back on Friday. Maurice Harkless (18 points, nine boards and two blocks) and Tobias Harris (11 points, seven boards, five assists, one steal, three blocks and one 3-pointer) both continued their massive second halves.
NEAL BEFORE POP
Gary Neal was expected to be the winner from the Manu Ginobili injury and he finally turned in a positive outing on Wednesday. The Towson product scored 16 points with eight boards, two assists and four 3-pointers. As nice as this is, Gregg Popovich said he expects everyone to play on Thursday with the exception of Ginobili. It’s a fool’s errand to try and figure out who will have the better game off the bench for the Spurs.
Danny Green was terrific as usual with 20 points, three assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers on 7-of-10 shooting. He’s putting up mid-round value. Tim Duncan wasn’t officially rested with a DNP-OLD, but Pop played him just 14 minutes. He’ll get more playing time against the Thunder on Thursday. It goes without saying that it’s not going to be fun to own the older Spurs down the stretch.
Jazz vs. Nuggets
JAZZ CAN’T SNUFF THE ROOSTER
Danilo Gallinari finished strong in the fourth quarter with a team-high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting, adding four boards, three assists and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes. He scored nine straight in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach in a tough loss for Utah. Gallo hasn’t been much of an efficient scorer and it was the first time he scored 20 points on 10 or few shot attempts since January 3, 2010. Why did I look that up? I have no idea. Gallinari really needed a strong game after shooting a paltry 33.3 percent from the field in his previous 10 games. The Rooster was a nice piece of poultry on Wednesday.
Kenneth Faried played well with 19 points, eight boards and two blocks on 8-of-10 shooting. He needs some more consistency, but he has the potential to be the best rebounding power forward in the NBA. Yes, I know who Kevin Love is. Evan Fournier was outstanding in 21 minutes with his 18 points, two boards, two assists, three steals and one 3-pointer. This won’t happen again and he’s nothing more than a spot-start on a slow night like the three-game night on Thursday.
WE DON’T GOT THE JAZZ
Utah’s playoff chances took a massive hit on Wednesday with a loss at home to the Nuggets. As for the players, Gordon Hayward continues to hold a must-start distinction, scoring a team-high 18 points with one board, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers on 7-of-13 shooting. Mo Williams cooled off with four points, five boards, seven assists, one steal and no triples on 2-of-12 shooting. He hit 10 treys in his previous three games, so his owners shouldn’t be too concerned. Everything else was business as usual.
Rockets vs. Kings
Chandler Parsons was fantastic in his return from an illness on Wednesday with 29 points, five boards, four assists, one block and three 3-pointers on 12-of-18 shooting. The University of Florida product has been one of the best draft picks in fantasy leagues and he’ll be going off the board in the early-middle rounds next year, assuming Houston doesn’t shake things up.
James Harden wasn’t quite his old self in the win with 21 points, seven boards, nine assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes. The 40 minutes should alleviate concerns about his foot, though. Omer Asik double-doubled with 19 and 10 and actually was effective from the line, making 7-of-9 attempts. Jeremy Lin added a double-double of his own with 15 points and 10 dimes. Terrence Jones showed up with a double-double that included 14 points and 12 boards. We’ll need to see it again, but he has upside.
IT'S GOOD TO BE THE KINGS
It wasn’t that great to be the Kings in a loss, but they still scored 102 points. DeMarcus Cousins scored 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting while Jason Thompson had his best game in a while, scoring 17 points with 15 boards and two blocks. The needle hasn’t moved on him at all despite the Kings doing big things on offense.
Speaking of which, do you know who has the fastest pace in the NBA since the All-Star? Well, if it wasn’t the Kings, it wouldn’t make much sense to put it in here, would it? The Kings are edging the Rockets by 0.26 possessions per game and they are also ranked fourth in offensive efficiency. This easily explains why they’re leading the NBA in points per game in that stretch and why Isaiah Thomas playing some of the best ball of his life. Since the break, Jose Calderon is the only point guard with better field goal shooting than Thomas’ 49.6 percent, which is even more impressive when factoring in his 2.4 triples per game. What’s more, his 1.53 points per shot rank second among guards behind James Harden (minimum 20 minutes per game) since the break. I wouldn’t be even remotely concerned with his 3-of-16 shooting on Wednesday. If you thought you weren’t going to get your dose of IT2 because I’m filling in for Aaron Bruski... Welp.
Grizzlies vs. Blazers
Mike Conley has been the master of ceremonies for his fantasy owners and it continued on Wednesday with 20 points, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers on 7-of-11 shooting in just 31 minutes. He’s been a top-five asset in fantasy leagues and is flirting with first-round value on the year. He has been stuffing stats enough to fill up MC Hammer’s pants and is nailing it.
Jerryd Bayless missed all eight attempts from the field and he’s coming back to Earth. He should still be owned in most formats, though. Ed Davis had a blip on the radar with a double-double, but he burned owners badly last week and we’ll need to see it again.
Tony Allen scored the first bucket of the game with 23 seconds off the clock and the Blazers trailed the rest of the way. They’re in dire straits on offense with LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder) out of the lineup. Damian Lillard (17 points, for boards, six assists, one block and one 3-pointer) and Wesley Matthews (12 points, two boards, one steal and two 3-pointers) did most of the heavy lifting and their field goal percentages are going to suffer. Although, Memphis has the best defense against backcourt players, so their owners shouldn’t be panic.
As for the winners of Batum and Aldridge being out, Meyers Leonard, who keeps playing well (10 points, seven boards and two assists), and Victor Claver (seven points, two boards and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes) look to be the better pickups for deep leagues. Eric Maynor is also worth a look and played 31 minutes for guard-needy owners.
Suns vs. Clippers
Wesley Johnson went off in a loss with 20 points, two rebounds, three assists and four 3-pointers in 41 minutes. The 41 minutes and treys are certainly eye-catching and I’d consider him as a hot free agent.
Another guy that isn’t quite as hot is Jermaine O’Neal. JO played 22 minutes and scored 18 points with eight boards and one block on 7-of-10 shooting. He’s hurt too much to be considered in standard leagues. Jared Dudley (15 points) and Michael Beasley (13 points) played well, but the rest of the team was pretty bad. Specifically, Markieff Morris shooting just 1-of-9 from the field. He’s a drop candidate and has shot 35.1 percent from the field in his last five.
DEANDRE SONS THE SUNS
DeAndre Jordan shot 10-of-15 from the field for 20 points with 12 boards, one steal and one block in 30 minutes against the Suns. As mentioned above, the Suns have a horrific interior D and this was bound to happen. The biggest takeaway from this is that you play your bigs vs. Phoenix. Caron Butler was nice with 15 points, two steals and three 3-pointers, but since he’s in a timeshare with Matt Barnes, I’d be reluctant to pick him up. Eric Bledsoe looked good in garbage time, but we knew that.
Hornets vs. Warriors
Ryan Anderson was ice cold in a bad way on Wednesday, making 1-of-8 from the field for three points. There’s really nothing to worry about here and he hit 12 triples in his previous four games. Shooters have their bad games and this is what his owners signed up for. Anthony Davis played 32 minutes, but also had a rough night, making just 2-of-11 from the field. The minutes are important and he’s a must-start player.
On the other hand, Robin Lopez (17 points, seven boards and one block) and Al-Farouq Aminu (14 points, five boards, four assists, three steals and one block) shot a combined 14-of-19 from the field while the rest of the team shot 19-of-64, which is good for 25 percent. Yuck. They should be viewed as holds and not pickups.
ON THE DL
David Lee blew up in 38 minutes on Wednesday with 23 points, 16 boards, four assists, one steal and one block on 9-of-15 shooting. He is cruising right now and is one of the best players to own for percentages with field goal shooting of 51.5 percent and free throw shooting of 80.3 percent. He’s not much of a defensive force, but until defensive efficiency becomes a fantasy stat, he’ll be a monster.
Stephen Curry tacked on four more 3-pointers to his league high in makes and he scored 20 in the win. He’s a top-five fantasy option as long as his ankles are good to go. Jarrett Jack scored 19 points and is an under-the-radar choice for Sixth Man of the Year. To be clear, he won’t be topping J.R. Smith or Jamal Crawford.