Games Played for Week 18
4 Games: CHI, CLE, DAL, GSW, IND, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, UTA
3 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, DEN, DET, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, OKC, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, WAS
2 Games: CHA, MIA, MIN
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $8,500. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here's the FanDuel link.
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There were several interesting developments in the NBA over the weekend, some of which involved one of the most famous athletes on the planet, and some that involved guys the average sports fan may never have heard of.
The famous individual to which I’m referring is LeBron James. In short, his weekend started early on Thursday with a dominant performance and win over Kevin Durant and the Thunder on national television. That game also resulted in a broken nose for James, who managed to finish a dunk on the play that would have hospitalized, if not killed me. Is his nose on Twitter yet?
I then went on to report a couple ridiculous “news blurbs” about LeBron attending the movies with his kids and “looking good” in photos, as we dug for a sense of whether he’d play on Sunday against the Bulls. Because he’s LeBron, I really expected him to go, but it wasn’t meant to be. He was probably due for a day off anyway and the Heat clearly didn’t need him, waxing Chicago 93-79 as Dwyane Wade graced us with a strong effort and Chris Bosh shot it like vintage Ray Allen. LeBron’s three-game week was reduced to a two-gamer and I really felt it in the points league where I own him, and I’m guessing I wasn't alone. Now LeBron is iffy for Thursday’s game against the Knicks, although I would be shocked (shocked, I tell you) if he doesn’t play in that one. And even if he does, spoiled owners of LeBron could be in for another long week, as the Heat only have two games. Now let’s just hope that he plays in both of them.
Way Back Home
Jason Collins signed with the Nets and played on Sunday, which I’m sure you’ve already heard about from 100 other sources. It’s a huge story and it’s cool that the NBA is the league where the first openly gay athlete will play. But as far as it relates to basketball, the move has no fantasy implications and he failed to score a point on Sunday, which will probably happen more often than not.
A couple hours after I wrote this column, featuring a guy named Kent Bazemore, he went out and started for the Lakers, racking up 17 points, two steals and a 3-pointer. He had 15 points, two steals and two 3-pointers on Friday, making these the only two games in which he has done anything of note. Mike D’Antoni has officially kicked Ryan Kelly to the curb for now, and he’s as unpredictable as any coach in the league. I have no idea how long the Bazemore phenomenon will last, but I think you have to at least consider grabbing him in most leagues, even though he’s a shooting guard playing power forward. In other Laker developments, Pau Gasol and Nick Young are back, and Wes Johnson appears to be useless. If you want to drop Wes for Bazemore, go for it, but keep in mind that the latest report on Young is that he’s still in a lot of pain and could be shut down again, which would help Johnson.
In other news of the obscure, Thomas Robinson blew up for 14 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks for the Blazers. T-Rob has been mentioned in every LaMarcus Aldridge blurb since the big man went down, and while things looked discouraging early with Dorell Wright starting, that all changed last night. Wright was benched for Robinson to start the second half, as T-Rob did a much better job on Kevin Love than any of his teammates. The fact he also came through with the big numbers is icing on the cake and Robinson is the guy to own until Aldridge comes back. I doubt he’s out much longer though, so Robinson’s run could be relatively short.
In even more news of the obscure, Evan Fournier went nuts with a career-high 27 points in a loss to the Kings, while teammate Randy Foye matched him. Fournier finished with four rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers, hitting 8-of-11 shots off the bench. Foye broke out of a funk over the weekend, scoring 23 on Friday and then by hitting 8-of-18 shots and six 3-pointers to finish with 27 points, six rebounds, one assist and another block on Sunday. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but Foye has racked up at least one block in seven of his 10 February games, averaging 1.2 of them for the month, along with 16.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.1 3-pointers. He’s a must-own player still, while Fournier is finally living up to some of the hype that came when Nate Robinson went down for the season with a knee injury. And while the return of Ty Lawson from a broken rib will likely hurt one or both guys, it shouldn’t be a death blow.
Eaten By the Monster of Love
Kevin Love is good at basketball. Kevin Love also had a big week, setting a franchise record with five straight 30-point games and racking up his first career triple-double along the way. His triple-double was of the nasty variety: 37 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and six 3-pointers. Ridiculous. If you own Love and you’re not rolling people right now, you’re doing something wrong. He’s averaging 34.6 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.1 3-pointers this month.
Goran Dragic went off again on Sunday, racking up a career-high 35 points with five 3-pointers, three steals and three assists on 14-of-20 shooting. He was pretty bad on Friday against the Spurs, but then again, who isn’t? Dragic is having a monster season and it’s a shame he wasn’t an All-Star. Gerald Green went off again for the Suns, but with Eric Bledsoe on the apparent verge of a return, owners might want to start shopping Green before the bottom falls out. Markieff Morris had 21 points and seven boards, and is on one of those five-game streaks that we’ve seen before. And while they’re usually backed up with a drought, he’s playing too well to be ignored.