For all of the chaos of fantasy playoff schedules mired in the middle of shutdown season, last night was just good, plain fun. James Harden scored 51 points in what amounted to a glorified pickup game, Russell Westbrook single-handedly destroyed your field goal percentage but put up more massive numbers and Terrence Jones blocked seven shots in his return. That’s just a small sampling of what we saw, so we’ll hit the highlights and I’ll be back here later today for the last Breakdown of the season.
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THE BIG NUMBERS
|Chris Paul||41||5||5||17||4||0||1||61.9%||Had to know a big one was coming post-Curry.|
|James Harden||51||8||8||6||3||0||7||64.0%||TOs run this spectacular line into 2nd place.|
|Anthony Morrow||32||6||4||0||1||0||0||68.8%||A third round value this past two weeks.|
|Enes Kanter||30||1||16||1||0||1||0||69.2%||Can't defend a lick, but he's red hot for owners.|
|Monta Ellis||26||0||4||5||4||0||1||64.3%||Looked a bit hobbled, OKC an easy matchup.|
|Anthony Davis||20||0||7||6||1||4||1||60.0%||Pelicans poised to make a run at the 8-seed.|
|Marcin Gortat||23||0||14||3||0||2||1||90.9%||Early round lately despite friction with 'mates.|
|Jimmy Butler||25||1||7||3||3||1||2||44.4%||The Butler has been doing this all year.|
|Nicolas Batum||21||5||4||4||3||0||2||63.6%||Heating up at the right time for owners.|
|DeMarcus Cousins||24||0||21||10||3||6||5||44.0%||If HOU actually tried last night I'd care more.|
|Deron Williams||26||4||7||7||1||0||1||52.4%||D-Will's ankles are cooperating right now.|
|Kelly Olynyk||19||3||2||2||1||1||0||70.0%||We said the only place he could go was up.|
|Blake Griffin||24||2||7||8||1||1||4||55.6%||A top-15 play over his last 10 games.|
|Danilo Gallinari||8||2||3||2||1||0||0||21.4%||Hard to opt against a guy that just dropped 40.|
|Avery Bradley||11||1||3||1||1||0||2||35.7%||A late-round guy right now w/ room to improve|
|Zaza Pachulia||4||0||10||0||0||0||1||33.3%||Running well enough for owners to hold on.|
|Thaddeus Young||12||0||9||2||0||1||4||55.6%||4 TOs hurt, but startable value so far this week.|
|Steven Adams||7||0||2||2||2||0||1||60.0%||Ankle injury late, he's a banged-up late-rounder|
|Joakim Noah||4||0||6||2||1||1||3||50.0%||Probably going to be a pain for owners.|
|Danny Green||3||1||2||0||0||0||1||33.3%||Two duds in a row. Bench at your own risk.|
Steven Adams said he’ll “see how it goes” when asked about his sprained ankle from late in last night’s game. Adams has had real trouble at the foul line this past week but generally speaking he has a nice late-round value for owners, and he’s the only thing keeping the Thunder’s defense from being a total sieve. McGary would have a late-round ceiling for any games that Adams might miss, and we’re calling him day-to-day as of last night.
Wayne Ellington suffered a mild shoulder separation and he will be re-evaluated today. Jeremy Lin, Wes Johnson and Jabari Brown will be helped by this, and while both Johnson and Brown struggled last night the Lakers have a league-best schedule the rest of the way. Brown has produced enough to be owned already, while Johnson has not, but in any event they’re both worth a look.
Reggie Jackson played through an illness and stayed in the game despite an ankle injury, scoring nine points on 3-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds and eight assists. He’s loving life as a lead guard too much to be taken off the floor unless things really worsen, but his efficiency could become an issue once again.
Isaiah Canaan left last night’s blowout loss late in the game due to a right ankle sprain, finishing with 18 points, three boards, six assists, two steals and four treys in 22 minutes – his best game in a long time. Just keep in mind with all of your Philly assets that next week is just a two-gamer. I like Canaan’s upside but he’d need to be top-50 hot to make that pencil out in a weekly format.
None of the main guys that have been sidelined in Minnesota played last night, including Kevin Martin (hamstring), Ricky Rubio (ankle) or Gorgui Dieng (concussion). Martin is supposedly eyeballing Friday for a return but until you get a definitive report that they’re playing it’s probably safest to assume they’re out indefinitely.
Brandon Knight (heel) is doubtful to play tonight against the Warriors as of the time of publishing Wednesday late-night. Marcus Morris is the primary beneficiary and with the Suns’ all-but out of the playoff hunt I don’t know that they’ll push Knight too hard.
Draymond Green (shin, rest) is questionable and so far he is the only player that is named on the injury report. Like Tuesday’s game, tonight’s game is on TNT and there was some speculation that he started most of his guys to help out his former employer. I don’t know about that and that’s the sort of thing that could cut in any direction – maybe he feels like 1-of-2 assists to the old bosses is good enough – but it’s out there and I thought I’d at least mention it.
Dwight Howard (rest) did not play last night against the Kings and it could be argued that neither did most of his teammates, but for Howard it means that he will go tonight against the Mavs. In the vacuum of a one-game sample, he’s probably worth starting in most leagues.
Kevin Love (back) is a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the Heat as of the time this was published late-Wednesday night. Luol Deng joins him as a GTD and with the Heat fighting for their playoff lives both he and Dwyane Wade (knee) should push to play, and with the added hype in general perhaps Love pushes a bit more to play, too.
Kyle Lowry (back) did not play last night and he is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Nets, too. Greivis Vasquez bounced back from a bad outing the last time out to score 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting with four treys, four boards, two assists and a steal last night against the Wolves. He’ll be better than a coin flip to be useful for any game that Lowry misses going forward.
Dorell Wright had been playing well for the Blazers but suffered a broken fourth metacarpal in his left hand, which has a guesstimated 4-6 week timetable if you look at similar injuries. Arron Afflalo has been an underwhelming pickup in both fantasy and reality, but he picked up the pace last night with 14 points, two threes, five boards and three assists in his 33 minutes. He has cracked late-round value this past week by hitting an unsustainable 56.4 percent from the field, and if you’re looking for some 3-pointers with very little expectations beyond that he might be able to hold the line for you there.
For more injury news check out our injury page.
Terrence Jones returned from a rib injury/collapsed lung and had a great night in the box, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and seven blocks. He was sucking wind in his 32 minutes and he looked slow, but playing against the Kings’ woefully constructed roster he was able to do things like block Carl Landry three times on one play. He’s going to be a fine fantasy asset unless he somehow gets sidelined again, but for the Rockets to even sniff a playoff series win they need him in tip-top shape.
Ryan Anderson returned from an 18-game absence last night as sources had intimated earlier in the week, and with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting, two threes, three boards and one assist he wasted no time getting back into the flow. Of course, the opposing Lakers were a great spot to drop in for a few reasons, and Friday’s game in Sacramento is a great spot for him to improve on this effort. The Kings don’t defend the 3-point line at all and it’s virtually a home game for the El Dorado Hills native. Unless you don’t need his proficient areas, it’s a pretty easy call to pick him up with the Pelicans being just one of eight teams that plays four times next week.
Derrick Favors (back) returned to action after a two-game absence and owners have to be thrilled that the Jazz are playing with their toys like it’s Christmas Day. He scored 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds and three blocks, and as long as an injury doesn’t put somebody at immediate risk these guys are going to keep pushing on the gas pedal.
He only missed one game but Monta Ellis wasn’t having any more of that on Wednesday, when he returned and scored 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting (8-of-9 FTs) with four rebounds, five assists and four steals in 37 minutes. I don’t think he showed a lot of explosion on defense, but one can’t argue with the production even if it came against the Thunder’s disintegrating defense.
C.J. Miles got knocked out of Tuesday’s game due to an ankle injury but he got back on the horse last night, scoring 12 points with three rebounds, two steals, one block and one three in 29 minutes. Rodney Stuckey stayed on the floor despite his various injuries and had an encouraging night, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting (1-of-1 3PTs, 3-of-3 FTs) with two rebounds and one steal in 20 minutes. I like Miles way more than Stuckey right now and they have a neutral schedule the rest of the way.
Kris Humphries returned from an extended absence due to a groin injury, scoring six points with one rebound, one steal and one block in 15 minutes. He’ll slide in next to the black hole of fantasy value that is Nene.
Anthony Morrow might have lulled owners into a drop and after scoring 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting with six treys he shouldn’t be available anymore. Scott Brooks will go away from him but he’s still holding top 35-50 value over the last 15 games, regardless.
Justin Hamilton hasn’t broken the Internet or even come close since returning to action from a nasty concussion, but he’s already returning late-round value in just 22.4 mpg with averages of 9.5 points, 0.3 treys, 3.0 boards, 1.8 combined steals and blocks to go with some good percentages. He has steadily ramped up his workload and while last night’s 13 points, two boards, two steals and one block won’t win him any awards, the Wolves’ four-game schedule next week makes this a by-the-book pickup.
Marvin Williams turned in another solid game last night with 18 points, three treys, six rebounds, one steal and one block, and he’s been providing mid-to-late round numbers over the past two weeks. The Hornets are fighting for their playoff lives and have a league-best schedule. This is another by-the-book pickup.
Ryan Kelly was quiet with 12 points, one rebound, three assists and a trey in his 30 minutes last night, but after being highlighted in Fantasy Extra he went huge in the first of four games this week and he has four games next week, too. I think it’s time to hold on and see what happens next.
Kelly Olynyk was also highlighted in the stock report and he’s been a mess to deal with. When he got popped in the eye during shootaround and suddenly looked like Rocky Balboa after a fight – he was probably dropped in most active 12-team standard leagues. So naturally he scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and three treys in his 20 minutes. It puts him back in the standard league discussion and owners might give him added consideration if they need a risk-reward play.
Will Barton hit 6-of-12 shots (including a three) for 13 points, seven boards, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench last night. Barton has been a late-round guy for a while now and is working on three games of mid-round value, all while averaging around 23 mpg and not being fully unleashed. He has a neutral schedule to finish out the season and I still like him to be owned as an upside guy.
Josh Smith didn’t have the huge game I thought he’d have against the Kings, perhaps because he and his teammates looked like the Varsity Blues guys after their long night out. That or watching James Harden score 51 points had its casualties. Either way, guys are slowly getting back into their normal minute-allotments and his leash is necessarily getting shorter. That said, there’s still enough room for him to be productive so this isn’t an all-out drop situation.
The Kings will be a mess with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay’s status a question mark for the rest of the year. Last night’s game was a best-case scenario for most of them with Ray McCallum scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, three rebounds, six assists, one steal and two threes, and Omri Casspi starting for Gay on an 18-point night including seven boards, four assists and three steals. Jason Thompson added 16 and 10 with a steal in his 21 minutes, and along with Ben McLemore (14 points, two threes, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block) this is the group you want to look at.
Ricky Ledo has been in my sleepers crew for two weeks now, and this was the first target week of production for anybody crazy enough to ride this ride. Last night he scored 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting with two threes, six boards and four assists in 26 minutes. The hope here has been that his inefficient shooting guard stats get supplemented with extra boards and defensive stats due to garbage-time conditions. Again, we’re talking sleepers here so owners need to consider the risks when making an add.
With Derrick Favors (back) returning to the lineup last night, Trevor Booker (nine points, four rebounds, one steal, one block, 29 minutes) becomes too risky from night-to-night and he can be dropped in most formats.
Jameer Nelson hit just 1-of-8 shots for three points, two rebounds and zero assists in 20 minutes, and he has been shooting way over his head for a long time. He fits the description of a player that could be rested liberally, and Randy Foye (five points, three boards, two assists, one steal, 2-of-9 FGs, 28 minutes) would also fit that description if he didn’t seem intent on getting back some of the playing time he lost earlier in the year.
Lorenzo Brown has been a pleasant surprise for the past week or so and he was similarly versatile last night, scoring seven points with five assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 24 minutes. But with Kevin Martin coming back theoretically on Friday, that would be the end of his already tenuous value.
Robert Covington was brought off the bench last night and hit just 2-of-10 shots (including a three) for six points, five boards, three assists and a steal in 26 minutes. I’m not panicking on his game-to-game value as he’ll probably bounce back and maintain a late-round position with some mid-round upside, but the Sixers have just two games next week. Depending on how your format works that could easily make him worth dropping.