Line of the Night: Not surprisingly, the Cavaliers are a team that have been allowing opposing players to go off on them. And last night was no exception as Al Jefferson (2.89) came close to a triple-double in a 109-100 win, scoring 25 points, with 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks in 39 minutes on the court. It’s the second line of the night for Jefferson this season and he currently sits at #11 on our player rater. If you remember (hopefully you don’t), I wasn’t actually all that high on Jefferson going into the season, pegging him as a late second round pick at best. I screwed up on that one. Noted.
Honorable Mentions: You know you’ve entered a weird phase with (MVP candidate?) Kevin Love (2.43) when he drops 39 points and 17 rebounds on the Clippers (going 5-10 from three) and you see it as just another game. Also our good friend Darko Milicic (0.30) got the start for the injured Nikola Pekovic and scored 13 points with 4 rebounds. Pekovic is day-to-day with an ankle injury and will almost definitely slide back into the starting lineup upon his return, so I wouldn’t get too comfortable, Darko.
For the Clippers, Blake Griffin (0.26) had 26 and 12, but was also a Dwight Howard-like 6-13 from the line.
The Bucks beat the Sixers thanks to 33 points from Brandon Jennings (2.31), who was also 4-8 from three, with 7 assists. As much as Jennings started to stumble a bit in February with his shot, his March has started off great: In 3 games this month, Jennings has scored 33, 27 and 34 points. Ersan Ilyasova (1.52) pulled down another 18 rebounds in this game, and the dude is now averaging an insane 10.8 boards over the last month, which would make him a top 10 rebounder in the league if he can keep it up – putting him between Blake Griffin and Kris Humphries in terms of per game rebounding.
The Sixers were fantasy led by Thaddeus Young (0.97), who double-doubled with 14 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes. Evan Turner (-0.09) got his first start of the season for the Sixers over Jodie Meeks and had an interesting game to say the least – he grabbed a season high 12 boards, but also shot 1-12 from the floor and scored 2 points. Still, if he remains in the starting lineup over Meeks, Turner is a guy who could have some nice fantasy value over the last half of the season.
Golden State dropped 120 on the Wizards, so it’s no surprise that Monta Ellis (1.99) is one of yesterday’s best performers despite the fact that he didn’t play in the fourth quarter because of the blowout. Ellis scored 25 points (going 10-16 from the field), adding 5 rebounds and 8 assists in the win. And in Mark Jackson and Stephen Curry’s ongoing experiment to screw with fantasy owners, Curry (0.65) came off the bench in this game, played 9 minutes and scored 12 points on 5-7 from the floor. Hey, it’s better than a DNP I guess. Jackson said Curry would have played more minutes if the game was closer.
Wizard’s coach Randy Wittman called his team “unprofessional” after the game, which I think goes without saying when your fans boo Andray Blatche every time he steps on the court. Still, John Wall (1.82) is one guy who takes things seriously, as he scored 20 points (on 7-10 from the field), with 6 rebounds and 14 assists. Wall was the only starter to play more than 28 minutes (he got 38). Nick Young (1.50) came off the bench to score 25 points – although 15 came in the fourth during garbage time, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that he’s back.
Denver beat Sacramento 119-116 in overtime, led by Ty Lawson (1.88) who had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 13 assists, as well as Arron Afflalo’s (1.84) 32 points, 4 threes, and 10-11 from the line. Three of those free throws came with 0.6 seconds left in the game to tie it up as Afflalo was fouled by Marcus Thornton (1.88) while taking a last second desperation three. Other than that mental lapse, Thornton had a great game, scoring 27 points and hitting 6-9 from three.
Raymond Felton (1.01) was placed back into the Blazers’ starting lineup in order to jump start the Blazers who were sporting a three game losing streak. God only knows how Nate McMillan connected the dots to come up with Raymond Felton = winning, but it actually worked as the Blazers won and Felton double-doubled with 11 points and 10 assists in 30 minutes. I guess this means that it’s time to get Felon back in your lineups if (like me) you were sitting on him. Marcus Camby (1.27) added 16 boards in the game.
And finally, had to mention Dwight Howard’s (1.01) 36 and 13 against the Raptors. Howard would have ended up higher on the list if it weren’t for his 4-14 free throw shooting performance, but no surprise there.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: The problem with constantly appearing on the GMTR daily waiver wire list is that it means a player is good enough to have the occasional great performance, but not good or consistent enough to be worth picking up in most fantasy leagues.
I think Gordon Hayward (2.02) is pretty much the definition of that type of player. After getting pushed to the bench for the first time this season thanks to his lackluster play, Haywood came off the bench to scores 23 points on 8-11 shooting, adding 5 assists against the Cavs. Of course, this came a game after he played 15 minutes and scored 3 points, which pretty much describes how his season has gone. With the Jazz now starting Josh Howard at SF and Raja bell at SG, I would leave Haywood and his inconsistent ways as a free agent in normal sized fantasy leagues.
Pick Up Lines: Nene returned to the Nuggets’ lineup last night after missing 10 games with injury. Fortunately for Kenneth Faried (1.86), it came in a limited capacity off the bench. So Faried got the start and saw 34 minutes of run, scoring 20 points, with 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. It’s Faried’s third double-double in 4 games, but long term he is eventually going to lose his starting gig once Nene is ready. However, he can still be a useful fantasy player coming off the bench, likely soaking up all of the Birdman’s minutes, but his usefulness will likely be limited to deeper leagues when that happens.
Brendan Haywood sprained his ankle at the start of the Mavs game, so Ian Mahinmi (1.36) got a surprise 28 minutes and made the most of it, scoring 13 points, with 5 rebounds and 2 steals. It’s the most playing time he’s seen since January and he makes a nice short-term pickup if Haywood were to miss any time with the injury.
Coming off the bench behind DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless (1.02) scored 15 points, with 6 rebounds and 5 assists in only 22 minutes against the Magic. It’s performances like this that get us hot about Bayless, but it’s tough to do much averaging 20 minutes a game off the bench, so Jose Calderon will likely have to get traded for Bayless to really have a chance to breakout this season.
One guy with a good chance of breaking out (hey, it’s already happening) is Golden State’s new starting center Ekpe Udoh (1.00). Udoh finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Mark Jackson reportedly stated that Udoh would be the team’s starting center for the rest of the season, unless he “falls completely off the map,” so he’s definitely worth a grab if you’re in need of a big man and are looking mostly for blocks, low turnovers and decent percentages – although he is also averaging 14+ points in three starts this season (small sample size alert!).
The hot streak of Isaiah Thomas – 7 points on 2-8 shooting – is quickly and painfully coming to an end, so might John Salmons (0.88) get his starting job back eventually? Salmons scored 14 points and added 5 assists off the bench in that overtime game against the Nuggets. But the game before, he scored 1 point in 19 minutes and looked “uninterested” on the court, so the Kings might opt to stick with the slumping Thomas a little while longer.
It’s tough to be more inconsistent than Jason Thompson (0.87) has been this year. A game after getting benched for Donte Greene, playing all of 15 minutes and doing nothing on the court, Thompson was back in the starting lineup and had an efficient 13 and 8. To me, he’s a clear stay away guy in fantasy leagues as his inconsistency will drive you crazy.
Biggest Loser: Caron Butler (-1.08) has had a rough go of it over the last couple of weeks. But he hit a new low against the Wolves, playing only 19 minutes and finishing with 0 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist while shooting 0-6 from the field. Maybe he’s secretly injured, but his WARP over the last two weeks is in the negatives, which means you’re going to want to either sit or drop him in anything under a 16 team league until he gets out of this funk.
An off night for Jarrett Jack (-0.63), who was only 1-6 from the floor, scoring 3 points with 3 assists against the Blazers. Jack had been playing pretty well leading up to this game, so consider it a minor bump in the road.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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