Line of the Night:James Harden (3.81 WARP) went off for 40 points (on 12-17 from the field and 11-11 from the line), adding 5 threes, 7 rebounds and 4 steals in a win over the Phoenix Suns. This is by far Harden’s best game of the season – it’s a career high in points, and ties his season high in threes and steals. It also comes after two not so great games, so if you were worried about Harden’s mediocre performance coming into the home stretch, this is a statement game which basically says “everything’s cool”.
Honorable Mentions: In addition to Harden, Kevin Durant (2.06) had another strong game for the Thunder with 29 points (shooting 8-8 from the line), 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks while playing a game high 41 minutes. Make sure to save some of that for the playoffs, Kevin.
Carmelo Anthony (2.73) had an even better game last night than he did against the Celtics on Tuesday and yet again fell just short of the LotN with 33 points, 5 threes, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over the Nets. Not quite good enough… I think that’s the working title of Melo’s book about his time with the Knicks. Boom, roasted.
Still no Kobe Bryant for the Lakers, but L.A.’s big men were able to take advantage of a Warriors’ team starting Mickell Gladness at center and Jeremy Tyler at PF. That frontcourt isn’t going to fly against a normal NBA team, never mind one with Gasol and Bynum. So, it’s no surprise that Pau Gasol (2.72) had a huge triple-double in the game, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He also 3 blocked shots for good measure. Andrew Bynum (1.91) had 31 points (on 12-14 from the field) with 9 rebounds. Kobe missed his 7th straight game, but is supposedly targeting a return to the court on Friday against the Spurs. If you’ve been hanging on to Kobe all this time, keep an eye on situation and be ready to get him back in your lineups for Friday.
Dirk Nowitzki (2.60) dropped 35 points on the Rockets, hitting all 12 of his free throw attempts and adding 3 threes and 5 rebounds, while playing a team high 39 minutes. Vince Carter (1.05) was the team’s second leading scorer with 23, although he’s been decidedly more man than amazing this season (I think Nels or Erik might have used that line before).
Rudy Gay (2.60) had his fourth straight 24+ point game against the Hornets with 26 points, 3 threes, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Over the past two weeks, Gay has played himself up to #12 on the GMTR player rater and has averaged nearly 24 points and 6 boards a game during the run. Better late than never, I guess. More on the Hornets’ top performance below.
Paul Pierce (2.37) continued his run of strong games with 29 points (on 9-14 from the field), with 5 rebounds and 14 assists! Speaking of strong finishes to the season, Pierce is #7 overall on our rater over the past two weeks – not bad for an old guy during a crazy season where players are going down left and right. Glen Davis (1.17) returned to the court for the Magic after missing a game with a knee injury and exploded again for 27 points and 7 boards. It’s time to get him back in your lineup to ride out the rest of the season.
31 points, 6 assists and 3 steals last night for Monta Ellis (2.31) in a tough loss to the Wizards. He’s also on a tear as the season comes to an end and looks to be fitting in well with the Bucks’ rotation, which is a good thing to note for draft day next season.
Two guys who made their return to the court last night were Kyrie Irving (-0.01) and Nene Hilario (0.46). Irving jumped right back into the starting lineup despite missing the past 9 games, played 20 minutes and wasn’t all that great, scoring 9 points with 4 assists. Still, at this point in the season get him back in your lineups and hope for the best. This also means it’s time to say goodbye to Lester Hudson and Donald Sloan.
Nene’s return was slightly more productive as he finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in only 18 minutes off the bench. Not surprisingly, he also had a negative impact on Kevin Seraphin (-0.03), who only played 29 minutes and finished with an empty 14 points and 5 boards. I’d be hesitant to start either player at this point as the rotation shakes itself out.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: No Derrick Rose or Luol Deng for the Bulls, but they did have Richard Hamilton (1.66) – woo-hoo! – who scored 22 points on 9-13 from the field, adding 4 threes and 6 assists as the Bulls completely destroyed the Bobcats by a score of 100-68. Hamilton’s season has been derailed by injuries (which have held him to 24 games so far) but if you are in need of a scorer, he does have three 20+ scoring games out of his last five and the Bulls still play two more games this week. He’ll continue to get plenty of shots for the Bulls, especially if Rose and Deng continue to miss games (and it sounds like they will).
No word if Bobcats’ Coach Paul Silas beat up anymore of his players after the loss.
Pick Up Lines: As somewhat expected, Sundiata Gaines (1.60) stepped up in Deron Williams’ absence with a huge game – 18 points. 4 threes, 6 rebounds and 6 assists against Mike Bibby and the Knicks. Yes, I’d be a little skeptical about this game since it came against the 53 year old Mike Bibby. Still, the good news if you are looking to grab a PG like Gaines is that Williams is more likely than not done for the season (although not officially yet), so Gains should remain in the starting lineup. The bad news is that the Nets only have one more game this week and three on the season, so he really only makes sense in a spot start or streaming situation.
James Johnson (1.50) had his first multi-steal game in about a month (which is not good if you are a defensive specialist), finishing with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals for Toronto. He’s now put up three decent games in a row as the Raptors are down both Bargnani and Calderon, and would be worth a look in deeper leagues if the Raptors didn’t also only have only one more game this week. Given their bad schedule, he’s also a guy to stay away from.
Two guys loving the Kobe injury? Matt Barnes (1.42), who got his the hard way with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in a win over the Warriors, as well as Metta World Peace (1.27) who scored 18 points and added 9 assists. With Kobe’s return on the horizon, both Barnes and Peace will likely see their fantasy values take a hit, so the party is over if you’ve been riding either guy while Kobe has been out.
Mike Miller (1.25) went 3-4 from three and finished with 13 points and 6 assists in 22 minutes against the Raptors. Miller primarily gets his fantasy value from threes, but if your team is looking for threes, there are probably better options on your wire (Steve Novak maybe?)
Jerome Dyson (1.21). No, he doesn’t make vacuum cleaners; Dyson is a 24 year old rookie PG for New Orleans who has played all of 5 games this year. But with the Hornets currently playing for nothing this season, they apparently want to get a look at some of their younger guys (both Xavier Henry and Darryl Watkins also saw 25+ minutes, with much, much less success on the court). As a result, Dyson saw 27 minutes off the bench and scored 24 points, hitting 14 of 16 from the line and adding 3 steals. As a result of his extra playing time Greivis Vasquez only saw 26 minutes and nearly triple-doubled the wrong way – 9 points, 9 assists and 7 turnovers. It’s tough to say whether Dyson will continue to get enough minutes off the bench to be fantasy worthy, but I imagine he’ll be more of a thorn in the side the Vasquez the rest of the season than a legit fantasy player himself.
Nicolas Batum started the game for the Blazers, but sat out the second half after possibly aggravating his knee injury. So Luke Babbitt (1.01) got the start in his place in the second half of the game and responded with 16 points, 2 threes and 5 rebounds while getting 35 minutes of run. It makes sense for the Blazers to simply shut Batum down at this point, making Babbitt worth a look for the Blazers remaining three games.
Biggest Loser: I’ve never had the “pleasure” of owning Tyreke Evans (-1.30) in any leagues, but I can imagine the feeling is sort of like those experiments where scientists make chimps push a button and they either get a banana or they get shocked with electricity. Last night was definitely a shock from Evans, as he followed up a 20 point game against the Blazers with 5 points on 2-8 shooting, with 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 38 minutes on the court. 38 minutes! Imagine what a guy like Derrick Favors could do with all those minutes?
Detroit lost to Atlanta by a score of 116-84 and one reason why was Rodney Stuckey (-0.88), who shot 0-3 from the floor for the Pistons, finishing with 0 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 21 minutes.
Danilo Gallinari (-0.64) missed all 7 shots from the floor and had 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
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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