Derrick Rose earned his 2nd MVP-for-a-day award by leading the Bulls back in the 4th quarter over Josh Smith and the Hawks.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Fantasy Basketball-Starting 5-January 4

Last night was a lighter night in the NBA, but there were still plenty of compelling stories and stat lines that will make or break your fantasy hoops week. The top story was the suddenly-trending Blazers (mentioned hereearly in the year as a team to watch) beating the Thunder and handing them their 2nd loss in a row. Elsewhere, the Cavs looked good, the Bulls came back, Mike Conley returned, and the DeMarcus Cousins situation is still as bizarre as ever.

Here’s 6 lists of 5 to get you all caught up on all the happenings around the league:

5 stars shining

1. Kobe Bryant-LAL: Kobe had a season-high 37 points in 37 minutes while adding 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and a block to lead the Lakers over the Rockets. When he gets help from #3 on this list the Lakers can still hang with the best in the West.

2. Derrick Rose-Chi: Rose led the Bulls come-from-behind 4th quarter win with 30 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, and a block. Everyone assumed he was taking the final shot, but instead it was Luol Deng for the layup to give the Bulls the lead.

3. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum continued his massive start to his season (4 games late due to his suspension) by contributing his first 20-20 game to the Lakers’ victory. He finished with 22 rebounds, 21 points, and 3 blocks. Houston had no answer for him down low, and this game shows you glimpses of the potential that makes Bynum’s name show up in trades so often. He’s averaging 22.7 pts, 17 rebs, and 2 blocks per game to start the season.

4. LaMarcus Aldridge-Por: Aldridge led the Blazers into Oklahoma City and beat the Thunder in their own building by scoring 30 points to go with 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and a block. With the win, Portland now leads the Western Conference. (they are still a ways from clinching, though…)

5. Russell Westbrook-OKC: Westbrook still hasn’t completely found his shooting touch (8-18) but still had 22 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and a steal. He and Durant are struggling a little now, but they’ll come out of it and probably with a vengeance on some poor stretch of their schedule.

5 starters disappointing

1. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant will no doubt be concerned with the back-to-back losses for the Thunder, but his fantasy owners will be concerned with his 8-26 night shooting while going 1-7 from 3-point land and 2-4 from the line. His final line of 19 points, 3 blocks, 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal isn’t horrible, but the percentages suffered and in 42 minutes of KD, everyone would expect more.

2. Joe Johnson-Atl: Joe Johnson had a horrible shooting night as well going just 3-17 while scoring 10 points, grabbing 4 rebounds, swiping 3 steals, and dishing 4 assists. The assists and steals are appreciated by his fantasy owners, the 3-17 and only 10 points aren’t.

3. Joakim Noah-Chi: Noah has struggled his last few games and only played 16 minutes in this one. He finished without a FG and only 2 points, 1 steal, and 4 rebounds. His 1 assist came on the bucket by Deng that won the game, so he’s still a big part of what’s going on in Chi-town, but right now he’s scuffling.

4. Jeff Teague-Atl: Teague shot 2-8 from the field and only 3-6 from the free throw line on his way to just 7 points to go with his 1 steal, 1 rebound, and 4 assists.

5. Boris Diaw-Cha: Diaw played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble in the first half and finished scoreless with 5 rebounds, a block, and 2 assists.

5 contributors across the board

1. Kyle Lowry-Hou: Lowry was as much a mystery to the Lakers point guards as Bynum was to the Rockets big men as Kyle finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals.

2. Al Jefferson-Uta: Jefferson has been playing out of his mind lately and the goodness continued Tuesday night with 26 points, 10 boards, 3 steals, and a pair of blocks to help the Jazz get to .500 by beating the Bucks.

3. Marc Gasol-Mem: Gasol helped cover Z-Bo’s absence by scoring 14 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, dishing 3 assists, and swiping 2 stals. He played a massive 41 minutes since Hamad Haddadi didn’t play for personal reasons.

4. Josh Smith-Atl: Smith played the best game of any Hawk brabbing 14 boards and scoring 15 points. He added a couple blocks, a couple assists, and a steal as well.

5. Paul Millsap-Uta: Millsap started for the Jazz and finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal on a very efficient 6-7 from the field.

5 guards dishing

1. DJ Augustin-Cha: Augustin did his part for the Bobcats to win last night as he poured in 26 points to go with 9 assists, 4 rebounds, a steal, and a block.

2. James Harden-OKC: Harden got the chance to start for OKC and played an intense 40 minutes. He finished with 23 points and was the Thunder leading scorer to go along with 3 steals, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. He may return to the bench with the return of Thabo Sefolosha (out with flu-like symptons) but will put up good numbers regardless of his roll.

3. Kyrie Irving-Cle: Irving is looking like he may just be legit. He had 20 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks as he led the Cavs past the Bobcats and to a 3-2 start.

4. OJ Mayo-Mem: Mayo played 20 minutes off the bench and contributed 16 points, 2 assists, a block, and 4 boards. In the right situation, he could still have value, but his minutes and function in such a constant state of flux, I’d stay away for now.

5. Wesley Matthews-Por: Matthews doesn’t play the point for the Blazers but had a solid night from the 2-guard spot finishing with 16 points, a block, 2 assists, 6 rebounds, and a very nice 4 steals.

5 forwards scoring

1. Drew Gooden-Mil: Andrew Bogut didn’t play for reasons still unstated, but Gooden looked great while putting up 24 points, 12 boards, a block and a steal. No one knows yet if this is a one-time absence or a more extended time-off for the big Australian, but if Bogut misses time Gooden’s available in 99.9% of leagues and would be worth adding.

2. Rudy Gay-Mem: Gay led Memphis to a win over the Kings with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and a block.

3. Luol Deng-Chi: Deng hit the game-winning layup for the Bulls and finished with a very nice 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

4. Luis Scola-Hou: Scola finished with 20 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal, but didn’t do enough to get the Rockets past the Lakers in LA. His stats though were still solid.

5. Corey Maggette-Cha: Maggette’s up and down season continued with more of an up last night as he finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, on a tough 4-12 shooting, but 13-14 from the line.

5 to think about adding

1. Sam Young-Mem: Young exploded last night off the Memphis bench for 20 points, 7 boards, 1 assist, and 3 steals in a season high 28 minutes. The minutes were available since Zach Randolph rested this one with a knee injury, but with a performance like that Young should find a spot in the Grizz rotation. He’s currently owned in just .1 percent of leagues.

2. Tristan Thompson-Cle: Thompson continues to look good coming off the Cavs bench and is getting some extra PT with the injury to Anderson Verajao. Last night he had 16 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, and 2 blocks and is owned in only 4.1 percent of leagues. His average is about 10 and 5 with almost 2 blocks, but there’s potential for a lot more from night-to-night.

3. J.J. Hickson-Sac: Hickson started and was the only Kings starter in double figures with 12 points and 10 boards in just 23 minutes. He added a block, steal, and assist. His ownership has dropped all the way down to just 34.9 percent and with the Cousins situation still developing, he could end up with major minutes which could lead to nice production.

4. James Anderson-SA: It looks like he and the recently recalled from the NBADL Gary Neal will split Manu’s minutes. Anderson was averaging 21 minutes before the injury and scoring 7 points per game. It’s purely a speculative add until we see how the minutes are divided but he’s owned in a miniscule .2 percent of leagues and will have the opportunity to step up with Manu Ginobili’s injury keeping him out indefinitely.

5. Richard Jefferson-SA: Jefferson will also be expected to pick up his game without Manu Ginobili and he’s averaging 12.4 points per game already and shooting over 50%. There should be more shots in the flow of the offense and the opportunities for assists will also increase. He’s only owned in 7.9 percent of leagues.


Tags: Bulls Derrick Rose Fantasy Basketball Fantasy Basketball Advice NBA Recap Oklahoma City Thunder Portland Trailblazers Starting 5 Waiver Wire

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