February 17, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Milwaukee Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) passes the ball as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) defends during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Fantasy Basketball-Starting 5-February 18

It was another fresh, fast, funky, Friday in the NBA as the schedule was filled with 11 games. The Mavs won their 6th straight getting a big win in Phily while the Knicks lost their first game in the Lin Dynasty as they fell to the Hornets. In other games LeBron won returning to Cleveland, Rodney Stuckey went off and got Detroit a win, the Thunder won their game but lost Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard was huge again for Orlando, the Love-Pekovic duo dominated in Houston, the Grizzlies were saved by un unlikely hero, and the Bobcats finally got a W to snap their 16 game skid.

Lots to break-down and digest, so let’s get right to our 8 lists of 5 to start your Saturday all caught up on the NBA fantasy action from last night.

5 starring a week before All-Star weekend

Kobe Bryant (24) led the Lakers to a nice win at home over the Suns earning our MVP-for-a-day. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

1. Kevin Love-Min: K-Love dominated Houston in his 42 minutes finishing with 33 points, 2 threes, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist. He combined with Nikola Pekovic for 63 of the Wolves 111 points as they rolled the Rockets to get to 15-16 this season.

2. Al Jefferson-Uta: Jefferson had 34 points in 31 minutes while adding 12 boards, 3 steals, a block, and an assist. He led Utah to another home victory (this time over Washington) as they moved to 12-5 at home and 15-14 overall.

3. Kobe Bryant-LAL: Kobe’s dislike for the Suns is well-known and last night he showed it on the court finishing with the most points of anyone in the league (tied with #5 of this list) last night with 36 to go with 9 rebounds, a team-high 6 assists, 4 steals, and a block.

4. Dwight Howard-Orl: Howard led the Magic to a comeback win over Milwaukee to get to 20-11 on the year. He finished with 26 points, 20 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, a steal, and an assist. It was his 7th game of the year with at least 20 rebounds and at least 20 points.

5. Rodney Stuckey-Det: Stuckey had a season-high 36 points on 12-20 shooting finishing with 4 three’s, 3 boards, a steal, and a block. It was a huge game for the Pistons backcourt (see Brandon Knight below) as they led the Pistons to a win over the Kings at The Palace to get to 10-22 on the year.

5 doing work down low

February 17, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) attempts a shot in the first quarter as Houston Rockets center Samuel Dalembert (21) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

1. Nikola Pekovic-Min: Pekovic worked with post-mate Kevin Love as each went off for 30+ points and 10+ rebounds. Pekovic had exactly 30 while adding 12 boards, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and an assist. Pekovic and Jeremy Lin have been the 2 fantasy stars to emerge from obscurity the first half of the season.

2. DeMarcus Cousins-Sac: Cousins had 26 points on 11-19 shooting with 15 boards, 3 assists, a block, and a steal. Despite his solid line, the Pistons beat the Kings dropping them to 10-20.

3. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Nowitzki had a game-high 28 on 10-22 shooting with 12 boards and 2 assists to lead Dallas to a comeback win over the Sixers in Philly as they got to 20-11 on the season.

4. Marcin Gortat-Phx: Gortat had 21 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist in the Suns loss in LA. Gortat held his own even against Gasol and Bynum and continues to be a reliable source of points and rebounds.

5. Amare Stoudemire-NY: Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Jeremy Lin were the only Knicks on their game last night as they fell to the Hornets. Amare finished with 26 points, 12 boards, and 1 steal.

5 scoring in bunches

1. LeBron James-Mia: James hit 11-19 as he returned to Cleveland again finishing with 28 points, 5 assists, a steal, and a block in his 30 minutes against the Cavs. He led the Heat to the W raising the record to 24-7.

2. Jeremy Lin-NY: Lin had 9 turnovers, but other than that had a nice overall line finishing with 26 points, 4 steals, 5 assists, and 2 rebounds. The Knicks lost their first game since Lin enetered the starting lineup as they slipped to  15-16 after falling to the Hornets.

3. James Harden-OKC: Harden had a team high 25 coming off the bench for the Thunder while hitting 8-13 whild scoring 4 threes to go with 2 assists, and a steal.

4. Trevor Ariza-NO: Ariza played 45 minutes against the Knicks last night while scoring 25 points to lead New Orleans to the win over the Linsanity that is New York these days. Ariza added 8 boards, an assist, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

5. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant may be without Russell Westbrook after the PG rolled his ankle against the Warriors last night. Durant and the rest of the Thunder cruised to the victory, but the loss of Westbrook was the story in OKC last night. Durant had 23 points, 3 threes,10 boards, and 6 assists.

5 running the show

Feb 17, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) defends New Orleans Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez (21) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Hornets won 89-85. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

1. Steve Nash-Phx: Nash continued his recent run of high-volume assists dishing 17 while scoring 11 points and adding 3 boards and 2 steals. The Suns played the Lakers tough, but had a tough 2nd quarter which proved too much to overcome as they fell to 12-19 so far this season.

2. Greivis Vasquez-NO: Vasquez had 11 assists, 15 points, a rebound, and 2 steals for the Hornets last night. Jarrett Jack returned but it was Vasquez who ran the offense and played well in New Orleans’ win at the Garden to get to 7-23.

3. Brandon Knight-Det: Knight scored 23 points of his own while assisting 10 of his teammate’s buckets and adding 6 rebounds. It was a big game for his backcourt mate Rodney Stuckey, but Knight had a big game of his own in Detroit’s win.

4. D.J. Augustin-Cha: Augustin started for Charlotte while Kemba Walker returned to the bench and Augustin had a nice 11 point-10 assist double-double to go with 3 rebounds and a steal in Charlotte’s win over Toronto. The road W gets their record for the year to just 4-26 after losing their previous 16 games.

5. Ricky Rubio-Min: Rubio had 9 assists, 2 boards, and a steal while making 6 of his 13 shots including 2 threes on his way to 18 points.

5 helping from the late-game lines

1. John Wall-Was: Wall had 24 points while hitting 8 of 12 with 4 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals. He played well and Washington reached 100 but they lost to the Jazz in Utah falling to 7-24 on the year.

2. Corey Brewer-Den: Brewer played 32 minutes and poured in 26 points including 5 3-pointers along with 5 rebounds, a steal, and a block as Denver dropped a close on in Memphis. Brewer has seen a big increase in minutes the last 4 games and is averaging 15 points, 5.5 boards, 1.5 assists, and 2.3 steals. He’s still just owned in  1.7 percent of leagues and his production has been uneven. Keep an eye on him, but I’m not convinced he’s a must-add at this point.

3. Marc Gasol-Mem: Gasol had a solid game at home last night against the Nuggets as he finished with 16 points, 14 boards, 8 assists, and 3 blocks in 41 minutes. The Grizzlies won on a tipin from Dante Cunningham (who had just 4 points all game) and got to 17-14 on the year.

4. Andrew Bynum-LAL: Bynum had 17 points and 14 boards to go with 2 assists and a block in the Lakers home-win over the Suns.

5. Devin Harris-Uta: Harris may be starting to play a little better and last night finished with 12 points, 9 assists, 2 stals, and 3 rebounds.

5 earning their spots in fantasy lineups.

February 17, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) dribbles theball as Milwaukee Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) attempts to defend during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 94-85. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

1. Ryan Anderson-Orl: Anderson hit 4-7 three-pointers while scorings 23 points to go with 9 boards, 3 assists, and a steal. He’s been rewarding owners with 3’s, points, and rebounds fairly consistently. Outside of some horrible nights shooting he’s been incredibly valuable for most of the year.

2. Jason Kidd-Dal: Kidd had only 9 points but contributed 9 bourds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and a block with an impressive +28 +/- in his 30 minutes.

3. David Lee-GS: Lee again led the Warriors with 23 points while the backcourt combo of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry struggled. Lee added 6 rebounds and an assist, but the Warriors still fell to 11-16 after getting rolled by the Thunder.

4. Dwyane Wade-Mia: Wade made 7 of his 10 shots from the field and had 22 points to go with 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 6 boards against Cleveland.

5. Kyrie Irving-Cle: Irving struggled from the field shooting just 5-15 but had 17 points, 2 steals, 2 assists, 4 boards, and a block. The Cavs fell to LeBron and the visiting Heat as they slid to 11-17 on the year.

5 disappointing their owners

1. Jrue Holiday-Phi: Holiday played 32 minutes against Dalas and had just 3 points while scuffling to 0-9 from the field. He did have 4 boards, 3 steals, 2 assists, and a block; but he virtually no-showed on the offensive end.

2. Stephen Curry-GS: Curry made just 4 of 13 shots and finished with only 11 points against the Thunder. He had 4 assists and 4 turnovers along with just 2 boards.

3. Jodie Meeks-Phi: Meeks went scoreless and statless (except for a turnover and 3 missed 3’s) in 16 minutes in Philly last night as the Sixers slid to  20-11 as they fell to the Mavs.

4. Shawn Marion-Dal: Marion shot just 3-13 while scoring 6 points to go with 7 boards and an assist against the Sixers last night.

5. Brandon Jennings-Mil: Jennings had 14 points with 5 assits and 4 rebounds in Milwaukee’s road loss to Orlando. He shot just 4-20 from the field.

5 emerging as fantasy options

1. Ersan Ilyasova-Mil: Last night Ilyasova had 14 points and 10 boards with 2 blocks, 2 assits, and a steal.  He started for Milwaukee and has been one of their better players over the past week. He’s owned in just over half of leagues, but I decided to include him since his production has taken such a positive turn over the past several games.

2. Gustavo Ayon-NO: Ayon had a double-double for the second consecutive game for the Hornets as the Mexican import continued to contribute to New Orelans’ starting lineup. He’s averaged just under 10 points and 8 and a half rebounds in his last 5 games and has played 25+ minutes in his last 4 games. He should be good for around 10 and 10 a night with a couple steals as well. He’s owned in under 2 percent of leagues.

3.Isaiah Thomas-Sac: Thomas got his first start of the year in the building where the other Isaiah Thomas was famous for the “bad boys” Pistons thrived.  Thomas had 13 points on 4-6 shooting makeing a 3 and adding 4 boards, 4 asssits, and a steal. Sacramento’s a pretty messed up situation, but if Thomas starts and plays consistent minutes look for him to produce points, assists, and steals at a good enough rate to merit ownership in most leagues. Right now he’s owned in just 0.4 percent.

4. Alonzo Gee-Cle: Gee didn’t have a great game (4-14 from the field) but had 9 points, 2 boards, and a steal. The big deal about last night for Gee is that he started for the Cavs and played 30 minutes. If he gets that much time expect good numbers across the board and him to be a hot addition as his ownership will climb way above its current 11-percent level.

5. Nikola Vucevic-Phi: Vucevic played an efficient 19 minutes hitting 7 of his 8 shots and grabbing 7 boards while scoring 16 points with a block and a steal. With Spencer Hawes still sidelined their are opportunities for the Swiss big-man owned in just 0.1 percent of leagues.

Courtney Lee, Klay Thompson, Royal Ivey/Reggie Jackson, Kenneth Faried, Markieff Morris

Tags: Fantasy Basketball Advice Fantasy Basketball Lineups Jeremy Lin Kevin Love Kobe Bryant Russell Westbrook Starting 5 Waiver Wire

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