Feb 29, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) shoots for three over Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Antawn Jamison (4) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 120-103. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Fantasy Basketball-Starting 5-March 1

The NBA celebrated Leap Day with 24 teams in action across the country. The big winners were the Bulls, Knicks, Thunder, and a masked man named Kobe. The teams biggest losers were the Hawks, Cavs, Mavs, and Blazers.

There were plenty of options in action in the fantasy world last night so let’s get all caught up on the latest with these 7 lists of 5

5 standout stars

Nothing can stop the Mamba, not even the mask. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

1. Kobe Bryant-LAL: It was tempting to put him at number one here just to get the picture of his mask as the headline story. Kobe’s game last night, though, surely merits our top spot and our MVP-for-a-day as he drilled 11 of 23 on his way to 31 points (1 of only 2 players to score 30). He added 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and a steal as he powered LA past the Timberwolves easily to run their record to 21-14.

2. John Wall-Was: Wall was the other player with 30+ last night finishing with 33 as the Wizards tried to run with the visiting Magic. Ultimately, Walls 33 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals weren’t enough to for Washington as they fell to 7-28 on the year and 0-3 against Orlando.

3. Marc Gasol-Mem: Gasol’s numbers throughout the year have been solid and usually efficient. Last night was more of the same as he scored 22 points on 8-14 shooting with 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks as the Grizz beat the Mavs to move to 20-15 as they continue their pursuit of a good seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

4. Kevin Garnett-Bos: One of the bright spots for Boston’s start of the 2nd half has been the resurgence of KG. He had 25 points and 10 boards with 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. If the Celtics do decide to dismantle as the rumor-mill is saying, there should be some teams interested in the  suddenly spry Garnett.

5. Derrick Rose-Chi: Rose let the Bulls past San Antonio handing the Spurs only their 2nd home loss on the season. He finished with 29 points on 10-23 shooting and added 4 assists, a block, and a board.

5 shooting (and scoring) stars

Feb 29, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford (11) attempts a three point shot during the second quarter of the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

1. Rodney Stuckey-Det: Stuckey had 29 points on 10-18 shooting with 3 assists and 4 rebounds. There’s a possibility he moves before the deadline and plays a reduced role with a contender so it may be time to sell high on Stuckey.

2. C.J. Miles-Uta: CJ Miles went off against the Rockets last night  draining 10-16 from the field and hitting 3 threes on his way to 27 points to lead the Jazz to the 104-83 victory moving their record back up to 16-18.

3. Jamal Crawford-Por: Crawford started and continues to play big minutes for Portland. He led the Blazers with 21 points with 5 three, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. Portland fell in Denver as they dropped to 18-17 so far this season.

4. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant struggled early but finished with a game-high 23 in the Thunder’s win in Phily. He added 4 rebounds, an assist, and a steal in what for him was a down night, but he still contributed to the Thunder’s win as well as his fantasy teams.

5. Drew Gooden-Mil: Gooden had 23 points on 7-15 shooting while hitting all 9 of his shots from the line and adding 8 boards and 2 assists. The Bucks fell short of upending Bosston though as they fell to 14-21.

5 stars at the point

Feb 29, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin (17) shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) defends during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 120-103. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

1. Jeremy Lin-NY: Lin had 13 asssists to go with his 19 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal. Even with Baron Davis being a successful as he’s been so far this season, Lin had a solid statistical night and continues to be a big contributor for fantasy owners. for Knicks fans his 1 turnover is a huge boost as well.

2. Mike Conley-Mem: Conley had 20 points and 10 assists along with 3 rebounds, and 4 steals for Memphis last night as they upended the sliding Mavs to get to 20-15.

3. Ty Lawson-Den: Lawson had 9 assists to go with his 18 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal as he led the Nuggets 7 scorers in double-digits on their way to a win at home over Portland to get to 19-17 on the year.

4. Ricky Rubio-Min: Rubio shot horribly finishing with just 3 points on 1-8 shooting but did have 9 assists, 2 steals, and 3 rebounds in his 25 minutes in the Wolves loss to LA. The loss dropped Minnesota back to .500 at 18-18.

5. Tony Parker-SA: Parker had 9 assists and 11 points to go with 6 rebounds while shooting 5-16 from the field. He wasn’t able to get the Spurs past the Bulls as they fell to  24-11 overall and 13-2 at home. San Antonio is excellent at home and they’ve got a lot of home games left on the schedule.

5 stars on the glass

1. Greg Monroe-Det: Monroe had a night-high 20 boards while scoring 19 points on an efficient 6-11 shooting. He added an assist and a block in the Detroit win over Charlotte.

2. Ryan Anderson-Orl: Anderson had a monster game finishing with 23 points and 15 boards with 3 assists and 4 threes as he led Orlando past Washington to move to 23-13 on they year.

3. Tyson Chandler-NY: Chandler had 13 points, 15 boards, 3 steals, and 4 blocks for the Knicks in their win against the Cavs.

4. David Lee-GS: Lee had 22 points and 12 boards with 2 blocks, a steal, and an assist for Golden State as they picked up a big road win in Atlanta.

5. Ersan Ilyasova-Mil: Ilyasova continued to impress as he had a team-high 25 points and 10 boards along with 3 assists and a block last night against the Celtics in the Bucks loss.

5 multi-faceted stars

Feb 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

1. Rajon Rondo-Bos: Rondo had his 3rd triple-double of the year amid rumors that the Celtics are aggressively shopping their All-Star PG. He finished with 15 points, 11 boards, and 10 assists with only 3 turnovers in his 35 minutes dominating his matchup with Brandon Jennings and helping the Celtics get back to .500 on the year with a 17-17 record.

2. Russell Westbrook-OKC: Westbrook had a double-double with 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds from his PG position. He added just 4 assists with 7 turnovers and a steal, but the Thunder got the win as they moved to 28-7 on the year.

3. Monta Ellis-GS: Ellis had 24 points on 10-27 shooting as he helped the Warriors get the W without Steph Curry. He added 8 assists, a steal, and a rebound as Golden State won in Atlanta to move to 14-18.

4. Dwight Howard-Orl: Howard didn’t explode in any one category but had a solid 38 minutes finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and 5 blocks.

5. Andre Iguodala-Phi: Iguodala shared the lead in the typically balanced Sixer offense with 18 points while adding 6 assists, 3 steals, and 5 boards. Philadelphia again struggled to execute down the stretch as they fell to OKC to drop to 21-15 on the year.

5 fallen stars

1. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Injury Alert… Dirk left the game after playing 10 minutes and scoring just 1 point. He had a bad back but is expecting to play Friday. His owners and Dallas fans can only hope this isn’t the start of something recurring.

2. Gerald Wallace-Por: Wallace played 35 minutes but could only get 4 points on 2-7 shooting. He did add 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 rebounds, and a block, but it wasn’t a great start to the second half for Crash.

3. Landry Fields-NY: Fields struggled to just 1-6 shooting and 2 points last night. His peripherals weren’t anything great either with 3 assists, a steal, and a rebound. Fields will bounce back, but even though the Knicks offense reeled off 120 points, Fields didn’t join the party.

4. Brandon Jennings-Mil: Jennings only made 2 of his 11 shots last night in Boston finishing with 6 points and 8 assists with 2 boards and a steal. It’s a tough stat-line any night, but when the opposing PG goes for a trip-doub it makes it even rougher.

5. Kemba Walker-Cha: Walker had 6 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals in 19 minutes. He’s here due to his vastly reduced role in the Bobcats rotation right now. He’s droppable in most formats and there are plenty of better options in most leagues.

5 rising stars worth considering

Feb 29, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward Ekpe Udoh (20) blocks a shot by Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) during the second half at Philips Arena. Golden State won 85-82. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

1. Ekpe Udoh-GS: Udoh continues to contribute in his time on the floor as he battles a knee injury. He is still available in over 97 percent of leagues, but expect that number to climb if he can get the playing time like last night (31 minutes). He finished with 12 points, 8 boards, 1 assist, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. His upside is limited by his playing time, but if the minutes come he’ll be the fantasy find of the second half.

2. Josh Howard-Uta: Last night Howard had 14 points and 7 boards with 3 assists and a steal against Houston. He’s started for the injured Raja Bell for the last 4 games and has played over 25 minutes in each of them. He’s had 12, 19, 15, and 14 points with 7, 6, 7, and 7 rebounds. If you need a short-term answer at a SG/SF position, he’s a good bet to be at over 10 and over 5 until Bell returns. Howard’s available in over 97 percent of leagues.

3. Gary Neal-SA: If you’re looking for scoring and threes, Neal is worth a look. He’s a streaky scorer that had 21 in just 24 minutes last night against the Bulls. He added 2 boards and 3 assists with a steal. He only hit 2 threes last night but has proven himself capable of hitting 3-5 on a good night. He usually doesn’t shoot a lot of shots so he won’t kill your percentage, but he can help in points and threes. He’s available in over 98% of leagues.

4. Zaza Pachulia-Atl: Pachulia is only owned in 10.8 percent of leagues and he does have a calf injury that he re-injured Tuesday. The good news is that he was still well enough to play Wedensday (last night) for Atlanta and had 13 points and 16 boards to go with 3 assists and 2 blocks. He’s had 10 or more rebounds in 5 of his last 9 and contributes blocks as well averaging just under 1 per game. Pachulia isn’t an elite center, but if you need blocks and boards, he’s an option since he should continue to see lots of PT in A-T-L as long as his calf holds up.

5. Steve Novak-NY: He’s quickly developed quite the following among Knicks fans and with good reason.  He’s scored 10 on more points in 4 of 5 but his fantasy value is from his threes. He does add rebounds and the occasional steal, but in the last 5 games he’s hit 4 threes twice and 5 threes twice. Last night he was 5-8 from three-point land on his way to 17 points on 6-9 overall shooting with a rebound and a steal. If you need threes and can afford the roster spot he defines the term “specialist” right now and is available in all but 5.5% of leagues.

Tags: Dirk Nowitzki Ekpe Udoh Fantasy Basketball Advice Kobe Bryant NBA Recap Rajon Rondo Starting 5 Waiver Wire

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