Yesterday, the NBA featured 7 games in and around the beginnings of March Madness in college hoops. While the NCAA tournament is still a week and a half away, the first automatic bids were handed out yesterday in a big Saturday of college hoops. In the pro ranks, the big stories were all about Power Forwards. Josh Smith, Kevin Love, and Dirk Nowitzki all had big nights as they let their teams to W’s. They were joined in the winner’s ranks by the Grizz, Pacers, Magic, and Wizards.
There were definitely some standout performances as we close out scoring period 9 in most leagues. Here’s 5 lists of 5 to get you all caught up as you start your Sunday.
5 Forwards Finishing
1. Kevin Love-Min: Love played 43 minutes and had a monster 42 point-10 rebound double-double. He hit 5 threes and added 4 assists and a steal as he led the Wolves back to .500 at 19-19 on the season.
2. Dirk Nowitzki-Dal: Nowitzki played just 29 minutes and racked up an extremely quick 40 points on 11-17 shooting with a three, 6 rebounds, and a steal. The Mavs win over the visiting Jazz moved them to 22-16 overall.
3. Josh Smith-Atl: Smith had 30 points, 12 boards, 4 assists, a steal, and a block. Smith led the Hawks to a big home win over the visiting Thunder as they got to 22-15 overall and 12-6 at home.
4. Antawn Jamison-Cle: Jamison had 29 points, 9 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks as he did all he could to prevent the Cavs falling in Washington. In the end though, he couldn’t stop the Wizards from getting just their 8th win of the year and dropping the Cavs to 13-22.
5. Kevin Durant-OKC: Durant had 35 points on 9-23 shooting but just 3-10 from three-point territory. He added 8 boards, 3 steals, 2 assists, and a block as the Thunder fell in Atlanta to the Hawks. The loss dropped OKC to 29-8.
5 Big men Playing Big
1. Dwight Howard-Orl: Howard had 28 points, 14 boards, 4 steals, and a block. Howard again dominated the Bucks as the Magic completed the 4-game sweep of Milwaukee to get to 24-14.
2. Gerald Wallace-Por: Wallace had 25 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, and an impressive 5 steals in Portland’s loss to Minnesota. The loss dropped the Blazers to 18-19.
3. JaVale McGee-Was: McGee had only 9 points but had 12 boards and 4 blocks as he dominated down low in his 25 minutes.
4. Marc Gasol-Mem: Gasol had 17 points, 9 boards, 2 blocks, 2 assists, and a steal as he helped Memphis get another home win. This time, the Grizz beat the Pistons on their was to a 22-15 record.
5. David West-Ind: West finished with 14 points and 13 boards to go with his 3 assists and 2 blocks as he helped the Pacers roll over the Hornets and get to 23-12.
5 Guards Scoring
1. Jordan Crawford-Was: Crawford lit it up for Washington in their win over Cleveland as they got to 8-28 on the year. Crawford scored 31 points on 13-22 shooting with 5 threes, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal. He’s been coming on strong since before the break and is averaging 24 points in his last 5. If your league is one of the 9 percent where he isn’t owned he could be a huge boost in points. He also dishes some assists, but beware of his shooting percentage which has been solid lately, but historically has been his weakness.
2. Nicolas Batum-Por: Batum racked up 29 points on 9-17 shooting to lead the Blazers in scoring while adding 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block in Portland’s home loss to the Wolves.
3. Brandon Jennings-Mil: Jennings scored 27 after going for 34 Friday. He added 5 assists and 3 boards in the Bucks loss to Orlando. Milwaukee’s loss dropped their record to 14-23.
4. John Wall-Was: Wall joined Crawford’s scoring barrage while dropping 24 on the Cavs on 8-17 shooting with 5 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals, and a block. The Wiz got the win behind Wall and Crawford with some help from JaVale McGee down low.
5. Russell Westbrook-OKC: Westbrook had 25 points on 10-21 shooting with 3 threes, 4 assists, and a block. Westbrook shot 10-21 in the Thunder’s road loss in Atlanta.
5 Teammates Helping
1. Mike Conley-Mem: Conley has 12 assists and 4 steals to go with 10 points in the Grizz win over the Pistons.
2. Ricky Rubio-Min: Rubio struggled from the field shooting just 1-8 but had 12 assists along with 4 rebounds, and 2 steals while scoring 6 points in the Wolves win.
3. Jameer Nelson-Orl: Orlando’s starting PG had just 8 points but did have 10 assists with 2 boards in 25 minutes.
4. Jason Kidd-Dal: Kidd scored just 4 points but gave out 8 assists with 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He can still help in assists although his scoring is way down this year.
5. Kyrie Irving-Cle: Irving scored 20 points and dished out 6 assists for the Cavs in their loss to the Wiz. He looked decent in his return from illness and should be ready to roll moving forward.
5 Values Rising
1. Martell Webster-Min: Webster got starters minutes (34) coming off the bench for the T-Wolves while scoring 21 points and knocking in 3 threes, 8 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal. He’s getting inconsistent time due the the glut of swing men in Minnesota but has scored 9 or more in the last 4 games and usually contributes in peripheral categories as well. He’s owned in just 0.1 percent but he’ll have value if he gets the playing time.
2. Zaza Pachulia-Atl: Pachulia won’t pile up the points, but he does grab rebounds. He had 14 rebounds and 10 points last night with 2 assists and a steal. He’s had 13, 14, and 16 rebounds in 3 of his last 4 games and he’s still just owned in 14.4 percent of leagues. He’s going to get big minutes as long as he’s healthy and should get a decent shooting percentage to go with his boards. If you need rebounds, he’s one of the best options out there.
3. Derrick Williams-Min: Williams scored 15 while grabbing 4 boards in 22 minutes on an efficient 5-8 shooting. He’s owned in 35.9 percent of leageus but he’s been scoring at a prodigious rate. In the last 5 games he’s scored over 14 points a game while grabbing almost 6 boards a game. He’s not going to break out for 27 points a game like he did abainst the Clilppers every night, but he’s a solid 10-15 points and 5-7 boards a game.
4. Alonzo Gee-Cle: Gee started for the Cavs and scored 11 points to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. If he gets minutes, he’s shown he can produce. His problem has been he’s been stuck in the Cavs second unit, but if he starts he might have some value in deep leagues.
5. George Hill-Ind: As Hill continues his return from injury he is staring to return to the form that made him a hot addition earlier in the season. Hill played 21 minutes and had 10 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, and a steal. He’s owned in 14.4 percent of leagues, but expect that number to rise quickly if he rediscovers his form from earlier this season and/or becomes a bigger part of the Pacers rotation.