The NBA continued its playoff push with 8 games on the schedule last night. The big news of the day in the Association was Jeremy Lin announcing he’s done for the year (fantasy fallout here). The Knicks still won over Cleveland and still sit in the 8th and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, but are much less formidable with Baron Davis at the point instead of Linsanity.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons beat the Bobcats in OT in the battle of the bottom-dwellers. The Sixers beat Atlanta at home. The Bucks lost a game to New York in the race for 8th, and the Pacers lost to the Spurs in San Antonio.
Out West, the Lakers overcame Kobe’s bad shooting night to beat the Hornets while the Spurs, Grizz, and Clippers joined them in the winner’s circle. The only Western Conference playoff contender to lose was the Jazz who fell to a game and a half behind Houston and Denver for the 8th spot as they lost to the Clippers and CP3 at the Staples Center. Here’s last night’s starting 5 in 3 quick lists highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly ducklings which are mostly unowned but might help you win a championship if they grow into swans:
1. Josh Smith-Atl: Smith was the only player to top 30 last night finishing with 34 points on 12-18 shooting including a made three-pointer. He added 9 rebounts, 2 steals, 5 assists, and a block in the Hawks loss at Philadelphia.
2. Ersan Ilyasova-Mil: Ilyasova had a league-high 16 rebounds last night to go with 20 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in the Bucks loss to the Grizzlies
3. Deron Williams-NJ: Williams followed his 20 assist-game Friday with 15 more last night to go with 19 points as he got the Nets up to 19-35 having won 3 in a row.
4. Chris Paul-LAC: Paul had 26 points, 3 boards, and 6 assists while knocking in 2 threes and leading the Clippers to the win at home to improve to 31-21 and hold onto the 4-seed in the West.
5. Elton Brand-Phi: The Sixers beat the Hawks in large part due to Brand’s 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. The Sixers closed to back within half a game of Boston in the Atlantic Division.
1. Kobe Bryant-LAL: In the LA matinee, Kobe shot just 3-21 finishing with 3 steals, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 11 points. The Lakers still one, but your shooting percentage took a hit if your a Kobe-owner.
2. Monta Ellis-Mil: Ellis had a miserable 2-12 night shooting and finished with just 8 points, 5 assists, a block, and 4 rebounds in the Bucks loss to Memphis.
3. Alec Burks-Uta: Although not many own him except for deep-leagues his 1-7 shooting off the bench with just 3 points in 22 minutes was no help to Utah as they fell to the Clippers.
4. Marco Belinelli-NO: Belinelli’s shot was off as he finished 3-12 with 8 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal in 35 minutes for the Horents in LA yesterday afternoon.
5. DeMarcus Cousins-Sac: Cousins was in foul trouble and limited to 27 minutes and 4-12 shooting as he finished with just 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and an assist.
5 Ugly Ducklings
1. Iman Shumpert-NY: I covered him here, but Shumpert played a team-high 39 minutes for New York last night. He finished with 5 steals, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 threes, and 10 points and is available in 82 percent of leagues.
2. Anthony Morrow-NJ: Morrow can be deadly when his 3s are falling and last night in Sacramento they were. He hit 6-11 from deep and 8-17 overall finishing with 24 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal. He’s owned in just under 40% of leagues. He can go off at any time so if you need threes and points and can afford the roster spot in a daily format roll the dice…
3. Randy Foye-LAC: Foye had 20 points Friday night and 17 last night. He also handed out a combined 10 assists. He’s logging the minutes now while Nick Young comes off the bench and has some solid fantasy value as long as that remains the case. He’s owned in just 5.6 percent of leagues.
4. Mareese Speights-Mem: Speights has been scorned by 90% of league owners and banished to the waiver-wire. He’s continued to produce rebounds though with 7, 7, and 10 in his last 3 games with 2 blocks in 2 of the contests as well. He’s been in double-digits scoring in 3 of his last 4 so he’s not a waste in other categories. The main thing he’ll help you with is rebounds though if you are in need headed into the fantasy season’s closing weeks.
5. Al-Farouq Aminu-NO: Aminu had 10 points, 4 steals, 7 rebounds, and an assist in 32 minutes in his 3rd consecutive start in place of the injured Trevor Ariza. Aminu can help in steals, boards, and points if he continues to start and is owned in only 0.4% of leagues.