The NBA had 6 games scheduled for last night, and although there weren’t as many games, there was no lack of drama. Probable playoff teams in the East squared off in both Chicago and Miami, while the Mavs managed to get a win at home that they desperately needed. Here’s an update on the payoff races and then the 5 best additions for tonight, and performers from last night at the center, guard, and forward positions.
Western Conference Playoff Race Update: The only team in the playoff race in action out West was the Dallas Mavericks as they used a balanced attack to beat the visiting Sacramento Kings by 10. The win moves them ahead of the Denver Nuggets into sole possession of the 7th playoff seed. More importantly, it moves them 1 1/2 games ahead of the charging Phoenix Suns and 2 games up on the Jazz as they fight it out for the last few spots in the playoffs.
Eastern Conference Playoff Race Update: In the East, the Bulls played without Derrick Rose but still avenged their loss to the Knicks on Sunday and moved 3 games ahead of the Heat as Miami lost to Boston. The Celtics are looking more formidable as a 4-seed as they hold a 3 game lead over the Sixers who also played and won last night. The Orlando Magic lost in Washington as they fell half a game behind the idle Atlanta Hawks for the 5 seed.
5 Additions to consider today
1. Greivis Vasquez-NO (27.9% ownership in ESPN standard leagues): With Jarrett Jack out for the season Vasquez will start at the point as New Orleans hosts the defensively challenged Sacramento Kings. Vasquez has a double-double in points and assists in 3 of his last 5 games and usually adds a steal or 2 as well.
2. Lester Hudson-Cle (13%): Hudson is still a gamble, but he’s hard to ignore with 23, 26, and 25 points in his last 3 games while adding an average of over 5 assists and just under 5 rebounds along with 2 steals. If the Cavs give him the time it looks like he can contribute both to Cleveland and your fantasy squad.
3. Marcus Camby-Hou (77.1%): Camby is your best bet for rebounds tonight as Houston visits Utah. He’s averaging just under 10 in his last 5 games and adding 9 points and a block and a half.
4. Randy Foye-LAC (72.5%): He’s probably not available due to his recent hot streak, but he’s a great addition if you can get him. He had a bit of an off game Monday with just 11 points but had 25, 20, and 28 in recent games before that. He’s averaging 19 points a game in hist last 5 with over 4 boards and 3.5 three-pointers. If it’s three’s and points you need, Foye should be your first option.
5. J.J. Hickson-Por (42.8%): Hickson has had an up-and-down run with Portland but should be in store for a solid game against Golden State at the Rose Garden. He’s averaged 13 points and 7 boards in his last 10 while adding a block and half-a-steal per game. He played 32 minutes Monday and had 12 points and 10 boards. If he gets similar minutes tonight, he should get similar or better numbers.
5 Best Guards last night
1. Lester Hudson-Cle: As mentioned above, Hudson has proven to be a reliable scoring option for Cleveland. Last night he had 25 points on 9-18 shooting from the field shile adding 2 threes, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, and a block.
2. Rajon Rondo-Bos: As usual, Rondo had a big game when it counted most as he handed out 15 assists to go with 4 rebounds, a three, and 18 points.
3. Lou Williams-Phi: Williams hit 5 of his 8 shots from the field and 2 of 4 from deep as he scored 20 points and added 8 boards, 4 assists, and a steal in the Sixers win over New Jersey.
4. Gerald Henderson-Cha: Henderson had 31 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist in the Bobcats loss to Cleveland.
5. Dwyane Wade-Mia: Wade struggled shooting (9-21) but did have 20 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot in his 39 minutes against Boston.
5 Best Forwards last night
1. LeBron James-Mia: James had a league-high 36 points last night with 1 three, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal, and a block. The Heat still lost to visiting Boston, but LeBron had a great stat-line.
2. Paul Pierce-Bos: Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points while hitting 3 threes and adding 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
3. Carmelo Anthony-NY: Melo had 29 points in 39 minutes in Chicago last night. He also contributed 4 steals, 4 assist, and 2 rebounds to the Knicks losing effort.
4. Luol Deng-Chi: Deng had 19 points including 3 three-pointers along with 19 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal as the Bulls beat the visiting Knicks.
5. Kris Humphries-NJ: Humphries had 10 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, and a team-high 20 points in the Nets loss to Philly.
5 Best Centers last night
1. DeMarcus Cousins-Sac: Cousins had a league-high 18 rebounds last night and added 6 steals, 2 blocks, 3 assists, and 25 points in the Kings loss in Dallas.
2. Kevin Seraphin-Was: Seraphin poured in 24 points in his 40 minutes against the Magic while adding 4 blocks, and 2 assists. He’s a nice option for the rest of the year for boards and blocks.
3. Kevin Garnett-Bos: Garnett continues to play center for the C’s and last night contributed 24 points, 2 blocks, 2 assits, and 9 rebounds to Boston’s big win on the road in South Beach.
4. Spencer Hawes-Phi: Hawes rewarded anyone who added him or held him for so long by putting up a season-high 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal in a line reminiscent of his early-season form before he was sidelined.
5. Tyson Chandler-NY: Chandler had 15 boards and 10 points with 3 blocks, a steal, and an assists in the Knicks loss to the Bulls.