The NBA has a jam-packed 12-game schedule tonight as they get ready for the All-Star break, but last night thing’s weren’t quite as hectic. There were six games on the schedule which let all the fantasy hoops owners appreciate the statistical greatness of LeBron’s latest run. James, Wade, and Bosh all had great games as the Heat got past visiting Portland.
Elsewhere, the Thunder’s winning streak came to a screeching halt against the Jazz, the Raptors got a game-winner from Rudy Gay to beat the under-manned Nuggets, the Lakers won with absolutely no offensive rhythm, and the Rockets got by the Warriors again even though they did’t reach 140 or hit 23 three’s like the last time these teams met.
There were also a group of players who stepped up and contributed more than expected to their teams and fantasy owners despite being available on many leagues’ waiver wire. Every day on Fantasy CPR we highlight these waiver wire pickup options in what we call our box score breakouts. Here they are from last night:
John Lucas-Toronto Raptors
Lucas continued his emergence as the scoring leader of the Raptors second unit. Last night against Denver he managed to score 14 points in 14 minutes by hitting four three-pointers. He’s scored 33 points in his last two games and has hit nine three’s while dishing a pair of assists each game. He’s still owned in only 0.1% of leagues, but if he keeps scoring and becomes a bigger option off the bench for Toronto can definitely be an asset to any fantasy owner. He’s notoriously streaky and this could be the beginning of a big run, but the problem with his game is that he sometimes goes ice-cold just as fast.
Jermaine O’Neal-Phoenix Suns
The Suns continue to give O’Neal time off the bench and last night he had a monster line of 12 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, and four assists–not bad for a player owned in just 0.7% of ESPN leagues. The Suns may be showcasing him for a trade, but wherever he lands he may still have some fantasy value left in the tank if the last five games are any indication. Since returning from a chest injury, he’s averaged 10.4 points, 2.0 blocks, and 6.8 rebounds. His numbers aren’t elite, but could be useful as a plug-in option or if he moves to the right situation.
Tony Allen-Memphis Grizzlies
Even with the addition of Tayshaun Prince and the emergence of Jerryd Bayless, Allen is getting plenty of minutes at the two-guard spot and making them pay off for his owners in the 23.5% of leagues where he’s owned. Allen had a season-high 19 points last night while adding eight rebounds, three assists, a block, and a pair of steals. He has eight steals in his last three games along with 44 points over that span. Allen isn’t going to light up the scoring column but contributes steals and rebounds at a good level. If his scoring can be around 15 a game on a more regular basis, he’ll be a must add at that point and Memphis is looking for a bit of a boost in scoring in general.
Antawn Jamison-LA Lakers
When given the minutes, Jamison has shown he can still put up numbers on the board. Last night against the Suns he had his first double-double in over a month with 19 points and 10 boards along with a block and a steal while hitting a pair of three’s and playing 33 minutes. If Jamison gets some of Pau Gasol’s minutes, he could be a nice fantasy pickup as he was for a while earlier this season. The former sixth man of the year is owned in just 7.7% of leagues at this point.
Marcus Thornton-Sacramento Kings
In the past few games, Thornton has shown flashes of returning to his high-scoring form. He had 15 last night with three triples, a rebound, and a steal in the Kings loss to Memphis. He’s had 15+ in two of his last three and if he can consistently score would be a nice pickup in the 63% of leagues he’s available in.
P.J. Tucker- Phoenix Suns
Tucker has averaged just under 30 minutes the last 10 games despite putting up fairly underwhelming numbers. He had a pretty good game last night in LA though, finishing with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, and a steal. Anyone getting that many minutes who’s owned in 0% of leagues is worth watching to see if they start producing, but until he does he goes on the wait-for-consistency watch list.
Anthony Randolph-Denver Nuggets
With Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Andre Iguodala all sitting last night’s game out, there was plenty of opportunity for the Nuggets role players to step up into bigger roles. While Corey Brewer, Evan Fournier, and Jordan Hamilton failed to do so, it was Randolph who seized the opportunity and played 27 minutes scoring 16 points along with seven boards, two assists, two blocks, and three steals. Randolph doesn’t look to be in line for any regular playing time, but if that changes he reminded us last night why he’d be worth a look. He’s universally unowned at this point but worth keeping an eye on.