–LeBron James was simply magnificent to watch on Thursday versus the Lakers. He scored 39 points to go with 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 1 three on the night and the Lakers had no answer for him. By comparison, James shot 17 for 25 on the night while the Lakers leading scorer, Kobe Bryant, shot just 8 for 25. Dwyane Wade has also looked rejuvenated recently as he scored 27 points in 37 minutes last night.
–Pau Gasol returned from his concussion last night to come off the bench for 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in 25 minutes. They actually used him in some iso post ups and he looked pretty good. The 25 minutes in his return are a good sign he’ll be back up around 30 soon. He’s still a buy-low, even if it’s just based on his track record.
–Larry Sanders is a hell of a player to watch when he stays out of foul trouble. Sanders scored 19 points to go with 15 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in 30 minutes for the Bucks. With Ersan Ilyasova still struggling, he only played 19 minutes in this one, Sanders should be locked in to 30 minutes if he can keep his fouls in check.
-With Ricky Rubio moving back into the starting lineup, Luke Ridnour slid over to the shooting guard spot, where he started most of the season last year. Ridnour scored 21 points, with 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 3 threes. This may actually be a better situation for him, especially with Alexsey Shved injuring his ankle in this one.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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DAL @ OKC
WAS @ DEN
GSW @ SAS
(Guys I am trying to get into lineups tonight, ranked on comparison to perceived value.)
My early daily DraftDay Freeroll lineup is to the right.Check out our EFF Matchups to determine the best plays for yourself.
Value Play: Jarrett Jack
Russell Westbrook should be too much for Darren Collison as Westbrook has a huge physical advantage over him strength-wise. Rajon Rondo gets the Bulls in primetime tonight, sign me up for that, he’s killed it in nationally televised games and has a history with the Bulls. Hill gets a solid matchup with Jeremy Lin and he’s been very solid of late. Jarrett Jack didn’t look fantastic against the Heat the other night, but he should get a full complement of minutes versus the Spurs and Tony Parker tonight.
Value Play: Lance Stephenson
George is back at home, after a tough shooting road stretch, he should be able to get it going against the fast-paced Rockets. Afflalo faces the worst team in the league against small forwards, where he spends most of his minutes, so he should get his mid-range jumper going in this one. Johnson gets to come home and face his former team again and it should go better tonight than it did on the road. Stephenson has seen his price drop into deep value range again after his ankle injury and should be a solid start tonight.
Value Play: Dorrell Wright
Durant gets the Mavs tonight, one of the leagues worst teams against forwards in a game that only has a -4.5 spread, this is definitely a night he’s worth paying for. Turner will likely be sliding down to start at shooting guard tonight with Jason Richardson a game time decision and that means he will see a lot of DeMar DeRozan, which makes it an intriguing matchup for him. Gallinari had a dud going against Durant last game, but he was playing well before that and should bounce right back against the Wizards. Wright is likely to get the start for an ailing Richardson tonight, but has been playing 25+ minutes either way.
Value Play: Jared Sullinger
Ibaka looked healthy in his return the other night and has a nice low price because of the blowout, he also gets one of the leagues worst teams versus the power forward in Dallas. Boozer is on a tear and is coming off his best game of the season, facing the Celtics who have no stopper at power forward. Young gets the Raptors, who Boozer took to the woodshed for 36 points and 12 rebounds on Wednesday. Sullinger is a gamble because of his blatant foul trouble, but he also has immense upside.
Value Play: Mareese Speights
Noah is starting to look like himself and gets a Boston team that has struggled with athletic centers all season. Vucevic has 8 straight double-doubles and isn’t looking like he’s going to slow down anytime soon, especially with Charlotte on tap tonight. Amir Johnson was back to playing 40 minutes last game and he gets a great matchup with the Philly centers tonight. Speights may get the start f0r a banged up Zach Randolph tonight and he was very impressive last time ZBo was out.