–Tim Duncan, the ageless wonder, returned from a rest game last night to face the far from formidable Philly frontline and posted 24 points, 17 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. He’s one of the greatest basketball players or all-time and he can still play like it at this advanced age and with all the tread on his tires. He doesn’t even need extended minutes like most players would to rack up stats like this, playing just 34 minutes in the Spurs win.
–Nicolas Batum had a wrist injury coming into last night’s game that had me fielding a lot of questions on whether or not he would play versus the Wizards, but if the 39 minutes he played in the previous game were any indication, he didn’t look likely to sit out. He didn’t and did oh so much more. Batum triple-doubled with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to go with 3 steals and 2 blocks in 41 minutes. Like I mention every time a Blazer makes an appearance in this column, they simply have no bench and must play all their starters close to 40 minutes per game to have a chance to win.
–Kirk Hinrich deserves an appearance in this column one time this season before Derrick Rose comes back and he really earned it last night. Hinrich shredded the Lakers poor PG defense for 22 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal and 3 threes in 33 minutes. He barely missed and the Bulls played way over their heads in this one, while the Lakers played with theirs somewhere unmentionable. He doesn’t have much value as it is, sharing time with Nate Robinson and it’s going to get even more sparse when Rose returns. Derrick Rose is expected to start contact practice next week.
–Pau Gasol appears to have been moved to the bench permanently by Mike D’Antoni in hopes of using him more as “one of the best centers in the league” or whatever that means. That’s simply not going to happen with Dwight Howard playing 40 minutes a game. Gasol did have one of his better games of the season with 15 points, 12 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocks, but played just 25 minutes. He’s not going to be terrible, but he’s also not going to be himself going forward.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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OKC @ LAC 201
PHI @ MIL 196.5
(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: Eric Bledsoe
Rondo gets one of the best matchups in the league with the Cavaliers PG defense in the game following Doc Rivers calling out his team. Irving is simply the best PG playing tonight and will need to score for the Cavs to play well. Nelson has been as solid as any PG in the league over the last month, never scoring less than 27 DraftDay points over that span. Chris Paul is a game time decision tonight and doesn’t look healthy at all, making Eric Bledsoe a solid gamble tonight.
Value Play: Kyle Singler
Afflalo has been pretty solid of late barring a dud against the Pistons, but he’s been playing heavy minutes and that’s all you can ask for on a short night like this. Ellis is beginning to heat up again and he usually takes over when Brandon Jennings slows down. Crawford is the leading candidate for 6th man still and has been playing out of his mind with CP3 banged up. Singler is heating up again as he’s siphoned some more minutes from Rodney Stuckey once again.
Value Play: Tayshawn Prince
Durant is simply too good to sit on a short night if you can afford it and the Clippers should pose a solid challenge for the Thunder with or without Paul. Pierce is the most likely candidate after Rondo to pick up his play for the Celtics and gets a solid matchup with Cleveland. Turner played well last night and seems to play better with the extra few minutes he gets with Richardson out of the lineup. Prince continues to play heavy minutes, which is my most important factor in a value pick.
Value Play: Glen Davis
Ibaka hasn’t been jumping off the stat sheet lately, but we know he’s capable of it and his price is pretty awesome just about everywhere. Griffin was excellent last night and while it won’t be as easy tonight, he’ll be needed sorely with CP3 out or hurting. Thompson is a double-double machine and I don’t see Speights arrival hurting him much if at all. Davis is rounding right back into shape and is coming off a game in which he went for 24-6-6.
Value Play: Andre Drummond 45/62
Monroe continues to be solid for the Pistons and the Magic aren’t exactly an imposing matchup in the frontcourt. Vucevic hasn’t been hurt by Glen Davis’ return at all and is still double-doubling away in around 40 minutes a night. Sanders has a ton of upside, but the Bucks deep frontcout and foul trouble are still combining to limit his minutes pretty regularly. Drummond isn’t playing a ton of minutes, which is breaking my main value play rule, but he simply doesn’t need them most nights, he’s shooting a ridiculous 73% from the field in his last 10 games since Christmas.