–Nikola Pekovic, who came into the game off a big last game, but nursing a hip injury, took full advantage of Kevin Love’s absence once again for 25 points, 18 rebounds and a block. Pek has been an absolute monster of late despite battling various injuries. He has now double-doubled in 7 of his last 10 games and some of them could almost count as two.
–Ersan Ilyasova, under new head coach Jim Boylan, made his first start since late November and didn’t disappoint in 26 minutes as he posted 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 threes. The well rounded line was something we all loved from him last year and we know he has the capability to post big double-doubles in adequate minutes as well. I’m not totally convinced he or any of the Bucks other bigs are out of the woods entirely, as they still played 5 big guys in the game. However, the rotation of them seemed to make a lot more sense last night and foul trouble was as much of an issue as anything. To elaborate, John Henson had 12 points and 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes, not likely to continue.
–Steve Nash topped 10,000 assists in his career last night while posting a solid line of 16 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists in 34 minutes. Nash left the game briefly with a back problem, which is never good news, but he returned to the game, so it’ll just be something to watch for now. He’s the engine making the Lakers go right now alongside Kobe Bryant and he’s going to have to continue to play heavy minutes for the struggling team as long as he’s healthy.
–Derrick Williams played well again off the bench behind Dante Cunningham, scoring 17 points on 3 threes with a rebound and a steal in 21 minutes. Obviously, the minutes and rebounds could stand to improve, but at least he’s playing well. Williams has struggled in extended minutes in the past, so maybe keeping him on the bench will keep him more effective.
–Reggie Evans posted a ridiculous 23 rebounds in 27 minutes on Tuesday and is more than worth a look if you find rebounds valuable. He’s nothing pretty and offers little on offense, but he’s adept at getting position and doesn’t even let the ball fall into his teammates hands without trying to grab it first.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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LAL @ SAS
MIN @ OKC
HOU @ NOH
(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
Westbrook has taken a nice price drop and should be able to blow by any of the three point guards Minnesota puts on him tonight, if it’s a blowout, it’s going to be because of Westbrook. Irving should bounce back nicely from a blowout in Chicago with a solid matchup against a Hawks team struggling to cover guards of late. Parker should be the next guy in line to torch the Lakers. Bledsoe has a chance to get extended run in a good matchup with Jamal Crawford looking iffy again.
Value Play: Jared Dudley
Harden has continued to post 40+ FP games almost nightly at this point and he gets a nice matchup with the Hornets and a still working his way back Eric Gordon. Bryant finally scored under 27 points last night, but he should bounce right back to that standard tonight in another high scoring game versus the Spurs. Gordon is playing heavier minutes and while he’s still working his way back, his shot attempts remain very high nightly. Dudley slide back over to SF and immediately returned to over 40 minutes.
Value Play: PJ Tucker
Durant has a bit of a tough matchup tonight with AK47, but he’s simply outplaying everyone in the league right now and his price is pretty low after a string of average (for him) games. MWP should play even more minutes than last night against the Spurs tonight with the Lakers injuries. Deng is coming off a big game and looks healthy again while playing heavy minutes. Tucker isn’t going to give you much upside, but he’s been playing right around 30 mpg for the Suns.
Value Play: Ersan Ilyasova
Griffin is going against Dirk, who is still getting his legs under him, and should be very solid tonight against a frontcourt that was soft on D before Dirk’s return. Ibaka is playing the best basketball of his career and should dominate a frontcourt with the Kevin Love. Davis has had his bumps of late, but played well against the Spurs last time out and has a nice matchup tonight despite his struggles against them last time. It’s nice to be able to put Ersan back in this column with some amount of confidence, like his matchup with Boozer.
Value Play: Ed Davis
Vucevic is on fire and gets the improving, but stil struggling DEN frontcourt. Gasol gets the Warriors in what should be an entertaining offensive game. Pekovic gets the Thunder who are struggling at center and he played well against last time. Call me crazy, but I think Ed Davis bounces back tonight.