We’re heading into the shortened All-Star break week, and all but four teams will be done playing Wednesday before resuming Tuesday, Feb. 17.
Fantasy owners were given a nice pre-break gift Sunday night, as Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul (shoulder) was able to return to action. He was limited to 23 minutes, but presumably it was due to the fact the game was so lopsided, and not because of any team-imposed limitations due to his health. In fact, the Clippers led the 76ers 69-30 at halftime, which was the largest halftime lead in franchise history. CP3 will be just fine, and Fantasy owners are pleased to have the first-round pick back. However, the Clippers are scheduled for just one game before the All-Star break, so keep CP3 reserved in all but Rotisserie and Daily Fantasy formats.
Things aren’t as great if you’re a Fantasy owners of Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo. As expected, he played Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, and will be rested Monday in Milwaukee in the second half of the back-to-back situation. The Celtics have been playing it safe with Rondo since his return from knee surgery. Rondo should be reserved in all but Rotisserie Fantasy formats in the new week. Gs Jerryd Bayless, Avery Bradley and Phil Pressey should pick up the slack, with Bayless being the most useful from a Fantasy perspective.
Teams with two games (26): Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
Teams with one game (4): L.A. Clippers, New York, Orlando, Phoenix
MON Houston at Minnesota (8:00pm NBATV)
TUE Sacramento at Cleveland (7:00pm NBATV), Oklahoma City at Portland (10:00pm NBATV)
WED Sacrament at New York (7:30pm NBATV), Miami at Golden State (10:30pm NBATV)
THU Brooklyn at Chicago (8:00pm TNT), Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm TNT)
FRI BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge (9:00pm TNT)
SAT State Farm All-Star Saturday Night (8:30pm TNT)
SUN 63rd NBA All-Star Game (8:00pm TNT)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
Like all other teams, it will be a short week for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but their Fantasy owners will be very happy after the short period. The Thunder travel to Portland Tuesday, before wrapping up the first half Thursday at L.A. Lakers. The Blazers have allowed 103.5 points per game, worst among all teams if the playoffs were to begin today. The Lakers have allowed 105.8 points per game, worst in the Western Conference, and second-worst in the NBA. It doesn’t matter who SF Kevin Durant is facing, but he should post ridiculous numbers in the two-game week.
The Utah Jazz are the biggest winners for the shortened week, however. The two teams they face, the Lakers and the 76ers rank 29th and 30th in the NBA in scoring defense. Guys like PG Trey Burke, PF/C Greg Favors, SG Gordon Hayward and C Enes Kanter should each be in line for big numbers this week.
Minnesota Timberwolves SG Kevin Martin (thumb) suffered a fracture to his distal phalanx in his left thumb, and he is out indefinitely. The good news is that he will not require surgery, but he bad news is that he is expected to miss at least a month due to the injury. Still, if you own Martin, it would be hasty to drop him since he could need just three weeks after the shortened All-Star break to return. Don’t compound the situation by dropping him and having a competitor scoop him up to use against you down the stretch.
The T’Wolves are a mess, too. C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is expected to be remain sidelined until after the All-Star break, so that’s good news for PF Dante Cunningham and C Ronny Turiaf. With the Martin injury, swingman Corey Brewer is also expected to see a big role, and he could be the team’s No. 1 scoring option if PF/C Kevin Love (quadriceps) is forced to miss any additional time before the break.
The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that Cleveland Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao (hand, knee) received treatment for his injuries after the game, and head coach Mike Brown said “his whole body’s hurting.” Varejao was able to log a season-high 43 minutes in Sunday’s overtime win against Memphis, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an extra game off this week, coupled with the All-Star break, to get him ready for the stretch run.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy play, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these guys, who should be available in your league, to help out in certain areas.
Chris Kaman, C, L.A. Lakers (16.5 ppg over the past four games)
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Detroit (15.3 ppg over the past 10 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (14.0 ppg over the past 10 games)
Corey Brewer, SG, Minnesota (12.8 ppg over the past 10 games)
Kendrick Perkins, C, Oklahoma City (6.9 rpg over the past 12 games)
Chris Kaman, C, L.A. Lakers (6.8 rpg over the past four games)
Lavoy Allen, C, Philadelphia (5.8 rpg over the past 12 games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Toronto (5.6 rpg over the past 10 games)
Shelvin Mack, PG, Atlanta (4.2 apg over the past nine games)
Jerryd Bayless, PG, Boston (4.2 apg over the past six games)
Devin Harris, PG, Dallas (3.8 apg over the past 10 games)
Pablo Prigioni, PG, New York (3.7 apg over the past 11 games)
Norris Cole, PG, Miami (1.9 spg over the past nine games)
Maurice Harkless, SF, Orlando (1.5 spg over the past 12 games)
Mason Plumlee, PF, Brooklyn (1.5 spg over past eight games)
Corey Brewer, SG, Minnesota (1.5 spg over the past 10 games)
Ronny Turiaf, C, Minnesota (2.2 bpg over the past 11 games)
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah (1.5 bpg over the past six games)
Chris Kaman, C, L.A. Lakers (1.5 bpg over the past four games)
Elton Brand, PF, Atlanta (1.3 bpg over the past 10 games)
Greg Stiemsma, C, New Orleans (1.3 bpg over the past 10 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (26 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City (23 3-pointers over the past 12 games)
Mirza Teletovic, PF, Brooklyn (22 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Chris Johnson, SF, Boston (17 3-pointers over the past 10 games)