Monta Ellis' brilliant night

March, 14, 2009
LeBron James, Cavaliers: 51 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks and 4 3-pointers in an overtime victory over the Kings.
Leon Powe, Celtics: 30 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks while shooting 10-for-14 from the floor in 41 minutes against the Grizzlies.
Jason Kidd, Mavericks: 21 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 5 3-pointers in a loss to the Warriors.
• Francisco Garcia, Kings: 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a 3-pointer and 6 fouls in just 23 minutes against the Cavs.
Caron Butler, Wizards: 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and a steal on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor in just 18 minutes before leaving with a hamstring injury at halftime.
Marquis Daniels, Pacers: 8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists on just 4-for-14 shooting from the floor in a loss to the Hawks.

It may be too little too late, but Monta Ellis put up a brilliant 29-point, 11-rebound, three-assist, one-steal effort in Friday's 119-110 victory over the Mavericks. This came off the heels of a 19-point, six-assist, one-steal performance in his return from a seven-game absence on Wednesday. With averages of 24.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and a steal in two games since his return, Ellis may finally be healthy enough to help fantasy owners for the stretch run. He was dropped in many leagues after his initial comeback attempt appeared to fail, and while it may be a long shot, you should certainly check to see if he's available in your league. There is no doubt that he's a risky guy to hang your hat on right now (particularly with Don Nelson running the show), but his upside is undeniable and he could finally be ready to reward fantasy owners who have been patient with him all season long.

Under the boards

Danny Granger's knee injury is proving to be even more worrisome than initially suspected. He missed his 10th consecutive game Friday as the Pacers are in the middle of a battle for the final playoff spot in the East. One would think that he'd be pushing it to come back for the playoff run, so he has to be hurting pretty bad if he can't go now. Marquis Daniels, who has played well in Granger's absence, couldn't step up against the Hawks finishing with just 8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists on 4-for-14 shooting from the floor in 35 minutes. He didn't have his game last night, but should be fine going forward as long as Granger is out. … Antonio McDyess has been a rebounding machine as of late and on Friday in Toronto finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. He's getting some extra run with Rasheed Wallace sidelined and has averaged 12.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game over his past five. … Don't read too much into Andrea Bargnani's lack of minutes on Friday. He played just eight minutes before leaving early with the flu. In his absence, Chris Bosh went off for 27 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a loss to the Pistons. … Bargnani wasn't the only one suffering with the flu last night -- the bug also limited Kevin Love in Minnesota. Love finished with just six points and four rebounds, but did salvage the night by blocking four shots in just 26 minutes of action. … After struggling since the acquisition of Larry Hughes, Wilson Chandler is starting to get back into the grove with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 3-pointers and a block on Friday night. His recent production seems to be coming at the expense of Al Harrington, who had just 12 points and three rebounds in 23 minutes. … With Chris Duhon hurting, Nate Robinson blew up for 25 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a 3-pointer on Friday night. Robinson is going to be huge while Duhon mends.

Willie Solomon had 18 points with five 3-pointers and a steal in a loss to the Cavs on Friday. He played well while backing up Jose Calderon in Toronto and could have some sneaky value if the Kings decide to take a deeper look at him down the stretch. … Bobby Jackson has been playing well with Beno Udrih out, but he left Friday's contest with an undisclosed injury after 28 minutes. He still managed to put up 19 points with six rebounds, a steal and two 3-pointers, but check back later for a status on his injury. … Andris Biedrins saw just eight minutes before leaving with an ankle injury in a victory over the Mavericks. The injury gave Ronny Turiaf some extended run and Turiaf responded with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in 25 minutes. If Biedrins' ankle injury lingers, Turiaf will be a nice pickup candidate for rebounds and blocks. … LeBron James had a monster game in an OT victory over the Kings, and while he was feeling it from the outside, Anderson Varejao was doing the dirty work on the inside. Varejao scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while adding a steal in 40 minutes and has averaged a solid 11.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 0.8 steals over his past five games. He will continue to log heavy minutes in the paint for the Cavs with Big Ben Wallace out of action. … It was the Leon Powe show for the Celtics on Friday night as Powe went off for 30 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Celtics. Powe clearly has considerable upside with Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis out, but is still fairly inconsistent on a night-to-night basis. Still, Powe should be added as a short-term filler for points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. … Caron Butler's balky hamstring is proving to be more than just a little worrisome for his owners. He left Friday's contest at halftime when the hammy tightened up and finished with just five points, two rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes. With Andray Blatche also departing early due to an injury, Dominic McGuire (42 minutes) and Nick Young (33 minutes) saw some extra run. McGuire had another versatile effort with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a block while Young got hot for 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. McGuire may not score much, but he brings enough to the table in the scarce fantasy categories that he deserves a look in most leagues. He is averaging 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks in seven games in March. … With Hedo Turkoglu out, Mickael Pietrus blew up for 21 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 5 3-pointers in Friday's 112-103 victory over the Wizards. There's no way he'll keep this up once Turk returns, but there have been rumors that he'll regain his starting spot over Courtney Lee in the near future and last night's gem will only help his cause. Be sure to keep a close eye on his playing time after Hedo returns.



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