Ersan Ilyasova finally rounding into shape

December, 13, 2012

Ersan Ilyasova is finally starting to look like last season's version of himself for the Bucks, and in their win over the Kings, he finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in just 24 minutes. That's an almost impossibly efficient stat line, but we saw this kind of thing from him a few times last season. It would seem that he's now playing well enough that he should be in your lineup every night in all formats, even if he's still coming off the bench.

Looking back

• With Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely with an elbow problem and Amir Johnson serving a one-game suspension, Ed Davis had a big night for the Raptors in their loss to the Nets. All season Davis has been productive when he's got minutes, and in 45 minutes Wednesday night he finished with 24 points on 11-for-13 shooting from the floor to go with 12 boards and 3 steals. He's definitely worth adding if you have a roster spot that isn't firmly spoken for, but I'd look at adding Johnson as well; he'll return from his suspension and probably get a big chunk of the 45 minutes Davis got this time around.

• The Pacers' defense arrived to the party late, giving up just 23 points to the Cavaliers in the second half after allowing 58 in the first. They forgot to check C.J. Miles, though; Miles was the only Cavs starter in double figures, and he finished with 28 points including six 3-pointers. He's not going to put up numbers like that every night, but he could be a decent source of 3s for at least as long as Dion Waiters continues to miss time.

• Anthony Davis' second night back in the lineup for the Hornets didn't go as well as his first, as he managed just 11 points and 4 rebounds in 28 minutes in a loss to the Thunder. He probably belongs in your lineup every night anyway; he's been good enough when he's on the floor this season that we should take a mediocre night against a great team with a grain of salt.

Nikola Pekovic seems to have recovered from the ankle injury that was bothering him. The Timberwolves' big man put up 22 points (7-for-10 shooting from the floor and 8-for-8 from the line), 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in a nice win over the Nuggets.

• On the other side of that contest, I don't know what happened to Corey Brewer's elite ability to rack up steals, but he has been an offensive force of late for the Nuggets, averaging 16.6 points in just 25.2 minutes over his past five games (but just 0.6 steals). I don't know whether he can keep this up, but even if he loses a little bit of the offense and brings back the defense, he'll be a valuable asset in fantasy leagues.

Looking ahead

• Only the Nuggets have given up more made 3s this season than the Bobcats, who, not coincidentally, are right near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency overall. That's just a really fancy way of saying that even though Kyle Korver didn't exactly light the world on fire in his return to the lineup Wednesday night for the Hawks, you should get him in there Thursday night against the Bobcats.

• The Trail Blazers -- already possibly the shallowest team in the league -- are banged-up. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews are questionable for the matchup against the Spurs, and even Damian Lillard is nursing a sore right ankle. Normally, we'd be telling you about which guys have a chance to step up if these starters miss time, but the Blazers don't have anyone worth mentioning. Just hope Lillard can go and Batum and Matthews get right as soon as possible.

• Take this information for what it's worth, but Lakers center Dwight Howard was terrible against the Knicks last season, averaging just 9.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and shooting 33 percent from the line in three games. Obviously, Dwight's free throws are always going to be a little fluky, but the larger point is that Howard struggled against Tyson Chandler last season, and the Knicks are even better defensively this time around. I'm not saying you should bench Howard (he also averaged 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in those games); I'm just letting you know.

Pau Gasol, by the way, is listed as questionable for this one. It's a situation that's worth watching, because the Lakers are getting pretty desperate at this point, and Gasol, unlike Howard, was really good against the Knicks last season, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds and shooting 59 percent from the floor in two games.

Fast-break player of the night

• It's pretty hard to choose against Kobe Bryant right now. He's been the second-best fantasy player in the league so far this season. More recently, well, look at these numbers over his past five games: 35.8 points on 48 percent shooting. He's making 2.8 3s per game over that stretch, too, which makes up for the fact that his assists and rebounds have been nothing to brag about. Yes, the Lakers have just played worse the "better" Kobe plays, but we in the fantasy world don't have to concern ourselves with such things. Kobe loves playing in MSG, and he's going to be a monster on Thursday night.



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