No shortage of huge stat lines

February, 7, 2008
02/07/08
9:59
AM ET
This Josh Smith kid, he's pretty good. I was offered Dwyane Wade for Smith last week (plus a couple other throw-ins on either side) and turned it down in anticipation of games like last night. Wade is fantastic, but with the Heat's record, I was very fearful of him shutting it down during the head-to-head playoffs. Smith's line last night? Sickness: 17 points, one 3-pointer, nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and five blocks with just two turnovers. In his past five games, Smith has been among the best in the fantasy game: 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 3.6 blocks on 50 percent shooting from the field and 73.6 percent from the line.

Al Horford was huge last night. The rookie had his best game of the season, notching 15 points and 20 rebounds. We are going to see a lot more of these in the years to come.

The second time around wasn't quite as sweet for Pau Gasol and the Lakers. They lost in Atlanta, in large part due to Smith's dominance, and Gasol couldn't find the range after the first quarter and ended 5-of-14 from the field with 12 points and seven boards. Kobe Bryant didn't have it, either (4-of-16), but at least gave his owners 10 assists.

As Nenad Krstic starts to add minutes, look for them to be subtracted from former fantasy flame Sean Williams. Krstic and Williams each played 14 minutes last night, and for Krstic this was the high-water mark since his return. At this point neither is worth owning, but I think Krstic still has a chance to be relevant post-All-Star break.

Well, it's pretty simple. Someone in the Wizards' frontcourt must go down if Andray Blatche is going to have any permanent value. Caron Butler missed last night with a strained hip flexor and only lasted two games after returning from the same injury on February 3. Blatche put up 16 points, 15 boards and two blocks last night and, in his three recent starts for Butler, has averaged 15.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. He is being grabbed in leagues of all sizes but owners would be wise to view this as a short-term solution only. As soon as Butler is back, Blatche will return to his 6-point, 5-rebound ways.

If this is what Stan Van Mustache means by out of the rotation, Jameer Nelson owners will take it. Nelson wasn't stunning (11 points, eight assists in 25 minutes), but those numbers have value. He has been a big disappointment to fantasy owners this season, but a game like this means owners in deep leagues shouldn't cut bait just yet. After all, Carlos Arroyo just isn't that good.

The rumors are swirling and Sam Cassell was swinging. Cassell may be close to a buyout with the Clippers and if that happens, it is very likely he would join the Celtics. Cassell was ejected for poleaxing Rajon Rondo as he drove past him, and it will interesting to see how these two will get along while splitting minutes. Rondo continues to pile up the numbers while Kevin Garnett sits with a strained abdominal muscle. In six games since Garnett went down, Rondo has averaged 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals. After last night's 24-point effort on 10-of-13 shooting, you may not have a better opportunity to sell high on Rondo. KG is expected to miss Friday's game as well, so you have a little time. Get those e-mails out there, kids, deals are waiting to happen.

Chris Kaman is working himself back into shape after losing 10 pounds to the flu that sidelined him last week. Last night he started, played 34 minutes and posted 12 points, 9 boards, 2 steals and 6 blocks. I expect the numbers to improve during the rest of the week.

Corey Maggette, on the other hand, is all the way back. He had a huge night with 33 points, two 3-pointers, 8 boards and 5 steals. And, of course, he killed it from the line, going 9-for-9.

The point guard production in Miami is nonexistent right now. Last night, Jason Williams went 0-for-4 for zero points and two assists in 27 minutes. Chris Quinn registered a DNP-CD. I think there might be some room for Marcus Banks to flex some fantasy muscle. The kid isn't going to be a stud, but he is going to have a great opportunity to get regular playing time when he joins the Heat.

If the Knicks had played the whole game like they did the first three quarters, the numbers would have been pretty nice. They were good as it was. Jamal Crawford scored 21 points with three 3-pointers. Zach Randoph led all scorers with 26 points and added nine boards. Even Eddy Curry got in on the action with 20 points and eight boards, but it wasn't enough. The Pacers clamped down and allowed just three field goals in the final 8 1/2 minutes and sent the Knicks to defeat once again.

Dirk Nowitzki is averaging a career-high in assists this season and he put an exclamation mark on his improved passing last night by recording his first career triple-double. Dirk diggled his way to 29 points, 10 boards and 12 dimes. This is a nice bonus for Nowitzki owners.

Starting at shooting guard, Mo Williams posted 36 points, three 3-pointers, 5 boards and 4 dimes. This is Williams' second 30-plus scoring effort in a row. After scaring his owners with the news that his thumb would require surgery after the season, he has put up some excellent point totals. So long as Michael Redd misses time, look for Williams to be more aggressive scoring.

Fantasy loves overtime. Denver and Utah battled through an extra frame and the numbers piled up. Deron Williams ended with 29 points and 11 dimes. Kyle Korver had his best game as a member of the Jazz with 27 points and three 3-pointers. Kenyon Martin put up 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals and a block. Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and 9 boards. Marcus Camby did his usual thing with 11 points, 17 rebounds and 4 blocks. Allen Iverson threw up a lot of bricks to build his house (9-for-27), but ended up with 34 points, five 3-pointers, 10 dimes and 3 steals.

If fantasy loves overtime, it worships double-overtime. The best line of the night belonged to Chris Paul, who put up a sick 42 points, four 3-pointers, 9 assists and, yes, 8 steals. Oh, and he had but a single turnover. That's called creating and keeping possessions for your team.

With both Kirk Hinrich (bruised ribs) and Ben Gordon (sprained wrist) out last night, the backcourt duties fell to Thabo Sefolosha and Chris Duhon. Sefolosha continues to impress and scored a career-high 22 points to go with two 3-pointers, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He took a team-leading 17 shots last night and if he becomes more of a scorer, his value could take off. His fantasy fate is tied to that of Hinrich and Gordon. When they miss time, he will play more. When they are back, he may start but his minutes will fluctuate.

We had another triple-double career first when Earl Watson went for 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists last night. Those of you in deeper leagues benefited. Everyone else? Not so much.

Throw Kevin Martin's line in the trash bin. His 1-for-10, 5-point effort is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon. It was a poor night all around for the recently resurgent Kings. Brad Miller's absence didn't help the Kings' cause. He missed the game after getting nine stitches in the index finger of his right hand. Miller cut his hand cleaning the dishes according to the Sacramento Bee. He should be back by Friday.

Guy Lake is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can email him at guylake@talentedmrroto.com.

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