A rare NBA doubleheader

March, 9, 2008
There wasn't much to see in the first game of the Hawks/Heat "doubleheader" last night; neither team scored in the final 51.9 seconds of the disputed contest originally played back in December. The nightcap, however, proved to be much more exciting, even if it was a one-man show for the Hawks. Joe Johnson went off for 39 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 5 3-pointers, leading Atlanta to a 97-94 victory over the Miami Heat. Remember the old NBA Jam video game when a player would be virtually unstoppable once he hit a few consecutive shots? Well, J.J. was far past the "He's heating up!" phase and was fully entrenched in the "He's on fire!" mode.

Apparently rumors of Dwyane Wade's demise were greatly exaggerated. Wade scored 24 points and added 4 rebounds, 8 assists and a block Saturday, one day after many feared he might be shutting it down for the year. Obviously Wade is a risky proposition going forward, but his owners must be happy about this one. Of course, if Wade does decide to shut it down, you might want to consider adding Ricky Davis (27 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 3-pointers) or Marcus Banks (2 points, 4 assists), who both played well in Wade's absence Friday.

Want to go back to the beginning of the season and revise your No. 1 overall pick in the draft? I know LeBron James ranks 3rd on the Player Rater, but he's first (by a sizable margin) if you sort by averages. With his 30.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.5 3-pointers and a block per game on the season, there is little doubt that LeBron will be next season's first pick overall in fantasy drafts. It's barely news at this point, but James turned in another gem Saturday with 38 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, a steal and 5 3-pointers.

Thus far, the biggest winner of the Big Ben Wallace trade (still not sure why it's called that), hasn't been Big Ben, nor has it been Wally Szczerbiak, as many had expected. Instead, it has been Delonte West, who's not putting the ball in the basket much but is filling up the stat sheet in other areas. West had another fantasy-friendly line in Saturday's afternoon game against the Pacers, with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, a blocked shot and a 3-pointer. West is now averaging 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.9 3-pointers and a block per game, and is still available in plenty of leagues (57.0 percent owned).

Jared Dudley's run as a fantasy favorite came to an end last night as he failed to score and grabbed just 6 rebounds in 27 foul-plagued minutes. Dudley was looking great earlier in the week when he grabbed tough rebounds and created steals on the defensive end, but with Gerald Wallace poised to return soon, Dudley likely will head back to the bench for the Bobcats.

Anyone who's looking for a jolt in the 3-point category should take a look Matt Carroll's way. Carroll went off for 23 points on 6 3-pointers Saturday night and now averages 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 3.2 3-pointers per game over his past five games. Like Dudley, Carroll's value will take a hit once Gerald Wallace returns, but he should be able to do enough to remain a solid 3-point specialist in deeper fantasy leagues.

Darius Songaila (4 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) is a solid NBA player and all, but I'm not going to lie: I hate that he's taking minutes away from my boy Andray Blatche (17 minutes). Songaila is averaging 9.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals over his past five games and might be a decent option in deeper fantasy formats.

After missing six games because of an appendectomy, Andris Biedrins (4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals and a block) is slowly working himself back into game shape. Biedrins has seen 18 minutes in each of his first two games back, and it might take him a week or so before he's back to posting his usual 10.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He's not the safest pickup in the world, but Mickael Pietrus did it again last night with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals in 33 minutes for coach Don Nelson's Warriors. Nellie can switch things up at any moment, so don't get too comfortable with Pietrus, but it might be hard to ignore Pietrus' upside. Remember, this is the same guy who averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers before the All-Star break last season.

It's pretty much pointless to try to analyze the Knicks, but I guess I have to mention Nate Robinson's 45-point outburst last night, right? Robinson undoubtedly will have some short-term value with Jamal Crawford (hand), Eddy Curry (knee) and Zach Randolph (foot) all out of action. After that, who knows? Grab him for now, but be ready to dump him for the next flavor of the week once the Knicks are healthy.

Travis Outlaw (6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in 17 minutes) had been on fire since mid-February, but has struggled mightily in his last two games. As inconsistent as Outlaw's minutes and production have been this season, it might be time to drop him for one of the hot pickups on the wire.

Kendrick Perkins posted his third straight double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in Saturday's 119-89 victory over the hapless Memphis Grizzlies. Perk is as hot as can be right now, and he may be able to provide long-term value for fantasy squads, especially if the Celtics start resting some of their stars toward the end of the season.

In their first meeting since the Jason Kidd trade, the Mavericks dominated the Nets 111-91 behind Dirk Nowitzki's 34 points, 9 rebounds and 2 3-pointers. Kidd dropped 13 dimes on his old mates while adding 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Devin Harris had a rough night with just 9 points and 2 assists, but he'll be better than this on most nights. He was likely a little flustered being back in Dallas.

It was the Tracy McGrady-Chris Paul show in Houston, as the Rockets extended their winning streak to 18 games in a 106-96 victory over the Hornets. Paul scored 37 points while adding 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals and 3 3-pointers, but he was outdone by a rejuvenated McGrady, who put up 41 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and 3 3-pointers.

David West missed his third straight game for the Hornets, but rookie Julian Wright was unable to recreate his Friday night magic, with just 9 points, 2 rebounds and a steal in 28 minutes. Still, Wright has a ton of future potential, so be sure to get a good look at his game while West is out.

Led by Mehmet Okur's 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 3-pointers, the Andrei Kirilenko-less Jazz took it to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. I think we can finally say that Okur has turned things around this season. He's averaging 16.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.3 3-pointers since the All-Star break after averaging a dismal 13.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 3-pointers in the first half.

With 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks on the night, Paul Millsap again showed us why many can't wait for this guy to get a full-time gig. Millsap has gotten 25-plus minutes in just 11 games this season, but during those games, he has averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Yeah, I can't wait, either.

Chris Kaman is a scary gamble right now, but he's not done producing just yet. Kaman scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and 2 blocks on Saturday night, but couldn't stop Al Jefferson from dropping 30 with 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sebastian Telfair missed the contest with a severely sprained ankle, which forced the Wolves to slide Randy Foye over into the starting point guard spot. Foye responded well with 26 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. Telfair could be out for a few weeks, and Foye (who was already playing quite well) should benefit from his absence.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy baseball and basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Littlemac@TalentedMrRoto.com.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?