Butler returns with flourish

March, 14, 2008

In his second game back from injury, Cavs guard Sasha Pavlovic seems to have found his sea legs, so to speak. Although he fouled out in 29 minutes, he managed to score 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the floor, making five 3-pointers in the process. Granted, the Wizards are not great at defending the perimeter, and Cleveland's rotation may change a bit once Daniel Gibson comes back from injury, but for the time being, Pavolvic is worth owning in any league in which you need 3-point shooting.

For the Wizards, the big story was Caron Butler playing in his first game since Feb. 5. He didn't just play; he played just over 41 minutes. He still needs to get some of his timing back -- he had five fouls and four turnovers -- but he managed 19 points and 6 rebounds, which is a relatively productive night by any standards. Hopefully for both fantasy owners and the Wizards, he can find the form that got him selected to the All-Star team and made him one of the top fantasy guys in the league. If you held on to him when it appeared he may be lost for the season, you might just get rewarded for it.

As expected, the matchup between Phoenix and Golden State managed to provide a huge amount of scoring, even with the Suns playing a bit slower now with The Big Cactus in town. In fact, Shaq's inability to stay out of foul trouble -- he played just 14 minutes -- allowed the Suns to revert back to their old style, and they completely dominated the second half. Clearly, Steve Nash is still having trouble adjusting to the space Shaq takes up on the offensive end. Amare Stoudemire and Nash both had big second halves, and Nash finished with 21 points and 13 assists, while Stoudemire had 36 points, 11 boards and four blocks.

On the defensive side, however, Nash continues to get torched badly. He's spent the past month or so giving up huge games to every good point guard in the league, and Baron Davis jumped on the wagon with 38 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals and 1 block to go along with six 3s. The Suns managed to win the game, but one wonders how effective they'll be able to be in the playoffs if they can't stop anyone at the point of attack; remember, one of their strategies in years past has been covering Tony Parker with Shawn Marion from time to time.

Not much to tell about the game between the Kings and the Trail Blazers. After playing well almost all season, Brad Miller continues to go through a bit of a rough patch. Over his past five games, he's averaging 7.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists on just over 34 percent shooting, though he's still playing 29 minutes per game. It's unclear exactly what's wrong, though Thursday's game against Portland is a bit encouraging. He was 7-for-8 from the line after not even attempting a free throw in the previous two contests, and he finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Keep an eye on him and see if he continues to struggle. If he does, you may need to consider other options at center down the stretch.

Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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