LeBron, Kobe take untimely nights off
Fantasy owners were hit with a one-two blow Thursday. Shortly after it was announced that LeBron James would be rested for at least one game by his coach in preparation for the playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers followed suit, deciding to rest Kobe Bryant, too. And so begins a particularly chilling side of fantasy: when the goals of the real-life teams clash with their fantasy brethren.
It did have its benefits for some -- Pau Gasol and Mo Williams took advantage of their chances to lead their teams by having monster games -- but for the most part it's a big guessing game during championship week. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers aren't the only teams that might rest some of their starters, as the Orlando Magic are another elite team that has the freedom to limit their players' minutes as the playoffs approach. Coach Stan Van Gundy says he doesn't plan on resting his starters, but it was also reported the Cavaliers would play James on Thursday. You never know what to believe at this time of the season.
Pau Gasol, Lakers: 26 points (10-11 FG), 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks against the Nuggets.|
Joakim Noah, Bulls: 17 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks versus the Cavaliers.
Mo Williams, Cavaliers: 35 points, 6 3-pointers, 10 assists against the Bulls.
Rasual Butler, Clippers: 6 points (3-10 FG), 3 rebounds, versus the Kings.|
Taj Gibson, Bulls: 2 points (1-9 FG), 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals against the Cavaliers.
Lamar Odom, Lakers: 5 points (1-6 FG), 13 rebounds versus the Nuggets.
We've seen Dwight Howard run roughshod over many a center, so the question is can Earl Barron stay on the court against Howard? Barron has come out of nowhere to average 16.0 points and 13.5 rebounds in his two starts, but his numbers also indicate he's foul-prone. He could lay an egg at a crucial time for owners Friday against the Magic. Andray Blatche hasn't shot well from the field this month and faces one of the league's tougher defenses in the Boston Celtics on Friday. They also attack him offensively, too; he's averaged 3.7 fouls in 30.3 minutes of playing time in three meetings. With the Celtics fighting for playoff positioning, Blatche could be in for a rough game. Speaking of Celtics, Kendrick Perkins becomes a much stronger play Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks because of the absence of Andrew Bogut. Perkins is bigger and meaner than any of the Bucks' frontcourt players, so he could feast on the backboard while swatting shots.
Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.