Heat's big three heating up

November, 30, 2010

While the Miami Heat are struggling to stay over .500, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are stepping up their production.

Wade (26 points, eight rebounds, six assists) led the way as the Heat dispatched of the short-handed Washington Wizards. After enduring a five-game stretch where he averaged just 14 points, D-Wade has put together three straight outings of least 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.

James scored 30 against the Wizards, shooting 10-of-18 after going a combined 10-of-34 (29.4 percent) in his previous two. Though James registered a block in this game, it was just his second rejection in 10 games. This is one small, but underrated, aspect of LeBron's slipping fantasy value: He's averaging only 0.6 blocks so far, about half of the shot-blocking he'd done over his final three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chris Bosh was only 5-of-14 from the field, but he went 10-of-14 from the line to finish with 20 points along with seven rebounds. He's scored at least 20 points in six of seven games after topping 20 just once in his first 10 outings.

Looking Back

• Now about those banged-up Wizards: Most notably, John Wall sat out for the sixth time in eight games. It's believed that a sore shin is giving him the most trouble at the moment. The Wizards were also without Al Thornton, who missed a third straight game with a left ankle sprain. JaVale McGee, still smarting from Elton Brand's shot last week, came off the bench after waking up Monday with sharp head and neck pain. Fortunately, McGee did play and play fairly well, managing 10 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes.

•; The continued absence of Wall and/or Thornton means Nick Young is a viable play. Though Young went just 4-of-15 against the Heat, he's averaging 17.0 points and 1.3 3-pointers in his previous eight games. Assuming Young gets his 25-30 minutes again on Wednesday, expect good numbers against a Toronto Raptors team that's 27th in opponents' shooting percentage.

• With Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden both sidelined, the Milwaukee Bucks were helpless against Al Jefferson, who went 11-of-14 from the field and blocked four shots (both season-bests). Even with this extremely favorable matchup, it's apparent that Big Al is looking more comfortable with the Utah Jazz. He's now averaging 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 rejections over his past six games.

• While there's not yet any definitive word on the status of Gooden and his ankle injury, Ersan Ilyasova (18 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of 3s) is an excellent short-term add. Bogut, who's dealing with a back injury, isn't on this road trip, so even if Gooden returns in the next game, he'll likely be playing in the post. Odds are Ilyasova sees ample minutes Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.

Kyle Lowry (six points, five assists) didn't do much against the Dallas Mavericks, but he remains a strong add. While there was some talk of Aaron Brooks being able to return soon, his ankle injury will apparently keep him shelved for a few more weeks. Lowry, who remains available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues, has averaged 10.7 points, 8.2 assists and 2.0 steals over his previous six games.

Looking Ahead

Vince Carter is expected to play Tuesday, as the Orlando Magic host the Detroit Pistons. The 33-year-old has missed three games with a left knee sprain.

Neil Tardy | email

Fantasy Basketball
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com



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