Kevin Durant poised for big second half
It took an overtime game in which he played 50 minutes, but Kevin Durant had the sort of performance on Wednesday night that will probably make him the most valuable fantasy player in the league in the second half of the season.
Finishing with 47 points, 18 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, Durant carried his team to a road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on a night Kevin Love had another game of better than 30 points and 20 rebounds.
Although he started out the season pretty terribly (for his standards), Durant's numbers during the past two months are starting to look more and more like the numbers he put up last season when he was head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of fantasy value.
Though Rodney Stuckey had to leave the Pistons' loss to the Nuggets with a shoulder injury, Will Bynum managed to have a nice night with 19 points in 21 minutes. Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that Bynum will ever manage to get more than 20 or so minutes, so he's still not worth owning in fantasy leagues at the moment. Al Harrington got some more playing time for the Nuggets with Nene out. It's unclear how long Nene's calf injury will keep him out, but given his injury history, Harrington might be a good play during the next week or so. Anthony Morrow had another good game for the Nets, and seems fully recovered from his recent injury woes; after going 8-for-12 from the floor against the Grizzlies, he belongs back in your lineup. A quick look at the line Marreese Speights had for the Sixers in their win over the Raptors (23 points and nine rebounds) would seem to warrant picking him up in fantasy leagues, but the 17 minutes he played are a bad sign, and there's no real reason to think he'll start getting more minutes just because of one good game. With Eric Gordon out for the Clippers for the next few weeks, it might be worth taking a look at Randy Foye. Foye had a pretty inefficient 20 points against the Rockets on Wednesday night, but he'll probably continue getting minutes until Gordon gets back, and should be worth playing as a result. I'll probably kick myself for mentioning it, but after putting up 12 points and 10 boards against the Suns, Kwame Brown is now riding two straight double-doubles for the Bobcats, and is averaging nearly nine points and nine rebounds in his past five games.
The Celtics just got Kendrick Perkins back to shore up their front line, and are facing a beat-up LaMarcus Aldridge and the Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Given the quality of the Celtics' defense these days, it's hard to make a case for playing Aldridge, especially given the way he struggled against the Kings on Monday night. While Amare Stoudemire has had very nice performances in the Knicks' losses to the Heat so far this season, the same cannot be said for promising Knicks rookie Landry Fields. He has been a disaster against the Heat, and I would definitely sit him Thursday night. Last time the Rockets and the Mavericks faced off, the Mavs won easily and held the entire Rockets team pretty well in check. Shawn Marion, however, had a double-double for the Mavs, and given the uncertainty at small forward for the Mavs these days, I'd make sure Marion's in my lineup again this time.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.