One of several players who stepped up last night who is available in many fantasy basketball leagues, Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless (7) shoots a layup during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA scheduled had a solid seven games last night highlighted by a buzzer beater from Isaiah Thomas to lead the Kings past the Wizards. The Bulls and Nets both won games they should have won at home while the Rockets and Warriors went on the road and got nice wins. The Grizzlies won a close one in Philadelphia, and the Nuggets held on to beat the Pacers in Denver.
Many of today’s breakouts are available on fantasy basketball waiver wires, so get busy making the moves to get your team ready for the championship. Here’s the stat lines that stood out from a fantasy hoops persepctive:
Emeka Okafor-Washington Wizards
Jan 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor (50) shoots over Sacramento Kings power forward Jason Thompson (34) during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports
It’s officially time to issue the buy orderd on Okafor. If you didn’t grab him after I recommended him on Saturday (full post here), it may be too late. Okafor had another big game last night finishing with 23 points and 15 rebounds along with three assists and a steal. He’s averaging 13.8 rebounds over the last five games and have 15 or more in three of his last four. It was his first 20 point game of the year, but he’s playing extremely well for the Wizards and getting more playing time and offensive focus as a result. He’s still available in 47% of ESPN leagues but won’t be on wires for long.
Jerryd Bayless-Memphis Grizzlies
Bayless started in place of Mike Conley and had a season-high 21 points in the Grizzlies road win at Philadelphia. Bayless has scored double-digits in his last four games after having just two ten+ point performances all season previously. He added nine assists, five rebounds, and a block in his best game of the year. He’s expected to fill a bigger role in the Grizzlies offense going forward and with the struggles of Tony Allen could slide to shooting guard when Conley is back. Bayless is worth adding if you have the roster space and is currently available in 98% of ESPN leagues.
Evan Turner-Philadelphia 76ers
Last night, Turner dropped 27 on Memphis for his third 20+ point game in a row. He’s averaging 13.8 points per game so far this month while adding 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists over his last 10. He’s become a consistent part of the Philadelphia attack has turned himself into a big-time asset for fantasy owners down the stretch.
Andrew Bogut-Golden State Warriors
Jan 28, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) dunks against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. The Warriors beat the Raptors 114-102. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
If you need a big man and Okafor isn’t available on waiver wires, Bogut is a great alternative who is currently owned in just 17% of leagues on ESPN. He played 24 minutes last night in his return scoring 12 points on 6-8 from the floor and adding eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists, and a steal. Bogut will need some time to get back into the flow but could strengthen the Warriors up front for the stretch run and reinforce your fantasy frontcourt offering boosts in rebounds, scoring, and blocks.
Jimmy Butler-Chicago Bulls
With Luol Deng back from injury, Butler returned to the bench last night but his production didn’t dip. He finished with 19 points to lead Chicago while adding six rebounds, two assists, and a block. He’s only owned in 10.9% of leagues, but he could be a great pickup if he keeps getting the run off the bench after proving his abilities in his time in thestarting lineup.
Moe Harkless-Olrando Magic
The rookie from St. John’s got the start for the Magic who were without Aaron Afflalo and Harkless seized the opportunity scoring 16 points and adding two three-pointers, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Harkless should continue to start for as long as Afflalo is out and has the potential to contribute lines like this for offensively-starved Orlando. Right now, Harkless is un-owned in virtually all leagues (0.0%)
Aaron Gray-Toronto Raptors
Another universally available player who gave his team a huge boost last night was Aaron Gray who drew the start opposite the returning Bogus. Gray played 32 minutes (averaging just 10.0 this season) and scored 22 points to go with 10 boards, two steals, and an assist. He hasn’t shown much to indicate this is anything more than a one-game anomaly, but keep an eye on the starting center situation for Toronto. The Raptors are playing well and if Gray earns regular playing time he could be a great fantasy pickup.
Marcus Morris-Houston Rockets
Jan 28, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Marcus Morris (2) shoots while defended by Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Like many of the Rockets, Morris was on fire last night as Houston blew out Utah in Salt Lake City. Coming off the bench, Morris knocked down four three-pointers for a quick 16 points off the Houston bench. He added two assists and two rebounds along with a steal. If you need three-point production, he’s hit at least one in his last six games and could see an increase in minutes coming off the bench if he continues to score. He’s had 10+ points in three of his last five and also added 5.6 boards per game. He’s only owned in 0.2% of ESPN leagues and is worth a look as a streaming option or a one-game fill-in if needed.
Lance Stephenson-Indiana Pacers
In last night’s loss in Denver, Stephenson led the Pacers with 20 points along with eight rebounds, four assists, a block, and a steal. He’s universally available even though he plays a ton of minustes since he normally doesn’t score nearly at this level. He had zero points in his last game and hadn’t reached double digits in his last seven before last night’s outburst. No need to act yet, but keep an eye on Stephenson since he gets plenty of time on the floor to see if he can string together more scoring nights like this one.