The last two games of the ‘first half’ are in the books. Actually, the ‘second half’ of the NBA season is more like the final third. Every team has played at least 50 games, some as many as 56. There are only five weeks left in many Head-to-Head fantasy leagues until the playoffs begin, and trade deadlines are looming in both real basketball and our imaginary version.
This is a mini-vacation for me, as there are no games to preview until Tuesday. We’ll keep you posted on the latest injuries, recoveries and other news until then, and suggest a few players to watch. Mitch McClure will have another very useful Fantasy Planner for you on Sunday afternoon to help prepare for Week 17.
February 14 Game Recaps
MIA @ OKC: Everyone has come to expect great things from LeBron James and he rarely disappoints. The King had 39 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and shot ‘only’ 58% as Miami led wire-to-wire. Kevin Durant took a scary-looking fall and was just 2-for-10 at halftime, but never gave up. Playing all but the final 28 seconds, when he fouled out, KD finished with an excellent fantasy line — 40 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 3 BLK — that he would trade for a W. Russell Westbrook (26 PTS, 10 AST, 5 REB) missed 12 shots and turned it over six times, while Serge Ibaka (6 PTS, 6 REB) was surprisingly a non-factor. On a night when Dwyane Wade was relatively quiet (13 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB, 3 STL) and Udonis Haslem (leg) was out, Miami got a huge effort from Chris Bosh (20 PTS, 12 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK) and Ray Allen added 13 points off the bench.
LAC @ LAL: That was a back-to-back for the Clippers and their fourth game in five nights. Were they tired? Of course. Did it slow them down? Not a bit. Blake Griffin (22 PTS, 12 REB, 2 BLK) scored 18 in the first quarter alone. Chris Paul (24 PTS, 13 AST, 2 STL) was a +35 in 32:31 and made Steve Nash (7 PTS, 5 AST) irrelevant. Chauncey Billups (21 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL) played three short but very effective stints — 7 minutes to start, the final 3:55 of the first half and the first 5:15 of the third quarter — and hit five 3-pointers. Dwight Howard (18 PTS, 8 REB) didn’t exactly dominate DeAndre Jordan (11 PTS, 12 REB, 2 BLK) and while Kobe Bryant (20 PTS, 11 AST, 5 REB) was much better than his previous game, it wasn’t nearly enough. Don’t cut Earl Clark (4 PTS, 7 REB, 3 STL) as he is playing with a sore foot; a few days off might be helpful. Antawn Jamison (17 PTS, 4 REB) got a bit of extra run as a result.