Monday, January 27, 2014

OKC's Kevin Durant extends 30-point streak to 11G

It should probably come as no surprise, but Thunder forward Kevin Durant once again scored more than 30 points.

Entering the night with a 10-game streak of 30-plus points, Durant scored 41 points tonight against the Hawks on 15-of-25 shooting from the field, which included five three-pointers, and six-of-eight from the line.

Averaging 38.45 points per game during that stretch, Durant has scored at least 40 points in four of those contests. In addition, Durant has averaged 6.27 rebounds, 6.00 assists, 1.64 steals and 1.00 blocks during that stretch.

The only other player with 30-plus points in more than three consecutive games was Miami's LeBron James (four games). This season, Durant has accounted for three of the seven streaks of at least three consecutive games with 30-plus points.

Aside from Durant and James, only James Harden and John Wall have one three-game streak each of 30-plus points.

On Wednesday, Durant and the Thunder will face LeBron and the Heat in Miami.

Consensus NBA Power Rankings, Week 14

Now that we are at the midway point of the 2013-14 NBA season, we asked our power rankers for a midseason pick to win it all.

Here are their responses:

John Trifone: Miami Heat

At the midway point of the season, it's tough to pick any team to come out of the West. Teams like Memphis, Denver, and Minnesota, who would be vying for the three seed in the East, are currently on the outside looking in. If I had to pick right now, I would take Oklahoma City to come out of the West, although San Antonio, Portland, and Golden State are not too far behind. The Clippers and Rockets also certainly have a shot, but I think they are just a bit more of an underdog to do so.

The East is much easier, at least, to get down to two. It's pretty clear that barring a major upset, it's going to be Miami and Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Indiana has been the most impressive team in the NBA all year, but I'm still going to take them to fall short again this year to the Heat. Miami knows what they're doing, and they don't need to prove that they can win 70 games in the regular season. They can comfortably rest players whenever needed, and can still lock up the two seed without much of a problem. That means that they will have to be able to beat the Pacers in Indiana this summer, but they know that they can win on the road.

This might be the year that Indiana knocks off the two-time champs, but I believe that the Heat are still too strong, and will manage the team the way they need to in order to be playing their best ball when it matters most.

In a matchup of the NBA Finals two years ago, I like the Heat to come out on top once again. Although KD is having an MVP season, and will likely bring home that hardware, I expect LeBron James to take home another ring. Miami won their previous Finals matchup in five games, and although this one may be more competitive, I like the Heat to win in six games.

Kevin Hanson: Indiana Pacers

While winning the regular season may not be as high on the list of other contending teams, the Pacers clearly want the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs — and that makes sense. After all, the Heat have advanced to the Finals in the past three seasons and have won it all two years in a row. In addition, the Pacers were one game away, which was ultimately a loss in Miami, from getting to the NBA Finals.

The Pacers lead the NBA in scoring defense (90.2 points allowed per game) and have held their opponents to a league-low 41.3 percent from the field. Only the Thunder have a better rebounding differential than the Pacers.

Although LeBron James is still the best player on the planet, Paul George is one of the league's best defenders — and best all-around players, for that matter — to help contain LeBron. With Dwyane Wade (knee) not the same as he was several years ago, I think the Pacers get over the hump this year with a Game 7 win in Indy.

The Western Conference is much deeper and it seems that any team could emerge, but I think the Pacers will face the Thunder in the NBA Finals. However, the Pacers will win it all in six games.

Sean Beazley: Oklahoma City Thunder

I like Oklahoma City to beat Miami in 5.

I love OKC's supporting cast this year. Reggie Jackson has been playing great with Russell Westbrook out with injury, and Jeremy Lamb has been knocking down shots from outside. Their interior defense is very good with Serge Ibaka. And Kevin Durant has taken this team on his back the past couple of weeks and I think he will continue to do so even when Westbrook is back in the lineup.

The Heat are good enough to make it to the finals in the East, but I don't think their Big 3 is as dominant as in years past, and I think this is one of the reasons why King James leaves Miami at the end of his current deal.

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Dan Yanotchko: Indiana Pacers

I think this year will see a new NBA champion crowned, and it will go to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers certainly have one of the best rosters in the league, led by their trio of Roy Hibbert, Paul George, and David West. The Pacers have the best lockdown defense in the game, and they lead the league in only allowing 90.2 points per game. The Pacers have the best depth, the defense, and they will have learned lessons from losing to Miami in the playoffs the last two years.

- See our full 2013-14 NBA Power Rankings for Week 14 here

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kyle Lowry has triple-double vs. Sixers

Battling the flu against the Mavs on Wednesday, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry did anything but stuff the stat sheet as he scored just three points on 0-for-10 shooting and added five assists and four rebounds.

Making up for that dud and obviously feeling better, Lowry had the fourth triple-double of his career on Friday night against the Sixers.

Lowry finished with 18 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

Before his triple-double tonight, there were 16 double-doubles by 12 other players this season. Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson leads the league with three triple-doubles this season.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Carmelo Anthony scores 62 points vs. Bobcats

If there's one thing that Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony does exceptionally well, it's score. And he did so in record fashion on Friday night.

Against the Bobcats, Anthony set the franchise record with 62 points on efficient shooting: 23-of-35 from field, six-of-11 from three-point range and 10-for-10 from the line.

It was Anthony's fourth time scoring at least 50 points in his career, but he has had exactly 50 points in his other three games.

Not only did Anthony break the previous team record held by Bernard King (60 points, 1984), but he broke the Madison Square Record of 61 that was previously held by Kobe Bryant.

Adding 13 rebounds, Anthony became the first player with at least 60 points and 10 rebounds since Tracy McGrady did so almost 10 years ago (March 2004).

In one night, Anthony boosted his scoring average from 26.1 to 27.0 points per game and he's currently averaging a career-high 9.08 rebounds per game as well.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Zach Randolph has 23 points and 20 rebounds vs. Pelicans

Entering today's game against the Pelicans, Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph was tied for seventh in the NBA with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge in double-doubles (24).

Coincidentally, Aldridge was the only player with multiple 20-20 games this season, but Randolph became the eighth player to have one such game this season.

Against the Pelicans, Randolph finished with 23 points, a season-high 20 rebounds and three assists.

As noted by ESPN's Stats & Info, Randolph ranks fifth among active players in most 20-20 games (11) behind Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Kevin Love.

On the season, Randolph is averaging 17.51 points and 10.89 rebounds per game.

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 13

Once again, the Indiana Pacers are atop our NBA consensus power rankings as we head into a new week.

With the league's best record (32-7), the Pacers have done it more so with defense than they have with offense. Currently, the Pacers rank 20th in the league in scoring offense, but they rank first in the league in team defense (88.2 points per game allowed) in scoring differential (+9.9 PPG).

In case you missed it, their (underrated) superstar Paul George took a steal in last night's win and turned it into a dunk worthy of a 50 in a slam dunk contest.

Here's the dunk:

George is currently averaging 23.2 points, 2.5 three's, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

In addition to George, the Pacers have four other players averaging in double digits: Lance Stephenson (13.9), David West (12.3), Roy Hibbert (12.2) and George Hill (10.4).

- See our full 2013-14 NBA Power Rankings for Week 13 here

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire (January 19th Update)

Here are some players to consider adding and all are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues:

PG - D.J. Augustin, Chicago Bulls (owned in 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues): Augustin has scored 16-plus points in four of his past five games and has dished out seven-plus assists in six of his past eight games. Over the past eight-game stretch, Augustin is averaging 13.88 points, 2.0 three's, 6.88 assists and 1.13 steals per game.

PG - Ramon Sessions, Charlotte Bobcats (14 percent): With Kemba Walker suffering an ankle injury on Saturday, Sessions played a season-high 38 minutes and scored 16 points with five assists. Sessions now has five assists in four consecutive games.

PG - Brian Roberts, New Orleans Pelicans (13 percent): In his past four games, Roberts has averaged 11.25 points, 5.25 assists, 1.25 three's and 0.75 steals. As long as Jrue Holiday (stress fracture) is out, Roberts should continue to see 30-plus minutes each night.

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PG/SG - Alec Burks, Utah Jazz (23 percent): With Gordon Hayward out, Burks has scored 16-plus points in four of his past five games. During that five-game span, he is averaging 18.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 0.8 steals per game.

PG/SG - Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls (13 percent): In his past two games, Hinrich has a total of 24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks. He also has at least five assists in five of his past six games.

SG - Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers (49 percent): One of the league's better three-point shooters, Meeks has knocked down 2.25 three's per game this month including six of them on Wednesday. In addition, he's averaging 19.5 points, 3.13 assists and 1.5 steals per game as well.

SG/SF - Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers (22 percent): Over the past six games, Johnson has averaged 15.17 points, 2.0 three's, 5.0 rebounds, 1.33 steals and 0.67 blocks per game. As long as both Kobe Bryant and Xavier Henry are out, Johnson should continue to see big minutes, but one or both could return by the end of the month.

SG/SF - Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies (nine percent): Lee has scored 15-plus points in three of his past four games and has five three-pointers, four steals and three blocks during that span as well.

SG/SF - Martell Webster, Washington Wizards (32 percent): Over his past four games, Webster has scored in double figures mostly due to his three-point shooting. In those four games, he has a total of 12 three's and four steals.

SG/SF - P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns (12 percent): Over his past six games, Tucker has averaged 8.83 rebounds per game and has eight or more rebounds in five of those six games. During that span, he has also averaged 10.67 points and 1.67 three-pointers as well.

SF - Al-Farouq Aminu, New Orleans Pelicans (14 percent): With the injuries in the Pelicans' frontcourt (Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith), it means more minutes for Aminu. Over his past four games, he is averaging 10.5 points and 10.25 rebounds per game.

SF/PF - James Johnson, Memphis Grizzlies (20 percent): Johnson has two blocks or more — including six blocks on Wednesday — in six consecutive games. While he has scored in double-digits only twice this month (out of nine games), he is averaging 4.0 rebounds, 3.11 assists, 1.44 steals and 2.11 blocks per game in January.

PF/C - Glen Davis, Orlando Magic (44 percent): In nine games this month, Davis has four double-doubles and he was just a rebound off of two other double-doubles. During the month, he is averaging 14.89 points, 9.44 rebounds and 1.11 steals per game.

PF/C - Josh McRoberts, Charlotte Bobcats (18 percent): McRoberts has scored in double digits in three consecutive games and he has a total of nine three-pointers in that span. In his past six games, he has at least four assists in four of those games and a total of seven steals and seven blocks during that span.

* Note: All stats referenced above are through Saturday's games.

For more assistance with waiver-wire decisions, check out my rest-of-season fantasy basketball rankings.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Consensus NBA Power Rankings, Week 12

Even though the Sixers are 13 games under .500, they are only three games out of the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Losing their first game of the (calendar) year, the Nets currently occupy the No. 8 spot with a 15-22 record.

With a couple of draft picks in the first round this past year, the Sixers used their picks wisely. Not only did they draft Nerlens Noel, who could have been the No. 1 overall pick despite his knee injury, they landed the guy most likely to win NBA Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams.

Through Sunday's games, MCW leads all rookies in scoring (17.5 points per game), rebounding (5.8 per game), assists (7.0 per game) and steals (2.7 per game). Not only does he rank in the top 10 among all players in assists, but he currently leads the NBA in steals although Ricky Rubio (2.67) is close.

Back on Dec. 3rd, Carter-Williams had a triple-double (27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists), but he missed a quadruple-double in his first-ever game by one steal and three rebounds.

Aside from MCW, there are two other rookies averaging at least 10 points per game: Utah's Trey Burke (13.2) and Orlando's Victor Oladipo (13.2).

Although the Milwaukee Bucks (7-29) are the consensus worst team in the league, their three teams all rank as the next worst teams: Utah (27th), Philadelphia (28th) and Orlando (29th). The Jazz, 76ers and Magic are a combined 34-78 through Sunday.

Once again, the Pacers sit atop our consensus NBA power rankings, but three different teams received No. 1 votes. Both the Heat and Spurs also received first-place votes in this week's rankings.

- See our full 2013-14 NBA Power Rankings for Week 12 here

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Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire (January 12th Update)

The fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft 10 years ago, Shaun Livingston has never lived up to his potential and hype in large part due to injuries.

Since being drafted straight out of high school in 2004, Livingston has bounced around from franchise to franchise as the Brooklyn Nets are his eighth team.

While he has averaged just 6.8 points and 3.4 assists per game over his career, he has been a major contributor recently with Deron Williams (ankles) out of the Nets' lineup.

“I’ve been in some rough places, especially after my injury [in 2007], but that’s a long time ago. And there were a lot of different thoughts, but those doubts kind of turned to faith. My family, everybody that’s been in my corner, God, it’s brought me a long way,” Livingston said per Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York.

With or without Williams in the lineup, however, Livingston has played at least 30 minutes in every game this month. Livingston has been a solid contributor in multiple categories, especially on defense: 10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks per game this month.

According to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, it appears likely that Williams will not make the team's trip to London and miss another week.

Even when Williams returns to the starting lineup, Livingston should continue to be involved in the team's rotation and he's currently available in nearly 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues. With a rash of injuries at the point guard spot this year (Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, etc.), Livingston can probably help many fantasy owners in need.

That said, if you play in leagues that allow lineup changes only weekly, please note that Livingston and the Nets play only one game this week.

Here are some players to consider adding and all are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues:

PG - Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers (owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues): With multiple injuries in the Lakers' backcourt, Marshall has run with his opportunity. So far this month, Marshall is averaging 13.6 points, 11.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

PG - Brian Roberts, New Orleans Pelicans (16 percent): The injury to Jrue Holiday (stress fracture) means starter minutes for Roberts at the point for at least a month's time, if not longer. Roberts shot only 2-of-10 from the field Saturday night, but he added eight assists and two steals in 31 minutes as well.

PG/SG - Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets (46 percent): Foye has averaged 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this month. In addition, Foye has knocked down 20 three-pointers in his past five games.

PG/SG - Shaun Livingston, Brooklyn Nets (11 percent): See above.

SG - Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers (44 percent): Meeks is averaging nearly 20 points (19.7) per game this month. Launching a career-high 5.3 treys per game this season, Meeks ranks 14th in the Association in three-pointers made (76).

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SG/SF - Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns (50 percent): Green is averaging 14.8 points, 2.2 treys and 1.7 steals per game this month. With Eric Bledsoe (knee) sidelined for a while (and possibly the rest of the season), Green will continue to get starter's minutes.

SG/SF - Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks (30 percent): After scoring more than 25 points in back-to-back games to start the month, Shumpert has averaged only 8.25 PPG over his past four games. Even so, he has also averaged 1.75 three-pointers, 7.0 rebounds and 2.25 steals per game during that four-game stretch as well.

SG/SF - Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls (27 percent): With Luol Deng now in Cleveland, Dunleavy should get plenty of opportunities to contribute for fantasy owners. Dunleavy has averaged 17.5 points, 2.0 three-pointers and 5.0 rebounds in his past two games.

SG/SF - Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors (26 percent): Ross is currently averaging 12.3 points, 2.8 three-pointers, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this month.

SG/SF - Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder (15 percent): The 12th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Lamb is getting many more minutes this year (21.7 per game) than he got as a rookie (6.4 MPG). In addition, his playing time has increased each month from 20.2 MPG (Nov.) to 21.9 MPG (Dec.) to 25.2 MPG (Jan.). Not great in any category, Lamb has contributed across the board with the following averages this month: 10.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 three-pointers, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks.

SG/SF - James Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers (eight percent): Someone to consider in deeper leagues, Anderson has returned to the Sixers' starting lineup. Over his past four games, he is averaging 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.75 blocks per game.

SF/PF - Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets (47 percent): In four games this month, Jones is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game and a double-double: 11.5 points and 11.75 rebounds per game.

PF - Kris Humphries, Boston Celtics (38 percent): If you need rebounding or blocks, Humphries is averaging 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 2.3 blocks per game this month.

PF/C - Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics (40 percent): After playing less than 20 minutes in three consecutive games, Sullinger has posted back-to-back double-doubles with 32 and 28 minutes, respectively. He now has double-doubles in all four games this month that he has played more than 20 minutes.

PF/C - Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors (seven percent): Patterson's minutes have fluctuated a bit this month, but he is averaging 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 three's and 1.0 blocks per game over his past five games played.

For more assistance with waiver-wire decisions, check out my rest-of-season fantasy basketball rankings.

Keep track of our updates: Twitter - Facebook - Google+

Monday, January 6, 2014

Consensus NBA Power Rankings, Week 11

More than one-third of the way through the 2013-14 season, I decided to take a look at the odds to win the NBA Championship (via

While it should come as no surprise that the Miami Heat (3/2) have the lowest odds to win it all and the Pacers (3/1) are second, I am surprised a little bit by the Eastern Conference team that is third.

Before I get to that, the next seven teams (after the Heat/Pacers) all reside in the Western Conference: Thunder (6/1), Spurs (8/1), Clippers (12/1), Rockets, Blazers and Warriors (all 15/1) and Timberwolves (50/1).

Next in line are the Grizzlies and Mavs (60/1), who are tied with the Toronto Raptors.

After a slow start, a horrible one for the Atlantic Division as a whole, the Raptors are 16-16 and currently lead the division.

Even though they lost Sunday night to the Heat, the Raptors had won their previous five games and have won seven of their past nine games.  The Raptors will get another tough game as they head to Indiana on Tuesday to take on the Pacers.

Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan continues to develop his game as he leads the team in scoring with a career-high 21.1 points per game.  In addition, point guard Kyle Lowry is averaging 7.6 assists per game, which ranks ninth in the league, and 15.7 points per game, both of which are career highs.

Despite their horrible starts, however, the Nets are 2-0 and the Knicks are 2-1 so far in January.  (The Knicks' loss was a two-point loss to the Rockets in Houston.)

It will be interesting to see if the Nets and/or Knicks can continue to turn around things now that the calendar has turned to 2014.  Going into the season, the expectations for both teams were certainly much higher than those for the Raptors.

Right now, however, the Nets and Knicks both have 150/1 odds to win the NBA title.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chris Paul (shoulder) to miss 3-5 weeks

The good news is that the Clippers got the win in Dallas on Friday, but the bad news far outweighs the good news.

Despite getting the win, the team lost its star point guard Chris Paul to a separated shoulder and coach Doc Rivers has estimated that CP3 will miss at least three to five weeks with the shoulder injury.

Paul will be examined in L.A. on Sunday and Monday, but it's possible that Paul could miss more than the 3-5 weeks that Rivers estimates depending on the results of additional tests.

Not only is Paul leading the league in assists (11.2 per game), but he is averaging 19.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as well.  In addition, power forward Blake Griffin is actually second on the team in assists with only 3.0 per game.

With Paul out, Darren Collison will get the start at the point.  In 35 minutes on Friday, Collison scored 20 points and added four assists.

Collison is currently available in 23 percent of Yahoo! leagues.