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Saturday, March 21, 2009
Garnett returns to the Boston lineup

Kevin Garnett finally returned to the court after missing 13 games with a knee injury, but will it be too little, too late for fantasy owners? Doc Rivers took it easy with his prized possession Friday, limiting KG to just 14 minutes in an 80-77 victory over the Spurs. One has to wonder if Rivers will continue to take it slow with Garnett because the Celtics will be looking to heal up to get ready for what's sure to be a playoff battle between Cleveland, Orlando and Boston in the Eastern Conference. Garnett, who scored just 10 points with four rebounds against the Spurs, will need to be 100 percent healthy if the Celtics are going to defend their title. Doc Rivers knows this, and you can bet that he'll do everything to ensure that KG is healthy for the playoff run. Of course, Rivers will also want to make sure that Garnett has his conditioning back as well, so we should expect KG to play somewhere around 25 minutes per game going forward. Unfortunately, that's not what fantasy owners want to hear. If Garnett is going to match or improve on his season averages of 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks, he'll need more minutes than he's likely to get the rest of the way. I'm happy to see KG back in the lineup, but his owners need to prepare for the fact that he may not be as productive as he was prior to going down with the knee injury.

Under the boards

J.R. Smith, Nuggets: 40 points with 3 steals and 3 3-pointers on 15-for-23 shooting from the floor in a victory over the Wizards.
Antonio McDyess, Pistons: 24 points, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal for the injury-depleted Pistons.
Samuel Dalembert, Sixers: 15 points, 23 rebounds and a steal in a victory over the undersized Warriors.
Larry Hughes, Knicks: 3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist while shooting just 1-for-8 from the floor in a brutal loss to the Sacramento Kings.
O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies: 6 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists on just 2-for-5 shooting from the floor in 34 minutes.
Emeka Okafor, Bobcats: 6 points, 2 rebounds and a block in just 20 minutes after getting into early foul trouble against the Raptors.

Gerald Wallace showed no ill effects of the bruised left knee he suffered in Wednesday's game against Sacramento; he went off for 30 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 2 3-pointers in a 102-89 victory over the Raptors. It is nice to see Wallace back on the court after Wednesday's scare, and with the Bobcats just a game out of the final playoff spot in the East, you can bet that he'll continue to play through the injury the rest of the way. … It was the Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani show for Toronto as the two combined for 62 of the Raptors' 89 points on the night. Bosh was able to get loose for 35 points and 7 rebounds with Emeka Okafor in foul trouble, while Bargnani had 27 points, 7 boards and 4 3-pointers on the evening. I'm still slightly worried that even a minor injury could cause Bosh to shut things down once April rolls around, but Bargnani appears to be set to post big numbers the rest of the way. … James Singleton had another double-double -- his third in his past five games -- with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a steal in a victory over the Pacers. Singleton is worth a look in deeper leagues for those needing help on the glass. … Dwyane Wade returned to the court after missing one contest with a hip flexor issue and scored 27 points with 8 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in a loss to the Nets. … With Devin Harris out, Keyon Dooling had another solid effort with 10 points, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 3-pointers in the victory. He's looking like a very nice pickup option for Harris owners. Chris Douglas-Roberts (18 points, 4 rebounds with a steal and a 3-pointer) is also starting to get some run for the Nets. CDR has seen 27 minutes in each of his past two games and could turn into a very nice sleeper pickup for points and steals down the stretch. … The Kings put a beating on the Knicks as all five starters scored in double figures. Francisco Garcia (16 points, 5 rebounds with a steal, a block and a 3-pointer) should already be gone in your league, but check to see if Spencer Hawes (18 points, 13 rebounds), Jason Thompson (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Beno Udrih (20 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) are available. … The Pistons were without Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton, but still managed to defeat the lowly Clippers on Friday night. Leading the way was Antonio McDyess (24 points, 17 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks), who has been absolutely dominant on the glass as of late. His value will take a bit of a hit when the Pistons heal up, but McDyess is playing at such a high level that he should retain a decent amount of value the rest of the way. Will Bynum also took advantage of all the injuries, with 22 points, 6 boards and 3 steals in the victory, but Arron Afflalo managed just 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting from the floor.

Thabo Sefolosha struggled to put the ball in the basket but still provided a steal and a block in Oklahoma City's 101-94 loss to the Jazz. Thabo won't score much now that Kevin Durant (24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jeff Green (15 points, 9 rebounds) are back, but he's still a valuable commodity in fantasy leagues because he is averaging 2.4 steals and 1.8 blocks per game over his past five. … Carlos Boozer had 15 points and 9 rebounds in the victory while Paul Millsap chipped in with 14 points and 7 rebounds for the Jazz. Both of these guys are playing well enough for fantasy owners, but they seem to be canceling each other out a little in the paint: Booz is averaging 14.9 points and 11.9 rebounds while Millsap is putting up 12.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this month. Like I said, those are still good numbers, but they are nowhere near where we hoped they would be. … In other Jazz news, Mehmet Okur played just 12 minutes before leaving with an eye injury. If he needs to miss more time, it will be Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko who will need to step up their games in Utah. … Caron Butler was a no-show with a hamstring injury again, and his owners need to start worrying about a possible shutdown at this point in the season. … One of my favorite pickup candidates, Dominic McGuire, had another versatile performance with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while adding a steal and a block in 32 minutes. … With the injuries piling up in Washington, keep an eye on Nick Young, who scored 20 points and drained two 3-pointers in 35 minutes Friday. … The Wizards are one of the league's worst defensive teams, so it should come as no surprise that J.R. Smith dropped 40 points while drilling three 3-pointers on the evening. … Take a good long look at former Knick Renaldo Balkman if you are in need of a defensive specialist down the stretch. Balkman (9 points, 6 boards, 3 steals) is a stud defender and is averaging 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks over his past five games. … Jamal Crawford's fantasy owners have to be concerned about where he stands with head coach Don Nelson right now. Crawford received another DNP-Coach's Decision on Friday and is a risky play at best going forward. With Nellie going young lately, Brandan Wright put in a nice 25-point, 6-rebound, 1-steal, 1-block performance in 28 minutes. He makes for a nice high risk/high reward gamble for the stretch run.