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Sunday, March 22, 2009
Garnett not fully back, but better


As far as Kevin Garnett's fantasy value for the rest of the regular season, I agree with our Brian McKitish, who says fantasy owners should temper their expectations. At least for this week, though, I think KG remains a solid play.

SATURDAY, MARCH 21
HIGHLIGHTS
Jason Richardson, Suns: 35 points (13-for-18 FG), 6 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks versus Wizards.
Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers: 30 points (11-for-19 FG), 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals at Milwaukee.
Jarrett Jack, Pacers: 31 points (13-for-14 FG), 6 rebounds and 2 steals at Charlotte.
LOWLIGHTS
Gerald Wallace, Bobcats: 3 points (1-for-4 FG), 5 assists and 3 rebounds versus Pacers.
Paul Pierce, Celtics: 6 points (2-for-6 FG), 6 rebounds and 3 assists at Memphis.
Al Harrington, Knicks: 8 points (3-for-11 FG), 5 rebounds and 3 assists at Orlando.

On Saturday, in his second night back after missing 13 games with a knee injury, Garnett played 17 minutes at Memphis. Given that limited action, 10 points (on 5-of-7 shooting), four boards and two blocks is a good line. But for fantasy, it's not all that impactful.

Garnett should see more time this week, however, as coach Doc Rivers said before the Celtics' game against the Grizzlies that he plans to extend Garnett's minutes on Monday against the Clippers. Although the Celtics play four times in the week ahead, my guess is that Rivers is looking at Wednesday's tilt at Orlando. You know the C's, who are battling the Magic for the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, want to win that game. I can see Garnett approaching 30 minutes that night. The Celtics also should have ample motivation for their game at Atlanta on Friday. Boston then will host the Thunder on Sunday.

Garnett may not hit his season averages (16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks) next week. But if he plays at least 24 minutes a night, that should be enough time for him to help you.

Under the boards

It was a tough night to be a Gerald Wallace owner. After carrying your team in the stretch drive by averaging 26.5 points in his previous four games, Crash crushed you. He ran into early foul trouble and managed just three points against the Pacers. … But hard-core fantasy owners will look at that box score and see that Brandon Rush started in the Indiana backcourt. The rookie's miserable 38 percent shooting is toxic for fantasy, but with Miami, Chicago and Washington ahead (the Heat and Wizards yield tons of 3s), Rush with starter's minutes is a tempting add in deep leagues. … Another recent addition to an NBA starting lineup is Portland's Travis Outlaw. He went for 17 points at Milwaukee and has a pretty favorable week ahead with the Blazers hosting Philadelphia, Phoenix and Memphis. … I doubt I've hyped any player more relentlessly this season than Tyrus Thomas. Why do I keep coming back to Thomas? Because he's owned in just 25 percent of ESPN.com leagues and is a hustler. After his (Bulls-record) 29-game streak with a blocked shot ended last week, Thomas had three rejections Saturday -- along with 15 points and 16 boards -- against the Lakers. Chicago has five games in the coming week, making Thomas a must-add in head-to-head leagues. … Speaking of that L.A.-Chicago game, the Lakers' Trevor Ariza had another nice line with 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Ariza, who's available in 90 percent of ESPN.com leagues, is an excellent consolation prize if you missed out on Thomas. … The Knicks, not surprisingly, are in a state of upheaval. David Lee missed his first game of the season Saturday, but he's expected to play Monday when New York has its return match with Orlando. Despite a sore right Achilles tendon, Al Harrington played against the Magic on Saturday but went only 3-of-11 from the field. In that same game, Larry Hughes left after aggravating a toe injury. Best guess at a Knicks starting lineup for Monday versus Orlando: Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson (Q dropped 33 on the Magic on Saturday), Wilson Chandler, Harrington and Lee.