- Tony Targan
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Matchups for Friday, Feb. 8
All times are ET. Statistics from 2007-08 regular season.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Caron Butler, SF, Wizards (hip)
Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies (chest)
Kevin Garnett, PF, Celtics (abdomen)
Drew Gooden, PF, Cavaliers (groin)
Brad Miller, C, Kings (finger)
Nate Robinson, PG, Knicks (quadriceps)
Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Clippers (back)
Start 'em, Sit 'em
With or without Kevin Garnett, Boston should cut down the Timberwolves, so stick with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and a resurgent Rajon Rondo (19.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals his past five games). For Minnesota, Al Jefferson should have extra motivation against his former team. A dislocated pinkie finger might explain Kobe Bryant's poor field goal shooting on consecutive nights (3-for-13 and 4-for-16, with just six and 11 points, respectively). If Kobe is limited, look for others to pick up the load, including Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher (28 and 17 points his past two games) in a high-scoring matchup with the Magic. Just a hunch that the upstart Hawks are going to give the Cavaliers all they can handle Friday. Cleveland is due for a letdown after a tough 1-point win over Boston. Joe Johnson, Al Horford (15 points and 20 rebounds Wednesday versus the Lakers), Josh Smith (5.7 blocks and 7.7 assists his past three games) and Josh Childress (16.6 points his past five games) have all been smoking for Hot-lanta. Expect the Pistons to be firing on all cylinders at home (where they are 18-4) Friday against the Trail Blazers (only 8-14 on the road). Tayshaun Prince has been on a tear lately, with 17.3 points his past three games, while Rasheed Wallace (26 points and 10 boards Wednesday) is the main reason Detroit has won six straight.
Boris Diaw might benefit the most from the Suns' trade of Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Miami for Shaquille O'Neal, at least in the short term. Diaw had a season-high 22 points in 43 minutes in Wednesday's 132-130 double-overtime loss to the Hornets. James Posey has been a multicategory contributor with 9.4 points, 2.0 steals and 2.4 3-pointers in 30.8 minutes his past five games. Posey is worth a spot start against the Timberwolves on Friday. Caron Butler's hip is acting up again, so Andray Blatche makes a good short-term play, as evidenced by his 16-point, 15-rebound, two-block game against the Spurs on Wednesday. Kyle Lowry has logged heavy minutes (43.8 his past five games), but his point totals have dropped in five straight games, so he needs to pick it up with Mike Conley due back soon. If you missed jumping on the Darko Milicic bandwagon, you might be too late. His ESPN ownership shot up over 60 percent in one week after three straight double-doubles, and he has blocked at least two shots in six straight games. Vladimir Radmanovic has started four straight games for the Lakers, and is averaging 14.7 points, 2.7 3-pointers and 1.3 steals his past three games. Bostjan Nachbar is averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 3s his past three games and could be worth a start against Charlotte. Kyle Korver has 20 and 27 points in consecutive games and is a great source of 3s, especially against the Kings. Damon Stoudamire and Jacque Vaughn are splitting time at point guard in Tony Parker's absence, neutralizing each other's value.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Tony Targan analyzes the best and worst fantasy plays for Friday.