- Tony Targan
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Matchups for Friday, March 21
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.
Start 'em, sit 'em
After Miami's 96-54 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, you have to wonder how the Heat would fare against some of the better NCAA tournament teams. The Wizards will show Miami no mercy on Friday, so upgrade Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood (13.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks his past five games). The Timberwolves-Pacers game figures to be high-scoring; both teams allow their opponents to score in triple-digits. Mike Dunleavy (22.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.2 3-pointers his past five games) and Troy Murphy (16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and one block his past five) will lead the way for Indy, while Al Jefferson remains the only constant for Minnesota. Expect some fireworks Friday when New Jersey hosts the Nuggets. Denver is scoring 127.2 points and allowing 110.0 in its past five games, and the Nets are coming off Wednesday's 125-117 home win over Atlanta starring Devin Harris (26 points and nine assists) and Vince Carter (a season-high 39 points). For Denver, Kenyon Martin has been solid (17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and a 72.2 field goal percentage his past five games) and J.R. Smith has been raining down 3s, with 2.6 per game in March. Chris Bosh was back in the Raptors' starting lineup after missing 10 games and was a bit rusty, scoring eight points on 2-for-10 shooting in 21 minutes against the Heat. Activate Bosh ASAP, but don't expect a big game against the Cavaliers on Friday. You know to play Kobe Bryant, but you might not know that he averages 34.7 points a game against Seattle this season, his third highest scoring average against an opponent -- after Dallas (40.3) and Toronto (40.0). The Trail Blazers (23-10 at home) should muscle the Clippers (9-23 away), so upgrade LaMarcus Aldridge (24.4 points his past five games), especially with Chris Kaman out.
DeShawn Stevenson could be a Heat-seeking missile Friday after averaging 12.8 points, 2.8 3-pointers and 2.0 steals his past four games. Flip Murray matched his season high with 22 points on Wednesday and is averaging 17.3 points and 1.8 steals in 28.0 minutes his past four games since displacing Travis Diener in the Pacers' starting lineup. Chris Quinn deserves a medal. He played all 48 minutes for the Heat on Wednesday without sustaining an injury! Quinn has 17 and 14 points in consecutive games, and he is worth a roll of the dice -- as is any Heat player still standing -- against the Wizards. Consider Daequan Cook (10.4 points and 1.8 3s in 34.8 minutes his past five games) and Earl Barron (13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 29.3 minutes his past three). Anthony Carter and Linas Kleiza could do some damage in what should be a high-scoring game against the Nets on Friday. Travis Outlaw (14.3 PPG his past three games) and Jarrett Jack (11.0 points, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 29.5 minutes his past two games) could be worth a spot start Friday against the Clippers. Juan Carlos Navarro has averaged 17.0 points and 2.8 3s in 27.5 minutes his past four games for Memphis, so he is worth a look against the Knicks. With Sebastian Telfair out indefinitely, Marko Jaric should be owned in more than 3.5 percent of ESPN leagues after averaging 10.2 points, 6.2 assists, 1.6 steals, with a 58.1 field goal percentage and 92.3 free-throw percentage his past five games. If Pau Gasol remains out, Ronny Turiaf (12.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks his past two games) is worth a start against a porous SuperSonics defense, as is Vladimir Radmanovic, who is coming off a 21-point, 10-rebound, four 3-pointer game on Tuesday.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
1dKevin Van Valkenburg