- Tony Targan
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Matchups for Thursday, April 10
All times are ET.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between a team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Start 'em, sit 'em
If fantasy basketball were like the TV game show "Jeopardy!," Thursday's Nuggets-Warriors game would be like hitting the Daily Double. Denver and Golden State are not only the NBA's two highest-scoring offenses (each averages more than 110 points per game), but they also are the NBA's two worst defenses, allowing opponents to score 107 and 108 points per game, respectively. So make it a true daily double and play all available players on both teams. For the Nuggets, that's Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby and J.R. Smith (14.8 points and 2.2 3-pointers in his past five games). For Golden State, go with Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington (16 and 17 points in his past two games) and Andris Biedrins (18.3 points and 16.3 rebounds in his past three games). The Lakers and Clippers both call the Staples Center home, but that's about all they have in common these days. The Lakers are in the thick of the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, so expect motivated play from Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The Clippers are hurting, and to add insult to injury, they are just plain bad. The Clips are 4-22 since a Feb. 22 victory over the Jazz, the last time they beat a team with a winning record. Still, Elton Brand has looked good since returning from injury, and Al Thornton should get plenty of opportunity with Corey Maggette's injury. The Jazz-Mavericks matchup could be an especially favorable one for Josh Howard, whose 29.7 points-per-game average in three games against Utah is his best scoring average against any opponent. With Jerry Stackhouse out, Jason Terry has capitalized on his increased playing time by averaging 22.0 points in 36.4 minutes in his past five games. Mehmet Okur is off to a hot start in April, averaging 20.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 3.0 3-pointers in three games so far this month.
In the Nuggets-Warriors shootout, consider Linas Kleiza (20.0 points per game in his past three games), Anthony Carter (5.4 assists and 2.2 steals in his past five) and Mickael Pietrus (10 points in 13 minutes in his first game back from injury Tuesday) for spot starts. Vladimir Radmanovic has averaged 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 3s in his past five games, and should get an increased opportunity if Luke Walton remains out. Erick Dampier is available in about half of ESPN leagues, despite averaging 7.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his past five games. Brandon Bass has scored 19 and 13 points while shooting 67 percent from the field in consecutive games. Cuttino Mobley went off for 25 points Tuesday night, but he has made only nine of 43 3-pointers (21 percent) since the beginning of March. Tim Thomas returned to the Clippers' lineup Tuesday after missing five games with an injured Achilles and might be worth a look. With Chris Kaman out, Josh Powell has more upside, if he can get the minutes. Powell scored a career-high 22 points Sunday against Houston, but he managed only two points in 13 minutes Tuesday against Denver.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
2hEthan Sherwood Strauss