Commentary

Daily Notes for Saturday: Villanueva has a good matchup

Updated: January 9, 2009, 11:55 AM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Matchups for Saturday, Jan. 10

TimeVisitorsOpp. PPGOpp. FGPRPG Diff.HomeOpp. PPGOpp. FGPRPG Diff.
7:00 p.m.Charlotte Bobcats94.6.453-1.1
@
Washington Wizards100.3.474-2.4
8:00 p.m.Milwaukee Bucks96.5.449+3.3
@
Minnesota Timberwolves101.7.466+0.9
8:30 p.m.Oklahoma City Thunder103.4.476-0.7
@
Chicago Bulls103.0.457-1.8
8:30 p.m.New York Knicks107.2.481-4.5
@
Houston Rockets94.2.450+2.2
9:00 p.m.Detroit Pistons93.5.443-0.9
@
Utah Jazz98.0.450+2.7
10:00 p.m.Golden State Warriors111.5.471-5.7
@
Portland Trail Blazers94.7.463+4.0
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 team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.

Injury report

Out
Malik Allen, PF, Bucks (rib)
Shane Battier, SF, Rockets (foot)
Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz (quadriceps)
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Warriors (ankle)
Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, Warriors (hamstring)
Kevin Ollie, PG, Timberwolves (elbow)
DeShawn Stevenson, SG, Wizards (back)
Martell Webster, SG/SF, Trail Blazers (foot)
Brandan Wright, PF, Warriors (shoulder)

Day-to-day
Raja Bell, SG, Bobcats (groin)
Andrew Bogut, C, Bucks (back)
Luol Deng, SF, Bulls (ankle)
Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons (groin)
C.J. Miles, SG, Jazz (ankle)
Brandon Roy, SG, Trail Blazers (hamstring)
Rasheed Wallace, PF/C, Pistons (foot)

Start 'em, sit 'em

Few players are as inconsistent as Charlie Villanueva, so it helps to pay attention to his matchups before risking a dud. The Heat are the only team in the upper half of defensive efficiency that Villanueva has dropped 20 or more points on, which is good news as far as Saturday is concerned; the Timberwolves are 24th in the category. The Wolves are near the bottom in opponent 3-point percentage and foul rate, two areas of Villanueva's game that tend to dictate whether it will be a good night or not. You might be tempting fate, as Charlie V already has three 20-plus point games this month, and this will be the second of back-to-backs, but on paper, at least, you have to like his odds. … Kevin Love is in the midst of one of his hot streaks, averaging 9.3 rebounds in just 23 minutes his past six games and topping 16 points in four of those. If you own him, you're probably waiting for him to do this on a consistent basis before you start him regularly, but you might as well take advantage of such production while it lasts. … It's more likely Brandon Roy suits up and plays than he doesn't, so just assume he's good to go and expect a good game against the up-tempo Bulls.

Waiver-wire pickups

Mike James averaged a respectable 1.4 3-pointers per game in December, but an atrocious start to January (30.8 percent shooting, 0.5 3-pointers) has quickly sullied the little value he does provide. Remember, though, that he's faced the three toughest defenses in the NBA, so he shouldn't have been in your lineup anyway. Fortunately, the Bobcats allow opponents to shoot 37 percent from beyond the arc, so expect something of a bounce back. … With a contest between the fifth- and seventh-ranked teams in terms of possessions per game, it's hard to go too wrong with a player as long as he's getting decent playing time. Nick Collison logged 28 minutes in his return from a thumb injury, scoring 17 points and collecting 10 rebounds, and should get enough minutes to be a double-double threat again. Such a matchup is probably reason enough to play Larry Hughes for assists and steals, too, or maybe Andres Nocioni if Deng misses another game. … With Stephen Jackson (39 minutes per game) out for a couple of weeks, Kelenna Azubuike's production should spike, especially considering Don Nelson has promised not to lean on Corey Maggette. Then again, Marco Belinelli could benefit as well; Jackson's six assists will be tough to make up, and Belinelli's a more capable ball handler. You can never tell in Golden State, but you'd hate to miss a breakthrough performance, which could very well happen against Portland's mediocre defense (21st in defensive efficiency).

Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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