- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Thursday, Jan. 22
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.
Listen on ESPN Radio
You can listen to the following games on ESPN Radio or streamed on ESPNRadio.com:
7:30 p.m. ET: Celtics-Magic
Tony Allen, SG, Celtics (ankle)
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards (knee)
Jordan Farmar, PG, Lakers (knee)
Brendan Haywood, C, Wizards (wrist)
Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF, Magic (wrist)
DeShawn Stevenson, SG, Wizards (back)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Boston at Orlando should be a great game to watch, but if your fantasy team includes players on either of these rosters, your evening might not be all that enjoyable. With the Celtics second and the Magic third in opponents' shooting percentage (and there's a big gap between third and fourth place), some really good players are bound to post some really hideous shooting stats. This looks like a particularly tough matchup for Ray Allen, given that the Magic allow the third-fewest 3-pointers. But Allen did go 8-for-13 with three treys in the first meeting between these two teams (a 107-88 Boston win Dec. 1). Can Allen, who spent Tuesday's off-day at President Barack Obama's inauguration, do it again? Yes, he can -- but it won't be easy. Same goes for all the fantasy stars in this one. Kobe Bryant said he never had felt more pain than when he dislocated his right ring finger during Monday's game with Cleveland. He's still hurting, but you know he'll go versus the Wizards. Bryant will play with his ring and pinky fingers taped together for the time being, which should concern his fantasy owners. But if there's an opponent that can help Bryant get accustomed to handling and shooting a basketball this way, it's the Wizards. Washington surrenders the most 3s and the second-most assists.
Kendrick Perkins has missed five games with a shoulder problem, but he is traveling with Boston during its Florida swing (the Celtics are at Miami on Wednesday). Between the injury and the fact that Dwight Howard would oppose him in the post Thursday, Perkins is a risky play. That said, like Allen, Perkins was surprisingly good (eight points, 13 boards) in the first game versus Orlando. As noted, the Wizards are last in the league in 3-point defense. That makes Sasha Vujacic, who just dropped four treys on the Cavs, a good fill-in candidate. Another fill-in possibility is Orlando's Courtney Lee, who's starting for the injured Mickael Pietrus. The 99 percent-unowned Lee is capable of getting you 10 points, a 3 or two and a steal or two. After a four-game stretch during which he shot 71.7 percent (43-for-60), Nick Young has tailed off the past couple of games. However, the Lakers do allow the fourth-most 3s, and Young has 11 buckets from downtown in his past seven games.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Neil Tardy previews Thursday's NBA games from a fantasy perspective.