- Brian McKitish, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Tuesday, Jan. 27
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.
Carmelo Anthony, SF, Nuggets (hand)
D.J. Augustin, PG, Bobcats (abdomen)
Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz (quad/knee)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C, Cavaliers (ankle)
Sean May, PF, Bobcats (knee)
Darko Milicic, PF/C, Grizzlies (hand)
Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF, Magic (wrist)
Delonte West, PG/SG, Cavaliers (wrist)
Start 'em, sit 'em
With Delonte West out of action, Mo Williams has stepped up his play on the offensive end and is averaging 21.0 points, 4.4 assists and 2.8 3-pointers in his past five games. With the Kings in town, Williams should be able to stay hot against one of the league's worst defensive units. Expect a tough night for most of your Sacramento Kings, as the Cavs' defense has allowed a league-best 90.1 points per game this season. Kevin Martin and John Salmons will get theirs, but Brad Miller and Beno Udrih figure to struggle against the stout Cleveland defense. With 21.4 points, 6.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.6 3-pointers per game in his past five, Jameer Nelson is proving his early-season success was not a fluke. He's a must-start these days, but should be even better when he goes up against the porous Pacers defense. After missing a few games due to a knee injury, Paul Millsap has returned as strong as ever, with 24.0 points and 14.0 rebounds during his past three games. Millsap has a tough matchup against Tim Duncan and the Spurs, but he should be able to stay hot, particularly if Andrei Kirilenko is limited with an ankle injury. Everyone is talking about Andrew Bynum's recent success, but few are discussing the impact it has had on Pau Gasol's value in Los Angeles. While Bynum has averaged 21.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in his past five, Gasol has averaged just 15.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in the same span. There's not enough room in the paint for both of them to dominate, so Gasol will likely stay cold if Bynum continues to impress.
Mike Conley figures to be the main beneficiary of the coaching change in Memphis. With Marc Iavaroni out and Lionel Hollins in, the Grizzlies are expected to play with a younger lineup as they evaluate talent for the future. Conley still has a lot of maturing to do as a point guard, but that doesn't mean that he can't contribute modestly in assists, steals and 3-pointers as a starter in Memphis. Conley's teammate, Darrell Arthur is a more risky option. Of course, he also offers more upside and could be a big-time threat in rebounds, steals and blocks at some point down the line. Given his inexperience, the Grizzlies will likely want to get a better look at his talents in the second half of the season. Jason Thompson may have a tough matchup Tuesday, but that shouldn't stop you from plucking him off the waiver wire. Thompson has emerged as a starter in Sacramento and is averaging 15.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in his past five games. He's a fantastic long-term pickup with plenty of upside given that he's likely to see 30-plus minutes per game the rest of the way. The Cavaliers lost a lot when the versatile Delonte West went down with a wrist injury, but Sasha Pavlovic has filled in admirably, particularly from behind the 3-point line. Pavlovic is a fairly one-dimensional fantasy option, but he has averaged 2.1 3-pointers in his past five games. Give him a look if you're lacking in that area.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Brian McKitish previews Tuesday's NBA games from a fantasy perspective.