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What's on the Schedule: Week 3

Fantasy Writer
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With 116 games scheduled to be played over the next seven days, Fantasy Week 3 (Jan. 9-15) promises to be just as action-packed as the first two weeks of the season.

Week 3 looks to be the most balanced in terms of scheduling, as 18 teams are on tap to play four times during the scoring period. In addition, five teams are scheduled to play five games, while eight will play three times and one club just twice. The NBA's condensed schedule continues to provide plenty of intriguing matchups and other circumstances teams have had to deal with, and we once again have chosen the seven teams which have the most interesting slate of games on tap this week.

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The team which perhaps has the most intriguing schedule in Week 3 is the Charlotte Bobcats. After playing four games in each of the first two weeks of the season, Charlotte is scheduled to play five times in the upcoming scoring period. The Bobcats will start the week by making their second trip of the season to Madison Square Garden for another matchup with the Knicks on Monday. They then finish up their third back-to-back set of the year on Tuesday night against the Rockets at home. After a day off Wednesday, Charlotte will play three games on three consecutive nights, starting with the Hawks in Atlanta on Thursday night. The Bobcats will then host the Pistons on Friday before wrapping up a grueling stretch of seven games over 10 days against the Warriors on Saturday.

While fatigue and depth will likely be a big factor for the Bobcats this week, Charlotte looks to have some favorable matchups. New York, Houston and Golden State are all ranked in the bottom 10 in points allowed this season, while the Pistons have surrendered an average of 99 points per game over their last three contests. The only team which could give Charlotte some trouble on the defensive end is Atlanta, although the Bobcats put up 96 points against the Hawks in their meeting last week -- albeit the game did go to overtime.

Still, the Bobcats are averaging nearly three points more per game this season compared to last year and we anticipate that trend to continue this week. Fantasy owners should make sure Charlotte's main Fantasy options, including Boris Diaw, Gerald Henderson and possibly Tyrus Thomas -- now that he is healthy -- are all active heading into the scoring period. However, because Charlotte's jam-packed schedule could force coach Paul Silas to go to his bench a bit more, owners in deeper formats should also consider rolling with Kemba Walker, Byron Mullens and D.J. White as viable options heading into Week 3.

Southeast Division: Orlando Magic (@POR, @GS)

We chose to highlight the Magic's schedule last week, but with only two games on the docket for Week 3, we thought it pertinent to mention them again. Orlando will be in the midst of a four-game road trip over the next eight days, however only two of its games will fall during the upcoming scoring period. After a matchup with the Kings on Sunday night, the Magic will get two days off before finally playing its first game of Week 3 against the Trail Blazers Wednesday. Orlando will then be in Golden State on Thursday, which will be the team's fourth back-to-back set of the year. However, that will be it for Orlando as it will get the final three days of the scoring period off. With the Magic being the only team with two games scheduled this week, Fantasy owners are best to leave every player on the roster not named Dwight Howard on the bench.

Southeast Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @NJ @IND CHA @MIN
Bobcats @NY HOU @ATL DET GS
Heat @GS @LAC @DEN
Magic @POR @GS
Wizards TOR @CHI @PHI PHI

Central Division: Detroit Pistons (@CHI, DAL, @MIL, @CHA, GS)

After playing four games in each of the first two weeks of the season, the Pistons are slated to play five times during Week 3. Detroit will open up the week in Chicago on Monday before returning home to face the Mavericks on Tuesday night. The Pistons will then get a day off Wednesday before traveling to Milwaukee and Charlotte on Thursday and Friday respectively, for their second back-to-back set of the scoring period and fourth of the season. Detroit will finally close out the week at home against the Warriors on Sunday, concluding a stretch of seven games over 10 days dating back to last week. With that many games crammed into such a small window, depth will be a huge factor for Detroit this week, which is why we feel some of the team's lower-end players could be worth using this week. Besides the obvious choices of Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey, other players such as Ben Gordon, Jonas Jerebko and Brandon Knight could also be worth using in deeper formats.

Central Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls DET @MIN WAS @BOS TOR
Cavaliers @UTA @PHO @LAL
Pistons @CHI DAL @MIL @CHA GS
Pacers @PHI ATL @TOR BOS
Bucks SA DET @DA

Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics (DAL, CHI, @IND)

The Celtics only played three times last week, which will once again be the case in Week 3. Boston should be well rested heading into the upcoming scoring period as the Celtics will be coming off four consecutive off days before finally taking the court Wednesday against the Mavericks. Boston will then get another day off before the team wraps up with a back-to-back set against the Bulls and Pacers on Friday and Saturday, respectively. All three teams the Celtics will be facing this week are allowing fewer than 100 points per game, with Indiana and the Bulls both ranked in the Top 10 in points allowed. While Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce should be able to get their numbers, owners might want to think about sitting Kevin Garnett this week.

Atlantic Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics DAL CHI @IND
Nets ATL @DEN @PHO @UTA
Knicks CHA PHI @MEM @OKC
76ers IND SAC @NY WAS @WAS
Raptors MIN @WAS SAC IND @CHI

Southwest Division: Memphis Grizzlies (OKC, NY, NO)

The Grizzlies are coming off a tough week -- which included losing power forward Zach Randolph until at least February with a knee injury -- and an embarrassing loss at Utah. The Grizzlies will try to regroup with a four-game home stretch, which entails the team playing three times during Week 3 -- all at home. The Grizzlies will host the Thunder on Tuesday before facing the Knicks and Hornets on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. While both the Thunder and Knicks rank near the bottom of the barrel in points allowed, Memphis has looked a bit out of sync on offense with Randolph sidelined. With only three games on the docket this week, Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley should be the only Grizzlies considered sure-starts this week.

Southwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks @DET @BOS MIL SAC
Rockets @CHA @SA @SAC POR
Grizzlies OKC NY NO
Hornets @DEN OKC MIN @MEM
Spurs @MIL HOU POR PHO

Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets (NO, NJ, MIA, UTA)

The Nuggets are coming off a grueling stretch that saw them play six games over the past eight days, which included road games at Los Angeles, Portland, New Orleans and San Antonio. However, the Nuggets will now get to unpack their suitcases as the team is slated to play four home games during Week 3. Denver will play every other day in the scoring period, starting with the Hornets on Monday night. The Nets will be in town on Wednesday, followed by visits from the Heat on Friday and Jazz on Sunday. The Nuggets are averaging a league-leading 104 points per game at home this season and have already posted 117 and 96 points against the Jazz and Hornets, respectively. New Jersey isn't known for its defensive prowess and while the Heat are better, keep in mind that the Nuggets put up 130 points on Miami in Denver last season. While we don't anticipate that necessarily happening again, the Nuggets should have no problems scoring on all four of their Week 3 opponents. Fantasy owners should make sure all of Denver's main Fantasy options -- including Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo -- are active this week.

Northwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets NO NJ MIA UTA
T'Wolves @TOR CHI @NO @ATL
Blazers LAC ORL @SA @HOU NY
Thunder @MEM @NO NY
Jazz CLE LAL NJ @DEN

Pacific Division: Golden State (MIA, ORL, @ CHA, @DET)

The Warriors are slated to play four times during Week 3, with the first two contests coming at home. Golden State will host the Heat on Tuesday night before welcoming the Magic to town on Thursday. After a day off on Friday, the team will head East for its first of two road trips to the Eastern Time Zone this year. Golden State will be at Charlotte on Friday before concluding its third back-to-back set of the season against the Pistons on Saturday. While the Bobcats have really struggled on defense thus far, Miami, Orlando and Detroit have not. Combine that with the fact that Golden State is averaging just over 90 points per game offensively and could be without Stephen Curry for an extended period of time, and we aren't sure where the team's points will come from. Other than the obvious choices of Monta Ellis and David Lee, there aren't enough viable options on the Warriors roster worth starting in Week 3.

Pacific Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors MIA ORL @CHA @DET
Clippers @POR MIA LAL
Lakers PHO @UTA CLE @LAC
Suns @LAL CLE NJ @SA
Kings @PHI @TOR @HOU @DA

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Player News
LeBron James dealing with some back soreness after scrimmage
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Cavaliers forward LeBron James is dealing with a bit of back soreness following the team's scrimmage Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Following the scrimmage, head coach David Blatt downplayed the issue. "I think overall [LeBron's] fine," Blatt said. "He’s got a little bit of back soreness and we’ll monitor that carefully." James scored 13 points during the scrimmage. 


Pelicans being 'smart' with Jrue Holiday's practice time
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) The Pelicans are being cautious with point guard Jrue Holiday, limiting his practice time as he returns from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his tibia, The Times-Picayune reports.

"We are trying to be smart with his comeback," coach Monty Williams said. "After about two weeks of this, it's time to ramp it up and get going."

Holiday said he came out of Tuesday's and Wednesday's practices feeling good if a bit sore. "I'm sore," Holiday said. "Again I don't think I have pushed my body this much for a long time. It's good. All of our trainers and Monty had to kick me off the court yesterday because I didn't want to stop. But I am glad he did because I am feeling it today. Again that's a part of me still learning how to take care of my body and come back strong these next days."

Holiday didn't play a game after Jan. 8 last season and ultimately underwent surgery in February. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 34 games.


Hornets center Al Jefferson looking to improve defensive presence
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Hornets center Al Jefferson said he is tired of being a defensive liability and is looking to make sure opposing teams don't target his pick-and-roll defense, according to The Charlotte Observer.

"I refuse to continue getting picked on at the end of games. It’s not fun," Jefferson said. "Last year at the end of games teams always put me in high pick-and-rolls. I got sick of them thinking that was to their advantage, and it was to their advantage."

Coach Steve Clifford said he was happy that Jefferson brought up the subject of his defensive issues and saved the coaches from having to point it out.

"He’s working hard. His attitude is great. I sense more of a hunger than any kind of complacency," Clifford said. "He sees what the possibilities are for the group. He’s competitive and wants to win."


Pistons coach speaks highly of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy spoke highly Wednesday about second-year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to the team's official website.

"You always look at players first to their strengths, where can a guy be great," Van Gundy said. "I think he can be an elite defender in this league at the two guard and we’ll look for that every night. I think he is a high-energy guy who can get up and down the floor and attack the basket in transition. Those two things have got to be his foundation."

Caldwell-Pope averaged 24 points per game in the Summer League. However, he's still not at the stage in his career where the Pistons are counting on him to be one of their top scorers.

"On the offensive end, he’s going to have to slow down a little bit, get under control, and like a lot of people it will come down to how many shots he can make, how efficient he can be shooting the ball, how consistent can you be," Van Gundy said. "But I think he’s got a great foundation with the defense and energy that will get him on the floor and give him a chance to develop in those other areas."


Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffers hamstring strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffered a moderate left hamstring strain Wednesday. The Lakers will have more information about the severity of his injury Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Pacers forward C.J. Miles not worried about calf strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Pacers forward C.J. Miles has been unable to complete a full practice at the start of training camp due to a calf strain, according to VigilantSports.com. However, Miles is not worried about the injury.

"It’s just a little strain, nothing crazy," he said Wednesday. "I’m pretty much healed. I’m doing everything just monitoring the contact a little bit just because of the wear and tear on it.

"It doesn’t make sense for me to be out with a strain for three weeks now when I could take a couple days just two get it all the way back, finish the month and be ready for the first game of the season. But I’m well past sitting out. Just monitoring it, that’s all."

Miles added he only sits out a portion of practice.

"I do everything throughout the whole practice until like just a little bit of the contact just towards the end," he explained. "Since the first practices are long, they don’t want me go through the wear and tear of the whole practice."


Jonas Jerebko will be part of Pistons' 10-man rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy indicated Wednesday forward Jonas Jerebko will be part of a 10-man rotation this season.

"We'll play at least nine on a nightly basis but probably 10 a lot, based on the way Jonas has played in September and in camp," Van Gundy said after Wednesday's morning practice, per the team's official website. "I've been really happy (with him). Nobody put more time in here this summer than Jonas did. Because of his play with the national team in years past, he's never really been able to devote as much time to his own development and his own game. He's gotten stronger. He's in tremendous shape.

"I think the key to Jonas -- and we talked about this early on -- is he has to get back to being the guy he was when he first came into the league, that hungry guy playing with incredible energy, trying to make his spot. What we've seen in September, he looks like a guy who is committed to being a high-energy guy."


D.J. Stephens added to Pelicans' training camp roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) The Pelicans added guard/forward D.J. Stephens to the training camp roster, according to The Times-Picayune. Stephens appeared in three games for the Bucks in 2013-14, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Josh McRoberts expects to be ready by Heat season opener
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Heat forward Josh McRoberts will not play in Wednesday's scrimmage due to a toe injury, according to the Sun-Sentinel. McRoberts, who had toe surgery in the offseason, said he has dealt with the issue for years.

"I've needed surgery for a couple years," McRoberts said. "We kind of figured out last year before the season started. I knew right when the playoffs ended, so it was something I had planned for."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat are just being cautious to avoid McRoberts aggravating the injury. However, McRoberts expects to be ready by the season opener in late October.

"I'm just kind of easing back into things," McRoberts said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. I'm just trying not to overdo it."


Heat forward Chris Andersen working on jump shot
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Heat forward Chris Andersen is spending extra time after practice during training camp to work on jumpers from the elbow and baseline, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Andersen is putting in the extra work because the Heat feel he can be used in more than just pick-and-roll situations.

"To step out and have that confidence to shoot the 15-footer, a lot of people haven't seen it or don't expect it," Andersen said. "This year, [coach Erik Spoelstra] says he's going to implement it into the game plan. I look forward to getting that opportunity."


 
 
 
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