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What's on the Schedule: Week 8

Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy Week 8 (Feb. 13-19) is officially the halfway point of the Fantasy season. And what a ride it has been so far. The NBA's condensed schedule has created plenty of unique circumstances and matchups that most teams and Fantasy owners have had to deal with and the next seven days will prove to be no different. There are 112 games on tap this week with 20 of the 30 teams playing four times over the coming days. Nine teams are slated to play three times, while the Suns are the only club with five games on the schedule. Three teams will play three games over three consecutive nights and there are 25 total sets of back-to-backs.

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The team which looks to have the most intriguing schedule this week is the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are the lone team scheduled to play five times, although only two of those contests will be played at home. The Suns open the scoring period with their first of two back-to-back-to-back sets of the season starting Monday at Golden State. Phoenix will then be in Denver on Tuesday night before closing out its triple against the Hawks at home on Wednesday. Steve Nash and Co. will then get a day off before facing the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday night and then are at home on Sunday, also against the Lakers, concluding a stretch of seven games over 11 days.

While Phoenix has had some trouble scoring points at times this year, the Suns look to have two favorable matchups to start the week. Golden State and Denver are both allowing more than 100 points per game and Phoenix scored 102 points in its lone matchup with Golden State in early January. However, points could be tough to come by for the Suns as the week progresses. Both the Hawks and Lakers are ranked in the top five in points allowed this season, while Los Angeles is holding opponents to just 41.7 percent shooting from the field. Fatigue and depth could also play a factor this week for the Suns, which is why it looks to be a nice opportunity for some of their lower-end options to get some extra playing time. Despite the obvious choices of Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash, owners should make sure Channing Frye and Jared Dudley are both active this week. Even Grant Hill, Markief Morris, Michael Redd and Robin Lopez could be worth a look in deeper formats.

Here is our list of how the rest of the divisions look this week:

Pacific: Sacramento Kings (@CHI, @NY, @DET, @CLE) The Kings are one of the few teams that will be doing a ton of traveling in the coming days as Sacramento has four road games on the docket for Week 8. Sacramento will start the week with a back-to-back set against the Bulls and Knicks on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. After a day off, the Kings will face the Pistons on Friday night before wrapping up the week in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Sunday. While Sacramento has had more than its share of problems scoring on the road, the Kings look to have some favorable matchups on tap over the next seven days. Both the Pistons and Cavaliers are ranked in the bottom five in points allowed this season, while the Knicks are allowing teams to shoot nearly 45 percent from the field. Sure, putting up points against the Bulls will likely be challenging, but not enough to make Fantasy owners sit any of the Kings' Fantasy studs. Feel free to leave DeMarcus Cousins and the ever-frustrating Tyreke Evans active this week as well as Marcus Thornton. However, Jason Thompson, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons remain extremely risky plays.

Pacific Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors PHO POR @OKC @MEM
Clippers @DAL WAS @POR SA
Lakers ATL PHO @PHO
Suns @GS @DEN ATL @LAL LAL
Kings @CHI @NY @DET @CLE

Northwest: Portland Trail Blazers (WAS, @GS, LAC, ATL) Portland is slated to play four times during Week 8 with three of those contests coming at home. The Trail Blazers will begin the week with their second triple set of the season starting Tuesday night against the Wizards. Portland will then be in Golden State on Wednesday before wrapping up its back-to-back-to-back against the Clippers at home on Thursday night. After a day off, LaMarcus Aldridge and Co. will close out the scoring period against the Hawks at home on Saturday night. Despite the condensed schedule, the Trail Blazers should be able to put some points on the board this week. Portland is averaging a league-best 105.1 points per game at the Rose Garden this season, while shooting just under 47 percent from the field at home. Combine that with the fact that the Trail Blazers' lone road game is against a Golden State team that is allowing a league-worst 100.2 points per contest, and this looks to be a good week to use most of Portland's Fantasy options. While LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace should always be starting, owners should make sure to get Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum active this week. Even Marcus Camby -- if healthy -- looks like a solid play this week.

Northwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets PHO @DAL @MEM @OKC
T'Wolves @ORL CHA @HOU PHI
Thunder UTA @HOU GS DEN
Trail Blazers WAS @GS LAC ATL
Jazz @NO @OKC WAS @HOU

Southwest: Houston Rockets (@MEM, OKC, MIN, UTA) Houston enters Week 8 playing its best basketball of the season and has four games slated over the next seven days. The Rockets will start the week at Memphis on Tuesday night, concluding a five-game road trip for coach Kevin McHale's squad. Houston will play each of its final three games of the scoring period at home starting on Wednesday against the Thunder. After a day off, the Rockets will battle the Timberwolves on Friday night before the Jazz come to town on Sunday. While Memphis, Oklahoma City and even Minnesota are all holding opponents to roughly 43 percent shooting from the field, Houston has already proved it can score against those teams. The Rockets have averaged 104.3 points in their three games against the Timberwolves this season and 103.5 points in two games against the Thunder. They scored 93 in their lone matchup with the Grizzlies and Utah is ranked in the bottom 10 in both points allowed (97.3) and opponent field-goal percentage (45.1). Despite must-start options, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin -- who should always remain active -- this looks to be another good week to use some of Houston's lower-end options. Make sure to get Luis Scola, Samuel Dalembert, Chase Budinger and Chandler Parsons active this week. Goran Dragic could be worth using in deeper formats.

Southwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks LAC DEN @PHI @NY
Rockets @MEM OKC MIN UTA
Grizzlies HOU @NJ DEN GS
Hornets UTA @MIL @NY
Spurs @DET @TOR @LAC

Southeast: Atlanta Hawks (@LAL, @PHO, @POR) The Hawks will be on the West Coast over the next seven days as Joe Johnson and crew are slated to play three times during Week 8. Atlanta will begin the week in Los Angeles for a game against the Lakers Tuesday night before taking on the Suns Wednesday in Phoenix. After a pair of days off, the Hawks will finish up the scoring period against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night in Portland. While Atlanta has been one of the stingier teams on the defensive end, it will face some teams in similar company. Both the Lakers and Trail Blazers are ranked in the top 10 in points allowed this season, while Los Angeles has held its opponents to a league-best 41.7 percent field-goal percentage. Phoenix looks to be Atlanta's lone favorable matchup this week, which isn't saying much considering the Suns routed Atlanta on the road last week. With such a light schedule against some quality defensive teams, owners may want to avoid using most of Atlanta's Fantasy options this week. Only Joe Johnson and Josh Smith look like sure bets this week.

Southeast Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @LAL @PHO @POR
Bobcats PHI @MIN @TOR @IND
Heat @MIL @IND @CLE ORL
Magic MIN PHI MIL @MIA
Wizards @POR @LAC @UTA

Central: Indiana Pacers (MIA, @CLE, NJ, CHA) The Pacers are slated to play four times during Week 8 with three of those contests coming at home. Indiana will play in its first back-to-back-to-back of the season over the next seven days, starting with the Heat at home on Tuesday. The Pacers will then take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday before returning home on Thursday for a matchup with the Nets. Danny Granger and Co. will get the next two days off before closing out the scoring period against Charlotte Sunday night. While three games over three days is never an easy task, the Pacers look to have more than a few favorable matchups this week. Cleveland, New Jersey and Charlotte are all ranked in the bottom five in points allowed and opponent field-goal percentage, so the Pacers should have no trouble piling up the points. Even the Heat are allowing a little less than 96 points per game and have been prone to playing in some high-scoring affairs. Despite Indiana's usual cast of Fantasy options, including Granger and Roy Hibbert, this looks to be a good week to give some of the Pacers' lower-end options some run. Fantasy owners should make sure to have David West, Darren Collison, Paul George and even Tyler Hansbrough active -- in deeper formats.

Central Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls SAC BOS NJ
Cavaliers IND MIA SAC
Pistons SA @BOS SAC BOS
Pacers MIA @CLE NJ CHA
Bucks MIA NO @ORL @NJ

Atlantic: New Jersey Nets (MEM, @IND, @CHI, MIL) New Jersey is slated to play four times during Week 8 with two of those outings coming at home. The Nets will start the week at home against the Grizzlies Wednesday night before heading out to Indiana to face the Pacers on Thursday. After a day off, New Jersey will embark on its second back-to-back set of the scoring period as the Nets will be in Chicago Friday night against before closing things out against the Bucks at home on Saturday. If playing in two sets of back-to-backs in the same week wasn't tough enough, consider whom the Nets will be playing. The Grizzlies, Pacers and Bulls are all ranked in the top 10 in points allowed this season and opponent field-goal percentage, while the Bucks haven't been too bad either. New Jersey is averaging just 93.7 points per game on the road this season, so points could be tough to come by this week. Other than must-start options Deron Williams and Kris Humphries, there doesn't appear to be any sure bets on the Nets this week. Consider Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar risky options at best heading into the scoring period.

Atlantic Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics DET @CHI @DET
Nets MEM @IND @CHI MIL
Knicks @TOR SAC NO DAL
76ers CHA @ORL DAL @MIN
Raptors NY SA CHA    

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Player News
Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic dealing with ankle issue
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic injured his ankle during Saturday's game against the Grizzlies, according to the Star Tribune.

Pekovic was limited to just 92 seconds during the second half due his ankle acting up. Pekovic has been dealing with the injury all season, but it flared up during the contest. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday. Pekovic played just 12 minutes, scoring one point. He pulled down four rebounds and had one block.


Bucks guard O.J. Mayo scores eight points in return
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Bucks guard O.J. Mayo scored eight points in his return from a hamstring injury.

Mayo missed the last two games due to the issue. He played 27 minutes in his return, shooting 3-9 from the field. He was 2-5 from beyond the arc, finishing with eight points. Mayo also added six rebounds, two assists and two steals during the contest. 


Mavericks' Amar'e Stoudemire gets three stitches
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Mavericks forward Amar'e Stoudemire received three stitches following Saturday's game, according to Mavs.com.

Stoudemire took a blow to the face during the contest, and needed three stiches across the bridge of his nose. He was able to play 20 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds. 


Jazz forward Derrick Favors doubles up on the Bucks
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Jazz forward Derrick Favors posted a double-double on the Bucks on Saturday.

Favors shot 7-11 from the field. He sunk both his free throws, finishing with 16 points. Favors added 12 rebounds during the contest, notching a double-double. He finished with three steals and three blocks.


Spurs' Kawhi Leonard doubles up on the Suns
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard posted a double-double on Saturday against the Suns.

Leonard shot 9-18 from the field, though he missed his only three-point attempt. He sunk all four of his free throws, finishing with a team-high 22 points. He pulled down 10 rebounds, all of which came on the defensive side of the floor. He added three steals and two blocks during the contest. 


Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki scores team-high 20 vs. Nets
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki scored a team-high 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 104-94 home loss to the Nets Saturday.

Nowitzki had been struggling from the field in recent games, including making just two of his seven shots Wednesday against the Hawks. He was able to turn things around Saturday, making at least 50 percent of his shots for the first time since Feb. 9. Nowitzki also tallied six rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.

The Mavericks will move ahead to face the Pelicans Monday.


Nets PG Deron Williams scores team-high 25 vs. Mavericks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Nets point guard Deron Williams scored a team-high 25 points on 9 of 14 shooting, including 4 of 6 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 104-94 win over the Mavericks on the road Saturday.

Williams turned in his best scoring performance since early November in the win, his team's third during its eight-game road trip. He also kicked in six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 35 minutes. The point guard has played 33 minutes or more in each of the team's five games since the All-Star break after reaching that level just once in his first six games since returning from a January injury absence.

The Nets will finally return home Monday to face the Warriors.


Heat guard Goran Dragic dealing with back issue
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Heat guard Goran Dragic injured his back during Saturday's loss against the Hawks, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Dragic was in a lot of pain following the game, but said he was hopeful to play on Monday against the Suns. Dragic played 35 minutes, shooting just 2-7 from the field. He finished with six points. 


Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio goes for a double-double
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio posted a double-double on Saturday against the Grizzlies.

Rubio had a poor shooting night, going just 3-12 from the field. He hit one of his four three-pointers and sunk six of eight free throw attempts. Rubio finished with 13 points. Rubio made up for his poor shooting by getting his teammates more involved. He dished out 11 assists during the contest. Rubio also added seven rebounds and four steals. 


Grizzlies' Marc Gasol posts a double-double on Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Grizzlies center Marc Gasol posted a double-double on Saturday against the Timberwolves.

Gasol shot 11-14 from the field, though he missed his only three point attempt. He managed to sink five of his nine free throws, finishing with 27 points. Gasol was active on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds. He added four assists and two blocks during the contest. 


 
 
 
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