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Waiver Wire: Dragic steps up in a pinch

Fantasy Writer
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The playoffs are rapidly approaching for Fantasy owners so it is time to makes some moves to assure you will be a part of it in your league. Even at this point in the season there are still players fighting for playing time as their respective performances down the stretch will likely determine their role heading into the 2012-13 campaign.

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Just like it has been all season long, injuries continue to shake up lineups and the upcoming scoring period is no different.

This week we are looking at Goran Dragic.

With Kyle Lowry out for a couple of weeks due to a bacterial infection, Dragic has stepped into the starting lineup for the Rockets and is putting up some solid stats. Dragic scored 20-plus points with eight assists and a steal in each of the first two games without Lowry, which capped off a four-game stretch in which he averaged 17 points with 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals. The 25-year-old has never really be given a chance to start on a consistent basis but with some potent pieces surrounding him in Houston, and how the offense runs through the point guard, he should be able to put up some decent numbers for owners. With games against the Suns, Lakers, Warriors and Mavericks on the schedule for Week 13 (Mar. 18-25), grab Dragic off waivers before it's too late. Keep in mind that his value will likely take a bit hit once Lowry returns, however.

Guards

Add 'Em

O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies
Owned: 66 percent
Analysis: Mayo has been scoring more consistently of late and is also picking up his production in other areas. He capped off Week 11 by scoring 22 points with eight assists, five rebounds and three steals against the Nuggets. That capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 15.8 points with 4.2 assists, four rebounds and 1.2 steals. He appears to finally be adjusting to his bench role and has a couple of favorable matchups in Week 13. Mayo will play the Kings, Trail Blazers, Clippers and Lakers during the upcoming scoring period so owners in need of some guard help should consider adding the 24-year-old.

Jose Juan Barea, Timberwolves
Owned: 24 percent
Analysis: Barea stands to gain the most from Ricky Rubio's injury and should see an increase in playing time down the stretch as the primary backup to Luke Ridnour. While he scored just three points in his return from an ankle injury, the 27-year-old has shown in the past that he can put up some decent numbers in Fantasy when given the playing time. Owners should not expect the 8.2 assists that Rubio averaged but an increase in his all around production -- especially scoring -- should be in order. With a couple of favorable matchups on tap for Week 13, Barea appears to be a worthwhile addition in deeper Fantasy formats.

Avoid 'Em

J.R. Smith, Knicks
Owned: 39 percent
Analysis: Smith has scored in double figures five times in 11 games since joining the Knicks via China as he continues to find his role on the team. While the 26-year-old has recently seen some starts, his production has not been what Fantasy owners had hoped for. Along with putting up 8.4 points per contest, he is averaging just 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting a career-low 36 percent from the floor. With all of the scoring options on New York, Smith could continue to have a hard time getting his numbers on a nightly basis so owners in deeper formats should be the only ones looking at him at this point.

Ben Gordon, Pistons
Owned: 36 percent
Analysis: Gordon has been able to increase his scoring slightly in his third season in Detroit but is still not contributing enough on a consistent basis to make a difference in Fantasy. He has scored in double digits just twice in the last five games, and is averaging 7.6 points with 1.8 assists and 1.8 rebounds over that span. His minutes have remained fairly consistent off the bench, the emergence of rookie Brandon Knight and the solid play of Rodney Stuckey have cut into his production. It does not look as though things will change down the stretch so leave Gordon in waivers in most formats at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Jason Maxiell, Pistons
Owned: 24 percent
Analysis: Maxiell has stepped up his game since the beginning of March and is starting to gain some steam in Fantasy. He is averaging 11.8 points with 7.4 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field through five games this month, and is starting to see some more playing time. The 29-year-old has shown glimpses in the past of being a viable option in Fantasy and it looks as though owners should ride him while he is hot. With the Nuggets, Heat and Knicks on the schedule for Week 13, Maxiell should be considered a worthwhile add in deeper Fantasy formats.

Trevor Booker, Wizards
Owned: 72 percent
Analysis: Booker jumped back on the Fantasy map with his 18-and-17 performance against the Lakers on Mar. 7 and is starting to pick up the pace again for the Wizards. He averaged 12.2 points with eight rebounds and one steal through his first five games in March, all while shooting 54 percent from the field over that span. Washington has been a mess all season long but as long as the 24-year-old continues to produce, he should continue to see a solid role with the team. With only a couple of weeks left in Fantasy, Booker appears to be a viable addition off waivers.

Avoid 'Em

Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers
Owned: 43 percent
Analysis: Thompson put together some decent performances for owners that added him a couple of weeks ago but he has not been doing much of late. He ended Week 11 with a 4-and-4 performance, which capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged just three points and 4.2 rebounds. His lowly 26 percent field-goal percentage over that span had a lot to do with his poor numbers and the rookie has struggled to find consistency in his first season in the NBA. While Thompson has some nice upside in Fantasy, he is not someone to pick up at this point in the year.

Linas Kleiza, Raptors
Owned: 23 percent
Analysis: After tearing it up for owners in February, Kleiza has not been nearly as valuable so far in March. He is averaging just 7.8 points with 3.2 rebounds through six games this month and is shooting 38 percent from the field in those contests. On a Toronto team that has been searching for scoring, the 27-year-old will always be a threat to go off at any point but with playoffs in Fantasy coming up, owners should not be banking on Kleiza for consistent production. Leave Kleiza on waivers in most formats heading into Week 13.

Centers

Add 'Em

Tiago Splitter, Spurs
Owned: 39 percent
Analysis: Splitter has re-emerged since missing a few games due to a calf injury and is starting to put up some points again. He began Week 12 with a 17-and-7 performance against the Wizards in which he went 7 for 9 from the floor. That capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 9.2 points with 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. With center being such a thin position in Fantasy, the 27-year-old could pay dividends for owners over the final few weeks of the season, especially on a Spurs team that has lacked consistent production out of the five-spot. Pick up Splitter in deeper formats for the stretch run.

Bismack Biyombo, Bobcats
Owned: 59 percent
Analysis: Biyombo is seeing some solid run in Charlotte again and the rookie has been able to come through with decent performances. He averaged 8.2 points with 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his first five games in March, and shot 45 percent from the field over that span. It has been a revolving door at center for the Bobcats this season but the 19-year-old has made some solid progress on offense thus far, and remains threat on defense in the middle. Owners in need of some defensive stats and low-end scoring should consider scooping up Biyombo.

Avoid 'Em

Andray Blatche, Wizards
Owned: 75 percent
Analysis: Blatche has had a down campaign all around for the Wizards and his production has fallen off the face of the earth of late. He is averaging just four points with 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists through five games in March and played more than 20 minutes in only one of those contests. With the emergence of Booker in Washington, it looks as though the 25-year-old is not going to be much of a factor for the remainder of the season. Despite his high average draft position, it might be time to cut ties with Blatche in all but the deepest of Fantasy formats.

Enes Kanter, Jazz
Owned: 13 percent
Analysis: The Jazz continue to limit Kanter's minutes during his rookie campaign but he has shown flashes of being a future contributor in Fantasy. He has scored in double figures four times through 41 games, and has hauled in double-digit rebounds twice. Utah has a pretty solid rotation in their frontcourt at this point so owners should not expect much from the 19-year-old down the stretch. As long as he is buried behind Al Jefferson on the depth chart, leave Kanter for the deepest of formats and long-term keeper leagues.

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Player News
Bulls F Nikola Mirotic injures knee in win over Bucks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:54 pm ET) Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic was forced to exit Monday's 91-82 playoff win over the Bucks with a leg injury. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mirotic was favoring his left knee. He was seen limping in the postgame locker room. ESPN Chicago reports that a large knot could be seen on his knee. 

Mirotic was injured late in the fourth quarter after a collision with O.J. Mayo. He was also involved in a skirmish with Zaza Pachulia that resulted in Pachulia's second technical foul and subsequent ejection. 

Mirotic scored eight points and brought down four rebounds in the game. 


Bulls G Jimmy Butler has big fourth quarter in win over Bucks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:39 pm ET) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 31 points in Monday's 91-82 win over the Bucks in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. 

Butler scored 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, which included sinking three three-point field goals. The first three-pointer tied the game up at 74-74 and Butler took over from there. His third three of the quarter put the Bulls up 89-80 with 2:20 left in the game. 

Butler also had nine rebounds and two assists. He went 10 of 19 from the field and 8 of 14 from the free-throw line. He finished 3 of 9 from behind the arc. 


Bucks center Zaza Pachulia ejected from Game 2 on Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:32 pm ET) Bucks center Zaza Pachulia was ejected from Game 2's loss to the Bulls after receiving his second technical foul of the game, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Pachulia got into a confrontation with Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic in the fourth quarter and both players were assessed technical fouls. Pachulia scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds before being ejected.


Pelicans G Tyreke Evans in, G Jrue Holiday out vs. Warriors
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:07 pm ET) Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans will play while Jrue Holiday has been ruled out of Monday's Game 2 matchup against the Warriors, the team announced

Evans was able to participate in pre-game warmups. He's dealing with a bone bruise in his knee sustained in Saturday's Game 1 loss to Golden State. Evans came into the day questionable and was a game-time decision.

Holiday is dealing with lingering pain from a stress reaction in his leg. He was hopeful of playing but was also deemed questionable and a game-time decision. In games Holiday has played in since returning from the injury, he's seen his minutes limited. 


Bucks F Jabari Parker won't play in summer league
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:17 pm ET) Bucks forward Jabari Parker said he will not play in this offseason's summer league, according to Racine Journal Times

Parker is still recovering from ACL surgery in December, making the decision for him not to play in summer league understandable. Parker has previously been non-committal on when he'll be able to return from the injury. 


Clippers G Jamal Crawford starting to find shooting stroke
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:48 pm ET) After missing 17 games due to a calf injury, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said he's starting to find his shooting rhythm, reports NBA.com.

"The days in between last game and this game, I was able to get some work in, get my conditioning right, get the work in," Crawford said. "It just felt normal."

Crawford scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting during Game 1's win over the Spurs.

"To be out five weeks and not be able to do anything but watch, I mean, you can take some good things from it, but it was more bad than good for me," Crawford said. "You want to be out there so bad and help your team and just be part of the guys."


Mavs' Chandler Parsons and Devin Harris sit out Monday's practice
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:19 pm ET) Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons and guard Devin Harris were non-participants in Monday's practice, according to the Houston Chronicle

Parsons has a right knee injury but was able to play 37 minutes in Saturday's playoff-opener, a 118-108 loss to the Rockets. Harris has an injury to his big toe and was unable to finish Saturday's game.

“They did not do anything today on the court,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “They did lifting and some rehab work. They’re listed as questionable and see where we are tomorrow.”

Both Parsons and Harris are listed as questionable for Game 2 on Tuesday. 


Bucks F Jared Dudley (foot) will play Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) Bucks forward Jared Dudley is listed as probable for Monday’s game at Chicago, reports the Bulls radio play-by-play announcer.

"He can play," coach Jason Kidd said, per NBA.com. 

Dudley is dealing with a left foot issue, but he was able to play 12 minutes in Game 1's loss to the Bulls.

The Bulls are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Bucks in Game 2. 


Bulls G Derrick Rose (knee) has no minutes restriction
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau before Monday's game that guard Derrick Rose is no longer on a minutes restriction, reports ESPNChicago.com.

Rose was able to play 27 minutes and scored 23 points in Game 1's victory over the Nets. While Rose will not be limited, Thibodeau said the team remains cautious with Rose making his way back from knee surgery.


Spurs C Tiago Splitter hoping to contribute more in Game 2
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6:35 pm ET) Center Tiago Splitter believes he'll be able to put in a better performance on Wednesday when the Spurs take on the Clippers in Game 2. 

Splitter is dealing with an injured right calf that limited him to less than 10 minutes in Sunday's Game 1 loss. Splitter beliefs the injury will be more manageable after two full days of rest. 

“I feel like at least least it didn’t get worse,” Splitter said, via the San Antonio Express-News. “I got some minutes. That’s good. Even in the practices, I didn’t go hard. So it was good to feel myself in the game and running.”

Splitter had 4 points and 3 rebounds in Sunday's game. 


 
 
 
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