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What's on the Schedule: Week 14

Fantasy Writer
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The playoffs have arrived in several leagues, making Fantasy Week 14 (March 26-April 1) the most important scoring period of the season.

There are 58 games scheduled over the next seven days as the NBA season enters its final month and things are a bit more balanced than last week. Only two teams are slated to play five games and there are 26 sets of back-to-backs. However, there are no back-to-back-to-backs scheduled this week, which hasn't happened much this year.

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The team we have chosen to highlight is the Lakers, who are slated to play four times during Week 14. Los Angeles will play three of its games at home with its lone road contest coming on Tuesday night at Golden State. The Lakers will then face the Thunder and Hornets at home on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before wrapping up the scoring period against the Warriors on Sunday.

The Lakers have been much more efficient on the offensive side of the ball since acquiring Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline and now look to have some favorable matchups on the docket this week. Kobe Bryant and Co. have scored more than 100 points in each of their two matchups against Oklahoma City and New Orleans this year and now will face each of those teams at the Staples Center, where the Lakers are averaging nearly 98 points per contest. Los Angeles' other two matchups are against the Warriors, who are one of five teams surrendering more than 100 points per game on the season. While nothing is certain, it appears Los Angeles should be able to continue its improved scoring this week, making most of its Fantasy options viable plays for the upcoming period. Besides must-start options Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, owners should make sure to get Sessions active for the scoring period. Even Metta World Peace, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes could be worth using in deeper formats.

Pacific: Los Angeles Clippers (NO, PHO, POR, UTA): After enduring a brutal three-game road trip, the Clippers will be back home during Week 14. All four of Los Angeles' games will be played at the Staples Center, starting on Monday night against the Hornets. Steve Nash and the Suns will be in town on Wednesday before the Trail Blazers and Jazz close out the week on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. While the Clippers' recent offensive struggles have been well-documented, maybe some home cooking is what the team needed to get back on track. Chris Paul and Co. were finally able to break their 100-point drought last week against the Grizzlies and will face some suspect defenses over the next few days. Despite beating the Clippers in their lone meeting of the season, New Orleans has had its fair share of issues on defense this year. The Trail Blazers have allowed an average of 102.4 points per game over their last five contests, while the Jazz continue to rank near the bottom of the league in both points allowed (98.3) and opposition field-goal percentage (45.7). The only team that could give the Clippers some trouble is the Suns. Phoenix has held the Clippers to an average of 82.5 points in their two meetings this season. However, that shouldn't be enough to sway Fantasy owners from using the majority of Los Angeles' Fantasy options. Obviously, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul should always be active, but Nick Young, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and Mo Williams -- if healthy -- can all be considered viable plays.

Pacific Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors LAL NO NJ @LAL
Clippers NO PHO POR UTA
Lakers @GS OKC NO GS
Suns SA @LAC NO
Kings @HOU SA @UTA NJ

Northwest: Denver Nuggets (@CHI, @TOR, @CHA, @ORL): The Nuggets are slated to play four times during Week 14, although all of their contests will be on the road. Denver will start the week in Chicago to take on the Bulls on Monday night before heading to Toronto on Wednesday night. After a day off, the Nuggets will face the Bobcats on Friday night before wrapping up the scoring period against the Magic on Sunday. While coach George Karl's squad has struggled to collect wins of late, they certainly have not had a hard time scoring points. Denver enters the scoring period as the highest-scoring road team in the league, averaging 105.6 points per game. However, the Nuggets do have some tough matchups this week, especially against the Bulls and Magic, as both teams rank in the top 10 in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage. Still, Denver should be able to make up for that against the defensively challenged Bobcats and Raptors, so owners should feel free to roll with the majority of its Fantasy options. In addition to Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee, make sure to get Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo, Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried active this week. Andre Miller and Corey Brewer should only be used in deeper formats.

Northwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets @CHI @TOR @CLE @ORL
T'Wolves @MEM @CHA BOS @POR
Thunder @POR @LAL CHI
Trail Blazers OKC NO @LAC MIN
Jazz @NJ @BOS SAC @LAC

Southwest: Dallas Mavericks (HOU, @MIA, @ORL): The Mavericks are one of six teams slated to play just three games in Week 14. The Mavericks will open the week at home against the Rockets on Tuesday night before playing the next two games on the road. Dallas will be in Miami to take on the Heat on Thursday night and in Orlando to face the Magic on Friday. With only three games on the schedule, Fantasy owners won't have much room for error this week. One bad performance can really put most teams in a serious hole, which makes most of Dallas' Fantasy options risky plays for the upcoming scoring period. With the defensive prowess shown by Miami and Orlando this season, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry are the only two players we would recommend starting. The rest of the Mavericks' spotty production just leaves too many question marks heading into the upcoming scoring period.

Southwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks HOU @MIA @ORL
Rockets SAC @DAL MEM IND
Hornets @LAC @GS @POR @LAL @PHO
Grizzlies MIN @HOU @MIL
Spurs @PHO @SAC IND

Atlantic: New Jersey Nets (UTA, IND, @GS,@SAC): The Nets are slated to play four times during Week 14, with two of those contests coming on the road. New Jersey will be at home in the beginning of the scoring period as they host the Jazz on Monday night and the Pacers on Wednesday. After a day off, New Jersey will head out to the West Coast to take on the Warriors Friday night in Oakland before closing out the week against the Kings on Saturday night. While New Jersey ranks near the bottom of the league in points scored this season (92.7), the Nets look to have some favorable matchups on the schedule. Utah, Golden State and Sacramento all rank in the bottom tier in points allowed this season and the Warriors and Kings are two of the teams surrendering more than 100 points per game on the season. The only club that will present a defensive challenge is the Pacers, although New Jersey is averaging 94 points in its three meetings against them this season. Besides must-start options Deron Williams and Kris Humphries, make sure to get Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks active in the majority of formats as well. Even Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green can be considered viable plays in deeper formats this week.

Atlantic Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics @CHA UTA @MIN MIA
Nets UTA IND @GS @SAC
Knicks MIL ORL @ATL CLE
76ers CLE @WAS ATL
Raptors ORL DEN MIA WAS

Central: Indiana Pacers (MIA, @NJ, WAS, @SA, @HOU): The Pacers are one of two teams slated to play five times during Week 14 with three of those contests coming on the road. Indiana will welcome the Heat to town on Monday night before facing the Nets on Wednesday in New Jersey. The Pacers then host the Wizards on Thursday before heading out to Texas to take on the Spurs and Rockets on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. While the Pacers have been a bit inconsistent on offense lately, Indiana does look to have some favorable matchups on the docket. The Nets and Wizards rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage, while the Spurs and Rockets are each allowing their opponents to make more than 45 percent of its shots. The only team that looks to be a concern is the Heat, which have held the Pacers to an average of 88 points per game this season. With five games crammed into a seven-game stretch, fatigue and depth will likely play a major factor this week. That means some of Indiana's mid-range and even lower-end options could see extended minutes. In addition to must-starts Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, make sure George Hill, David West and Darren Collison are all active this week. Tyler Hansbrough, George Hill and Leandro Barbosa also deserve some run in deeper leagues.

Central Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls DEN @ATL DET @OKC
Cavaliers @PHI DET MIL @NY
Pistons @WAS @CLE @CHI CHA
Pacers MIA @NJ WAS @SA @HOU
Bucks @NY ATL @CLE MEM

Southeast: Orlando Magic (@TOR, @NY, DAL, DEN): The Magic are scheduled to play four times during Week 14, with two of those contests coming at home. Orlando will be on the road in the early part of the week, starting Monday night in Toronto. The Magic will then be in New York on Wednesday night before returning home to face the Mavericks on Friday. Dwight Howard and crew will then wrap up the week by welcoming the Nuggets to town on Sunday. While the Magic should have no problems putting up points against the defensively challenged Raptors and Nuggets, the Mavericks and Knicks could prove to be tougher. Despite Dallas' inconsistent play this season, the Mavericks still rank in the top 10 in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage. Meanwhile, the Knicks have looked very strong under new coach Mike Woodson and are surrendering just 87 points per game since he took over. However, in lieu of some tough matchups, most of Orlando's main Fantasy options can still be considered viable plays this week. Obviously, Dwight Howard is always going to remain active, but owners should make sure to get Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson active in most formats as well. J.J. Redick and Glen Davis remain riskier plays, so leave them on the bench unless you are in a deeper league.

Southeast Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @MIL CHI NY @PHI
Bobcats BOS MIN DEN @DET
Heat @IND DAL @TOR @BOS
Magic @TOR @NY @DAL
DEN
Wizards DET @IND PHI @TOR

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Player News
Lakers F Julius Randle cleared for half-court workouts
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:01 pm ET) Lakers forward Julius Randle has been cleared for full-contact half-court sessions, according to ESPN LA 710

Randle, who broke his leg in the first game of the 2014-15 season, can now participate in half-court sessions of 2-on-2 and 3-on-3. As part of a gradual progression in his recovery, the next step will be for Randle to be approved to take part in 4-on-4 games. 

Randle is hoping to re-join his team for the NBA summer league. Though he broke his leg, Randle still hit the gym and lost 18 pounds during the season. 


Surgery not needed for Hawks F Paul Millsap (shoulder)
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:57 pm ET) Hawks forward Paul Millsap will not need surgery on his injured shoulder, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Injuries took a toll on the Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals as Millsap, Kyle Korver (ankle), Shelvin Mack (shoulder) and DeMarre Carroll (knee, toe) all experienced them. For Millsap, it's a good sign that surgery isn't required as he now has plenty of time to let his shoulder heal on its own. 

Millsap is expected to explore plenty of options in free agency. He finished the year with averages of 16.7 points, 7.8 rebound and 3.1 assists per game. 


Report: Hawks' DeMarre Carroll interested in playing for Knicks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:39 am ET) Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll has interest in joining the Knicks this offseason, according to a report from the New York Post

Carroll used to work out with Knicks coach Derek Fisher in Southern California, which is the reason for the interest. Carroll, in a contract year, had the best NBA season of his career, posting averages of 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. 

He also built a reputation has being a strong defender. Carroll is coming off knee and turf toe injuries that he played through during this past NBA Eastern Conference finals. 


Rockets' James Harden sets playoff record with 13 turnovers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Rockets guard James Harden committed an NBA playoffs record 13 turnovers in Wednesday night's 104-90 loss to the Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

The loss eliminated the Rockets from the postseason and advanced the Warriors to the NBA finals. 

"Unacceptable," Harden said, via NBA.com.

Harden, who was brilliant in a 45-point effort in Game 4, struggled throughout Wednesday's elimination game. He scored 14 points but only went 2-of-11 shooting from the field. He made 10 of 11 free throws and missed all three of his three-point attempts. 


Warriors' Thompson develops postgame concussion-like symptoms
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:27 am ET) The Warriors announced that guard Klay Thompson developed concussion-like symptoms after the team's Game 5 win over the Rockets, CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger reports.

Thompson "began to not feel well" after the game. The team also said that the guard was evaluated for a concussion after taking a knee to the head but did not exhibit concussion-like symptoms at the time. Thompson will have to pass concussion testing before being cleared for action in the NBA Finals.

Thompson scored 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting in his team's series-clinching win over the Rockets on Wednesday. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 4.


Warriors F Harrison Barnes scores 24 in Game 5 win over Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) Warriors forward Harrison Barnes played one of his best games of the season in Thursday's 104-90 win over the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

Barnes scored 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field, which included going 2 for 5 from behind the arc. He also made both of his free-throw attempts. Barnes got a lot of looks around the rim late in the game, scoring 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. 

This marked the most points Barnes has scored this postseason and the second-highest he's scored all year. His season high is 25, scored against the Hawks in a win on March 18. 


Warriors G Stephen Curry scores 26 in elimination win over Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Warriors guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry scored a game-high 26 points in Wednesday's 104-90 win over the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

The win eliminated the Rockets and advanced the Warriors to the NBA finals, where they'll face the Cavaliers. 

Curry made 7 of 21 shots from the field, which included going 3 for 11 from three-point land. It wasn't his best game given the number of shots he was forced to put up, but he came through with some clutch plays in the fourth quarter. 


Warriors F Andre Iguodala injures shoulder but returns to Game 5
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Warriors forward Andre Iguodala injured his left shoulder with under four minutes left to go in Thursday's 104-90 win against the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

Iguodala took a high forearm to his shoulder and neck area from Dwight Howard on what appeared to be somewhat of an attempt at a screen. Upon review, Howard was not called for anything more than an offensive foul. 

Iguodala was able to return to the game. He finished with six points, six assists and four rebounds. 


Warriors' Klay Thompson sustains right ear laceration, scores 20
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Warriors guard Klay Thompson left Wednesday's 104-90 win against the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals due to a right ear laceration.

In the fourth quarter, Thompson pump-faked to get Trevor Ariza in the air, who then accidentally collided his knee into the right side of Thompson's head. He was diagnosed with the ear injury and didn't need to be administered a concussion test, according to ESPN's Doris Burke. 

Thompson finished the game with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. This included making 4 of his 6 three-point attempts. He also had four assists and one rebound. 

Coincidentally, Ariza was the same player involved when Stephen Curry sustained a head injury during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. Curry passed two concussion exams and was able to return to the game.


Rockets' Dwight Howard gets 7th playoff technical, could face ban
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Rockets center Dwight Howard received his seventh playoff technical foul during Game 5 of the Western Conference playoffs against the Warriors. 

Howard clapped his hands near Warriors center Andrew Bogut before putting them on his chest in the first half. Bogut pushed them away and the two were called for a double technical.

The technical will be reviewed by the NBA league office. If the Rockets win, and the technical is upheld, then Howard will be suspended for Game 6. 

Howard finished the game with 18 points and 16 rebounds. The Rockets lost 104-90 and were eliminated from the playoffs. 


 
 
 
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