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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
Melo considered doubtful to play Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) The Knicks announced Thursday forward Carmelo Anthony is doubtful to play Friday against the Thunder due to back spasms. If sidelined, it will be the second straight game Anthony misses.

Kemba Walker joins list of injured Hornets players
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Although Hornets guard Kemba Walker was able to play through injury Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, it doesn't appear he will be active Friday against the Warriors. The Hornets announced Thursday that Walker is doubtful to play Friday because of a right thigh contusion.

The Hornets also listed guard P.J. Hairston as questionable due to a sprained right thumb, guard Gary Neal as doubtful due to a left shoulder sprain, forward Marvin Williams as doubtful with a left shoulder strain and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as out due to a stress reaction in his right foot.


Bulls' Rose, Noah practice Thursday, but Friday status is still TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:09 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said guard Derrick Rose (hamstring) and center Joakim Noah (eye, knee) practiced in full Thursday. However, Thibodeau said he will see how they feel Friday before determing their availability for Friday's game at Boston.

Rose said he "wants" to play Friday, but he will see how his injured hamstring reacts, according to The Boston Globe. He said he will play, if he feels ready.


Williams: Pelicans need to get Davis at least 20 shots per game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:01 pm ET) Pelicans coach Monty Williams gathered his team Wednesday to express his frustration following a 99-89 loss Tuesday against the Kings, in which center Anthony Davis attempted just 12 shots and totaled a season-low 14 points.

Williams expressed Davis needs to be more involved on offense on a nightly basis to give New Orleans the best chance to win.

"Anthony (Davis) cannot be in a game and not touch the ball," Williams said after his meeting with players, per NOLA.com. "We have to have an effort to get him at least 20 shots every night. And that’s on me too. As much as I draw up plays for him, run the offense through him, the guys on the floor has to know it. When they don’t do it, I’ve got to make sure they get him the ball. Because he’s not a selfish player, he’s going to make the right plays. And our guys know that."

Davis is averaging 25.4 points per game, which trails only Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is averaging 26.4 points per game. Davis leads the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game.


Spurs' Splitter (calf) out, Joseph (ankle) questionable for Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) The Spurs announced Thursday forward Tiago Splitter (calf) has been ruled out for Friday's game vs. Sacramento. It will be the 12th straight game Splitter will miss.

Gaurd Cory Joseph is listed as questionable for Friday's game due to a sprained left ankle. Joseph has missed the last two games.


Clifford: Stephenson 'not a star,' but has 'talent to become a star'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:49 am ET) Hornets guard Lance Stephenson was benched for the fourth quarter for a second straight game during Wednesday's 105-97 loss against Portland, which extended the team's losing streak to seven games. 

After the loss, coach Steve Clifford said Stephenson's issues adjusting to his first season with the Hornets is partly due to him trying to live up to expectations.

"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday, per ESPN. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."

Stephenson has struggled to find a consistent rhythm and role in Clifford's offense. Stephenson is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game, which is a significant drop after averaing 13.8 points per game in 2013-14 for Indiana.

He is also shooting just 36.8 percent from the field after shooting 49.1 percent last season. Although, it's not all bad for Stephenson, who is averaging career highs in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (5.4 apg).

"I've been around Kobe [Bryant] and [Tracy] McGrady. They were superstars. I was also around Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell. They were two-, three-year All-Stars," Clifford said. "[Stephenson has] got a lot of work to get to that level. Everybody proclaimed him as this guy, and if you remember the first time we got him, I said he's got to develop into that."


Celtics guard Marcus Smart will not be back Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:49 am ET) Although Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart returned to practice Wednesday, he will not return to action Friday against the Bulls, the team announced Thursday. It will be the eighth straight game Smart is sidelined.

Melo doesn't anticipate he will be out 'too long'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his first game this season Wednesday against the Mavs due to back spasms, won't put a timetable on his return, he told the New York Post. However, he indicated he doesn't expect to miss too much time.

"I could barely walk or do anything yesterday so I’m doing a little better," Anthony said Wednesday. "I’m walking. They said these things are hard to gauge. I just don’t know how long I’ll be out.

"I don’t think it will be too long. I think the spasms will go away. But I’m not going to play with spasms."

Anthony likely will undergo tests once the team returns to New York. Coach Derek Fisher said the team doesn't have a clear diagnosis on Anthony and won't until his back starts to improve.

"I’ve never felt this way before," Anthony said. "Nothing happened that I can remember [in the Houston game]. I really tried to play through it, but then I just couldn’t move."


Tyson Chandler pulls down 25 rebounds vs. former team
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) Mavericks center Tyson Chandler set season highs with 17 points and 25 rebounds during a 109-102 win Wednesday against the Knicks, who he played for over the previous three seasons.

"At the beginning of the year, you always look at the calendar and mark it," said Chandler, who finished three rebounds shy of the career high he had with the Knicks exactly two years earlier against Brooklyn, per The Associated Press. "But honestly once you get caught up in the season, it's not as big as it's made out to be."

Chandler is averaging 10.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 14 November games. He's surpassed double digits in rebounds nine times in November. Wednesday was the first time this season he totaled more than 20 rebounds.


Lakers SG Kobe Bryant scores team-high 22 vs. Grizzlies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 22 points on 5 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 99-93 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday.

Bryant sank all 10 of his free throws to help boost his scoring total on a night where he struggled with a low shooting percentage for the second time in three games. He only managed to pick up four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes in the loss, the team's third straight. The Lakers will look to get back on track Friday against the Timberwolves.


 
 
 
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