Grant Hill, Jameer Nelson coming on

March, 2, 2012
03/02/12
9:33
AM ET

On Thursday night, a couple of veterans had the sort of performances that point to their getting back on track after particularly rough starts to the season: Grant Hill and Jameer Nelson.

Hill's numbers have trailed off quite a bit from where they were last season, but he had a remarkably efficient 20 points (a season high for him) on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor in the Suns' win against the Timberwolves on Thursday night, and is averaging 14.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shooting 86.4 percent from the line in his past five games. If he can continue to bump his field goal percentage up, he'll be worth getting into your lineup most nights.

Meanwhile, Nelson seems to finally be playing well. He had 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the Magic's loss to the Thunder, and is averaging 13.0 points and 6.3 assists to go along with 2.3 3-pointers in his past five games. Amazingly, he's available in nearly half of ESPN.com fantasy leagues, but he could probably be had in a trade in just about all of them, and if he can find his usual form, he's going to be an important fantasy player down the stretch.

Looking back

Bobby Simmons played 24 minutes off the bench for the Clippers in their win over the Kings, and it seems worth pointing out that he was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. The Clippers could certainly use a big shooting guard in their rotation, so Simmons' play is certainly something that should be watched, especially if you need 3s (Simmons is a career 40 percent shooter from behind the arc).

• If you've been keeping Raymond Felton in your lineup in the hope that he'll find his stroke, you might want to give up for a little while. Felton is actually shooting much better from the floor of late (his 1-for-4 performance against the Heat still leaves him at 50 percent in his past five games), so that isn't necessarily the problem. He played just 16 minutes against the Heat and isn't putting up enough raw numbers to justify a spot in anything but the deepest leagues. He's worth keeping on your roster in case he works his way back into the starting lineup (and back into shape), but it's not looking good at the moment.

Jamal Crawford, on the other hand, is doing a great job filling in for Felton (even if it doesn't seem to be translating into wins for the Blazers). Crawford had 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor against a really tough Heat defense, and is averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 3s in his past four games (all numbers well above his season averages).

Looking ahead

• The Spurs' backcourt is -- as it has been for much of the season -- banged-up at the moment, and that means Gary Neal should be in your fantasy lineup. He was fantastic against the Bulls on Wednesday night, finishing with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the floor, and is usually good for a couple of 3s when he gets playing time. In his past five games, Neal is averaging 13.0 points, including 2.4 3s per game, and is shooting just under 40 percent on 3s for the season.

Paul Millsap is doubtful for the Jazz on Friday night, and that means Derrick Favors will most likely get more minutes than usual. Those minutes will come against the Heat, but Favors averaged 12 points and nine rebounds against the Heat last season as a rookie, and if the Heat defense has a weakness, it's against opposing big men. Favors should be able to put together a fantasy-worthy night, so go ahead and play him if he's on your roster.

Brandon Bass has been playing a ton of minutes for the Celtics lately, and with Kris Humphries banged-up and the Nets featuring the league's worst defense already, I'm expecting Bass to have a big night -- probably a double-double -- for the Celtics.

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