Jared Dudley poised for strong finish
Jared Dudley continued his streak of great fantasy performances with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a Suns' win against the Mavericks on Thursday night. Dudley certainly is not the most exciting player, but he is averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 3-pointers and shooting 52.4 percent from the floor in his past five games. Those numbers are far better than what he's averaged during the season, but the Suns need him, and he plays well alongside Steve Nash. If you managed to pick him up while he was still available, kudos to you, because he's going to be an important contributor the rest of the way.
• Lamar Odom had a nice -- if not wildly exciting -- night for the Mavericks off the bench with 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the floor. He chipped in just four rebounds and two assists in his 22 minutes, but the fact that he had a good night scoring the basketball is significant. It won't be a surprise if he starts putting up good fantasy numbers one of these days, the question continues to be when that will happen.
• Luol Deng's overall numbers haven't been very good as of late, but I'm encouraged by the fact that he's shooting the 3 as well as he ever has. The 43.4 percent clip he's shooting 3-pointers at this season is a career high by a wide margin, but he's also making 52.2 percent of his 3s over his past five games, and I'd be willing to bet that he'll finish the season strong in fantasy leagues.
• Almost every player in the Hawks' backcourt -- Joe Johnson, Tracy McGrady and Jeff Teague -- is questionable for Friday night's game against the Pistons, and that means that if you are desperate for 3s, you could do worse than giving Jannero Pargo a shot. He made two 3s in 14 minutes against the Heat on Wednesday night, has made 1.8 3s per game over his past five games, and should have no trouble putting up decent numbers against the Pistons.
• Luke Ridnour is playing really well lately for the Timberwolves, and going up against the Lakers, who have major problems defending point guards, is a good matchup for him. Just as important, however, is that Jose Juan Barea is doubtful for Friday night's game, which means Ricky Rubio and Ridnour will both play heavy minutes. This might be the best night possible for getting Ridnour into your lineup if he's not regularly there.
• Chris Kaman is putting up big numbers for the Hornets, but with Gustavo Ayon questionable against the Nuggets, Kaman might repeat the 46 minutes he played against the Kings on Wednesday night (a game in which he was two assists shy of a triple-double). Kaman should definitely be in your lineup every night right now, at least until we find out what happens with him around the trading deadline next week.
• I know Ian Mahinmi had a tough night against the Suns on Thursday night, but with Brendan Haywood possibly missing more time for the Mavs with a sprained ankle, you might want to think about playing Mahinmi against the Kings on Friday night. The Kings are terrible against opposing centers, DeMarcus Cousins is suffering from a recent bout of food poisoning, and the Kings' defense isn't anything to write home about anyway. I would definitely get Mahinmi into my lineup if I had him on my roster.