Good things happen in 3s for Knicks
The Knicks defeated the Heat 112-92 Thursday without Carmelo Anthony, who was sidelined with a lacerated finger that required five stitches. Their success relied heavily upon frequent and accurate 3-point shooting, as the team went 18-for-44 from downtown, the second consecutive game in which the Knicks attempted more than 40 long balls.
The Knicks lead the league with 29.7 3-point attempts per game, over three more than the Rockets. Raymond Felton led the way Thursday, going 6-for-10 from long range, while Steve Novak was 4-for-9 and J.R. Smith was 3-for-8.
The willingness to attempt 3s at such a high rate has created loads of fantasy value, as Anthony (2.4 3-pointers per game), Novak (2.4), Felton (2.0), Smith (1.4) and even Rasheed Wallace (0.9) are all helping fantasy teams in 3-pointers. Melo and Felton are experiencing career seasons in the category, and as we saw with the "seven seconds or less" Suns in the past decade, 3-point shooting like this is contagious. Players are making the extra pass to find the open man, and he is taking it without a conscience, which breeds confidence in a player's shot.
While the Knicks' 40.7 3-point field goal percentage will likely trend down a bit -- no team shot higher than 39.3 percent last season -- look for the mentality of jacking the open 3 whenever it's available to continue being the philosophy behind their offense, which will make for multiple fantasy studs from one team.
• Markieff Morris had 15 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a 3-pointer against the Mavericks on Thursday, exemplifying his well-rounded skill set that is nicely-suited for the fantasy game. He has been inconsistent this season, as this was his first game since Nov. 28 scoring in double figures, but with 0.7 3s, 0.4 blocks and 0.8 steals per game in just 22 minutes, he has that magical ability to get 3s, steals and blocks that we seek in fantasy hoops. The 17 boards illustrate the fact he can be helpful on the glass too. As he continues growing as a player, expect more impressive nights like this. If you have an open bench spot, he is undoubtedly worth a speculative add (7.6 percent owned) with such a high statistical ceiling.
• Chris Kaman scored 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting with seven boards, his fifth straight game in double digits. He has been quietly effective in reduced minutes this season, averaging 13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and a block per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor and a career-high 80.5 percent from the stripe. His free throw shooting has trended upward in each of the past four seasons, and while he won't blow you away, Kaman provides excellent percentages and dependable production in points, rebounds and blocks, making him a legitimate second center in fantasy hoops.
• Darren Collison has had a rough couple of weeks, injuring his finger then yielding his starting job to veteran Derek Fisher. But he came off the bench to drop 16 points (10-for-12 FT) in 27 minutes Thursday and is still putting up a solid 12.3 points, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He is the most capable point guard on the Mavs' roster, and I see him regaining the role soon and boosting his statistics, so definitely don't cut Collison. I'd actually buy low, as that roster and his skill set should combine for improved numbers in the near future.
• Richard Hamilton will be sidelined with an injured left foot for at least another week, and Marco Belinelli has stepped into the starting lineup. He scored 23 points, going 2-for-8 from long range, Wednesday and is a decent spot-start for the next week if you need 3-point help.
• Dion Waiters will miss his third straight game with a sprained ankle Friday, allowing Donald Sloan to get a bump in value for the short term. He scored a season-high 14 points in 24 minutes Wednesday and in super-deep formats is a viable short-term fill-in while Waiters is sidelined.
• Gerald Henderson is back in the Bobcats' lineup and scored 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting Wednesday night. He is owned in just 5 percent of ESPN leagues and is one of the few widely available guys capable of averaging 15 points per game. If you're in need of scoring help, check to see if Henderson is available.