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NBA Week 3: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you own Miami Heat forward LeBron James or Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, congratulations, you're probably already in first place in your fantasy league.

The NBA's two best players are once again dominating opponents with ease and taking their games to new heights.

Both players have been more hungry on the glass this season, with James averaging 9.2 rebounds and Durant pulling down 10.2 rebounds per game.

James and Durant are both shooting better than 50 percent from the field and over 44 percent from 3-point range. Durant has the edge on James in foul shooting, .887 to .673, but James is out-assisting Durant 6.8 to 4.1 and turning it over a career-low 2.2 times per games. Both players are averaging more than one block per contest.

Of course, owning James or Durant is not imperative to winning a fantasy league; plenty of players have been producing at elite levels this season. Likewise, there are players who have been making owners want to rip their hair out or cancel their subscription to NBA League Pass.

Let's take a look at who has been making an impact -- both positive and negative -- in the last seven days.

The Good

- Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is making a play for the top-10. Ibaka averaged 5.0 blocks per game to go along with 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and a .917 free- throw percentage in his last four games. He's scored in double figures in eight straight; he didn't even have three-straight double-digit scoring efforts at any point last season.

- Portland Trailblazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard scored 16 of the team's last 21 points and finished with a career-high 27 Friday in an overtime win over Houston. Lillard is a top-flight fantasy guard already; he's scored 20-plus points in three of the last four.

- Lillard's teammate Nicolas Batum took advantage of the extra time Friday, scoring 35 points with six rebounds, four assists, five threes and five blocks. The 23-year-old's numbers are up across the board -- 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.9 3PT, 2.3 spg, 1.3 bpg.

- Speaking of well-rounded players, Utah Jazz PF Paul Millsap has averaged 23.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 threes in his last four games.

- Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was overshadowed Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets by teammate Anderson Varejao, who had 35 points and 18 rebounds. But Irving was equally as impressive, scoring 34 with eight assists, four rebounds, three steals, two threes. He also made all 14 of his free-throw attempts.

- Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon has filled in nicely for Kyle Lowry (ankle). He had a triple-double Tuesday versus the Indiana Pacers, one day after scoring 20 points with 17 assists against the Jazz.

- Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay are leading the way for the Memphis Grizzlies. Randolph has scored 19.3 points with 12.7 rebounds and a .923 free-throw percentage in his last three games, while Gay has produced 22 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 2.0 blocks, 1.7 threes and an .846 free- throw percentage in the same span.

- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant refuses to be outdone by LeBron and Durant. Bryant's scoring average in his last three games jumped to 26.3 after he dropped 31 on the Phoenix Suns Friday. Bryant also averaged 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in that span. He should continue to post above-average assist totals with Steve Nash sidelined.

The Bad

- Thunder guard Russell Westbrook shot just 3-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-4 from 3-point range Friday and is shooting just 36.4 percent from the field in his last three games. Fortunately he's made up for it with two straight double-digit assist games and a 33-point explosion on Nov. 12.

- Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday continues to cloud his value with careless handling of the basketball. Though he's scored 25-plus points twice in his last three games and has averaged 6.3 assists his last four games, Holiday gave the ball away 5.0 times per game in that stretch. He's had at least four turnovers in seven of his last eight games, with five six-plus TO games in that span.

- Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani, Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson and Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions have averaged 16 or more shot attempts in the last seven days. None of the five made better than 38 percent.

The Ugly

- Lakers center Dwight Howard has averaged the second-most free-throw attempts in the NBA over the past seven days but has made just 51.9 percent, catastrophically denting his otherwise massive fantasy value. You're used to this if you've owned Howard before; he's a career 58.6 percent foul shooter and he made just 49.1 percent last season.

- Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried is a similar case. He has averaged 16 points and 16 rebounds with 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks his last three games but only made 50 percent of his free throws in that span.

- Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe has been energetic off the bench this season but he might be playing a little too out of control. In his last two games, Bledsoe has turned the ball over 4.0 times on average. He's giving the ball away 2.1 times despite playing just 18 minutes per game.

- Nuggets guard Ty Lawson failed to make a single basket in Thursday's game versus Miami. He went 0-of-7 from the field, 0-of-3 from beyond the arc and didn't attempt a free throw. Lawson has only made 30 percent of his shots over his last four games. We could see Denver coach George Karl give Andre Miller more minutes after Miller gave the team a spark off the bench Thursday.

- Heat guard Dwyane Wade was suited up on the sideline for Thursday's game against Denver due to a sore foot. That was probably a good decision since Wade's previous game was U-G-L-Y. Playing through the foot injury, Wade scored just six points on 2-of-10 shooting with five turnovers and was Mutombo'd by the 6-foot-1 Bledsoe on a dunk attempt.

- Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams has been frostier than the Minnesota winter this season, and he bottomed out with an 0-for-10 effort on Nov. 10. Williams kept his shot in the cooler the next game, attempting just two, and should have did the same on Nov. 14 when he shot 3-of-12. Williams finally broke the ice with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, seven rebounds and four blocks Friday night.

- The Timberwolves need Williams to produce because he's basically all the team has left. Minnesota has been decimated by injuries and had to sign Josh Howard off the street just to field a competent lineup. The list of Minnesota players who missed Friday's game includes Kevin Love (hand), Ricky Rubio (knee), Brandon Roy (knee), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), J.J. Barea (foot) and Chase Budinger (knee).




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.