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Fantasy Fix

By Dan O'Shea

The NBA season has edged past its literal halfway point. While the NBA All-Star Game isn't until Feb. 14 in Dallas (at the new Cowboys stadium - let's hope one of Dirk Nowitzki's 18-foot rainbows doesn't hit the overhead video screen), the stars of the first half are already clear, and for the most part, the names we all expected. Here's my fantasy starting five for the East and West Conferences.

Ofman:
  • The Bulls' Mirage

  • EAST
    PG: Rajon Rondo. Shoots at a .534 clip with 9.7 assists per game. Celtics really need him.

    SG: Dwyane Wade. 27.1 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, but 1.2 blocks is the icing.

    SF: LeBron James. As expected, the first half MVP does almost nothing wrong, except at the line.

    PF: Brook Lopez. 19 PPG, 9.4 RPG and a decent free throw shooter for a big man or any size.

    C: Chris Bosh. 23.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and having his best season yet.

    WEST
    PG: Chris Paul. Shoots around .500, 20 PPG and 11.2 APG. Hopefully won't miss anymore games.

    SG: Kobe Bryant. Boring, I know, but recent injury problems haven't slowed him too badly.

    SF: Kevin Durant. SF for the purposes of this exercise. Runner-up for first-half MVP.

    PF: Dirk Nowitzki. Strong 25.1 PPG shows there is no drop-off for the aging sharp-shooter.

    C: Pau Gasol. 10.9 RPG marks the first time in his career he's averaged a double-double.

    *

    Meanwhile, it's Week 14 of the NBA season. Deal with it.

    Fantasy Find of the Week: Carlos Boozer, PF/C: Remember this guy? 24.7 PPG and 14 RPG last week. Not bad for a player who dropped from second round to fifth round status in the last two years.

    Fantasy Stud of the Week: Josh Smith, SF/PF: 17.3 PPG, 9 RPG, 3 steals per game and 2 blocks per game. He's gotten better this year by shooting fewer long bombs and pushing inside for more boards.

    Fantasy Dud of the Week: Tim Duncan, PF/C: Averaged 18 PPG last week, but on .381 shooting. Wildly uncharacteristic during one of his best overall seasons.

    Fantasy Match-up of the Week: Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Charlotte. Taking on the league-worst and fourth-worst defenses the same week in Golden State and Sacramento.

    Expert Wire
    * Matt Buser at NBA Skinny hands out his own half-season awards.

    * ESPN.com has a column on the insignificance of shooting guards. True, the pure SG is a rare thing. Kobe, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Martin and Ray Allen are the top names with that distinction, and the latter two only have PPG value.

    * The Big Lead makes fun of Aaron Gray (so easy), who was traded out of Chicago for the slightly more useful Devin Brown.

    * LestersLegends has Carlos Delfino and Drew Gooden as surprising waiver wire pick-ups.

    * Sergio Gonzalez at CBSSports.com talks about the rise of Lopez brother Robin. Otherwise known as the lesser Lopez, Robin may be one to watch if he gets more playing time. Still, don't confuse these brothers when making your waiver wire moves. That would leave a mark.

    -

    Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. Comments welcome. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like It's about.

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