In Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” the film opens with Liam Neeson and his young son sharpening weaponry, gathering soldiers and marching from their burrough into the ceter of the city’s Five Points. All of this happens in, like, the first five minutes. Just long enough to let viewers think to themselves, “is that little kid Leonardo DiCaprio? Because I was told Leonardo DiCaprio was going to be in this and I hope I was told correctly, because I can’t imagine Scorsese will ever cast him in another movie ever.” And if you weren’t thinking that, you were probably wondering why Reed Rothschild from “Boogie Nights” was dressed like a goon from “Mad Max.” After one of those two thoughts – BOOM – you were in the Five Points and Daniel Day-Lewis was there with an old timey football helmet and hatchet and hundreds of New Yorkers were brutally killing one another. Knees snap, mouths get fishhooked, eyes get plucked and so-on until Day-Lewis sees Neeson across a throng of warring gang members. While Neeson is slogging this one and bludgeoning that one, Day-Lewis cycloptically lumbers toward him. He has one goal, nothing else matters. What does any of this have to do with fantasy basketball? Just that (9-year-old spoiler alert!) Day-Lewis’ Bill the Butcher kills Neeson’s Vallon and wins the battle because of it. You have just two more games to improve. That’s it (only one for your remaining Clippers or Pacers players). Be Daniel Day-Lewis tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. Keep your eye only on what is important to conquer. Everything else is useless. Look only at the categories you can make a move on or prevent someone else from passing you. Small sample sizes are all that’s left. For the next two days, I won’t bother going over who’s hurt, done for the season or had a particularly good game last night. I’m looking at matchups and smart plays going forward. Good luck.

Here’s who’s helpful tonight in fantasy basketball.

Josh Smith – Will return tonight to loosen up in time to get wet-willied by Orlando in the first round of the playoffs.

Joel Anthony – Had a 7/10/1 line yesterday in 35 minutes against Losston. As I expect Miami to play hard against the Hawks and lackadaisically against the Raptors and blow both teams out by 15+ points, Anthony could see an uptick in minutes this week. 7/10 isn’t great, even in deep leagues, but neither Atlanta, nor Toronto have as good of a defense as the Celtics, Anthony might be an answer.

Glen Davis – It would be difficult for almost every Celtic not to bounce back tonight against the bead curtain defense presented by D.C., but Davis is the guy with the best chance to have a big game. He only scored eight points against the Wiz on Friday, but he also only played 21 minutes. With the starters all looking tired (four games in five days), the No. 2 seed still up for grabs (if Boston wins both and Miami loses one, Boston owns the tie-breaker) and Jermaine O’Neal playing like Jermaine Dupree (tiny, tiny, Jermaine Dupree (bee-tee-dubya, how are you liking all the parenthesis so far? Pretty bitchin’ huh? I had ’em installed myself)), my guess is Davis sees more than the 21 minutes he saw Friday or the 26 minutes he saw yesterday.

Maurice Evans – A combined statistical line of 14/5/2 in his last three games. Unless the fantasy owner you’re trying to catch up to is holding your pet turtle hostage and threatening to turn it on its shell if you pass him, you should not be playing Evans.

Toney Douglas – The Knicks don’t play ’til tomorrow, but perhaps Douglas is still available. He shouldn’t be, but people get lazy at the time they should be getting aggressive. Douglas on the Knicks is like a Jew at Christmas: the only one doing work at the end of the year.

George Hill – See Douglas, Tony or 1/3 inch above.

Ryan Anderson – 28/10, with four threes. Friday Adam, “You’re welcome.” Monday Adam, “Now bench him.”

Jerryd Bayless – 23/3/6 in the last mostly Calderon-less week. Bayless is owned in only a quarter of the leagues, if you are part of the 3/4 not hip to Jerry D, get hip. Get him.

Drew Gooden – Averaging 14/6/5 in his last four. I’ll never forgive you if you make me beg.

Brad Miller – Averaging 10/6.5/4 in his last two. The Rockets face Dallas tonight and Minnesota on Wednesday. I might pass on the Squirrel Hunter tonight, but strongly consider starting him Wednesday.

Sasha Vujacic – Morrow’s done, the Bobcats are done, it’s clear what time it is. It’s time for the Machine! He’s averaging 15/6/3, with a couple threes and 1.5 steals in his last four. And none of that was against Charlotte!

Wesley Johnson – Kevin Love is done and the Wolves play the checked-out Suns tonight. As long as you’re not in a dead heat for FG%, Johnson’s been playing a well-rounded (2.5 3pt/10.5 pts/4.5 rbd/2.5 ast/1.5 stl/1.5 blk) game.

Martell Webster – I can’t believe when all is said and done that at any point in this season, I would have recommended two T-Wolves named Martell and Wesley. When did this become the English National Team? Anyway, Webster’s been shooting massive amounts of threes at an efficient clip. If you’re into it, get into it.

Kenyon Martin – Averaging 15/8.5/1, a steal and great percentages in his last five. Games against Golden State and Utah should compel K-Mart to play like an all-defensive forward instead of a mediocre defensive forward who thinks he’s an all-defensive forward.

Reggie WilliamsMonta Ellis left yesterday’s game after bonking his noggin on the floor. Might be a concussion, might not. Even if it isn’t, I can’t imagine why they’d risk it. I’d give it a 30-70 chance we see Ellis again this season. On that chance alone, you have to roster Williams above anyone else in today’s rundown. Go now. Yes, you.

  1. Steve Stevenson says:

    Few questions relating to a playoff draft:

    First, who would your top picks be, and what teams would you target? In particular, please rank the following possible 1st round picks (listed in the order of their per-game scoring in my league): LeBron, Rose, Wade, P. Gasol. I like Pau as the most likely to make a Finals trip, but LeBron has a pretty sizable per-game advantage over the field, so if Miami makes it out of the East he’ll almost certainly be the top scorer in my league for the playoffs.

    Also, pick 2 for the duration of the playoffs (again listed in order of ppg scoring in my format): Ibaka, Gallinari, Ray Allen.

    Finally, any surprise teams you like for the conference finals?

  2. Trying to wrap up my season tomorrow with 1PG 1G 1F 1C and 1UTL games left. the only categories with room to improve are :ft%, 3pt% (thanks to Frye last night), and BLKs.

    who should I end the season with?


    i’m thinking sit kid/rondo because of their low %s, i would play calderon, but he’s probably done for the season, which leaves me mowill/harden?

    the bigger issue is f/c/util spot… i would play horford/brand/ibaka to max blks, but dirk might be the difference maker in 3pt% and ft%?

    what do you think?

  3. Steve Stevenson says:

    @hakasan: It depends on how easy it is to move in each of the 3 cats, but if it’s roughly equal, I’d put a G in the Util slot with Dirk at F and Frye at C and go after both % cats. While Kidd’s overall FG% is bad, his FT% is good and his 3PT% is so-so (but not much worse than Harden or Mo). I’d sit Rondo and Calderon because I doubt either plays (and get limited mins if they do). So that lineup would be Kidd-Mo-Harden-Dirk-Frye.

    If you want to hedge a little and go after blocks, at least Ibaka at C and/or Brand at F give you an OK FT% for a big man. Horford does too, but given the Hawks’ minutes in their last game, I’d be wary of rolling with him.

  4. yeah i’m tied with different owners in all three categories… (in yahoo leagues, i am x.5 points in all three) the person i’m sharing blk has less games played than me… i think i’m gonna wait and see how tonight (i have odom available, but sitting him against SA) and attack whatever cat i can…

  5. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Steve Stevenson: I’d go Kobe, Pau, LeBron, Wade, Rose, Bosh, Boozer, Deng, Manu, Parker, and Noah in that order. Then, Ray, Ibaka, Gallinari.

    And finally, watch out for Memphis.

    @hakasan: Steve’s advice is sound. I might add that if you lean toward blocks, go with Ibaka, as I’d be surprised if Brand plays a full game, if at all.

  6. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Steve Stevenson: Ray, Ibaka and Gallo were in response to your question. I wasn’t suggesting you Ray Allen 12th overall. That’s crazy.

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