Oh man.  Am I sorry if anyone had to watch Battle: Los Angeles last night.  I hated that movie and actually would rather have watched that again than the atrocity in Staples.  Reggie Miller was having so much fun dogging that game.  I was saying that it was like watching an All-Star game at the office, then either Miller or Kerr then said the same thing!  Followed by, “well, except all the All-Stars are on one team!”  Lakers burn!  El Burro, I hope you’re around, because I’d love a rant from this game from a true Lakers fan.  Sure there have been worse NBA blowouts, but man, that was straight up Cornell going on the road to Wichita State.  Even that would be a lot better to watch!  I’m not taking much to heart fantasy-wise in the 48-point romp of blue/red over yellow/purple, but my main takeaway was that Kendall Marshall still got a 7/4/7 line in 24 minutes and Jordan Farmar was awful in his 21 minutes.  I’m a big Farmar hater, and think Marshall is actually a little underrated right now.  Marshall as we all know was playing well in big minutes earlier in the year, and I think can get back to the 30ish range.  And even if he falls short of that, the dimebags will afloweth like a Denver dispensary.  Cash cow business for the Girl Scout cookie industry as well!  Probably should’ve had a few Girl Scouts paroling the Staples Center last night.  “Eat your pities away, Lakers fans!”  “A peanut butter delight won’t disappoint you at all!”  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yup, bringing that back!  Pretty much my reaction looking at my line-ups last night where I endured a long broken hand heal fest.  Loved me some Kawhi Leonard heading into the season, and even though Pop is still keeping Kawhi’s minutes from full climax, 7-10 last night (2-2 3PTM 2-2 FT) 18/5/3/4/3 in 26 rainbow-licious minutes.  Since returning from the broken hand, Kawhi has gone full multi-cat-hard hitting all 5 cats in all 4 games, a trey in each one, and 9-9 from the FT line.  This is what I envisioned all season!  I’m thinking Kawhi shoulda punched something early in preseason and this would’ve been what we got all year.  It’s going to be fairly tough to pry Kawhi from anyone else’s roster given his torrid return, but can’t hurt to float some stuff out there if the Pop-factor is still haunting any Kawhi owners.  If you’re making your final push for your playoff rosters and can still make a move or two, Kawhi has 4-game weeks in the semis and the championship.  So I for one think you can cry “Kawhi Kawhi Kawhi!” all the way home.  “Thanks Mrs. H…”  My name is JB!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam walk into a brothel.  The Priest says to the Rabbi…   Wait, why are you laughing?  You’ve heard it before.  That’s probably a good thing anyway because I might have been banned from the internet if I repeated it here.  Witty punchlines and non sequiturs aside the point remains unchanged.  No matter what our age, sex, or religion happens to be, we can’t just hope things are going to get better.  We need to prepare for the future.  For myself that means maintaining my perfectly quaffed facial hair with treatments of only the finest oils and herbs from the orient.  For JB, and he might get mad at me for telling you this, but he has this pink rubber bowl looking thing.  It has a wooden handle at the top and after about 5-10 minutes with that in the bathroom I swear he comes out looking taller.  Definitely more confident.  Still though – even the giants will shrink to the size of us mere mortals one day.  In fantasy basketball – as in real life – we can’t sit back and hope we are the next giants to be.  In a dynasty league, when our season is lost, that means selling off our older, declining players, and buying stock in the future.  Since we here at Razzball endorse insider trading, here is my take on a few future blue chippers:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, that title seems all sorts of wrong… But what is right is Nikola Vucevic returned to action last night For a solid 16/10 dub-dub in only 20 minutes.  Efficiency!  Shot 6-12, 4-4 from the stripe and added a few steals.  Very encouraging return for a guy people were dismissing since he had no timetable from the concussion.  Concussions can really jack ya up, but hopefully you stayed true on your course to the playoffs and have a dynamic top-20ish big man.  Of course the Magic now have lost value in other places, with Big Baby going 5/4/4 in 32 minutes, Arron Afflalo looking like the scrub I’ve said he was all year (still think his 20+ PPG is one of the most preposterous stats this year) and Tobias Harris temporarily moving to the bench.  Although T Dawg isn’t Walking Dead (going 9/11/3/1/1 in 37 minutes), he shot like a stiff going 2-8.  Afflalo is still a sell as soon as you can, Davis a drop, and hope you bought low on Vuc while there was a window open.    Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember back in the day when you played Oregon Trail every waking moment?  I only sorta remember because I kept getting dysentery…  But I imagine an update should have the mythical creature of LaMarcus Aldridge as some sort of omnipotent deity that you hope comes to your aid.  “Your wagon is stuck in quick sand, use 1 of 3 remaining LaMarcus Aldridge summons?”  Hells yea!  And then I need him to save my oxen.  Huge game from LA last night putting up a career-high points and a sick 44/13/5/0/2 line including 14-17 FT while the crowd chanted “M-V-P” all 4th quarter.  Scored the last 15 points, went 8-8 at the stripe in the last 70 seconds, all in a 5-point win.  The Nuggets just had nothing for him inside when he was crashing the glass, and LA was boarding like a beast.  I know he’s had a lot of Goromotaros, but almost all the boards he got in this one were in traffic.  And the Nuggets were fouling him extremely hard all 4th quarter.  Gonna need an ice bath!  All he has to do is come to the east coast and jump in a lake.  One of my worst calls of the year was my poor Aldridge ranking, but if you can’t get it right, join em!  Or something like that… Traded for him in REL and in another league.  I don’t know why owners were pulling a Kurt Russell and trying to Escape From L.A., but enjoy your huge stats and the first-round value you’re accruing.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA news and action:

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Before this NBA season I couldn’t look at Mike D’Antoni without thinking of Cy Tolliver, the second-tier villain on HBO’s “Deadwood.”

But I had no idea that D’Antoni would behave like his fictional doppelganger (played by Powers Boothe) and that he would turn the Lakers into the Bella Union Saloon, a place rife with rigged gambling, card games that end in gunfire, out-in-the-open prostitution and inexplicable frontcourt rotations. OK, maybe just the last thing.

There really seems to be no method to D’Antoni’s madness. Jordan Hill got some serious run at the end November and responded with some double-digit rebound games, so of course coach slashed his minutes down to the high teens by the beginning of December. Around the middle of the month he called Hill’s number again, and the results weren’t surprising: He produced some nice games, including a 21-9-1 on Dec. 16 at Atlanta. Now Hill is starting, but his minutes have been crunched down to around 20 per game.

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Sometimes it’s nice, oh so nice, to see so much potential that you saw through the preseason finally get the chance to shine, the star to sizzle, the Sun to finally get his run.  With Eric Bledsoe sitting last night with a bruised shin, my boy Archie Goodwin finally got a chance, running a season-high 19 minutes for 16/2/2/2 shooting 7-10 and hitting a three, including this highlight worthy pick 6.  “Give me a chance coach!”  Goodwin has great speed and a good feel for the game for a 19-year-old, and is showing a little bit of what he could do should he get extended time.  The Suns backcourt is flooded, muddled mostly by the breakout Gerald Green is putting on, but the hot start-Suns have now dropped three straight, going from 3-1 to 5-5.  Green is an ultimate sell-high, both in fantasy and in the NBA trade market, for his highlight-inducing big plays and he’s shooting 12% better from the field and 11% better from 3-point land than last year.  Obviously 2012-13 was a disaster, so some bounce back was coming, but yea, if the Suns could get anything in return, they’ll take it.  With Green signed through next season and Goran Dragic with a player-option for next year, both are potential trade chips the Suns could use to build around Bledsoe.  Sure, I’m dreaming up a scenario that may not be the most likely, but what I’m really dreaming about is a Bledsoe/Goodwin starting backcourt.  Mmmmmm.  Fantasy goodness everywhere!  Goodwin is worth keeping an eye on with the Bledsoe shin injury in the deepest of leagues, and deeper dynasty leagues should have him on the radar as well.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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Coming into this year, the fantasy freaks of the world had two guys on their radar as far as Phoenix Suns centers. Would it be one-time fantasy darling and all-the-time Polish Hammer Marcin Gortat, or lottery pick Alex Len, who could either end up as a modern-day Jon Koncak or a white Dwight Howard.

How about neither? Gortat was traded to the Washington Cheese Wiz in a very odd trade where the Suns ended up with a protected first-round pick and a frozen-in-Carbonite Emeka Okafor – which really isn’t that different than Emeka Okafor – while the ex-Bullets got Gortat and three guys they waived.

Len, meanwhile, is injured, and won’t be ready even when he’s ready, if that makes any sense.

And all of this is perfectly fine in the retirement capital of the world.

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So Russell Westbrook played yesterday… Ummm… What?

After hurting his knee in last year’s playoffs, then requiring a second surgery on October 1st, Westbrook was one of the biggest fantasy news stories early in preseason with an uncertain timetable.  Well that table has expired much earlier than anyone expected, and Westbrook was out there without a minutes restriction last night.  It’s like the first surgery was done in Hostel, then the next one at the X-Mansion.  Seriously, reports ranged from from early to mid-December as a target return date, but a little Adamantium in your bones goes a long way!  The good news is he’s back, but the bad (and frankly, not shocking) news is he was mighty rusty.  In nearly 33 minutes, Westbrook shot only 5-16 (0-2 3PTM 11-14 FT) for 21 points, with 4 Reb and 7 Ast and 4 TOs.  Besides shooting like Michael Chiklis, you’ll take that line any day.  Very encouraging to see Westbrook get to the line that frequently, and the minutes were indeed non-limited.  He looked pretty Westbrook-ish in highlights as well.  Even if Westbrook isn’t quite the player he was the past few seasons, all owners are looking at a steal for where they got him post-second surgery.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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Man, what a huge night it was across the NBA with nearly every team in action.  It obviously all starts with the shocker Philly put on the Heat, and Michael Carter-Williams‘ unreal debut.  I was following with my co-workers during the game and tweeted that if he got a triple-double in his first NBA game, the universe would implode.  Thankfully MCW was a steal short and we’re all still here.  His final line of 6-10 (4-6 3PTM 6-8 FT) 22 Pts 7 Rebs 12 Asts and 9 Stls might actually win some owners their matchups this week on its own.  Just preposterous.  Most steals in NBA history in a player’s debut.  Ok before we all go nutso, remember the Heat played without Dwayne Wade (rest), don’t have a PG, and had all their hands weighed down with new championship rings.  So that’s not really an excuse, but so what?!  The shooting efficiency was fantastic (the biggest knock on him coming into the year), plus he had only one turnover (his second main knock).  “Nice knockers!”  Thanks Young Frankenstein!  MCW indeed moves up a fair bit in value in my eyes, but this is likely his best line on the year.  MCW was wildly inconsistent in college and I don’t expect much consistency on a terrible 76ers team (I know they just beat the Heat, but c’mon).  Look for John Wall to lock him up on Friday and cool the hype.  Despite inconsistencies, it goes without saying that MCW should be owned in all leagues now (78% Yahoo, 59.4% ESPN), so if for some reason he’s available in your league, you gotta get him.  I’m not expecting MCW to be an elite player, but will continue to contribute even in down games.  Here’s what else I saw across Fantasy Basketball last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?