The precursor to the much-hyped Clippers and Warriors game was the game between the Bulls and Knicks. On paper, this wasn’t the best choice by ESPN, considering the Knicks are out of the playoffs and the Bulls are competing for the 8th spot.

However, it featured two of the best, youngest international stars. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis dunked and shot his way to 29 points and 10 rebounds. He may have hit the so-called “rookie wall,” but he still contributes enough in a variety of categories to matter in fantasy for the playoffs.

Nikola Mirotic almost single handedly brought the Bulls back in the 4th quarter. He knocked down 9-13 from downtown, on his way to 35 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Can you name the last Bull to knock down 8 threes in a game? Ben Gordon did it in 2008-09. While Gordon had a serviceable career, I hope both Mirotic and Porzingis have better careers than Gordon. Based on Wednesday, their futures look very bright.

Now only the other nightly notables:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Been a bad start to the year for NBA coaches.

David Blatt could have realized that all he had to do was get out of the way and let LeBron James coach. But I’m pretty sure the clock was running on his tenure in Cleveland the second he was hired.

Jeff Hornacek could have figured out how to turn Archie Goodwin into “Teen Wolf,” or mastered whatever weird magic/religion that fire woman from “Game of Thrones” practices. Not sure either one of those tricks would have turned an injury-ravaged Suns team into a playoff squad.

Somehow, without doing anything close to the above, and racking up a record of 14-35 with a talented but raw roster, Sam Mitchell has managed to keep his job.

And thanks to injuries to Kevin Garnett (wink, wink) and Nikola Pekovic (big shocker), he might actually be forced into doing something right. Mitchell is now playing his best young players, a group that so obviously includes Gorgui Dieng.

After riding the pine all year so Garnett and Tayshaun Prince could log minutes in meaningless games, Dieng finally has the starting slot and minutes (close to 40 per) that he deserves.

He’s responded by averaging 17.6 ppg and 11.3 rpg in those three starts. All Mitchell could do was mutter that he’s “getting a lot better.” No, he’s playing a lot better, because you’re playing him!

Win or lose, the Wolves have to keep running Dieng out there with Karl-Anthony Towns and make it work. Or Sam might go the way of Blatt and Hornacek.

Get Dieng, any way you can, and check out some of these other guys:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Flash is finally finding his stride!

Skiles still had some “SKIIIIIIILES!” moments, but is finally letting the youngun Aaron Gordon get his consistent minutes in the starting 5. It was such a tough decision sitting that phenomenal Channing Frye! Ugh. And as much as I’d like to see the Magic lose every game to get Skiles the hell outta there, he’s coached Orlando to a better record than anyone woulda thought. Last night he kept rotations that were sparking a comeback, led by Gordon who went 19/14/5/0/2 in 39 minutes, shooting 8-11 with no TO. The only black eye was a very unsavory 3-9 FT. That’s almost two black eyes! But he’s been a decent enough FT shooter to not worry too much on that… With the minutes starting to look consistent (gulp, I may have jynxed it… SKIIIIILES!), Gordon is looking like a must own in all 10 team leagues or deeper. The STL and BLK have been pretty anemic until last night, but as the Magic were streaking late in the 3rd quarter, he just seemed to get this stride in him, and little extra pep in his step. He had a nasty steal with a behind the back shake-n-bake then dime during the comeback run, and a great putback slam in the 4th. Sometimes the younguns can really build off success, so let’s hope this is the start of a streak as epic as Will Ferrell heading to the quad. There’s more coming! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops, plus The 7 Ahead for Week 15:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m all for switching it up and trying something new to win. And while I think Hack-a-Shaq can work in the right situations, the Rockets took Hack-a-Whoever way too far. The Rockets fouled Andre Drummond repeatedly, giving him 36 free throws! At one point, K.J. McDaniels intentionally fouled Drummond 5 times in 9 seconds! (McDaniels finished the game with a very Jan Vesely-ish line of 1 minute, 5 fouls).

Drummond made only 13 of his 36 free throws, but it didn’t matter, as the Pistons still defeated the Rockets by 9. The 23 missed free throws was an NBA record for the most missed free throws in a game.

So you’re telling me the intentional fouling was effective in limiting the Pistons’ possessions, but somehow the Rockets still lost? How? The Rockets are definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the season and really need to turn it around if they’re going to make a splash in the playoffs.

While Drummond owners will be screwed in FT%, he still managed to post 17/11 with 1 steal and 1 block. Now onto the other highlights from Wednesday night’s games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Crazy game in OKC last night!  It was a crazy night across the board!  For a while I thought the Sixers were really going to pull that one out – had the lead most of regulation and then clawed back late – but Russell Westbrook playing like Michael Jordan these days got the Thunder the OT win.

Behind all of RW’s historical hooblah which we’ll go into later, is Isaiah Canaan‘s career game.  Career best 31 points on 10-16 FG (8-13 3PTM 3-3 FT) 31/7/6/1/0.  And of course he does that right after I said you’d rather own Ish Smith!  And Ish did ish in 15 minutes…  All that said, Canaan had 29 early in the 4th and the Sixers couldn’t figure out ways to consistently get their hot shooter the rock.  The continuity was awful with Philly only staying in the game by taking some horrible deep 3 pointers with no spacing or rebounders.  It felt like one of those college intramural games where the much better team was struggling because the other team’s scrubs kept hitting 3s for some reason.  Did I say intramural?  I meant more like every time Duke beats Chapel Hill!  Only because of the 3s…  Although Chapel Hill has trouble teaching their players the difference between “2” and “3” so there’s that…  I would still Aaron Brooks over Canaan and I’m not dropping a valuable guy just for this hot shooting game.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Basketball is back baby!  The NBA season returns from the All-Star Break tonight after four-and-a-half months off…  Maybe hyperbolic, but certainly feels that way!

And right as games start, we’ve got the NBA Trade Deadline passing this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST.  That was fast!  We’ve got a big day of trade analysis, with a live post that will go up around 1:00 PM-ish EST and get frequently updated to track all of the last-minute trades as they go down, then a slightly later podcast record time with our special edition Trade Deadline Razzball Basketball Podcast up sometime around 4:00-4:30 PM EST.  It’s all hoops all afternoon!

With these big changes about to ripple through the fantasy hoops landscape, the biggest news from over the break is probably the most anti-climatic – Carmelo Anthony has been officially shutdown.  “3P0 – Shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level!”  “No! Shut them ALL down, hurry!”  Pretty apt to The Poppycockers shituation, amiright?!  We’ve known Melo was about to be Melba Toast sometime around the break, and now the swift gavel of realism has hit (huh? weird metaphor day!  I’m rusty OK?!).  Langston Galloway, who has probably been picked up in most leagues (and subsequently dropped in some after struggling) should likely be scooped up.  He’s not going to do anything too special, but his career-high in shots (19) was in a Melo-less game and should give you some low-TO guard stats.  Tim Hardaway Jr. also gets a bit of a boost, but he does absolutely nothing beyond score and trey.  Would be a nice, high-minute ThrAGNOF!  But those ain’t got no face…  So I’m not married to Timmy J at all even if he starts hot with Melo now gone.  Here’s what else has gone down since we left for the break:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the football season over we can now fully concentrate on the NBA.  Last weekend the article did awesome.  I had my best day of the year and if you followed the write up I am sure you did well too.  We have a 7 game slate on tap for tonight.  I want you to take note that I am not going to write up any of the starting Golden St. players.  It’s not that they aren’t good plays.   Golden St. is in the middle of a tough schedule.  They are playing their 6th game in 8 days, the  third set of a series of b2b’s.  After playing a tough game in Atlanta last night, a game against the Knicks gives Steve Kerr a opportunity to limit the minutes or rest some of the starters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After celebrating Ohio State’s National Championship on Monday, LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup on Tuesday. He picked up right where he left off, scoring 33 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists following a two-week break due to knee and back issues. The Cavaliers still lost the game, but fantasy owners won’t care about the Cavs’ record as long as James continues to put up lines like that.

James looked healthy and explosive, especially on these dunks. He wasn’t on a minutes restriction, as he saw 37 minutes of court time. James’ return pushes Mike Miller back to the bench, but he wasn’t providing much in starter’s minutes anyways.

While Miller moved back to the bench, J.R. Smith put up 29 points in his third start for the Cavs, after scoring 4 and 27 points in his two previous starts. It’s clear that Smith can still score in bunches on any given night, but expect the inconsistency to continue, as he is the fourth option on offense. There are just not enough shots to go around when you’re starting alongside Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James.

Now that J.R. Smith is teammates with Shawn Marion, perhaps Smith will stop trying to untie Marion’s shoes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What a game in London!  One of the biggest franchises in the NBA, losers of 15 straight heading into yesterday’s international soiree, were the heavy underdogs to the Bucks.  Yikes.

Best player in the game?  Probably my boyfriend!  Brandon Knight went all Guy Ritchie on the Knicks for 6 Snatches and a 20/5/6/6/0 line.  Hit two threes and continues to be a FT% beast with 6-6 from the stripe.  Really the only annoying thing about Knight right now is he only had one game this week!  Friggin’ Brits.  Stealing our ideas like “sovereignty” and “not beheading people”.  Black Mirror is pretty dope though!  There is one thing about Knight that is actually a little concerning – papi no likey el TO!  3.4 per game with another 3 yesterday.  But so far in Janurary – very small sample bias – they’re down a tad.  Really like Knight ROS, and as a possible husband.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

[NOTE – I’ll be out of town Monday, so I’ll be back with the weekend/Monday recap on Tuesday!]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I hope everyone in Razzball Nation had a fantastic Christmas!  Hopefully Santa brought you many-a-counting-stats presents and stuffed your stocking with the same vigor as John Henson.

So I’m not too big into that Facebook thing, but a lot of the fam seemed to mention their “Year in Review” and the weird shizz it pulled in over the Holidays.  Mine was two pictures other people put up and tagged me in, with a message reading “you have no life!”  But if the magical minions put together a Razzball Year in Review, it would be peppered with more #OccupyDraymondGreen than you could throw a stick at!  It’s hard to believe that the #OccupyDraymondGreen movement started on February 13th this year, and he was at 0% owned only a few games before the name was bequeathed.  The #Occupy culture became a viral movement here at Razzball, with only us alternative lifestyle hipsters ranking him top-100 coming into the season.  Boo-yah!  Season made right there, screw any of that Victor Oladipo nonsense…  While I had little-to-no concern David Lee would sap anything from the #Occupiers, Draymond Green had a coincidental teeny-tiny lull before some unreal rainbows on Christmas and last Saturday, going 10/10/3/2/2 on JC’s Bday and the biggie 4/8/6/6/3 against the Wolves in 32 scrappy minutes.  Late entry to that comment!  As we head into 2015, be sure to reflect on the highs-and-lows and whenever possible – #OccupyDraymondGreen!  Here’s what else Santa has brought to us fantasy owners since Christmas:

Please, blog, may I have some more?