ESPN picked a good one for their weekly Wednesday night NBA showcase. Stephen Curry vs. John Wall, two of the best point guards in the league. It was a very high scoring, up-tempo game, with the final score 134-121. And the stars did not disappoint.

Curry started out on fire, scoring 25 points in the first quarter and 36 in the first half. He cooled down a little bit, but still knocked down 11 of his 16 three point attempts, en route to 51 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Wow. Just like his Charlotte buddy Cam Newton, can they crown him MVP already?

John Wall was doing his best to cover Curry, but it’s a difficult job, even for a strong defender like Wall. Since he couldn’t stop him, Wall tried to match him offensively, finishing with 41 points, 10 assists, and 3 rebounds. He even knocked down all 3 of his three-point attempts, a facet of his game that is nowhere near the level of Curry. It was nice to watch two point guards with very different styles of game dominate the box score.

Oh, and lost in this point guard matchup was that Draymond Green got his league leading 10th triple-double with 12 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. He even added 5 blocks as a point forward!

As a Wizards fan, I figured that the Warriors would win the game, but was happy to see the Wizards play the defending NBA champions close for stretches of the game. Now onto the other nightly notables:

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Monday night’s heavyweight match between the two best teams in the league mostly disappointed. Sure, Stephen Curry and the Warriors were fun to watch, but the Spurs were mostly a no show, losing 120-90.

On Wednesday, the Spurs returned home to host the Rockets. They took all of their rage out on the self-destructing Rockets, destroying them 130-99. Do you think the Spurs were mad about losing by 30 on Monday night?

Scoring only 5 points on Monday, LaMarcus Aldridge rebounded to lead the Spurs with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. Danny Green knocked down 6 threes to post 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. That’s more like it Aldridge and Green!

Kawhi Leonard (18 points) and Tony Parker (15 points, 7 assists) got in on the fun too, as Tim Duncan sat another game, while the Spurs await the MRI results on his knee. If Duncan misses substantial time, the Spurs will roll with a combo of Kyle Anderson (7/3/1), David West (4/2/2), and Boris Diaw (0/2/3), depending on matchups.

I would really love to see more of Boban Marjanovic, but I think he’s a little too big to see much more than 20 minutes a night. The dude’s 7’3” and weighs 290, with ears that give Barack Obama a run for his money, but his hands are crazy big. They make normal people’s hands look worthless, Ray McCallum’s head small, and a gallon of ice tea look like a juice box. Thanks to the blowout, Marjanovic posted a 13/10 double-double in 17 minutes.

Now onto the other nightly notables:

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The Slayer got Slayed! Or something like that…

After showing up to Friday’s game against the Lakers in a Slayer shirt, Russell Westbrook is trying to show he’s heavy even though he looks like an outcast from an 80s version of Annie. Are those leggings?! And I guarantee whatever he’s listening to isn’t Reign in Blood… Westy is always trying to be fashion-y, but while he spent Friday night and Saturday cutting holes in some other band’s T-Shirt for his next statement, he overlooked the Blazers and The Omen! Damian Lillard just went mad ham on Westbrook, going 31/7/9/2/0 with 8 treys, including 5 down the stretch for a comeback win. This was after going rainbow on the Warriors Friday night for 40/3/10/2/2 and 6 treys. Hopefully these stats don’t lie, and the plantar fascia is healed up for Lillard to be healthy the rest of the way. However, it is a concern as the Blazers have shown caution holding him out so long and they’re obviously not a playoff team. Hell, they even sat C.J. McCollum with no injury at all! If you’re a top playoff team with great PG stats, I might ride this Omen streak a few more weeks then sell to try to minimize some risk. A big argument in my high Lillard rank was his durability, but with a lingering injury like plantar fascia, it could easily crop back up by late-March and April and cost us games. Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action, and The 7 Ahead for week 12:

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No, no, no, we never root for injuries. It’s terrible fantasy karma. But as one of the main cliches as fantasy lays out – injuries are the great equalizer. They end campaigns and create opportunities. Fortunately the torn ACL to Jarrett Jack isn’t going to end anyone’s campaign! But the opportunity for Shane Larkin is monumental.

Last Saturday night, we saw the dreaded non-contact knee buckle from Jack against the Celtics, and we got the somber news yesterday afternoon that he has a torn ACL and meniscus. “Wahhhhhh, I bet I never start a game again!” Meh, the Wahhhh gag just seems too mean right now… And if you listen to the Pod, you know I’m a Jack supporter and of course everyone in Razzball Nation wishes him a speedy recovery. But with the starting job open, Larkin-the-Herald-Angels-Sing immediately steps in as the no-question starter. While he’s looked mad impressive to me the few Nets games I’ve watched and he’s certainly a must-add, I’m not banking on top-50 value or anything. His skill set should make him more valuable than Jack as the starter with more 3s and STL, but I imagine he’ll have fewer AST with the same bad TO. Add Larkin everywhere, and if he starts absolutely gangbusters then sell high. I also could see Donald Sloan having a bigger role than most envision – after that nice run he had in Indy to start last year, I was really impressed with him as a player. Here’s what else went down over our first weekend of 2016, and The 7 Ahead for Week 11:

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The Kobe Bryant farewell tour has already begun. After announcing that he would be retiring this past weekend, teams will start giving him the Derek Jeter treatment as fans and teams say goodbye to the legend.

There was a lot of fanfare when Bryant returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday night, where his basketball journey began. The hype was there and despite a strong start, the Lakers lost, giving the 76ers their first win of the season. Bryant shot 7-26 from the field, including 4-17 from downtown. Definitely not the homecoming that everyone was expecting.

On Wednesday, Bryant played his last game at the Verizon Center and boy did he leave those in attendance with a memorable performance. Fresh off his poor shooting Tuesday, Bryant shot 10-24 from the field and 4-11 from downtown. Not vintage Kobe, but a marked improvement. More importantly, 12 of his season-high 31 points came in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers defeated the Wizards.

Now this was definitely one of his best games of the season. Maybe with the Lakers’ season over and having already announced his retirement, Kobe will have one less thing on his mind and start to play better. I mean he can’t shoot any worse, right? I wouldn’t necessarily be buying low, but I’d hold onto him and pick him up in any leagues where impatient owners have dropped him. You never know, maybe he closes out his last season healthy and on a tear, a la Mariano Rivera (and that wasn’t an ACL joke).

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Jump Ball A Matty Series PNG

Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard

TALE OF THE TAPE

KAWHI LEONARD JIMMY BUTLER
San Antonio Spurs Team Chicago Bulls
SG, SF Position (Y! Eligibility) SG, SF
2014 Results
12th 9-Cat Rank (Total Value) 15th
6th 9-Cat Rank (Per Game) 8th
64 Games Played 65
31.8 Minutes Per Game 38.7
21.4 (T-93rd) Usage Rate (Rank) 20.6 (T-112th)
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…Well I dunno what he woulda snitched about, but ya know…

The injuries and tanking DNPs continue in one of the most utterly annoying final months to the NBA in recent memory.  There will always be guys getting hurt, but we’ve lost yet another with Hassan Whiteside tearing up his hand and needing 10 stitches last night after jamming it up against the rim.  Right in the webbing!  Between the fingers!  Youchie.  After the game he said he couldn’t feel it.  I’m no doctor, but none of that sounds good for his status tonight!  I mean, sometimes losing all feeling in a hand can be good like in The Stranger…  Certainly sounds like he’ll take at least a game off, unless they can fit him with one of those oven mitts they give guys in the NFL when they play with broken hands.  It might end up being a good thing, because if Kelly Olynyk says something about Whiteside’s mama, we could see an even longer suspension!  Here’s what else went down last night in another “dropping like flies” night of fantasy basketball action:

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I’ve never been a huge fan of his, but at least Mo Williams makes it really easy to have a punny title…

I would’ve said you’re as high as Busta Rhymes if you told me Mo Will was about to drop 50 last night.  What a crazy, crazy world we live in where the T’Wolves finally break out of their 15-game losing streak behind a franchise record 52-point game.  Some really weird biguns for the Wolves, remember when Corey Brewer put up 51 last year?  So both of those guys stay in the franchise record books as better scorers than Kevin Love or Kevin Garnett.  Go figure.  Makes me wanna headbutt something!  Mo with an unbelievable line of 52/4/7 hitting 19-33 FG (6-11 3PTM 8-9 FT).  Where to even start with the crazy?!  Mo hadn’t scored 30 since MARCH 2012 (!!) according to our friends at Rotoworld.  I would look at his game-logs to fact check, but we don’t fact check!  And as good as this game is, he’s not even a good pickup!  I think that’s the craziest thing…  Ricky Rubio is almost back to retake the PG minutes, and even if Flip wanted to run some combo guard lineups out there, Kevin Martin (so many Kevins in Timberwolves history!) is almost back.  Plus this game should make him easier to sell in the NBA.  Might get the Wolves a first rounder.  So while Mo is maybe worth an add for the very short-term (only 32% owned on Yahoo late last night), I’m certainly not losing anyone of value for him.  Here’s what else went down on a crazy and injury-riddled night of NBA action:

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Brandon Jennings is terrible.

I pretty much wanted to kill the open right there, but “journalistic integrity” or whatever…  In a horrific shooting display, BJ flat out sucked for 5-18 shooting and it was equally as painful to watch as Josh Smith at shootaround.  A few fadeaway treys, bricked layups… You name it.  I honestly think a big part of the Pistons game plan right now is have BJ shoot like a hot dog, and rely on the O-boards from Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.  Drummo’s OREB gave me an O-face last night, that’s for sure!  Racked up 7 OREB and Monroe had 5, and I’m guessing almost all of those came on BJ’s bricks.  If terrible shots leading to OREB and putbacks counted as assists, Jennings would be John Stockton.  Of course, sometimes there’s some Flubber on the ball and it goes in, but this is an immense sell-high window.  Probably a Sportscenter Top-10 layup, and has been playing fairly well lately.  Even D.J. Augustin at 8-18 FG 19/0/5 couldn’t get Stan Van to flip-flop PG down the stretch.  We’re used to seeing flip-flops!  Stan Van coaching like Laguna Beach.  Jennings is a big name on the trading block as well, and the Pistons aren’t hesitant to give players away, as in cutting J Smoove.  One rumor I read was Houston…  They would be the worst shooting team in NBA history!  Success for Houston would obviously be bringing in two guys from a former 5-23 team… Then again, the Pistons just won on the road in San Antonio for their 6th straight, and they are – you won’t believe this – now 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the East.  Hah!  Trade or no trade, labradoodle-city Jennings could probably fetch an interesting ransom in the fantasy market as this current run is unsustainable.  Here’s what else went down in last night’s two games:

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We had the first big name get traded this year with Rajon Rondo getting dealt to the Mavs.  It’s a perfect “Shark Tank” deal for Mark Cuban.  It sends a message that the Mavs are going for it this year.  I don’t blame them since Dirk isn’t getting any younger.  I really like this deal for Dallas.  It brings stability to the PG position for Dallas and we seen in the past what Rondo can do with skilled talent surrounding him.  Dallas sure has that.  Plus, Rondo isn’t under contract next year. If it doesn’t work out in Dallas the Mavs aren’t on the hook for any money after this year.  I was surprised they got him so cheap.  Yeah, Dallas sent 3 players in the deal but it’s not like those players were really heavily involved in the rotation for the Mavs.  Also, rumors are the Celtics are already shopping Brandan Wright.  The only thing the Celtics really wanted was the two picks they got in the deal and the $12.9 million trade exception .  The Celtics now have eight first round picks in the next four years.  I’m also curious to see if what Jae Crowder can do if he gets some time.  I really liked his game at Marquette and never felt like he was given a great opportunity in Dallas.  Now the the player to keep your eye is first round pick Marcus Smart with Rodo out of town.  This kid can flat out score but the biggest hurdle is if he can stay healthy.  With all that said, how about we get on with this small 6 game slate: 

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