How did the Celtics make the playoffs?!  I mean, I know it’s the East, but sheesh Brad Stevens can grind my gears!  I feel like slamming him in my Peter Griffin voice!

And sinking the game-winner for the Quahog Celtics was Jae Crowder, the unlikely hero in only 21 minutes off the bench.  9/4/0/2/0 last night, and if only style points helped your fantasy line!  Hah, look at Tyler Hansbrough put his hands on his head…  Wasn’t bad defense though!  Boston Clam Crowder just going ham…  Can you have ham in clam chowdah?  I somehow doubt it…  This game as a whole was pretty boring for fantasy, with no one scoring over 16 Pts.  And Stevens said he’s going to run the C’s like a bad chowder – thin – tonight in the season finale with the #7 seed locked up.  So adios Celtics muchachos!  Unlike my hummin’ fantasy baseball pitching staffs – it’s time to move away from the Greene.  Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Playoffs? Unlike Jim Mora, there’s no question it’s playoff time. With the season almost over, tough decisions and moves need to be made. A guy that helped you during the regular season may not be helpful now. You’re trying to win a championship and there are only so many weeks left in the season to accomplish that. Hopefully your team is healthy, but if not, here’s an update on the latest injuries:

Dwight Howard returned for the Houston Rockets, after missing 26 games with swelling in his right knee. In 16 minutes as a starter, Howard recorded 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. Howard only played 16 minutes because of a minutes’ restriction, rather than because of foul trouble (he had 4 fouls in the game).

This is definitely good news for the Rockets and fantasy owners’ playoff runs. Each game, Howard should see his minutes rise, but it probably won’t be another week or so until he’s back to playing full minutes. Even then, he may sit a game or two if he feels any discomfort or the Rockets decide to rest him for the playoffs. This is pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me, since Howard has been limited to 33 games this season. The Rockets want to be careful with him.

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Well, I can’t say I haven’t been steadfast (double negative police!) about my Dwight Howard hatred…  Look at that rock bottom red right there!

And with Dwight coming back from his knee injury and the precursing news of his return, I have said I wouldn’t add him in virtually any 10 or 12ers.  I don’t trust the minutes, and after giving Slim a 19 minutes over/under for Dwight’s return on the Pod, he only went for 16:27 putting up 4/7/2/0/1 with a TO.  At least he stayed off the FT line!  After we had started the Pod, McHale said he was only giving Dwight 16 minutes, just enough to be sure his TO and FT% wouldn’t hurt fantasy teams.  I may have been liberal with McHale’s quote for that last part…  In 8-cat or non-FT% leagues I guess he probably should be scooped up, but he’ll probably sit back-to-backs and the Rockets have a pair left on the schedule with Sun/Mon and Wed/Thurs games this upcoming week.  Get your sales ready, Big & Tall, we got a bigun needing more street clothes!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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So the Daily Notes usually focuses on a short-term look at the past (i.e. the games yesterday!), but we’re going to do something a little different today in the open.

With week 20 abreast (so underused!), in standard H2H scheduling it’s the final week of the regular season.  In other leagues it’s the first week of the playoffs or nearing the end in Roto, so any way you slice it, it’s the most important week so far, OK?!

And in this most important week, those ridiculous New York Poppycockers have five games.  Five!  So all of their not-must-ownable schlubs suddenly have the appeal of Elisabeth Shue in The Saint.  Mmmmmmm!

A quick comparison – Langston Galloway since the break (aka Carmelo Anthony shutdown) is 10.8/5.0/2.5/1.3/0.4 with 1.3 3PTM and 1.4 TO.  So lets compare that, with say, Bradley Beal.  His 14.9/3.8/3.0/1.3/0.3 is a smidge stronger with 1.7 3PTM and 1.9 TO, and Beal is a much, much better player.  But his 3 game week you’d get roughly 45/11/9/4/1 with 5 3s and 6 TO, compared to The Harlem Renaissance for 54/25/20/7/2 with 7 treys and 7 TO.  In weekly leagues, these horrible Knicks deserve a long hard look.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Louis Amundson are both questionable with back spasms tonight, so a little risky there.  Shane Larkin, Alexey Shved, and Cole Aldrich make interesting streamer options though.  And there’s of course Il Diva still out there in 68% of leagues.  Andrea Bargnani is tough to ignore, even in the shallowers.  Plus I can link this for the third time in the past week or two.  “I’m a peacock, Captain, you gotta let me fly!”  Here’s what went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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Who is the hottest team in the NBA right now?  The Pacers are surprisingly playing well and OKC is still winning through injuries, but those Utah Jazz are as tough to score on as the bookish chicks in college!

5-1 since the trade deadline, the Jazz have wins against Portland, San Antonio and now Memphis in that span (their loss was against the Lakers, but we’ll overlook that), and other than that fluke Lakers game, no one has scored over 82 points.  And we all know the key to the Jazz D is Rudy Gobert.  Moving into the starting line-up, Gobert has been playing unreal with a 15/24/1/0/0 line last night on 6-10 FG and 3-4 FT.  He was on a 6-game streak of 3+ blocks, so a random outlier of 0 last night isn’t a biggie especially since Marc Gasol loves his mid-range.

I’ve seen a few comments of owners looking to trade for FG% and a big man boost, and I would be all-in on trying to bring Rudy to those squads.  Even his FT% is improving at 11-15 from the stripe the past 3!  And the Jazz have that oh so saucy 4/4/4 playoff sched.  Yesterday on the Podcast, I asked Slim if he would take Gobert or Hassan Whiteside first in next year’s drafts.  It’s really really close and comes down to a points need (Whiteside) vs. steals need (Gobert).  It’s crazy that probably the biggest value change during the deadline was just the stubborn Jazz finally unleashing the beast that is Gobert.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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“Hey JB G.”

I feel like I’ve played this song and dance all year.  “I love KCP!”  “KCP is dead to me!”  “He’s a usable ThrAGNOF!”  “He’s worse than month-old stroganoff!”  And on and on and on like a never clean addict.  “Why can’t I quit you?!”

In what was a great game until the 4th quarter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had maybe one of his best games as a pro.  It didn’t show up in any glaring numbers on the stat sheet, but this new backcourt with Reggie Jackson is mad fun.  KCP for 21/2/1/2/0 hitting 7-13 FG (5-7 3PTM) including two ridiculous threes in transition.  Both would’ve been near-cringeworthy if he missed them!  Lead the break in unfavorable numbers (more or less was just KCP vs. 2 or 3 defenders) and pulled up leaning forward burying them both.  Then in back-to-back plays, knocked the ball of LeBron James‘ leg for a TO then drew a charge, both in transition where LeBron is his best.  Just the overall confidence and swagger was there that I haven’t always seen.  Then again, I am always biased due to the addiction!  I was brushing my teeth with my finger and hopping around like a madman this whole game…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Well, it finally happened. The New York Knicks shut down Carmelo Anthony for the season. The news isn’t surprising, especially after he went 6-20 in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. The East players tried their best to get Anthony the ball, but it was clear something was amiss with his jump shot.

On Thursday, Anthony had successful surgery to repair his patella tendon in his left knee. The initial recovery time is around 4-to-6 months, but more will be known about his timeline in the days after the surgery. He’s safe to drop in all redraft leagues.

As mentioned in previous injury posts, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Langston Galloway become the primary beneficiaries on offense. Someone will have to take the shots that Anthony was accustomed to taking. When starting this season, Hardaway has averaged 14.6 ppg and 2.1 3PTM, while Galloway has averaged 11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 3.0 apg. Readily available on the waiver wire (22% for Hardaway and 24% for Galloway in Yahoo leagues), these guys can become useful pickups for the playoff run.

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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Oh man, not a fun night for Mark Cuban unless he’s also invested in the Dallas area sports medicine clinics.  The way the NBA has gone this year, it’d be a smart investment!

First into the Shark Tank was Tyson Chandler, who sprained his ankle a minute and half in and couldn’t return.  He had an earlier ankle sprain and it didn’t cost him any time, so even though it looked bad, ol’ Tyson is no Chicken.  Then a mere couple minutes later, Monta Ellis hurt his hip and only played 3 and a half minutes.  As Kevin tells us in The Office – “That’s Dallas!”  Man, good thing the All-Star Break is right around the corner!  Even if both guys say they’re 100%, I see no reason why the Mavs would push em for their game tomorrow night hosting the Jazz.  While they’re out, we’re a bunch of preying sharks circling the bloody waters like Mr. Wonderful and Herjavec!  And last night it was the hairless ghost (wait, ghosts usually don’t have hair right?) of Charlie Villanueva who piled up some junky stats hitting 9-13 from the field for 26/5/1 with 5 treys.  Was awful other than points and treys with 3-6 FT and 4 TO.  Big man ThrAGNOF!  But for me, the big winner for tomorrow night is Mark Cuban’s own (seriously, kinda seems like he’s his dadShawn Marion comp?) Al-Farouq Aminu.  Only 19 minutes last night, but hit all the cats for 5/6/1/1/1.  Mark Cuban Jr. is only owned in 10% of Yahoo leagues, and in a shortened week where every steal and block will count, he should be one of your first calls on the wire in what should be a spot-start.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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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.

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