Playoff basketball – yes spelled “basketball” – is underway, got some great games to kick it off, including from our boy PBev!  While I’m coming around and trying to watch more playoff hoops (baseball is still fresh and new, sue me!), I’m still more excited for the hopes and dreams of 2017-18 fantasy titles.

In case you’re still catching up, here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 ranks, which hopefully mostly hold up (they mostly come out at night…) for the 2017-18 season.  Of course my boldest call of Rudy #10 gets greeted by a first quarter knee injury in game 1 of the playoffs, hooray!  C’mon Rudy, just stay healthy, no one in fantasy cares how you play in the playoffs!  Hah!  So let’s all hope none of these guys in my 11-25 get injuries their next postseason game…  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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In a battle for real life playoff implications, Hassan Whiteside tipped in Goran Dragic’s missed putback to give the Heat a 97-96 win:

It was just the tip, but sometimes that’s all you need, as the Heat went up a game on the Bulls and 2.5 games ahead of the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the east. Whiteside finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Dragic added 28/4/4 on 9-16 shooting.

Oddly enough, it was the Heat’s first game-winning buzzer-beater since 2013, when a little known player by the name of LeBron James beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the playoffs in full swing, every game matters, so here are the rest of your nightly notables:

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The Bulls came into Toronto having beat the Raptors in 11 straight games. It took overtime, but the Raptors snapped the losing streak behind DeMar DeRozan’s 42 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Double D shot 17-38 and helped erase a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter to secure the win.

DeRozan battled all game against Jimmy Butler, who also went off for 37/10/6. Despite these two all-stars’ phenomenal performances, the game was overshadowed by the fight between Serge Ibaka (16 and 6) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks):

Usually Lopez only fights mascots, but took exception to Ibaka’s shove in the back. Fortunately the guys were separated rather quickly, but the league will obviously review the fight and make a decision later on whether either player will be suspended any games. Personally, I’d expect both guys to miss at least one game, but hopefully it’s just a fine and they return for their teams’ next game.

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C.J. McCollum, last year’s Most Improved Player, continues his ascension as one of the best shooting guards in the game. In a battle for the 8th playoff spot in the west between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, McCollum dropped 32 points (13-21 FG), none bigger than his runner with 0.9 seconds left that sealed a Blazers’ win:

Ultimately the game winner, it came right after Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch three to put the Mavericks up 113-112 with 3.9 seconds to go. Nowitzki turned back the clock in the game to post 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 threes, but it wasn’t enough as McCollum put the nail in the coffin.

The 4th year guard is having a career year, but has been shooting even better lately. In the last 5 games, he’s knocked down 13-28 from deep and shot 55.8% from the field overall.

Having such an efficient backcourt mate has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard (29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 threes), who is having his best shooting season of his career as well.

Unfortunately, both guys will need to continue to step up, if the Blazers have a chance at the playoffs, as guard Evan Turner broke his right hand in the third quarter of the game. No timetable has been announced, but he should miss at least a couple weeks. The injury should open up opportunities for Allen Crabbe (4 points) and Maurice Harkless (8 points, 7 rebounds).

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday, as only 3 games were played. JB made sure to make it known to me that he had to recap 11 games on Monday. Boy, did I get lucky this week! Here are the rest of the nightly notables:

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Down at halftime and without fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry took over in the 2nd half, carrying the Raptors to an overtime victory against the Pelicans. He hit a big time step back jumper with just 4.3 seconds to play to secure the win. Lowry finished with 33 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and a season-high 6 threes.

After returning to the court on Sunday, DeRozan experienced swelling in his ankle, forcing him to sit Tuesday’s game. He’s already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, giving Lowry another chance at monster scoring numbers.

Known for pouring it on in stretches, it was his 3rd straight 30+ point game, the longest streak of his career. Had he scored 1 more point last Wednesday, he’d have a streak of 5 games. You’re already starting Lowry regardless, but the loss of DeRozan really ups Lowry’s value.

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Some fun drama in the NBA this weekend! And not the kind about the Poppycockers being a super trainwreck… More fun shade being thrown than that!

While beating the Grizzlies 112-109 Friday night, the Blazers official Twitter account decided to stir up some ish by clowning Chandler Parsons on this airball:

“To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket.” You tell em, Portland! Then Parsons tweeted back “good luck in the lottery show year”. Well, while kinda a burn, you just missed a trey by about 7 feet, and you’ve been a bigger trainwreck than the Knicks this year… And C.J. McCollum didn’t let it slide either.

Fantasy owners feel the same way! All my non-Parsons teams are doing WAY better than where I wasted a damned pick on this schmohawk in the middle rounds! Ugh, this has been one of my worst calls in my Razzball tenure, as Parsons’ knees have made him a shell of his former, dynamic self when he was finishing up 15-16 with Dallas. It’s always a gamble to draft a guy off a major surgery – one could almost say it’s like trying to win the lottery! And as of yet, I haven’t won millions of dollars in the Mega Millions, so I shouldn’t have gone for it here! I still think there could be a nice finish post-ASB once he has that full off-week to ice up those knees, but after 8/2/2 and that labradoodle shot Friday, followed by a DNP-rest Saturday, I feel like I need to be flogged in the Razzball city square. At least he’s played 21+ minutes the past two games…? Is that all I can really find positive in this?! He’s involved in fun social media drama, can we make that a stat cat?! D’Angelo Russell, first rounder! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:

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Was it enough to topple the visiting Boston Horford’s? Well, no, because the evolution of Muggsy Bogues, Isaiah Thomas, is as as it gets in the 4th quarter, but you can’t say the Hawks had their winning streak snapped due to anything Tim Hardaway Jr. did. We knew from his days as a Knick that he could fire up shots, but as a Hawk this year he’s starting to play with a much higher efficiency, and from a fantasy perspective it’s exactly what we need. I’ll save that for a moment, though, and focus for a second on why it’s what the Hawks need, too. Sure, an efficient scorer is every team’s need, but when you trade one of the greatest shooters, especially while defended, in NBA history in Kyle Korver there’s a chasm-wide role left to fill. It seemed as though the Hawks were planning on throwing in the towel to rebuild with Carver’s trade a harbinger of future moves and a move towards their youth. But whether it’s still a play for the future (THJ is a free agent after this year) to showcase his value, or simply a pure replacement to Korver, Hardaway Jr.’s never played like this before. The league’s taken notice, but have you yet for fantasy?

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So my lead on Tuesday morning about Derrick Rose disappearing on his team (Gone Girl 2 – Gone Rose!) I thought would be a pretty bad low point for the Poppycockers. But I dunno, I think they may have hit it last night! Rose was surprisingly vintage Rose – considering all the rumors he wanted a buy out or the Knicks should suspend him for a while – for 25/2/4/1/0 on 11-16 shooting. That said, he was -21 in a 1-point loss, while the bench kept the Knicks in it. In the end though, the Poppycockers just didn’t have an answer for this new, upstart PG who is taking his offensive game in the league by storm! And of course I’m talking about T.J. McConnell!

Melo, you just got skeeted on! “What is that in your hair?! Is that hair gel?!” “No, Melo, it’s Dapper Dan!” Yup, hit the buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks 98-97, for NY’s 9th loss of their last 10. To quote the immortal Friends like I love to do, “There’s rock bottom, then 50-feet of crap, then” the Knicks! But hat’s off (because it would mess up the gel) to T.J. running away with the Sixers PG job, playing a team-high 34 minutes of 8/6/7/2/0 on 4-6 shooting with 2 TO. Pretty solid, efficient line. On the flip side, Sergio Rodriguez is turning into melted White Chocolate, going 14 minutes of 2/1/4/0/0 on 1-7 shooting with 3 TO. The two could still flip flop, but T.J. has always been a Brett Brown guy, and this was a pretty big moment. Dapper D should probably be owned in all 12ers, although if you have AST locked down, I’m not sure what else you’ll be happy with. 2 steals in 4 straight is nice I guess, but no 3s, low scoring, bad FG%… Wait, why do I hate on this guy but love Ricky Rubio?! I guess it’s all in the spiciness, baby! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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You hate to see in sports when a guy gets hurt, then loses his starting spot once he’s back to action. Usually it’s for a youthful upside guy that takes off when given an expanded role, but don’t say that to Alex Smith… And it’s not like Matthew Dellavedova was some sort of entrenched starter either… Before we feel too bad for this guy, he just sold his life story into a movie. Crocodile Dundee 4 – Welcome to the NBA! The last one was written by someone in fantasy sports, gimme the green light, Hollywood! Delly returned from 5 games off with a bum hammy (due to all his storyline pitching to studios) to go 2/2/4/1/0 in 18 minutes off the bench. Taking the starting minutes like a bull by the horns (maybe I should’ve gone with “Buck” by the horns!), Malcolm Brogdon had a fire lit under him yesterday afternoon seeing the incumbent get back, posting a career-high 22 points on a 22/1/5/3/1 line with 2 treys.

Hitting his Js and taking it to the rack! Take that, Dundee! They actually overlapped a few minutes as well, and while I still don’t think Brogdon is going to keep ascending (and Delly was likely on a little bit of a leash), I kinda wish I got some Broggy shares. Alsoh, there was Disturbingly no Giannis Antetokounmpo who was down with the sickness, but someone needed to score a little more, and Malcolm stepped up! If he’s somehow still available in your 12ers (maybe he was cut for streaming with Delly coming back), I’d be sure and give him an add. But in 10ers it might get a little roster crunchy. Roster Crunchy – a new cereal from Patty General Mills! Here’s what else went down over a cold & snowy weekend of fantasy basketball action:

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A lot of people were mad at 2016. Thought it was a year without morality. Without decency. Without justice… So I’m watching the Thunder/Hornets last night, and in the 3rd quarter, Dell Curry is like, “I just had some terrible news cross my desk – Justise Winslow is going to be out for the year.” Whoa, way to be a news breaker, Dell! He also broke the news that his wife was in the crowd and circled her on the teleprompter when the camera showed her, so there’s that… Awk-ward! Anyway, Winslow’s injured shoulder ended up being a labrum tear, after it was reported it was only a tweak and he didn’t anticipate it being a long-term issue. Doctor G, how come major tears only feel like tweaks sometimes?! He’s going to have corrective surgery today and will likely miss the rest of the season, ya know, unless the Heat make the playoffs! Hahahahaha, sorry Slim, had to do it… This is definitely a bummer, because we saw this with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and he ended up tearing it a second time after only a few games back, so I’m going to be very leery about ranking Winslow decently next year. Well, the injury, and the fact he’s going to end the year shooting 35.4% from the field. Yeesh. So with Miami lacking any Justise, it would appear James Johnson is going to get all the minutes he can handle, and is must own for me ROS. Really everywhere. I raved about him as the lead to the notes earlier in the week, Adam led with him for RazzWired, and he shouldn’t have any issue getting 30ish MPG the rest of the way. I was initially surprised to only see 25 minutes last night in a 5-point win, but yeah, he fouled out (game was on too late for grandpa JB!). 14/6/6/0/3 for JJ on an awesomely efficient night, shooting 4-8 FG, knocking down 2 treys, and hitting 4-4 FT. Only black eye was the 3 TO, which look like will be an issue for him as he takes on a big role on the offense. So be sure Johnson is owned in all your leagues, and hopefully by the 17-18 season, we’ll see a return of Justise in the world! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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