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.

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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!]

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Operation shutdown: when a team shuts down a star player in order to preserve them for the future. It’s a fear of every fantasy owner and that’s exactly what the Knicks are contemplating doing with Carmelo Anthony and his sore knee.

As a DC sports fan, I’m all too familiar with the shutdown. Different sport, different circumstances, but it’s the same idea.

As of now, Anthony refuses to be shut down. He’s said that his knee won’t get any worse by playing on it, but he’s already missed the last five games with the injury.

Having lost 14 games in a row, the Knicks have now surpassed the 76ers as the worst team in the league. It’s clear that the Knicks are in total rebuild mode. This week, the Knicks waived Samuel Dalembert and traded JR “I’ve Never Taken a Bad Shot” Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in a salary cap dump.

Right now, Anthony is day-to-day without a timetable for his return. He says he wants to play next week in London, but we don’t know for sure.

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I’ll admit it – I have very little to say of importance about the trade in relation to fantasy basketball, but the Cavs did get better, if Iman Shumpert can get (and stay!) healthy, he may have deep league defensive potential. Think a poor, poor man’s K.J. McDaniels. Poor. Maybe I’m reaching here to find some fantasy relevance, but to be clear, this is a “take stock of the flat top”, not “drop flop for flat top”, as he isn’t guaranteed the starting job when he comes back. I know JB already wrote something similar, but Dion Waiters is gonna have to show me he can get touches before I even speculate on him, as he’s clearly going to be coming off the bench. Really, unless you’re a fan of the 3 teams involved, it wasn’t really all that spectacular for any one team. So the Cavs won the trade, as they only gave up a 2019 second rounder, and nothing much else, (got J.R. Smith as a replacement for Waiters, so that was a lateral move) and got a potential defensive upgrade for the starting 5. We should all take the cue from the General Managers in our beloved NBA, and look at our fantasy squads and see who could be had, and who should be shipped out. If you’re considering making a move, have a gander at these fine fellows:

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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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Happy 2015 Razzball Nation!

I for one am elated the Holidays have wrapped up (big thanks again to Slim for his recap at the end of last week!), and ready to buckle down for the second half of the fantasy regular season in H2H.  My new year’s resolutions have been made – use Twitter more, swear a little less, work out a lot more…  But this gosh darn knee!  Eh, I’m pretty flippin’ flabby anyway…  Fiddlesticks!  Might as well shut it down…

And the talk for Carmelo Anthony‘s shutdown continually grow like a wave across the second level at Madison Square Garden.  Not like they have anything else to do…  Next new year’s resolution – less dot dot dots!  The 5-31 Knickerbockers (I’m calling them The Poppycockers the rest of the way) have been worse than even Spike Lee could have imagined after reading reviews of his Oldboy remake.  “Brooooooo – Liiiinnnnn!”  Some dude named Bondy (shakeny, not stirredy) from The New York Daily News reported Melo’s knee will need a minor surgery, so it’s not like Melo is just playing through general oldboy-ness.  He’s missed the last few after being awful for two straight to end December, so trading him off in fantasy leagues is redonk tough.  Last we checked in (mostly through comments), I’ve maintained I’m not giving him away, but it’s fairly close.  He’s about at the “leave on the curb” status rather than “driving him all the way to the dumpster.”  My best advice would be to find a need for your team, and go for a guy that hits that need without a huge overall rank – i.e. Trevor Ariza for some steals and treys.  Might not get Ariza these days, but yeah, something like that.  And I still think you gotta try and hold out until Melo plays a few in a row – he’s traveling with the team for the next two games so he’s likely to suit up at least once.  Here’s what else went on in fantasy basketball since we flipped the calendar:

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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:

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It’s like that scene in Moneyball when Beane-y Baby is talking to David Justice and says something along the lines of, “You pissed off the other team so much, they’re paying 2/3 your salary!”  Except the Pistons are going to pay 3/3 of Josh Smith‘s salary…

Geez, over the weekend plus a travel day, I feel like I missed two season’s worth of the NBA!  Smoove gets waived, there’s trades…  I think Andrew Wiggins is even contemplating retirement!  In Detroit Rock City, Stan Van is tired of seeing Detroit Brick City.  Shooting a career-low (even for Smoove!) 39.1% from the field (including 9-37 from deep for a Gargantuan 24.3 3PTM%), Stan Van is about as sick of labradoodles as Michael Vick.  Too soon!  I could go Larry Sanders there too, he is on my all-hate team…  Wow, this got too serious.  Josh Smith is terrible at basketball!  Another year of 2.6 TO is doing no favors, but even in only 32 minutes a game (a low since 2005-06), he’s at a career-best 4.7 AST this year.  Then again, another flip-side with a career worst 46.8 FT%.  I’m rattling things off we already know, but mostly want to mention in H2H leagues, he’s still a useful player if your team is built the right way.  And my pre-season rank was hoping he would come off the bench and boost the FG% and bad TO rate by playing against second units.  Right now the Rockets are front-runners to pick him up (which also is a big indictment on Terrence Jones coming back any time soon), which should limit his labradoodles and keep him in line for defensive stats.  I’m really hating what Stan Van is doing to DET for us fantasy-players – these shifts in minutes and rotations are infuriating – so I’m actually a little encouraged.  We’ll see how it shakes out, but if you’ve been able to weather the Smoove storm of horrific efficiency, I’d keep holding.  Here’s what else has gone on across the league since we last checked in:

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The embargo is lifted!  I can’t wait to buy some cigars… If you missed it, Obama has opened his front door to Cuba while continuing to backdoor the Canada oil pipeline.  Hey-o!

And Mark Cuban has opened up his roster for some international trade, bringing Rajon Rondo into Texas.  The Mavericks are reportedly changing their team name to the Dallas “You Don’t Mess With Texas!”  Huge move in real basketball, but who cares about any of that?!  Rondo takes a pretty substantial hit to his value, as Monta Ellis is going to sap a lot those assists with his slashes.  But it’s nothing to panic about, as his atrocious 40.5 FG% will go up and the 3.4 TO should go down.  And maybe a coach there can teach him how to hit a FT…

The rest of the swapperoo is Jameer NelsonBrandan WrightJae Crowder and a first-rounder to Boston for Rondo and Dwight Powell with a swap of second-round picks thrown around in there just to make it look fancier.  I guess if you still had Nelson in a 12 or 14er, he’s droppable.  I could see Tyler Zeller lose some PT to Wright, but who knows.  Chapel hill centers, reunite!  The obvious big impact here is Marcus Smart, who was at 30% owned right when the trade broke (somehow got him in both RCLs!).  That only shot up to 40% right when this posts, so he’s still available in several leagues.  Boston has no reason to start Nelson over him in order to get a ton of development time for their rook PG.  His fantasy game is really limited – I still don’t think the treys are going to come around in a huge way this year and we’ll be happy to see half the assists Rondo was getting a night.  But he should be plenty good enough for all 12ers.  Smart stashers feeling smart!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

[Psyche!  Quick note that I’m off next Monday, then Thursday and Friday due to Holiday scheduling.  So Daily Notes will only be out Tuesday and Wednesday next week, along with our Holiday special Razzball Basketball Podcast on Tuesday.  But I am of course always here for comments, even on Christmas, so if you need to get away from screaming kids in order to scream about how Batum has been awful, we’re ya spot!]

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Tracking Rudy Gobert‘s path to the NBA has been movie worthy.  After an accident at his former job at the local steel mill, Rudy had Jon Favreau (he really could be French!) keep his grades up in exchange for Rudy helping Jonny out with the ladies.  Gobert almost gave up on his dream for basketball, but Charles S. Dutton gave a heartfelt speech on BEING REAL!  Utah fans tried carrying Gobert off the court chanting “Rudy!  Rudy!” after that win against the Spurs last Tuesday, but it was a big hazard to the overhead lights.

Derrick Favors‘ ankle turned into a kankle over the weekend, but luckily X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day.  No reason for the lowly Jazz to throw him out there gimpy.  Monsieur Elbow time!  Filling in for Favors on Friday night, Rudy had one of the best games of his young career for 9/11/4/1/5 shooting 2-2 FG and 5-6 FT.  Followed it up with a start last night next to Enes Kanter for 7/9/0/2/3 in 31 minutes.  Playing with the big boys!  A wingspan that would make a pterodactyl jealous, Gobert should murder blocks for you if you’re able to stream him through the couple starts he’s likely to get this week.  No timetable for Favors, but big men + kankles = John Goodman.  I mean, not good for a speedy return.

Boy did the Fantasy God of Injuries not get enough human sacrifices over the weekend!  This might turn out to be the most depressing NBA recap I’ve ever written.   Stay positive JB!  Stay positive JB!  Thanks inner monologue…  Any other advice to help me get through today’s news?  Well, remember when in Interstellar it looked like there was no hope due to another Dust Bowl, then he just finds the newly incarnated NASA – – Wait, how does any of that make sense, they didn’t know he was alive yet he was their best hope!?  And then there’s that giant plot hole with the planet with the – – it just makes no – – uhughuhguhguhguhgug – – – - F, now my inner monologue is injured…  Here’s how the weekend of death went down in NBA action:

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