I always love when an off night (only 4 games yesterday) yields one of the best NBA games we’ve seen all year.  So many story lines, so many stars.  And more importantly – so much fantasy goodness!

I guess I shouldn’t have curtsied around it, but there’s no way Chris Paul doesn’t lead the NBA in assists this year.  I said in the first recap of the season he would average a bajillion assists and rack up double-digit dimes almost every game.  Score two for JB!  Averaging 12 a game equates to a bajillion, right?  John Stockton is deadpan staring me down right now. Creepy, Stockton!  Creepy… J.J. Redick will be a really underrated acquisition if the Clips indeed make a title run with how he helps space the floor with his movement and shooting, and while we all know Chris Paul is awesome, I’m already putting him as the #3 fantasy player right now, leapfrogging James Harden.

I lucked out getting last night’s only late game, making Yahoo highlights for the 137-118 Clippers win.  Pretty much everything played out like a video game.  Everyone was hitting 3s, the scoring was astronomical, the pace was like a Peyton Manning offense, and finished off with some late alleys for the icing on the cake.  Fantasy God #1 really got that L2 + Square alley working out by the end of the game; Fantasy God #2 just couldn’t quite time Harden’s 3-point shot release.  Wait, do they even need controllers?  We are the controllers!  Whoa, too much philosophizing.  Let’s just get this back on the rails and go over some of the news and notes from last night:

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Are you not entertained?!

Chris Paul sure put on a show last night, dropping treys, lobbing alleys, fending off tigers chained up as obstacles.  You name it!  He torched the Warriors in the Clippers “home opener” (despite it being their second straight game in LA) for an unreal 42/4/15 and 6 steals.  Shot 12-20 from the field and won you FT% this week going 16-17 at the stripe.  Paul was so much like Russell Crowe.  In LA there’s even a “Coliseum” (ok maybe that’s a stretch)!  Games like this support Doc wanting to cover up the banners and jerseys.  Even when Kobe gets back, Paul has to be the best player in LA.  I said it before on Opening Night and reiterate below, but the acquisition of J.J. Redick does wonders for Paul in the Clippers spacing.  I said he’ll have double-digit assists almost every game.  I said he’d score 42 against the Warriors.  Dammit, OK so I didn’t say that second one.  Elite assists and steals are par for the course, and scoring like this in a few more games will have him the easy #3 fantasy player.  Here’s what else I saw in last night’s two NBA games:

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Despite the two nationally telecast Opening Night games (with the Heat/Bulls starting at 8:00 PM EST), the season really started at 7:00 with the Magic against the Pacers.  Non-fantasy players probably didn’t know this game ever happened.  All the sudden in the second quarter, Andrew Nicholson just went off, going 8-9 in the first half with 18 points.  Next thing you know, ESPN Fantasy Basketball is down.  Why RCL is on Yahoo!  But despite the Magic losing the lead and the offense going stagnant early in the third, Nicholson only played another few minutes in the second half and got stuck at 18 points in 19 minutes, only taking one additional shot and going 8-10 on the night.  Womp womp.  I never thought too much of Nicholson and don’t think he’s a guy to go rush to the wire for (unlike ESPN fantasy players!), and don’t forget Tobias Harris sat out with the ailing ankle.  19 minutes sounds about right for Nicholson, and he’s obviously not going to be a 48 PPG scorer per 48.  But I hope the kid enjoyed the moment in the sun during that first half shooting spree.  You temporarily broke Fantasy!  He was like the Fantasy Basketball Kevin Ogletree.  Here’s what else went down last night in the NBA:

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Razzball Nation!  You’ve been clamoring for some updated rankings, and here they come!  I’m going to release them slowly, teasing them out, just like how we did the offseason rankings 5 months ago.  These top guys haven’t changed too much, but the rankings will expand to the top 200, culminating in an easy-to-use and frequently updated cheat sheet you can use during all your drafts as they commence in the next few months.  Fantasy NBA is coming and we’re ready to win you titles (or titties – depending on your league’s prize pool).  Previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank:

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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Heading into the upcoming Fantasy Basketball Season, Razzball will be interviewing local NBA beat writers for some actual in-depth basketball knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy basketball knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NBA team through the summer. This installment comes courtesy of Devin Kharpertian from leading Brooklyn Nets blog The Brooklyn Game.

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Ah the fantasy basketball offseason.  It’s a magical time where the weather gets nicer, people get out of the arenas (unless their team is still in the playoffs) and start playing outdoor sports.  Pshhh playing outside.  Overrated.

While the NBA Playoffs enter their second round, there are still the huge events of free agency and the NBA Draft to shake things up, but let’s take an early look, nay, a way too early look, into where I am going to start ranking players for the 2013-2014 season:

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Razzball Nation!  If you have made it this far, you are either in the championship of your league or semi-finals.  Or you play roto, which, let’s face it, almost everyone saves for baseball.  However, the end of the season is more like the end of fantasy football than baseball with teams benching their stars with the playoffs a mere few weeks out.  It’s the perils of owning great players on the elite teams.  Just ask my buddy who I knocked off in my fantasy football championship years ago when the Eagles benched McNabb and Westbrook on Monday Night Football.  Then the Eagles lost to my Panthers in the NFC Championship (I think it was that year, might be wrong – can I have another fact checker? I’m too lazy for Google).  But I digress.

The Heat benched both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with “injuries” on Sunday, and both are listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Knicks.  What, are they the new Patriots?  Actually it’s a lot closer than you’d think.  You have Brady/Bron who get booed everywhere, Wade/…  Eh, doesn’t really work does it.  If you’re a Chris Bosh owner, you’re loving this.  Especially if you’re up against LeBron in your championship, like I am in one league.  But in another I have LeBron.  Conflicted feelings!  Just like my reaction to Prometheus.  Man does it look awesome, but the script got fewer revisions than White Chicks (originally Black Chicks).

Let’s get down and dirty with what went down across the NBA last night:

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In a light slate of games, there were two premiere matchups with the Knicks at Celtics and Clippers at Mavericks.  What game do I get highlights for?  Timberwolves at Pistons.  C’mon Gary!  J.J. Barea looked good!  Sigh.

The Knicks took care of the Celtics and apparently after being compared to Stevie Nicks in a major sports media outlet, have started playing like a team atop the East again.  In the West, The Mavs needed overtime to knock off the Clippers with both Chris Paul and Dirk Nowitzki putting up 33 a piece.  “Whatever you can do, I can do equal!”  How communistic.

Let’s go through the noteworthy fantasy performances last night:

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In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal magic and fantasy are all around you (expelliarmus!), but not far from there at the Amway center a different kind of fantasy Magic is taking place, and they play a lot uglier brand of basketball. Still there is fantasy goodness to be had here and Friday night Tobias Harris scored a career high 27 points with 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 3pm and 1 steal.  Yes, Tobias blue himself (up) last night, it was his fourth straight game in double digits and he’s criminally just 23% owned. After coming off a 23 point, 6 rebound performance Wednesday Harris is a must own, JB told you to buy him, so drop everything and go grab Tobias, you blowhard! Speaking of buys, Moe Harkless had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and hit 3 threes in 29 minutes last night and should see consistent minutes at the wing going forward. He was my pickup of the week last week and is still under 20% owned.

Still not satisfied? Because wait there’s more–E’Twaun Moore, who had 9 points, 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 3pm, 1 steal and 1 block in 33 minutes. It’s still unclear who the better play at point for the Magic will be, E’Twaun got the start, but Beno Udrih had just as many minutes (33) and had 4 points (2-7 fg) and 8 assists. We’re going to see some inconsistency from these two at the point guard position for the rest of the season, but both are worth a look if you need assists. Not that you’d be interested in any non-Orlando related fantasy news, but other teams played last night so let’s get to it!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy basketball Friday night:

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