Who says NBA is an indoor sport?!  Roll out the tarp!

During a rainy night in Brooklyn, all the sudden the ballboys were throwing towels on this spot on the court as somewhere in the rafters was a pretty steady leak.  I looked away from the game for a minute then looked back, and I thought at first they were cleaning up a massive bleeding injury!  At least that wasn’t the case… Ended up being about half an hour rain delay, complete with maintenance rolling out a trash can to collect the water.  It’s like Kap said when we were chattin’ last night – just like his high school gym!  The Nets arena leaking with the tears of Nets fans…

While Brooklynites had to watch a short-handed Heat team beat them at home, there’s at least some fantasy goodness to be had from some flashy younguns.  Professor Plumlee!  Young professors I bet would make a killing with college chicks… Anyway, Mason Plumlee for 21/9/1/1/1 last night, shooting 8-12 FG and leading the Nets in scoring.  Sure the Heat front line is a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of and an over-the-chicken coup Birdman, but good to see him hitting on his potential as the starter, finally.  There’s still some blemishes – 4 TO and a surprisingly good-for-Plumlee but bad-for-real-life 5-8 FT (stop it with the hyphen phrases!), but if you can handle the FT drain or already have a FT-punting (dammit!) team, he’s a perfect fit.  I think he’s as close to a must-own in all leagues while Brook Lopez is out, but many teams don’t have a streamer spot and/or can’t handle the bad FT%.  Brolo is getting reevaluated Saturday, meaning he’s out at least three more.  So while the Nets are leaking talent, don’t let Plumlee leak through your waiver wire.  Here’s how the rest of the NBA big news shook out:

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It’s been a bad couple weeks for big men. A lot of top producing forwards and centers seem to have been bitten by the injury bug around Thanksgiving.

Initially, DeMarcus Cousins was only considered day-to-day with viral meningitis. After missing his 8th straight game, coach Mike Malone was unsure when he would get his big man back. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the weekend, with his playing status in jeopardy for next week.

While Cousins has been out, Reggie Evans has grabbed almost every available rebound. Well not really, but he has had games of 13, 14, and 20 rebounds, while starting for Cousins. Jason Thompson has offered a more balanced increase in production (11 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg in last 5 games), but the biggest beneficiary has been Rudy Gay.

With Cousins declared out for at least the weekend, now is the best time to sell high on Gay. He has a usage rate (total number of possessions per 48 minutes) of 30.2 when Cousins is out, but a 25.3 usage rate when Cousins is playing alongside him. As a result, Gay has increased his scoring, rebounds, and assists with Cousins off the floor. Try to trade him this weekend for a top 20/30 player, before Cousins gets back and steals touches away from him.

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Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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“Did you coach the Celtics to a win last night, B-Rad?!”  “No…  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

Since returning from his bad ankle sprain, Marcus Smart has had quite the timeline.  Returned last Wednesday and played five minutes, and Stevens said he didn’t look ready.  And when you’re not ready, you get demoted to the D-League.  And when you shoot 1-12 FG in that D-League game, you still get a promotion.  I want to work for that company!  Any time you get reprimanded, you just have to explain why you’re currently better than 1-12!  Then DNP Friday, and 8 minutes of nada Sunday.  So of course, everyone expected that he’d play 35 minutes and go 23/4/5/1/0 shooting 7-14 FG (4-8 3PTM, 5-5 FT) without a single TO last night.  And everyone expected Rajon Rondo, off a triple-double, to be benched in favor of Smart down the stretch and for both the overtimes.  Well, the Celtics did almost upset the Wiz at home!  Key word… almost.  And sure, Boston had a big 4th quarter with the subs to make it a game, but an L is an L!  Rondo owners collectively throw things at their computers – no one is safe from a Stevens line-up bamboozle.  Before you run out and grab Smart, consider that timeline this past week.  And don’t forget before last night he was shooting sub-30% FG and 21.4% from deep with only 1.1 dimes a game.  Given some of those were in low-minute spells, but it was still only 8 dimes in 114 minutes to 6 TO.  So don’t pull a Stevens and feel like the smartest one in the room by dropping, well virtually anyone in a 12 or 14 teamer for him, unless you plan to stash.  Rondo could still be moved, but I never bet on a trade.  It’s like betting on a successful hostage trade in an action movie.  They never work out!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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This was a very big week for the Thunder. They got both of their superstars back in a matter of days.

Russell Westbrook returned on Friday night, putting up 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists in only 24 minutes of clock. Now owners may be concerned with the lack of minutes, but know that Westbrook wasn’t on a minutes’ restriction. Instead, Westbrook, along with the rest of the starters, were pulled early since the Thunder were up 32 late in the game. They were playing the New York Knicks after all.

A few days later, Kevin Durant returned to score 27 points on Tuesday night. He showed little rust on the court, shooting 9-18 from twos, 3-8 from downtown, and 6-7 from the line. Durant didn’t do much else outside of the scoring, but those numbers will happen in due time. The important thing is that Westbrook and Durant are both back and healthy.

Westbrook and Durant immediately regain their statuses as two of the top ten fantasy producers. At the same time, their return also hurts the guys filling in for them. Reggie Jackson’s statistics will take a hit, as he won’t be needed as much as an offensive producer. In the two games since Westbrook returned, Jackson had his two lowest usage rates of the season and saw his field goal attempts decrease to 11 FGA per game (down from 17.9 without Durant and Westbrook). Now there is still value to be had with Jackson, since he’ll be getting around 30 minutes a night, but don’t expect the same numbers he was providing early in the season.

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I imagine even some Knicks fans were chanting that!

In what ended up being a nailbitier for the Cavs in MSG, Kyrie Irving was unstoppable shooting 12-18 FG (3-6 3PTM 10-11 FT).  Heat check!  Just don’t say that about LeBron when he’s hot… Uncle Drew making NY Blue!  Gave him 37 big ones for a 37/3/2/2/0 with LeBron James assuming the point-forward role racking up a diming with 12 assists.  Freaky Friday!  Well I guess it’s Freaky Thursday, but I like the idea of Kyrie Irving as an angsty teenager in kinda a goth phase…  But while he just “doesn’t connect” with Jamie Lee Curtis, he’s been one of fantasy’s biggest surprises this year.  As mentioned on the Pod yestderday by our guest Justin Phan, for Kyrie to be averaging MORE points a game from last year with the Cavs big three now amassed, it’s amazeballs.  Coming into last night’s game, Kyrie was 5th in per game value and 6th in total value according to the BB Monster metrics, and probably passes Damian Lillard for 5th in total value after this bigun.  While the assists have understandably fallen from 6.1 last year to under 5 thus far in 14-15, I don’t really think there’s anything unsustainable.  Maybe shooting over 48% and over 42% from deep fall a wee bit, but with Lebron and Kevin Love out there, I do see him having career-highs in both.  And the big kicker – TO were at 1.7 last night and will remain well under 2.0 a game even with 3 against the Knicks.  Plus that great FT volume… and baby you got a stew goin’!  I feel like I’ve revelled at every single one of Kyrie’s stats… So go get him if you can!  Drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd in most drafts, if you can only spend 2nd round value to bring in Uncle Drew, it’ll make you party it up on Championship Sunday of your H2H final like Drunk Uncle!  Here’s what else went down in the three games last night:

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Kinda sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?

After a day of giving thanks, fantasy owners got a huge boost while scarfing microwaved plates of Thanksgiving leftovers with Russell Westbrook healing up and putting on a historic comeback off the broken hand.  Is this guy’s bones made of Adamantium or what?!  Señor Westback seems to beat his timetable every injury the past few years, which I don’t know if it’s really a good or bad thing… Can heal fast, but is gettin’ hurt a lot!  Reckless Russell.  The made-for-TV Skinimax sequel to Wreck-It Ralph starring Russell Westback.  I’d watch that!  Although they’re apparently making a Wreck-It Ralph 2, which I hope embraces some Grand Theft Auto elements.  Would make sense to star Russell Westback!  Rated R, sorry kids…  It’s like confusing them with Death to Smoochy having a purple dinosaur.  Anyway, Westbrook absolutely torched the Knicks last Friday night in his return for 32/7/8 hitting 12-17 shots and notching three treys.  Twas the first 32 Pts 8 Ast game in 24 minutes or less in the shot-clock era.  It was like stealing the car, then running over the driver trying to sprint away for good measure.  Even though it’s “just” his hand, got a huge layoff from that game until facing the Pelicans tomorrow.  Plenty of time to catch up on his turkey leftovers, and refuel to give fantasy owners that first-round production for the bulk of the season ahead.  So drop the confetti, and welcome Westback!  But let’s hope it’s a little less Reckless, and we’ll take 25/5/5 every 24 minutes without any issues… Here’s what else went on around the league since we’ve been off from Thanksgiving:

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hopefully you’re enjoying your turkey leftovers and your star players are all healthy!

After successful wrist surgery on Tuesday, Kevin Martin is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Martin broke his wrist the previous week in a Minnesota win over the New York Knicks. The crazy thing is that Martin hurt his wrist in the first quarter and ended up scoring 34 points in the game. He was 6-9 from downtown with a broken wrist! Too bad everyone can’t play that well through their injuries!

It’s a big blow to the Timberwolves who are already missing Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic. Replacing Kevin Martin in the starting lineup is Corey Brewer. He’s not as pure of a shooter as Martin, but Brewer will provide points and steals for as long as he’s starting. His minutes have already jumped from 23.5 to 31.2 per game since Martin went down.

Without Martin’s 3-point prowess, the T’Wolves will need another shooter to step up. Enter Mo Williams. He was already seeing an increase in minutes due to Rubio’s injury, but should see even more 3-point looks. In two games without Martin, Williams has seen his 3-point attempts rise from 1.8 to 5.5 per night. It’s a small sample size, but Williams is a cheap source of threes, points, and assists.

Already owned in most leagues, Andrew Wiggins should see increased opportunities as well. Since Martin went down, Wiggins has taken 14+ shots a night, after not taking more than 13 shots in any game prior. With any rookie, there will be some growing pains, but it’s clear that the Timberwolves want Wiggins to take on more of a role on offense.

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“Hey Kobe, I’m open, I’m open!”  That’s every Laker…

Despite the plausibility that the Lakers are a real NBA team, they once again proved the contrary with yet another blowout loss.  Well, I guess they’ve been in some games, but c’mon!  Kobe Bryant is trying to do everything himself, like an asexual chronic masturbator.  15-34 FG last night (3-12 3PTM 11-16 FT) for 44/5/3/0/0.  After a 1-14 brickhouse Friday night, that’s a 16-48 weekend (33%).  At least Sunday was good!  Ish.  Most concerning are those treys, going 3-17 from deep in both games.  He’s never been a good three-point shooter, especially the past four years.  Glasses anyone?   Russell Westbrook has got a guy…

As I’m sure Kobe would appreciate to no end, I have a comp for him.  Dwight Howard.  Hah!  Mostly kidding, but Kobe is Dwight-ing (new adjective) your FG%.  In H2H it’s not a paramount concern, but in Roto it’s getting scary.  I don’t know what you do about it except try to trade Kobe high to a team at the top of your FG% standings.  Then let Kobe and that ridiculous volume sink them like the whole Purple and Gold franchise.  I keed of course!  There’s just nothing there.  Like hairs on Carlos Boozers‘ head or anatomy on Ken’s crotch.  Kobe vs. NO tonight, 5-on-1!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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We start this week’s injury report with some good news. The 76ers welcomed back Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel to the court on Thursday night. MCW immediately contributed, posting a 19/8/5 line off the bench. It was good to see him play 30 minutes in his first game back, and I expect to see him starting soon.

Nerlens Noel came off the bench as well, after missing two games with a sprained ankle. Although the 76ers were glad to have them back, it really didn’t matter. The Mavericks destroyed the 76ers 123-70. The Mavericks scored more points in the first half (73) than the 76ers scored in the entire game!

Now for the bad news: Derrick Rose is hurt again. Rose left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury late in the 4th quarter. His status for Saturday’s game is up in the air as we await more information. In the games he’s played, Rose looks like his old self. The problem is that he hasn’t played that many games. He’s missed four games already with a pair of sprained ankles. Even if the hamstring injury isn’t serious, expect to see him miss some games here and there. The Bulls are more concerned about Rose’s long term health and having him ready to go for the playoffs.

When Rose doesn’t dress, look for Aaron Brooks to provide value. He’s shown in the past that he can still produce when given the minutes. Brooks has averaged 16 ppg, 6 apg, and 2.75 spg in the four games that Rose has been out. The minutes won’t be consistent, but Brooks will have upside for starters’ minutes off the bench and is a great start in daily salary cap leagues whenever Rose is ailing.

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