I don’t typically do this, but I’m going completely off-script for the open today, after we got the awful news Bill Paxton passed away in his early 60s due to complications from heart surgery.  Isn’t it weird how attached we get to actors we obviously don’t know in person?!  Especially more a character guy like Bill, but this one hit me hard for some reason!  Who doesn’t love True Lies?  Aliens?  The GOOD James Cameron movies?!

And for this to happen on Oscar weekend too, just a real shame.  Alas, it’s been a busy-as-hell weekend across the association plus I finally wrapped up my Pitcher Rankings over on baseball that’ll be out this afternoon or tomorrow.  Weekend of writing!  That’s what really pulls me through man, getting to write about sports for all you wondrous people in Razzball Nation.  The game will never be over, there will always be basketball and baseball!  Tackle football…?  Eh, maybe not-sa-much…  Here’s what went down over the busy weekend – the first after the break with a lot of fresh faces in new places – in fantasy basketball action:

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… A Long Ass post trade deadline analysis (couldn’t come up with a word that rhymes with automobiles). I’ll dive deep into a couple of trades (Boogie and Nerlens Noel). I’ll also cover the much hyped but somewhat boring (thanks to Boston, Indiana & Chicago!) trade deadline that has come and gone.

Oh and by the way, if you’d rather just listen to an analysis instead of read and see some copy/pasted stats from NBA.COM, just go ahead and listen to JB’s podcast.

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The most exciting part of the evening, was clearly the debut of the Pelicans shiny new front court. While the Pels did get overwhelmed by the Rockets shooting, the chemistry was obviously there with the New Orleans big men. I would say though, that they’re both a bit tentative, and that will change as they get more comfortable and assertive. I am not scared to say though, that this is possibly the greatest PF/C duo in NBA history. Up there with McHale and Parrish, and Duncan and Robinson. Both bigs have absurd skillsets. I think the key for the Pelicans will be the play of Jrue Holiday, and how involved in the offense he is. Tonight, he was locked down by Beverly, but more slashing in the pick and roll should really help him. I could see his efficiency being extremely high, given the opposite player in the pick and roll.

At any rate, here’s your recap for most of Thursday night! Thank goodness the break is over…

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Ah, the All-Star Break. The week where fantasy basketball goes to die, but fantasy basketball writers get a few days off! Hah, sorry I probably shoulda had this post go up yesterday, but I was lazy, OK! Speaking of lazy, did you see what kind of horrendous offer the Kings caved on to deal away DeMarcus Cousins?! Well, of course you did by now, that was the world’s most rhetorical question! Kings dealt Boogie and Omri Casspi to the Pels for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans (reunion!), Langston Galloway, and a 1st and 2nd round pick in this summer’s draft. I mean, it’s not THE WORST deal in the world, but the first round pick being top-3 protected is a little rough. Wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if the Pels go in like 11th or 12th for the lottery, end up drawing one of those top 3 picks, then pair one of these elite guys going pro with Boogie, Brow and Jrue… Still feels like the Kings could’ve gotten more… Wait, what was that Vlade Divac?! You DID have more on the table?! Yeesh, the Kings get this brand-spankin’ new stadium, only to have their superstar dealt mid-season with the GM openly admitting he took a lesser deal…? Did Jeffrey Loria buy the Kings too?! Meanwhile, Pels fans be dancing like this:

I actually don’t think Anthony Davis takes too big of a hit here, and remains your primary guy. He’s only taken a range from 12-24 shots the last 9 games, which doesn’t seem tough at all to maintain even with a USG-whore coming to town. I actually think it might even HELP Brow, as his TO rate has soared to 2.6 this year, and we all know Boogie is a TO vortex. Boogie is who the big hit here; his range the last 9 games is 14-30 shots (given the 30 was an outlier in that surprise win over GSW), plus he’s playing with a much better facilitating PG in Jrue Holiday. I’d expect Boogie’s AST – 4.8 on the season and spiking as of late – to drop closer to the 3.0 range. It’ll be an interesting pairing, and suddenly the Pelicans look like they could make a little noise in the playoffs. We’ll have to see if they can get out of this 23-34 hole they’re in… Wait, the Kings at 24-33 have a better record, and made the sell out for the future deal?! Hah, NBA man, NBA… GMs must be bored during the ASB as well! l Here’s a few other notes from the last few days during our NBA respite:

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The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.

The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.

Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.

Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:

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Injury karma, man…  The injury gods love to play with our emotions, and they really jacked with the Bucks last night!  First with the good – The Duchess returned to the court with great fanfare!  Sooooo good to get Khris Middleton back, after it was initially thought he might miss the entire 2016-17 season.  The Duchess got 15 minutes off the bench for 5/2/2/0/1 on 2-5 shooting.

Looked pretty healthy out there!  He’s going to be on a 15-20 minute limit until the All-Star Break, but that’s in a mere week, so we could see him getting unleashed sooner than later.  Then on the flip side, a mere 2 quarters after the long-awaited season debut of Middleton, Jabari Parker suffered a scary knee injury, and is scheduled for an MRI today.  From all reports it didn’t look good (I don’t like to watch injury highlights…), and it’s the same knee he tore his ACL in his rookie year, so we’re all holding our breath here.  Would be a big shame to see him miss a lot of time after putting together this breakout campaign…  Well, let’s be all happy and pie in the sky the rest of the daily notes today!  Here’s what went down on a busy Wednesday night in fantasy basketball:

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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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No Super Bowl hangover in the NBA, that’s for sure! A full helping of action with 11 games on the slate, starting with a phenomenal national game on TNT to kick off the next 2 months, where there’s nothing but NBA going on. Well, hockey too, sorry Viz! And college basketball! Dammit, well, basketball isn’t competing with NFL or MLB for a bit, and the face of the NBA let everyone know, with a preposterous buzzer-beater to get the Cavs in OT and eventually beat the Wiz (snapping their 17-game home winning streak):

That Wizards fan says it all! Who says LeBron James is old?! 32/7/17/2/2 in an unreal performance on national TV, in a game the NBA couldn’t have scripted to go any better the night after the NFL got their best game ever played. Well, maybe a little hyperbole, but it was OK… Along with that line, he hit 6 treys and 12-18 from the field, but only 2-5 FT!? Wouldn’t have needed that buzzer beater if he could just hit his damned FT!!! He actually fouled out early in OT too, but Kyrie Irving then took over as the alpha, scoring 11 of his 23 in OT in an otherwise disappointing game. Then there’s of course Kevin Love, who went OFF for 39/12/3/3/0 with 6 treys and 11-11 FT. Needed every bit outta the big 3 to beat a hot Wizards team on the road! During the game, Frank Isola (who you may know from Around the Horn and ish) reported LeBron is pushing the Cavs management to trade Love for Carmelo Anthony. LeBron then went all Trump on his ass in postgame. “Fake News!” But ya know, fighting the rumors off in a less dictatory-way, even as The King… Here’s what else went down last night in a busy Monday of hoops action:

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Even Tom Brady would agree it’s time to do some hot Yogi!

Since getting to the Mavs on a 10-day deal, all Yogi Ferrell has done is play 37:29 MPG (which would be 3rd highest in the NBA) and lead Dallas to 4-straight wins. Break up the red hot Cubans! And the Mavericks were straight dealing in Portland Friday night – especially early – hitting their first 7 shots and building a big lead, which was just enough to hold Portland off. No one was hotter than Hot Yogi either! I think we have a new nickname! Shot an absurd 11-17 FG, including tying a rookie record (!!!!!) 9-11 3PTM, for a 32/2/5 line.

I do have to wonder on that huge last one though, what in the world is Al-Farouq Aminu doing?! He just stands there deer-in-the-headlights as the dude who hit 8 treys in the game has the ball wide open, and just lets him take the open shot! God, I hate Aminu, he’s always a craw in my fantasy side! Or something like that… Anyway, you’re of course adding Ferrell where you can if he’s somehow survived on your wire over the weekend, but let’s not expect the second coming of Steph Curry or anything. They already have a Curry on this team! Side note – anyone see Seth Curry‘s awful muttonchops this game?!

Even Dirk Nowitzki is like, “Ewwwwwww! You look like the Fall Out Boy singer!”

After the game, news broke that he’s going to sign a 2-year before his first 10-day expires (I’m not sure how much is guaranteed, but still is cool to see him get paid!). Time to crack open the scotch and smoke a fatty! And by fatty, I mean a Cuban! Wait, not Marc Cuban, ahhhh! While it’s a fun story for Hot Yogi, in 18 D-League games he averaged only 2.7 treys, and he only hit 8 treys in 10 games for Brooklyn. Sure, he wasn’t getting this kind of run, but he had an opportunity on a worse team and didn’t find the trigger like this… So enjoy this ride while it lasts if you nabbed him, but beware minutes crunches – when you hear Deron Williams‘ knee crunches – as he limps his way back onto the court. Until then, Hot Yogi!

Here’s what else went down over the weekend in Fantasy Basketball action:

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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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