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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ya know, I really liked that movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Pretty quotable, Robert Downey Jr. right as he was completely taking off, an always lovable Val Kilmer. “Who taught you math?!” is a fun line when there’s a botched Russian roulette attempt…

Which kinda feels like Marquese Chriss right now! 20% of the time, he’s this dynamic, toolsy rookie every time! Wait, that’s a different movie… Big night from Chriss against the Grizz, going 20/6/0/2/1 with 2 treys on 8-12 shooting.

Throwing down highlight reel dunks, and bangin’ treys! While the D stats have actually been there (1.5 STL 0.7 BLK over the past 11), he hadn’t scored over 5 points in the previous 4 games. Joakim Noah‘s jump shot, woof! The minutes remain waffle-y as well, going 17, 12, 8, 17, 34 the past 5 games. I don’t see any reason why the bumpy ride would all the sudden be smoother, but it’s lines like these that make him a tantalizing stash if you’re locked into a high seed for the fantasy playoffs. Of course, when I recommend stashing some certain forwards, it doesn’t always go well. Sometimes I feel like when I look up the word “idiot”, I’ll see a picture of my face! Instead I’ll find:

Too many GIFs in the intro today? I guess 5 GIFs can be a lot! Wait, who taught me math?! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Is it done with that much sass? Probably not. But man, talk about taking the long road to success, and not even getting rewarded for it. The Nets are a clustereff, as we all know, but there are some bright spots. Many of their assets belong to the Celtics, and their best player is always the center of trade rumors (Brook Lopez). Sounds bleed (and it is), but through the dark skies rests a young’n with enough creativity as a playmaker to bring people to the arena and make the Nets a viable contender soon. Now, soon is a subjective term, so for the sake of the Nets we’ll say soon is, I don’t know…five years?

Seriously, they need a Process. Maybe it’s years from now, maybe it’s decades (Clippers, anyone?), or maybe it’s just months (nope), but one thing is for sure: they’re ruining the process of creating young fantasy assets this season. That creative playmaker I just mentioned? Caris LeVert. And while his average stats of the past two weeks are strong (11.8/2.7/3.5/1.3 with only 1.2 TO on 57.1 FG% and 82.4%), he’s not getting enough consistent run to make himself worthy of the add. Instead, Sean Kilpatrick trades time with him, effectively canceling out the two. Coach Sean Atkinson said, “we’re just taking a futuristic approach and keeping his best interests at heart.” Well, that’s great, but doesn’t help anybody. You don’t even own your 1st pick this year!

Point of this small rant? If you can play the days right, both Kilpatrick and LeVert are good adds as a stream option, but it’s eenie-meenie-minie-moe between them with LeVert getting a sweet, ‘Have a seat, child.’ every other day.

Enough about the Nets. That was a waste. Onto the 7 Ahead!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh man, what a fun day this is for Razzball Basketball! Let’s start with our big announcement we’re making later today – I’ve teased it a few times, but it’s coming this afternoon! We’ve got a special post going up today that is going to: Blow. Your. Mind. I’ll just leave it at this – it involved robots and very short shorts…

On top of THAT, what a fun night of hoops on Humpday! We had epic drama with the Kings somehow beating THE King (in Cleveland no less!), yet another tripdub for Russ, but then a late night wonder with my boyfriend Ivica Zubac having another awesome game! My preseason darling looked further away than ever for minutes when he barely got run in preseason games, but he just kept his head down and powered through some D-League stints and a handful of junk time minutes here and there until the Lakers finally started unleashing him. Had the 11/13/1/1/3 line 3 games ago against the Nugs, then after low minutes for two games, exploded again last night for 12/10/2/0/3.

He’s just so big and so fundamental! He did only shoot 5-15 from the field (a few “misses” were on consecutive putback attempts though…) and had 4 TO, but hit 2-2 FT and typically should be a true 8-cat guy (no treys). As I mentioned on the Pod last week, in the D-League he shot 57.8% from the field, 82.9% from the FT line, and had a 15.6/9.7/1.3/0.2/1.0 line in 13 games at 30 MPG. I mean, it’s not “epic”, but he’s still only 19 and looks like he could turn into Jonas Valanciunas with D-stats. With ZuBlock showing off his potential and our big announcement today, I’m like a rabid Beatles fan this morning!

After pimping him hard as a possible second-half sleeper in the preseason (I initially ranked him like 160 or something, but then they signed Tarik Black and never played Zubac in the preseason, so I cut him out of my top 200), it’s 100% time to add him if you need a big. It might be bumpy for minutes, but the Lakers have fallen to 16-33 and it’s time to keep the youth developing. Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball last night:

PS – Podcast will be out tomorrow morning – we are recording later today, just a day behind. Can’t wait to gloat about taking back the 30-point challenge lead!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s almost baseball season, so let’s start pulling in the puns! I just wanted to be sure everyone knew that I was going for that use-case of the title, not what you’d find in urban dictionary… Who comes up with that stuff?!

Huge weekend from Sam Dekker, getting 28 minutes off the bench on Friday night when Ryan Anderson exited after only 9 minutes (Illness – tried to play through The Plague that is running rampant in the NBA, but it claimed another victim. Somebody really needs to do something about the flu and stomach issues that make the NBA seem germier than going on a cruise.), going 17/7/2/0/1 with a trey in 28 minutes. Then in his first career start Saturday night – at the Grizzlies who are supposed to be a defensive team – Dekker blew up like an upper decker for 30/4/0/2/0 on 12-19 FG with 6-11 treys.

Somebody get a hand in his face! Got 35 minutes, and didn’t commit a single TO in either of these games. Roto-efficiency! Dekker’s been playing decently – albeit a little under-the-radar – in his bench minutes this season, but he’s a good rebounder who hits treys and can pepper in stocks. All the while maintaining a low TO rate. Kinda seems Otto Porter-ish to me! Although Dekker is only 28-49 at the FT line for some reason, good for 57.1%. While Ryno is “only” out sick right now, all his injuries does make him an endangered species… Everyone is out for Ryan Anderson’s ivory! Everyone wants a nice white dude shooter on their team… Now the Rockets have two! So if Ryno’s back flares up again, or if he has any injury really, Dekker would be a must-own. I might even nab him for the short-term, if you have any streaming spots you can dedicate to a little run – because speaking of a little run, doctors told Rynio he might be dealing with this stomach bug for 1-2 weeks. Somebody get this guy some pepto bismol and keep him away from my toilet tanks! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Uggghhhhhhh. I hate when the intro has to be about a bad injury, but alas, tis what tits with fantasy sports. After playing pretty well against the Pacers last night (21/4/0/2/1 in 28 minutes), Rudy Gay went down in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court, with tests indicating he tore his Achilles. He’s had issues with that Achilles in the past with a partial debridement, but it gave out at absolutely the worst time. Yeah, maybe he didn’t handle wanting to get out of Sacramento the most gracefully (who WOULD want to play there?!), but at least he showed up, ya dig?! Now he has to stick it out while rehabbing, this was going into a contract year… It just sucks. I’ve never been the “biggest” Gay fan, but I’ll be rooting for his rehab and hopefully he can be vintage Gay a few more years on a new squad.

In the meantime, it opens up a ton of wing minutes in SAC. Arron Afflalo of DNP-ville got 31 minutes last night, aided by Garrett Temple having to play backup PG because Ty Lawson is nursing a kankle. A R Ron! went for 11/1/1/0/1 in his usual snoozefest line, with Temple going 9/4/3/0/0 with a trey. Yikes. Matt Barnes might move back into the starting 5, but he’s hit-or-miss, depending on how drunk he is at the night club. Hey oh! 7/4/4 for Barnes in 20 minutes, and Ben McLemore only got 4 minutes this game. It’s a real trainwreck without Gay, and I don’t see any sort of clear answer on this team to fill in the void. So you’re likely looking elsewhere on the wire for Gay’s scoring, and hopefully you sold high after a red hot start through the first stretch of the season. Get well soon, Rudy! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Wizards have been playing much better as of late. Despite being down 18 points in the second quarter, the Wizards came back to win to push them over .500.

John Wall knocked down the game-winning jumper with 5 ticks left, to complete another fantastic performance with 26 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Now that’s what Steve Buckhantz calls a dagger!

Wall was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and continues his strong play in the New Year. There hasn’t been a better player in the East over the last 6 weeks.

Now the Bulls were missing Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but I don’t care. I’m going to take every opportunity to talk positively about my Wizards. They’ll disappoint me soon enough so let me enjoy my moment.

Please, blog, may I have some more?