Welcome back to The Abode. If you missed the genesis, click here.

After a blowout-infested playoffs, the hype leading up to Warriors/Cavs III in the NBA Finals almost reached Mayweather/Pacquiao levels. Almost. Nothing will surpass the chicanery of Mayweather/Pac, though. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey would’ve been most impressed. Anyways, storylines and narratives were tossed around and many thought (perhaps wished?) that a heated, epic Finals would be showcased.

Game 1. Warriors 113. Cavs 91. The Cavs had 20 turnovers and the Warriors made 15 more field goals on 20 more attempts.

The Warriors Voltron’d up, while the Cavs were a bunch of scurrying ants trying to escape the ray of death from the magnifying glass of a nine-year old.

The Cavs did not panic, though, and Game 2 was an epic battle for two and a half quarters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It was the night of the triple-double. Perennial MVP candidates, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, each notched a triple-double to lead their teams to victory.

Westbrook added 25 points, 19 assists, and 12 rebounds for his third straight triple-double, all of which are Thunder victories. It was Westbrook’s 33rd triple-double of the season, who remains just 8 shy of tying Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 in a season.

For LeBron, he needed just 28 minutes to post 16/11/12 against the Pistons, a team he seems to dominate since his unforgettable 48-point performance in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. He wouldn’t be denied and knocked over anything in his path, including teammate Kyrie Irving:

The Cavs were in a bit of a slump, losing 4 of 5, heading into their matchup with the Pistons. With the Cavs just 2.5 games up on the Celtics, hopefully James will finish the year on a tear. It was James’ 10th triple-double of the season and third in the last four games.

Now onto the rest of the nightly notables:

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JB be California dreamin’!  Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow.  I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something!  But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!

In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting.  All that in 20 minutes too!  Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?!  It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad.  Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season.  Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores  in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford.  Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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Man, what a horrid week for injuries!  Highlighted by the worst injury of all: yesterday we got news that JB Gilpin – yes pickup basketball superstar – rolled his ankle in his after-work pickup game on someone else’s fat foot.  That’s right, I got a kankle!  Some rough swelling, probably out 1-2 weeks, go ahead and give me that INJ tag!  No joke, this is the second time in a row I’ve gotten a kankle before a big trip.  Now I’m gonna be gimpy walking around Spring Training games on my baseball trip starting this weekend!  Stupid kankles…

Anyway, some lower-tier basketball talents also got news of rough injuries, of course highlighted by Kevin Durant‘s MRI revealing a Grade 2 MCL strain and a tibial bone bruise.  Stupid Zaza Pachulia flying around willy-nilly!  He’s going to be “re-evaluated” in 4 weeks, so there’s no way he’s making an impact on your fantasy playoffs.  Mayyyyybe he plays in the last game or two, but I highly doubt it.  According to BB Monster, he was by far the best per-game player and total value player, so it’s an unbelievable loss.  But hey, he got you to your fantasy playoffs (hopefully) and anything can happen week-to-week in H2H leagues.  Injuries are the mother-flippin’ worst!  Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night, including one other major injury piece of news:

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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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I was incredibly lazy with the title today, but honestly, no performances stuck out to me last night. Westbrook and Harden did their thing, but they basically hit their averages.  The Cavaliers were completely gassed heading into OKC.  The Mavs beat the Jazz in OT, but come on, Dallas isn’t exactly relevant at the moment… The wunderkind Yogi Ferrell, didn’t exactly make a huge splash this game either.  Overall, it was a pretty chill night in the association.  That being said, let’s have some notes!

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A number of injuries to key players (at least fantasy wise) are starting to crop up again.  Hassan Whiteside is questionable for Friday vs CHI.  Deron Williams is the same for tonight’s game (2nd half of a b2b game) vs OKC.  Anthony Davis is showing how his body is truly made of glass and it seems like if he’s not a DNP, he’s missing quarters due to injuries.  It appears like he re-aggravated that thigh bruise and he could be shut for a game or 2 to give it time to completely heal. Al Horford, although listed as probable for tomorrow’s game vs ORL, seems to have some groin issues.

If any of these guys miss a game or two to end the week, it could open up some playing time for back ups and/or opposing players to produce above their averages.

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As I try to do in my opens, I pull in some real-life news or experience to try and humanize the open. No one wants robot reporting! Just ask Mark Cuban. And that whole situation seems like such a cop out, “I’m going to ban reporters, and the reason why is that I want more human reporting!” Something else is going on there…

Anywho, for this open, I actually have relevant life experience! As previously mentioned regarding Derrick Favors, I too have suffered from IT Band Syndrome. It’s an inflammation of a thin band of nerves that connect from your hip bone on the outside of your leg, past your knee, and connected to your lower leg. Sometimes it can manifest itself in a mad sore hip, but usually it impacts the outside of your knee. When it flares up, it feels like a bone-on-bone “catching” on the outer part of your knee, like you have some horrific scar tissue from a torn meniscus (something I’ve also had). The real annoyance of the injury is you can feel awesome for a few days, then it flares up out of nowhere. You’re just walking normal, and all the sudden that “catch” makes your knee feel like you re-tore something. It’s pretty friggin’ frustrating.

So when I heard Favors was starting last night despite a flare up of knee soreness again on Saturday, I wasn’t the most surprised. I bet it felt great in warm-ups! Then at some point, I’m guessing he felt that same nerve irritation, and he ended up leaving early. I know his frustration. As a nerve thing, this isn’t really a consistent pain-tolerance thing, or a sprain to play through. It feels fine, then a sudden flare up makes your knee feel unstable. I didn’t watch any of this game, but he apparently didn’t look right, and went only 6/2/0/2/0 in 21 minutes. As I mentioned on the Pod, I nabbed some shares of Trey Lyles on Sunday given Favors’ knee issues and knowing this could be a long-term thing, getting rewarded with an 18/5/2/2/0 line with a trey. A trey from Trey! With leaving games early a persistent issue now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Favors gets treatment for a few weeks, and I would take the flier on Lyles where I could. It took me about two months of rehab and a session of dry needling to stimulate the nerves to finally shake my IT issues. Don’t watch if you don’t like needles! Here’s what else happened in fantasy hoops action last night:

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As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets.  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

New York Knicks (32-50)

Knicks

Key Acquisitions:

Derrick Rose

C Joakim Noah

G Courtney Lee

Brandon Jennings

G Justin Holiday

Maurice Ndour

C Guillermo Hernangomez

Key Losses:

C Robin Lopez

Arron Afflalo

G Jose Calderon

G Langston Galloway

F Derrick Williams

G Jerian Grant

F Lance Thomas

Derek Fisher’s Mind – he really thinks he can play again?!

“They’re saying us and Golden State are the super teams…”  WHO?!??!  Hilarious.

Despite that kind of absolute lunacy, the Knicks did vastly improve.  While the Knicks weren’t necessarily “bad” on defense, they add Lee and Noah to bolster the holes Melo and Rose pose on the defensive end.  And not like they need another scorer with Rose and Melo…  With all these one-syllable names for their starters, we have to just call Porzingis “Goose”!  Rose, Lee, Melo (I guess that’s two syllables, dammit!), Goose, and Noah (dammit that’s two again!).  This super intro is going nowhere.  Here’s how the Knicks have assembled their super team:

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The Warriors needed overtime, but still continued their historic run to 73 wins. They have been a lot of fun to watch this season and are must watch basketball (if you’ve been hiding under a rock this season). It will probably be years, if ever, that any team comes this close to this historic of a streak. So enjoy it while you still can! Let’s just hope that the Warriors aren’t gassed when they inevitably play the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Stephen Curry led the way with 31 points, including 6 straight points in OT. He knocked down 5-10 from downtown and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Draymond Green (13/8/6), Harrison Barnes (15/11), and Klay Thompson (18/4 and 3 threes) all saw around 40 minutes, as the Warriors continue their race for 73. Don’t worry about any of these getting benched down the stretch.

The Jazz kept it close and forced overtime, but the Warriors are just too good and improved to 6-0 in OT. Rudy Gobert grabbed 18 boards and scored 11 points, while Rodney Hood went for 20/6 with 3 threes. Gordon Hayward had a poor shooting night (7-20 FG, 4-8 FT), but still scored his usual 20 points with 4 rebounds and 3 steals. You have to hand it to the Jazz; they have definitely exceeded all expectations this season and should be playing postseason basketball.

Now onto the other nightly notables:

Please, blog, may I have some more?