So this is going to be the lamest open ever, but I sustained a blogging injury!  Wife wanted me to make this crockpot chicken marsala recipe, which as you guessed, calls for marsala wine.  She buys this cheap bottle at the grocery store, and it’s such a shitty product, the lid of the bottle won’t separate from that little connector part at the bottom.  Obviously I’m a straight MacGyver with these things, so my first thought is to get a small kitchen knife to try and pry the main part of the bottle top off.  I even said to myself, “this is probably going to end badly…”  And aha!  The knife shoots into my finger and I bleed everywhere like a moron.  But the good news is a pair of pliers finally got the job done!  Little bitch, you bottle of chicken marsala wine, you…

And you probably felt the same way as me hovering over a cheap bottle of wine with a knife if you started Nikola Mirotic last night.  “I think I’ve made a huge mistake!”  However, with Robin Lopez suspended and Cristiano Felicio out with a sore back-io, the Bulls were down a few on their front line (mainly calling for Bobby Portis to play C), so Miro was sure to get some run even if he was playing like a zero (no Gilbert Arenas – 0 is the number of guns you should have in your locker!).  But eureka!

28/5/2/3/1 for Miro last night, on 12-15 shooting with 4 treys.  I also wanna mention that Googling “Youtube Mirotic” had me find some sort of Kpop album, which has me think a future nickname or Podcast sounder has to come from this…  Anyway, the top 7 in the Bulls rotation actually looked really, really good despite no Wade and no big men, while Tom Petty croons about the Pistons…  Free fallin’!  Miro has been one of the most inconsistent players in fantasy this year, so with Rolo due back Friday, I still wouldn’t go too nuts to add Miro.  Tomorrow against the Sixers still might be worth the upside ThrAGNOF stream though, even if it feels as risky as jabbing plastic with a kitchen knife…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, becoming the first international player to hit 30k and one of three players to score all 30,000+ points with one team. It’s been a truly impressive career for the future hall-of-famer. As Steve Nash joked, what’s German for ball hog?

20 points shy of the milestone heading into the game, Nowitzki wasted no time, knocking down and a fadeway early in the second quarter:

Scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Dirk finished with 25 points (all in the first half), 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 threes for his third double-double in the last four games. His fantasy days are numbered, but after a slow, injury-filled start to the season, Nowitzki has given patient owners plenty to smile about since the start of the New Year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Y’all think he got out of it? I mean, c’mon…it’s Razor offing Ramon! I bet he walked over, grabbed his toothpick and flicked it straight at Scott Steiner’s eye. The glory of that gif. The mullet. Sorry, the sweaty mullet. The stubble chest hair. The shaking hamstrings. The black leather leotard. The metal print banner of WCW Monday Nitro. Goodness, take me back to 6th grade already!

No, don’t do that. I don’t want to be 12 again. However, that was the first time I ever played fantasy basketball. But I’ll quit reminiscing and focus on what’s really happening in that gif: the full nelson. Change the faces around, time travel to today and make that a basketball court in Denver and you’d see the story of Jameer Nelson and Emmanuel Mudiay: the young’n with the death grip on the PG position to start the year, but, wait for it…the wily veteran shaking free of his bonds on the bench to reclaim his rightful place running the team! Is it a stretch? Sure, but look at that extension through his obliques. Clearly, this is a great move to increase flexibility.

Ok, are we talking about wrasslin’ or fantasy basketball? I’m all befuddled now. Must be the mullet.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

… 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yup. That old chestnut. The guy who might benefit from the other guys going down with injury. If you’re in a league like I am, many of my opposing fantasy GMs are reluctant to pull the trigger on a bigger deal this time of year, so sometimes going after smaller fish to stream while their value is elevated might be the answer. The most common cause of increased value is injury giving minutes to a bench guy. And by February, there are several injuries, mostly short term, some longer, that create the next man up situation that may be able to boost your production. Let’s take a look at some of those candidates, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

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?