Ho! Ho! Ho! Hark the herald, Jerry Stackhouse sings! The NBA has never been in fuller effect across the years than at the culmination of this week every year: CHRISTMAS! It’s unofficial start to the season (or the official start in the lockout-shortened 2011 season), and the first day since June owned by the NBA on the sports calendar. It’s been football, football, football for the past six months, but even the King Kong NFL takes a back seat to basketball on Christmas (only 2 NFL games in Week 16 are actually on Sunday, December 25). Make way, because winter is no longer just coming…it’s here! And with it comes all the basketball glory we can handle for the next 6 months.

From now on we’ll see teams jockeying for playoff position. You know, those coveted spots that only the few get to have in calling themselves the next up to be humiliated by the Cavs or Warriors. But seriously, this is where we start to see what teams really are. And it’s similar in other sports. Sure, you can start 5-0 Falcons in 2015, but you’re finishing 8-8. Or in baseball, everyone knows that the record before Labor Day is all just feeling it out. And in the NBA the Hawks may begin 9-2, but are they really that great? My optimistic homerism is hopeful, but their record now shows the answer is no. How about the Raptors? They started sluggish; they must have taken a step back this year. Well, um…nope. They’re a favorite to reach the Eastern Conference Finals again. See, Christmas brings out the best in us all, and acts as a litmus test for starting the year.

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Floor General?! And no, this article isn’t about the sales of Steph Curry ‘s “Floor General” shoe.

I’m not even sure this is what they even call point guards nowadays, with the game moving more away from traditional point guards and onto combo guards and point forwards.

After focusing on best teams to face for big men stats, let’s take a look at the best teams to face when looking for categories that suit point guards.

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[Editor’s note – We’re going to be having our Podcast out first thing tomorrow morning due to some scheduling stuff. Catch you with our sexy voices then!]

Man, what a night for highlight-reel dunks!

GIFs so nice I had to put up twice! Wait, that didn’t really work… But yeah, telling everyone that Gordon is cuttable sure made me feel great while writing the notes this morning! Stupid Clippers getting Lob City-ed against them! Taste of their own medicine! Career game for Gordon, going 13-21 FG (4-8 3PTM 3-6 FT) for 33/7/2/0/0. Actually, ya know, that’s not really the best line. 3 turnovers, no D stats, and 50% FT shooting… I feel a little better now re-thinking it, and good thing highlight-reel plays aren’t bonuses! Although I wish they were for my Semaj in REL! Feel free to scoop up Gordon in any leagues as I’m sure he was a popular drop, but I still wouldn’t be losing key assets for him. Let’s see if he can carry this success a few more games, fix the FT issue, and deliver on the D stats we’re know he’s physically capable of. 0.8 STL/0.6 BLK – lower stocks than last year – in an expansion of minutes?! Where’s the beef?! Hopefully I give you more meat to chew on in the notes today! Here’s what else happened last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack (8) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing of huge note happened tonight, so I figured the return of Shelvin Mack to relevance would make a decent headline.  Surprisingly, the Jazz made it a game against the Warriors with Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Derrick Favors all out of the lineup.  Mack definitely did his part, and put up a solid 19 points in 36 minutes.  If he would lay off some of the treys (1-8 from deep), he could even be an efficient scorer.

At any rate, let’s see what happened last night!  Oh, the TNT double header was moved to 7 and 9:30 pm EST, so I’m thrilled about that.  No idea why that happened – maybe someone in the comments can enlighten me on that one…

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Ahhhhh, DeMarcus Cousins. Build like a brick shithouse (did I get that phrase right?), puts up monster numbers, and the Kings franchise is terrible. We need a change of scenery! After years of speculation and “Lord give me strength” tweets, it looks like this year might finally be the year.

Boogie went nuts last night against the Wizards, going 36/20/4/2/1 (Goromotaro!), but the Kings still got another kick in the SAC in the OT loss. Cousins tried to put this team on his back! Scored the pivotal last two baskets to put it into extra time, but the Wizards are like the Borg. “Resistance is futile!”

Trekkie jokes! Despite the huge line and burning Marcin Gortat on drives, Boogie still did Boogie things, with 5 TO and 3-10 FT. I saw he almost got a technical foul by complaining to the rim! “Is that goal regulation size or WHAT?!” Even though he has 32+ points in the past 4, the D stats are down, and a looming trade would inevitably hurt his value. Actually, staying put would hurt too, as he’d be a major DNP candidate. One Boogie rumor is that he could be playing for last night’s enemy, and reuniting with Kentucky teammate John Wall. It would probably take Bradley Beal and some pieces, likely some picks thrown in there too, but the Wizards look like they need a shake-up, I think we can all agree there. Scotty Brooks can manage superstar personalities, and might be the best coach for Cousins. That said, the Wiz are 4-2 over the past 6, and might be ever-so-slightly turning it around.

With the trade rumor mill churning and the D stats down (giving Boogie a surprisingly-low 19th per-game valuation on BBmonster), I think now is the time to shop him around. You’re feeling great with your returns if you got him in the second round, so maybe a fantasy owner will want to take on Boogie’s temperamental stats more aggressively than an NBA GM. That is, if this hypothetical NBA GM isn’t a big fantasy player! Although if the GM plays in 8-cat, he’ll spend like crazzzzzzy to get Boogie! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Choo Choo!

Watch out league, The Dieng Train is about to run ya over like you’re Magic defenders! Our season chugs along through Thanksgiving (although with our jeans barely fitting), heading into December with 3 guys flirting with Oscar Robinson for tripdub averages, Brow looking redonk, and a multitude of other breakouts and disappointments, but I don’t want the Dieng Train to slip under the radar! Like a German train station, Gorgui Dieng remains regular, consistent, and otherwise just mundane, bringing true multicat performance after performance from a big (minus treys). After a slow-ish start, the Dieng Train put together a nice weekend with a rainbow 11/7/2/3/4 against the Suns, then 15/6/2/1/2 in a tough-matchup-for-a-big against the Warriors. And even though I said “minus treys”, he actually hit a triple in each of them! Shot 11-22 overall, committed only 2 combined TO, and after hitting only 6 treys last year, maybe this is a part of his game we’ll start to see expand. Before you Dieng Train detractors type “BORING!” in the comments, I know his per-36 is a smidge down from last year. That said, he’s played 36+ minutes in 4 of the past 5 games, and it’s all due to that beautiful, cuddly, Tibby Tibs treatment. Run your starters to death! But well, when one of your starters is a effin’ train, you ride that rail! Here’s what else went down over Thanksgiving weekend in fantasy basketball:

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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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One of the joys added to my life since tying the knot a few years ago was the culinary arts. I’m not quite sure what happened first: the desire to impress my wife while we were dating, or my desire to watch Food Network as long as possible. Ok, actually, that’s easy…I’ve been on the good impression train since Day One. It’s called being a man. However, along the way my love for all things cooking developed. Well, not all things. But you put Chef’s Table on the TV and I’m glued. For hours. Secretly, I just want to be a sous chef to someone great.

The sous chef is the numero dos. The Robin to a great chef’s Batman. The Bonnie to someone’s Clyde. You know, the Seth to someone’s Steph. Sure, little brother Seth Curry may have eventually played at the more prestigious North Carolina school, but it’s Steph Curry that’s revolutionizing basketball. You’ll never confuse the two, but lil’ bro Seth’s trying his darnedest in his attempts.

I wanted to call him the sous chef to Dirk’s executive in Dallas, but let’s call it what it is: that designation goes to Harry B (Harrison Barnes, for all you non-hipsters). Barnes has been a boon for the struggling Mavs so far, but while Dirk Nowitzki‘s been nursing a bum achilles, sous chef Curry’s been getting some chicken curry on the menu lately. When given more minutes, and greater confidence to let it fly, Seth Curry’s posted a penchant for steals, points, threes and dimes. If his minutes keep up, we could see more of the same from this past week when he topped the 30 mpg mark. Even with just a slight tick, it looks like Curry could be cookin’ up a significant role on this Mavs team for the season.

And for week? Four games will do just the trick. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 4!

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Everythang we do is funky up in heaaah! I love how so many cats have been laying down the nasty funk these first few weeks in the N.B.A., and not your regular humdrum contributors! It makes for interesting fantasy trade bait, you dig? Ok, I may not be able to lay down the fresh jive in the caliber of the late great host of Soul Train, Don Cornelius for you, but I appreciate the art form of weaving sexy soul into speak. And some of the early season performances from our fantasy faithful have been nothing short of artisanal. But are these performances going to endure like Jay-Z, or be a flash in the pan like Kris Kross? Let’s take a look at a few cats that are Big Pimpin, and the wannabes who fake the funk, and come off wiggity whack: (I realize that I jump from funk to hip hop analogies, but you get the gist, leave it be, good reader, I’m on a deadline here.)

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As I steadily stood fast next to Stephen Curry as my #1 player, I was reminded of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Friday night. With all that Lakers yellow and Curry missing all his treys, I was like “somehow that song Yellow, makes me want to pee! I think because when it’s over, it’s a big relief to me!”

This is why you don’t panic on shooters, even if they’re the most elite players in the land. Unlike your big man studs, they’re going to have more peaks and valleys. We didn’t really see much of that inconsistency last year, but we got about the most epic cold-then-hot consecutive games we’ve ever seen. After snapping his 3PTM streak at 157 games going 0-10 Friday, Curry comes out and BREAKS THE NBA RECORD FOR 3s LAST NIGHT! WTF IS THAT?!

46/5/5/2/0 on 16-26 shooting, including 13-17 from downtown. Crazy talk. Dudes in the 3-point contest don’t even shoot that well! And it’s almost kinda sad that the Warriors NEEDED that kind of output, only beating the lowly – now 0-7 – Pelicans by 10. Curry is suddenly at 47.7% from the field with 4.6 treys a game: my argument for him #1 – FG% mixed with league-best 3s. While the rest of his numbers are down a tiny bit, the last 3 games he’s at 7.7 AST and 2.0 STL. So those are coming around as well. I only had one RCL with a top-7 pick, thankfully in the Slim vs. JB League, where I was able to nab him #2 and I’m still thrilled about it. This game was a big relief to me too! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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