So I’m not a basketball historian, and I’m still a young pup. I barely remember the Bulls glory years – I was in elementary school when they won titles 4-6 (yikes, aging the crap outta myself), but I do vividly remember the Byron Russell push-off and I cherished my Michael Jordan cards. I still have a bunch of em! This one is still in a nice case and one of my favorites… Anyway, when I saw Jimmy Butler go off for 52/12/6/3/1 last night, I was about to make all sorts of tongue-and-cheek MJ parallels…

Got the same reverse layup and everything! But then it dawned on me… Butler is more like Scottie Pippen if there was no Jordan. Pippen’s best season was 93-94, unsurprisingly the year without MJ, and went 22.0/8.7/5.6/2.9/0.8 on 49% shooting with 0.9 treys. So far this year, J Buckets is 25.3/6.8/4.4/1.7/0.3 on 46% shooting with 1.1 treys. While Pippen was obviously one of the best defensive players of his generation, Butler is a much better FT shooter and gets to the line more. But the rest is really close, and I thought kinda interesting food for thought. So the answer for the Bulls is simple – find a Michael Jordan for Buckets to play next to! I’m a problem-solver – if only every team’s issue in the NBA was this easy! Hah! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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…title sounds like some sort of Adult Swim episode. Something the Squidbillies might do! Oh man, what a time to be a Nikola Jokic owner! I don’t know if any top-50 pick has played with your emotions quite like this! It’s like the crazy hot girlfriend in college – and might as well be a crazy hot redhead because ginger girls are nuts! She’s hot as hell at first, goes a little nuts on you early on, but the hotness keeps you around. 16/8/11/0/1 last night on 6-12 shooting, and point guard-ing the shit outta that game last night!

He was dishing so good, I decided to edit together that GIF this time! And it was tough to show only 15 seconds worth! Perils of trying to explain why you’re hanging out with a hot redhead that is acting nuts in your dorm (I have no personal experience here…)… it takes some finesse explaining it! Anyway, the Nuggets are looking soooooo much better with Jock Itch running the point: after ups and downs with his AST, since Dec 10th when he got 6 dimes, the Nuggets are 6-3 over the last 9 games with Jokic averaging 5.7 dimes and 67.7% shooting from the field. While the dimes from a C are beastly and all, he still only has 19 STL and 19 BLK on the season, good for 0.7/0.7. I thought my #44 overall rank was going to end up being bold, but turns out the hype machine pushed him top-30 in several ranks/draft selections, which made his value a little bit of a bubble. But thankfully if you gutted through that rough November, you’ve got a mad case of Jock Itch keeping you red hot right now! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas Day is a great day for basketball fans. With the exception of the shortened 1998 lockout season, games have been played on Christmas Day every year since 1947 and often feature the best of the best. And this year was no exception.

We saw a rematch of the NBA Finals, a battle for Los Angeles, and a matchup of exciting young players between Minnesota and OKC.

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Oh man, no rest for the wicked! Speaking of wicked, oh man quick shout out to the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, that brewery rocked! But yeah, an absolutely amazing slate to catch me back up on the daily notes, with 4 overtimes last night. Including a super size me doubler in Miami! Most of the other games stayed close too, and 20 of the 22 teams in action last night topped 100 points. Fantasy orgasm! And leading the charge on such a big-and-tall NBA night was of course Isaiah Thomas! Career-high 44 points for IT2/3, putting up a 4/3rd’s of a full line of 44/3/6/1/1 on 10-16 FG (7-10 3PTM, 17-17 FT) including a big three in extra time in the OT win.

I’m just glad this groin thing got worked out! …That sounded wrong… If you have a smaller groin muscle, does it heal faster?! I’m not saying he doesn’t have a kick stand down there with a line like this, but just wondering! After semi-breaking out last year (well he was only 2/3 better than his career year in 13-14 for the Kings), IT2/3 has taken an even further step up – scoring 26.6 PPPG, upping the FT volume to 8.8/per at 90% (remember when he was like 70% the first few weeks, that changed quick!), and even though the steals are only at 0.9, he’s drastically cut his TO rate to only 2.2 despite all the added USG. After a slow start due to injuries, the Celtics look like a pretty tough team at full strength right now, and maybe IT2/3 can lead this squad into a deep run. I’ll be cheering for them! (cough, REL bias, cough…) Here’s what else happened on an action-packed Tuesday night of Holiday Season basketball:

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Twas a star studded evening

And all through the league

Not a player was stirring…

Because it was time to play defense and nobody #%*%#%@ wanted to!

Yeah, I’m looking at you Cavs, Rockets, Warriors, and J.R. Smith.

Anyway…. Outside of that cheesiness, it was a fairly interesting Thursday evening, but many of the games were just irksome.  It’s ironic that the Utah/Miami game deserved to be on TNT over the Cavs and Clippers.  I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed an LA blowout win after that 70 point dud in Indy, but that’s pro sports for ya!  At any rate, let’s get into it!  At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll cover the whole Rockets – Warriors game, but I can already tell you that the winner scored over 120, and it was a race to see who could jack up more 3s.  It’s entertaining, but it isn’t basketball, in my humble opinion.

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Sean Kilpatrick went H.A.M. on Tuesday, scoring 38 points (14-34 FG, 4-12 3PT) and grabbing 14 rebounds in the Nets double-overtime, come from behind victory over the Clippers. He turned it on late, scoring 31 of his 38 points in the 4th quarter and overtime. Kilpatrick probably won’t be this good ever again, but he still remains a wise pickup (53% availability).

Trevor Booker and Brook Lopez – The Nets’ big men also enjoyed the extra minutes in double OT as well. Booker had a nice overall line of 15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals, while Lopez posted 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 threes, and 2 steals. Lopez’ 3-point shooting has really improved this season.

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With how the Poppycockers put together their “Super Team”, I admittedly had some worries that the bunch of Tom Cruise-divas they threw out there might make The Poison Goose a mere co-pilot.  But not with moxie like this!

Dude doing that at 7’3!!!!!  SEVEN THREE!!!  Monster game from Kristaps Porzingis last night, going a career-high 35/7/3/1/1 with 3 treys on 13-22 shooting.  He played 40 minutes, and put the Poppies on his back.  While I was a little apprehensive of his USG, I still think my rank of 23 ended up being ahead of the curve (I would confirm this, but FantasyPros is being a little ish and not making it easy to find draft day expert consensus!).  Alas, I was unable to get the Goose in any leagues, and I’m suffering some major poultry withdrawal.  Thankfully Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  He’s taken 15+ shots the past 7 games, attempting 2 more treys a game than last year, and the TO rate has gone from 1.7 his rookie year to 1.3.  His ridiculous 7’3 size makes him too tough for stretch-4s to cover him, and his ridiculous speed and ball-handling makes him too tough for centers.  He’s becoming a true matchup nightmare with the added iso moves, and is – I’m going there – a no question first-rounder next year.  Slim having him on his REL team has me depressingly reaching for the Grey Goose!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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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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isojoe

Listen, as a Hawks fan I have a special place in my sports heart for Joe Johnson. It’s special because of this strange dichotomy I call reluctant gratitude. The Hawks sucked. Hard. For years. And gave up far too much to get him, but once Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta back in the ’05-’06 season the Hawks became a legit playoff team, with Johnson ascending to perennial All-Star level. Yet that damn contract (only to be rivaled by Allan Houston from 2001 as potentially the worst of all-time) handcuffed Atlanta into the nothingness that is the perpetual second-round, upper-middle tier of the NBA. It was awful.

However, Brooklyn came along and washed our bored tears away when they gulped down his albatross contract to usher in the new era of Atlanta basketball (still perpetual upper-middle tier, though). But when you think about it, that’s just what Joe does: usher in the next chapter for a franchise. Well, that and play incredible (dribble) ball-stopping (dribble) isolation (dribble) basketball (five more dribbles, contested shot with 3 second left). It started in Phoenix as Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash began their revolutionary 8-second offense, then shifted to Atlanta for the next seven years where he made six All-Star teams before becoming the epitome of the catastrophe that was the Brooklyn Nets post-prime project alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now? Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Joe’s the biggest free agent signing the Utah Jazz have locked in for the past 10-15 years. At 35 years old he’s shooting 49% in 31mpg during their first five contests. Could it be that a new era is beginning in Utah with all of their young talent (and without Gordon Hayward as of yet)? They just crushed both the Spurs and then the Mavs, and I’m getting quite jazzed about the makeup of this team. Could they reach the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? Well, probably. Joe’s there now. It’s time for a new era.

And for this week…four games for the Jazz. Here’s the 7 Ahead for Week 3!

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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:

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