Oh man, the jet lag is real!  Sorry for the later daily notes again this morning, I’m in sunny Florida but couldn’t get my ass up in the morning!  Still on LA time!  And you could probably say the same for those lousy Chicago Bulls these days, they were sleepwalking in Orlando.  The walking of the Bulls!  Doesn’t have the same ring as running of the Bulls…  But they looked old last night, even on only 1 hour difference, and no one covered Elfrid while owning from the Shelfrid!  20/14/14/2/2 last night, in an epic rainbow tripdub from Elfrid Payton.  As voluptuous as his hair!  He’s been unreal the past week going 16.3/10.0/8.8/1.5/0.8 hitting 66% from the field.  Of course it’s just a hot streak, and in the daily notes I’ve been really apprehensive the minutes/production would go back down, but things be hot hot hot in Orlando!  But one thing that occurred to me is Nikola Vucevic went down 4 games ago, and these last 3 games have been without Vucci Mane and his USG-whoreness down low.  Replace him with Bismack Biyombo down low, and you need a lot more playmaking elsewhere.  So while yet another season of SKIIIIIIIIIILES!!! residue and inconsistency for Elfrid has me hesitant to push for him yet again in 17-18, if they move on from Vuc and keep more-or-less this same core, I’ll be buying right back in and getting him on my Shelfrid on 17-18 teams.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, big weekends all around!  And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns!  I was in Phoenix all weekend!  …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was…  Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time…  Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!

It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya!  And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!

NBA getting taken over by shorties!  Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate!  20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior.  Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around!  23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday.  While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role.  So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode.  Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix!  Stupid pale skin…  I’m not built for the desert, even in early March!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

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?

… 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?

All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!

As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:

Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, I do keep my eyes open all the time, and if you’ve been reading my thoughts on Jeremy Lin the past few weeks, you’ve heard me repeatedly say that I’m worried about lingering/long-term injury with this bad hammy strain earlier in the season. The deathblow – for me – was when after coming back from the hammy, Lin suffered back issues, which I mentioned I had seen time and time again in baseball as a lingering effect from not having your upper leg base. And here we go again with another hammy strain last night, again to the left hammy, the same hamstring he pulled in early November (emo band alert!). On a VERY friendly 3-year deal in today’s market at only $38 million (thanks Razzball player pages!), I see no reason the Mess wouldn’t just shut him down another extended period of time with the injury to the same hammy, so hopefully you sold in these past couple weeks when you could. In his stead, look for Sean Kilpatrick to play some PG again, which actually hurts his value in my eyes. He wasn’t thriving the same way as his SG run, as he’s not a great facilitator and it jacked up his TO rate. For deeper leagues, it puts Isaiah Whitehead back on the radar, although he will hurt your FG% and TO in some games (9/2/3/1/1 last night, but with 4 TO in 16 minutes). Thankfully Whitehead was able to come back at exactly the right time after a few games off due to foot soreness. And that’s not even mentioning Randy Foye and his “epic” 3/1/2 line last night, with his only FG being this one:

Hah, your final shot goes to a guy who was 0-1 in 21 minutes up until that touch. Yeesh, this team is certainly really close to the creamy nougat center of Dante’s Inferno, on maybe the 2nd or 1st Ring of Fire… Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?