Woooo, Jimmy Buckets is back!  And Tom Thibodeau does what Tom Thibodeau does…  Runs his guys to death.

After missing exactly 3 weeks with his elbow injury, Jimmy Butler returned last night and played a ridiculous 39-and-a-half minutes for 19/9/1/0/0.  Almost 40 minutes?!  And he shot 6-20!?  Sure he’s taken a ton of shots the past week to be sure the elbow is healthy, but the aggression in that 7-10 FT really solidifies he should be 100% the rest of the way.  That is, until Tibs plays him 63 minutes in a 3-OT game!  Sheesh, I gotta wonder if I’ll ever be huge on Bulls again…  Derrick Rose and all-a-dat, Joakim Noah goes through injury spells…  And Tibs refuses to run his starters on any sort of minutes limits.  I’m more posing the thought than really setting any personal beliefs in my fantasy bedrock, but Rose for sure I could never draft.  You can call that Fred Flintstone because it’ll make my Fantasy Bedrock!  I don’t think I’m using that lyric right…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Charlotte Hornets welcomed back Kemba Walker to their lineup on Wednesday evening. In 16 minutes off the bench, Walker posted 6 points, 2 assists, and 1 block in 16 minutes. It wasn’t the game we expect out of Walker, but he was going to be limited to 9 minutes per half and Coach Steve Clifford stuck to his word. Don’t be surprised if Walker continues to be on a minutes’ restriction and come off the bench through the weekend. It will take Walker a few games to get back into game shape.

Mo Williams started Wednesday’s game and continued his strong play of late, putting up 20 points and 8 assists. With Walker back, Williams will inevitably lose playing time. However, Williams should still hold some value. He’ll be a fine play through the next couple games, while Walker is on a minutes’ restriction.

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The tennis balls are off the legs, the HurryCane back in the closet, the pre-game meal eaten at 5:00 AM at the early bird special – we’ve got Kemba Walker back!

After a month and a half off, Walker came off the bench last night for the Hornets, and looked like Louis C.K.’s nethers.  Rusty.  2-9 from the field for 6/1/2/0/1 with a TO in 16 minutes.  While there’s no need to be harsh – we expected some rust after knee surgery – but Mo Williams played pretty well with 8 dimes and Gerald Henderson shocked the world with a career-high 11 assists.  Ok, “shocked the world” may be a slight overstatement, I could say “it was so shocking it blew all his hair off!”  It’s certainly interesting he had a previous career-high 9 dimes just last Sunday, so now there’s two facilitators to battle with.  Makes me worried about Kemba’s assists upside, and he’s kinda looking like an Isaiah Canaan clone.  Wait, I said I didn’t need to be harsh!  That said, Kemba is healthy and has a lot more upside, so obviously worth owning everywhere.  I just wouldn’t be shocked (unlike Hendo’s dimebag!) if he’s towards the end of the line if you’re killing Pts/3s and need to stream a stat at the end of week one of the playoffs…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Ugh.

Three letters to sum it up right there (and I wrote the beginning of this open before seeing Rotoworld’s update!  Groupthink.)

In only a light slate of two games last night, we had a very solid and steady fantasy contributor in Wesley Matthews go down with a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season.  I haven’t been this mad at Achilleses (multiple Achilles?) since Brad Pitt in Troy!  Man was Orlando Bloom a pansy too…  Rough, rough injury and owners will have to scramble to find replacements for his 2.9 3PTM and 16.1 points a game with only 1.3 TO.  Tagline of Taken baby!  “Good luck.”  And well, probably the guy filling in for Matthews is as good as any replacement, as Arron Afflalo should immediately step in the role and be Afflalo of old.  I was shocked that late last night he was already owned in 66% of leagues, but that was probably spiking harder than a Charlie Sheen punchbowl with the devastating news last night.  While Matthews was great for what he did, threes are a-plenty on the wire, and veterans of ThrAGNOF should be able to get their stream gloves dirty!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Who is the hottest team in the NBA right now?  The Pacers are surprisingly playing well and OKC is still winning through injuries, but those Utah Jazz are as tough to score on as the bookish chicks in college!

5-1 since the trade deadline, the Jazz have wins against Portland, San Antonio and now Memphis in that span (their loss was against the Lakers, but we’ll overlook that), and other than that fluke Lakers game, no one has scored over 82 points.  And we all know the key to the Jazz D is Rudy Gobert.  Moving into the starting line-up, Gobert has been playing unreal with a 15/24/1/0/0 line last night on 6-10 FG and 3-4 FT.  He was on a 6-game streak of 3+ blocks, so a random outlier of 0 last night isn’t a biggie especially since Marc Gasol loves his mid-range.

I’ve seen a few comments of owners looking to trade for FG% and a big man boost, and I would be all-in on trying to bring Rudy to those squads.  Even his FT% is improving at 11-15 from the stripe the past 3!  And the Jazz have that oh so saucy 4/4/4 playoff sched.  Yesterday on the Podcast, I asked Slim if he would take Gobert or Hassan Whiteside first in next year’s drafts.  It’s really really close and comes down to a points need (Whiteside) vs. steals need (Gobert).  It’s crazy that probably the biggest value change during the deadline was just the stubborn Jazz finally unleashing the beast that is Gobert.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Well, one outta three of the letters in MCW is in efficient…  That makes sense seeing as he usually shoots 33%!

In his debut for the Bucks, Michael Carter-Williams looked solid against his former Sixers for 7/0/8/2/0 in only 17 and a half minutes.  All with only one TO!  Shot 3-5 from the field, did split his two FT, but a mad efficient game in his new colors.  Off the toe sprain, I’m not surprised his minutes were kept in check as the Bucks unsurprisingly took it to the Sixers.  Full tank!  Yesterday on the Podcast, Slim said even a great game wouldn’t have him change his MCW valuation too much, and he’s the logical one.  But I’m antsy and loved what I saw!  I don’t think he’s suddenly the top-50 guy I thought he’d be, but I think he’ll keep the %s in check with that decent MIL supporting cast, and he won’t make you want to kill yourself.  And if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is…. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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…But it’s not like Tony Snell doesn’t deserve it!

Long time readers will know that for the past year-and-a-half I’ve been a big Snell fan, and he’s finally flourishing in huge minutes with a 22/2/1/3/0 line hitting 9-11 FG, 4-6 FT, and all with no TO.  The anti-LeBron!  Poor ol’ king James didn’t meet a turnover at the Chicago hotel continental breakfast he didn’t like, going 31/5/4/0/0 with 8 giveaways.  Snell was D-ing up BronBron all game, and ended up with a +29 to LeBron’s -27!  Bron was like, “Ohhhhh what’s that Snell?!”  Tony has been on fire the past 4 games, hitting 28-41 including 15-25 from deep.  And he flashed the full bag of tricks on the Cavs bag of bones slamming a couple early, hitting a floater late, sandwiched with some Kyle Korver-esque 3PT shooting.  I don’t think there’s much we can do about it though in 10 or 12ers with Jimmy Butler probably back after the break, Kirk Hinrich still there to fill some empty minutes, and Mike Dunleavy side-cocking some treys.  But in deeper leagues or dynasties, I think Snell could really turn into something and I have for a long while now.  Here’s what else went down in our final first half game of the NBA season:

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From the depth of 90s video games, crossed with the beastly rancor of Joakim Noah (can you use rancor as an adjective?  is that even the right part of speech?!), it’s the Goromotaro!  An epic performance of 20/20 needed a name, but ever since Joakim pulled off a few back in the day, he hasn’t scored 20 points in like… a million years.  Hasn’t yet this year!  Shocking he’s scored double digits in only 2 of the past 19… But I digress…

The way things have looked the past month, Goromotaro might need a name or image change to feature Hassan Whiteside!  Dude is hitting the glass harder than Cheech at a bong-only party.  24/20/0/3/2 last night for his first career Goro.  Not that he hasn’t been close!  Had a 23/16 and a 16/24 in there.  Unreal!  There’s only been 23 20+ board games this year, and Whiteside is two of them and has only 8 starts!  Whiteside has the 7th Goro this year (the others belonging to Kenneth Faried, Zach Randolph, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Pau Gasol and… you ready for this…?  Jason Thompson!), and as good as those guys are (well, minus Thompson), I’d put good money on Whiteside being the first with multiple.  He’s also 73% from the stripe his past 13 games!  Getting a little unreal out there, and the 4 TO last night were very fluky – especially one on an inbounding violation that was totally Norris Cole‘s fault.  Cole tried handing it back to Whiteside after he tossed it in during an odd, weird lack of awareness that cost the Heat the game!  I’m pretty sure it was a play ran to perfection from the Larry Drew playbook…  Here’s what else went down last night across the NBA:

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Well, yet another example of why a starting nod doesn’t equate to production, even for seemingly good players…

The Bulls got embarrassed last night in LA, with Nikola Mirotic getting the start at SF.  It was disastrous before, and twas disastrous again!  Only got 12 minutes and did nothing other than get a steal and a turnover, and it looks like old Tibs wasn’t too happy.  The ghost of Carlos Boozer shoved Mirotic around on a layup and he just isn’t a good defender – why we saw another healthy dose of Tony Snell.  Even in a 2OT game, Tibs didn’t let Mirotic off the bench!  Went small instead with Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks picking up more PT late and in the OTs.  And ultimate insult to injury – the Bulls still lost.  But it was really Derrick Rose‘s fault as he continues to lay brickhouses on top of batches and batches of turnovers.  He’s like a Martha Stewart version of The Big Bad Wolf!  And the Bulls should’ve pulled this one out since the Lakers continually refuse to play their best player…  Tarik Black!  Outrageous!  Egregious!  Opprobrious!  (thank you Thesaurus)  Black is an MVP waiting to happen…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Ya know, the Lakers deserved to lose like that last night.  After building a solid lead against the Wizards, the Purp and Gold collapsed yet again…  And they didn’t play my boy or fan-favorite Tarik Black!  I find this an atrocity…  Gonna be about 30 straight losses at this rate!

But as much as I want to rant about Black, that would be a pretty weak open… So the next best ranty Lakers subject has to be Wayne Ellington‘s crazy game, putting up a 28/3/3/3/0 line on 12-20 FG (3-9 3PTM 1-1 FT).  Sell if you can!  No Nick Young last night as he’s dealing with a minor ankle injury from practice on top of being in the doghouse.  Swaggy Peed on the carpet!  We all know Swaggy never touched a basketball he didn’t think he could shoot, and that will sap into Ellington’s future upside.  I could see some interesting buzziness floating around Wayne given Kobe Bryant‘s shoulder fell off, so if any deeper league owners are interested and you can get a value, I’m down like Byron Scott a clown.  That said, he’s out there in a ton of league fa free (9% owned last night when I grabbed him in an RCL), so maybe you get a couple hot games before you Sellington.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?