Playoff basketball – yes spelled “basketball” – is underway, got some great games to kick it off, including from our boy PBev!  While I’m coming around and trying to watch more playoff hoops (baseball is still fresh and new, sue me!), I’m still more excited for the hopes and dreams of 2017-18 fantasy titles.

In case you’re still catching up, here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 ranks, which hopefully mostly hold up (they mostly come out at night…) for the 2017-18 season.  Of course my boldest call of Rudy #10 gets greeted by a first quarter knee injury in game 1 of the playoffs, hooray!  C’mon Rudy, just stay healthy, no one in fantasy cares how you play in the playoffs!  Hah!  So let’s all hope none of these guys in my 11-25 get injuries their next postseason game…  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:

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It’s been a while since the East has boasted a better division than the West, but even when you spot a lowly East team a big lead on a West team, nothing is safe!  Russell Westbrook just went insane (I would too if the Magic were beating my playoff bound team!) in the OKC comeback charge, turning around a 21-point deficit during the second half on his way to a 57/13/11/3/0 line.  He shot 21-40 from the field with 6 treys, just willing OKC to the W after this dramatic 3 to get it into OT.

Good thing Nikola Vucevic can’t hit his FT!  Westbrook took the missed freebie board, and no Magic was gonna stop him…  Take that, Voldemort!  It’s come to pass as just the norm, but at 31.8/10.6/10.4, it looks like Westbrook is going to easily average the tripdub, something I really didn’t think we’d ever see again.  Hopefully you built your team around his deficiencies fairly well, because man he’s tough to beat if you can slaughter the right cats.  Westy is your besty!  What an unbelievable season,  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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In a battle for real life playoff implications, Hassan Whiteside tipped in Goran Dragic’s missed putback to give the Heat a 97-96 win:

It was just the tip, but sometimes that’s all you need, as the Heat went up a game on the Bulls and 2.5 games ahead of the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the east. Whiteside finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Dragic added 28/4/4 on 9-16 shooting.

Oddly enough, it was the Heat’s first game-winning buzzer-beater since 2013, when a little known player by the name of LeBron James beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the playoffs in full swing, every game matters, so here are the rest of your nightly notables:

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Ah, the fountain of youth. Something Arizona certainly doesn’t have! The retirement haven of America – just ask Tyson Chandler – oddly boasts the most ridiculously young team. Last Thursday, they had a younger starting 5 than all but 1 of the 8 college teams playing in the Sweet Sixteen that night, and not surprisingly, the youngest starting 5 in NBA history. The retirees in Phoenix love to watch em young!

Despite being a god awful team, there still is a lot of promise with the draft picks they made, highlighted by the absolute insanity that Devin Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics last Friday night. Insanity that he was the youngest player to break 70, that he set a franchise record, OR THAT THE SUNS STILL LOST?! Hah, take your pick.

On that layup there to kick off the GIF, Marcus Smart is like, “meh, whatever, we up 20.” 21-40 FG (4-11 3PTM 24-26 FT) for 70/8/6/3/1 in the craziest line of the year. I mentioned on our last Pod that the Suns are kinda like random number generators right now, so who knows what you’ll get next?! Well, next was 23/4/5/0/1 with 4 TO in a blah encore for Dbook. His shooting arm was tired! He did get another 7-7 FT yesterday though against the Hornets (nice to see the volume staying high), but they yet again lost, and he’s doing this without Eric Bledsoe, instead with a group of similarly young pups. It might vault him to be drafted a little too high for my liking for next year, but maybe he can turn into DeMar DeRozan with 3s. Which hurts the FG%, but I’m all optimism right now! “Never Seen So Many Guys Happy After An L!” huh?! Well, Jae Crowder – aka Party Pooper – it’s the end of March and I’m in super depressed mode after I had 3 of my 4 alive teams lose in semis this week! Why you gotta harsh my buzz!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball action over the weekend:

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Welcome to the semis!  If you’ve survived this long in your standard H2H formats, then you’re merely 2 wins away from a title.  Hard to believe after the marathon!  Just think of how many more games the NCAA title hopefuls have to win to get a National Title!

With a mere two weeks left, there’s only 14 more days of streaming on the docket, making every add/drop count.  So now’s the time (if you haven’t yet, whaaaaaaaaaaa?!) to check out The Stocktonator!  Check out or new short-shorts robotics to help with your streaming decisions for each and every day this upcoming week.

And well, I have one RCL team that WON’T need The Stocktonator, due to The Omen getting absolutely possessed last week!  Damian Lillard is now my least favorite player, after going 49/1/5/0/1 with 9 treys last night on 14-21 shooting.  He scored 141 points last week, hitting 19 treys, and shot 55% from the field while doing so.  Cost me the playoffs with narrow wins in FG% and points for my opp in a 4-5 loss.  I’m done with you, Omen!  Doesn’t help he shot 36-36 from the FT line either.  What a preposterous week.  Not to mention that after their bad loss to the Pels last Tuesday, he held a players-only meeting which led to a huge win at San Antonio Wednesday, followed by two big wins against the East besting Hotlanta and HotMiami over the weekend.  Why is Atlanta hot, but Miami isn’t?!  Whoever named it Hotlanta hasn’t been to many other cities!  Portland is the hot city right now though!  Here’s what else went down over the hot weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Ugh, rebuilding teams are starting to rebuild earlier, which is good for the waiver wire hounds, but sucks for our stars!  I wish teams would avoid the backlash of the shame they get by just shutting guys down like 2/3 of the way through the season.  Suns even did that more-or-less with Tyson Chandler!

Last night we got word Eric Bledsoe wouldn’t be starting, then after the game we got confirmation the Pee-nix Suns are shutting him down for the rest of the season with “knee soreness”.  Here’s Bledsoe’s response.

Hah!  Well fantasy owners’ emojis would be a lot angrier than that!  A few commenters have posted about a Bledsoe shutdown, but I certainly didn’t think it would be this soon…  Redraft leagues you obviously have to cut him; in keepers – at anything beyond about a 3rd round value – you’re holding on.  Which brings us to one of the of big nights from emerging must-adds from Wednesday’s action – Ulis S. Great!  Big night in the start for Tyler Ulis, going 13/1/13/2/1 in 39 minutes in the youthfest against the Kings.  Yeah, he’s pretty much must-own now.  Above Cory Joseph, Malcolm Brogdon, all those iffy PG that are hanging around as your last roster spot or two in 10/12ers.  So be Great, and add Ulis!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

Hold up there, Speedy Gonzalez!  Before you keep reading, be sure and fill out your Razzball March Madness Bracket!  Brackets are due by noon and we’re giving out a $50 Amazon Card, create yours this morning if you haven’t yet!

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Timing.  It’s a bitch.  Losing one of your bedrocks the weekend before the H2H playoffs is the injury gods spitting into our faces and hitting us across the jaw!  No joke, last night I had a dream that DeMarcus Cousins straight cold-cocked Salah Mejri in the face.  Must’ve lingered from a convo I had with Grey last week about how there’s no more NBA fights, and Mejri always seems to wanna mix it up.  Weird how spot on that dream could be!

Anywho, my trip out West certainly didn’t help my focus!  We got some awful news Saturday that LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be out indefinitely with minor heart arrhythmia.  He missed the final 9 games in his rookie year and 10 days in 2011 due to heart-related issues, so if the further testing done today is positive, maybe we could get him back by the semi-finals next week.  For teams scrapping their way in a do-or-die quarterfinals in the playoffs, unless you have an open INJ spot, Aldridge can probably go.  Get well soon, LA!  In the meantime, David Lee (12/6/2 – 18 mins) and Dewayne Dedmon (9/7/0/0/2 – 22 mins) should get a little added run, but those numbers quoted there were in that weird game Saturday night against the Dubs, with Kerr and Pop benching everyone.  I’m sure ABC was THRILLED when they heard GSW was DNPing everyone and the Spurs were going to be without Kawhi Leonard and LA!  I’m not huge on Lee, but I think he’s your biggest benefactor, and could help deeper leagues or be a streamer for those boring Pts/Reb cats.  Hopefully losing LA doesn’t make you a Ded Mon!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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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.

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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:

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We’re almost there! It’s almost the time of dunks, crappy exhibition games, and most importantly – the time of getting injured players back. Last night only had 2 games on the schedule, so it’s going to be a short wrap up today! In the first game, the Wizards had a solid win over the Pacers, with a final score of 111-98. The Pacers just didn’t manage any big performances. The second game was a lot more interesting, as Jimmy Butler won it with clutch free throws after a very questionable foul call on Marcus Smart. 104-103 Bulls win.

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