And we’re back baby!  The All-Star break in Nawleans has come and gone, with a disappointing dunk contest, no bounce passes in the skills contest (yeah, what was up with that Prez?!) and All-Star jerseys that made the finale look like an adult rec league game on a Thursday night.  “Help, I think Stanley has a hernia!”  I was constantly thinking to myself about the Major League quote, but the opposite.  Brian Scalabrine or Matt Bonner coming into their first practice with sleeves and a hat on, and their coaches were like, “We don’t wear caps and sleeves at this level son!”  Sure made that coach look stupid on Sunday night!  And if you’re a Cleveland fan, you’ve got to be thinking, “Crikey wtf is going on!?” after seeing Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters go off in their respective ASB games over the weekend.  Then to see neither of them do anything against the 76ers last night!  To be fair, the Cavs let their scrubs do all their damage in a blowout.  So I guess if Cavs are thinking crikey, Philly fans are thinking, “if we don’t win 20 games this year, I’m giving up cheesesteaks!”  Drastic?  Probably.  Be liking asking me to give up that delicious BBQ.  Now I’m all sorts of hungry… How did this get into food?  Let’s just dive right in to last night’s return to action, like how you’d dive into an all-you-can-eat Southern food buffet with mac & cheese, hush puppies, chopped BBQ, whole BBQ, biscuits & gravy, and then, and then…:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes there’s not much you can do to affect your situation. If you’re reading this, digging this deep into the murky ether of the worldwide inter-webs for fantasy basketball advice, I’m sure you’ve had a daydream or two about being an NBA baller. We both know, however, for you and I, it wasn’t about not getting enough shots up after practice that held us out of the Association, we didn’t have the talent, pure and simple. But, if you’re petty like me, you might take some ironic comfort in knowing that even some of the Ballers in the NBA get shafted as well. Take Kyle Lowry, for example. He gets snubbed for the All Star game, then snubbed for the replacement players, THEN gets named Eastern conference player of the week, and then receives the worst call of the year, just to burst his bubble. That is a travesty of injustice, and while I’m not shedding any tears for Kyle inherently, it just goes to show that even the elite get effed with. There is a karmic balance going on, people, stop pretending there isn’t, and start paying it forward, eat your vegetables, and help old ladies across the street.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One team.  Two broken noses.  Four bloody nostrils.  One protective face-mask company that has lost a client.

In case you missed it, in the battle of the oldest teams ever in NBA history (yeah, no stat to back that up, but pretty sure George Gervin played a few minutes in the third…  [Ok, ok, the Spurs benched all their old guys, whatever!]), both Nando De Colo and Matt Bonner broke their noses and got all bloody.  Bonner with his mask still on!  On both (De Colo, Bonner) you got some really good in your face camerawork.  I feel like both of those could become UFC moves.  The “Russian wrister”!  The “Livingston shoulder slam”!  De Colo gets mad props for coming back in the game in the second half.  Bonner gets mad props too for trying to come back in, but Pop wouldn’t have it.  Pop hates props!  Plus Bonner’s quote, “By tomorrow, I’ll either have a new mask or a new face” is friggin’ awesome.  Kinda have a boner for Bonner.  While De Colo is not a standard league option, with Tony Parker an elf on the shelf with a bad back, De Colo got 27 minutes 11/3/2/2/1.  Near rainbow!  It’s actually a pretty light slate of games looking ahead on Saturday, so De Colo could be a nice streamer for you in deeper leagues if Parker stays on that shelf.  But as Slim pointed out to me earlier in the week, they’re against Charlotte – a top-5 PPG NBA D, but his defense and boarding should be fine if you need a lil-a-dat from a PG over the weekend. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I could tell what JB was thinking just from the look in his eyes, or what I could see of them, but he had to verbalize it, “Come on I really don’t want to do this.”  I’m sure he didn’t but a lost bet has consequences.  It was time to go play some 2-on-2 tournament basketball and he looked ready.  He was carrying his basketball in one hand, his sandals in the other, and sporting a bright orange and pink spandex leotard, which can you believe has to be special ordered.  I thought the big and tall store would have a couple to choose from but they don’t.  Anyway where was I, oh yeah, and a matching blindfold with a couple tiny holes poked out.  For safety.  At this point there was no escaping our fate, JB knew that what he wanted was no longer relevant.  When we finally arrived we were ready to ball.  I knew we needed to make an impression so in a show of intimidation I threw my shirt off revealing my shiny black Tom Selleck-esque body fur, pulled my socks up high and tight, and mean mugged those fools as hard as I could.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Breaking news!  Kobe Bryant is injured.  No one has been talking about this.  And in a further Razzball exclusive – he’s old.  Not exactly the best combo coming back from a major injury, followed by another pretty bad one just a few games back.  After a re-examination, apparently the knee bone still isn’t connected to the leg bone, so let’s call the whole thing off!  Will be examined yet again in three weeks, and that’s just another knee rub-rub.  Who knows how much longer it will be after that.  Good news is!  Jodie Meeks is still gonna kill it, Kendall Marshall is still going to hand out dimebags like a Colorado bakery, and with the Lakers still atrocious, we can make a pretty educated guess that Kobe is going to be out A – until he is 100%, no questions asked, no way he could get hurt again healthy or B – the season.  Leaning B.  And even if A happens, it would be so late and in such limited minutes that I don’t think the value is worth it.  Cut him in 10 or 12-teamers.  Just do it.  I know some people will keep holding him, if you’re in 1st or 2nd and fine for the playoffs and wanna stash, I can’t argue much with you, but I think the time is now to use that spot for others.  Tough year for Lakers fans, but hey, you’re not the Bucks… Here’s what else went down across the NBA-o-sphere:

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Last night was a doozy.  Flummoxing.  I actually had to look up flummoxing to be sure it worked.  And it does!  But there are numerous things that aren’t working for the Kings, mainly Rudy Gay‘s Achilles and DeMarcus Cousins‘ ankle.  Gay actually wasn’t “Leon” down in pain like DeMarcus after DMC fully rolled his ankle, but neither sounds like any sort of fun.  With Cousins, the diagnosis is a “moderate sprain” and I gotta say, a big near 300-pounder putting all his weight on an ankle the turns 90 degrees the wrong way doesn’t sound moderate.  Moderate maybe in the sense that the dude in 127 hours only had to “moderately” scratch his arm to get free!  I’d expect at least a few weeks.  But, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a pool man!”  Then there’s Gay’s Achilles which you could see in his face he was in bad pain and exited pretty quick, albeit under his own power.  We all saw Kobe Bryant limp off under his own power with the torn Achilles, so this one is definitely a hold-your-breath injury.  The obvious immediate add in most formats is Derrick Williams, who I kinda disregarded when he was acquired, but now is in a “you-better-be-able-to-score-a-lot-because-we’ll-need-it” starting role.  Solid 22/11/1 with three treys last night in 40 minutes of duty.  Just added him in one league for the ice cold Terrence Ross for example.  Ross is like, “hey don’t blame me, it’s this effin’ weather!”  Yes – I narrate my fantasy teams.  Someday soon I hope to put on a finger puppet show.  Here’s what else I saw last night in a wild evening of fantasy action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No no no, that’s not some sort of euphemism for not flushing… Victor Oladipo had a unreal game last night, almost giving the Magic enough to beat the Bulls in tres overtime.  I watched this game and was making all sorts of Oladipo highlights slashing to the rim.  Ended up with a 35/4/8/3/1 line shooting 15-24 with a trey.  Career-high alert!  And it wasn’t due to the minutes (58), he only scored 2 in the 3 OTs I believe.  Did boost his dimes by a few though… A guy I was extremely steadfast about holding onto and buying low is paying out your quarterly dividends.  Well, it would be more like bi-weekly dividends, but if a stock did that I want in!  The 8 TOs last night was a bugaboo, but just part of VO’s game.  He’s going to continue to get these big minutes and touches for the duration.  Pumped to see him finish out his rookie of the year campaign.  Here’s what else I saw in a busy night of NBA hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Leandro Barbosa had a really good run in the 2000′s, captaining the Black Pearl, slashing to the basket with some great drives – just like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was all-around fun to watch in his prime.  After a decline in Leandro’s play, he was shipped to Toronto for some turkey named Hedo Turkoglu.  Barbosa averaged nearly 13 Pts a game north of the border in two seasons, but then he was constantly asea with stints with the Pacers and Celtics before tearing his ACL in February last year.  And man, did that injury make him look attractive to the Wizards, who traded for him in a salary move.  Never playing for the Wizards and not getting any deals in the offseason, Barbosa looked stranded on the Isla de Muerta.  But some rum runners and/or braiding human hair from his back to lash together sea turtles got him back to civilization and re-signed by his former Suns a week ago.  After three meh games, Barbosa broke out with a 21/3/2 game last night.  Commodore Barbosa!  Bootstraps’ bootstraps!  He stayed on the court just over 30 minutes, and was infinitely better scoring the ball than Gerald Green, who shot 2-16.  Labradoodle alert!  No need to Geoffrey Rush to the wire in 10-teamers or 12-teamers, unless you’ve got a banged up squad in 12-team and only need points.  He’s a little interesting in deeper leagues though.  Mainly because he’ll get minutes, get shots, and will breakout on cold Green nights.  Here’s what else I saw last night across the Caribbean:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ohhhhh Brad Stevens.  You look like you’re 12 and coach like you’re… 12.  But at least, unlike Larry Drew, his inconsistencies have been pretty centralized to the… center.  I need to work on expanding my vocab!  First there was the Vitor Faverani early (albeit very brief) breakout, then Kelly Olynyk got some starts, followed by a really nice run from Jared Sullinger.  I at first brushed him off, but then had Yahoo highlights for a Celtics game and was really impressed.  I liked how he saw the floor, played hard, a nice-looking shot, and just overall looked like a guy that would be a must-own.  Then after some flagrant fouls and rough-n-tough play racking up the personals, Stevens threw him to the bench.  From December 22nd to January 8th he was brutal and I had to jump ship as well.  And of course right after that happens, he goes for 21/11 and 14/10 over the weekend, with a pair of treys in both.  The first comment on Friday was asking about dropping Sullinger and I said “12 team with a solid squad I might hold, but if I had injuries or needed production now, he’s droppable. I think he is bad a few weeks, but gets back into the starting lineup.”  That’s me quoting me!  My timetable was off, turned out he was done being bad/underplayed, but I still had some faith.  I think he needs to be owned in most leagues with double-double upside, a perimeter game, and I think the assists come back (only 1 in the past 4, but was at 2.3 dimes a game in December).  Let’s all just hope Stevens doesn’t keep sullying fantasy hoops for us… Here’s what else I saw over the weekend (through tears of sadness after the refs rigged the 49ers a playoff win) in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ohhhh man, the mile run.  Nothing establishes popularity in middle school more than the mile run.  You have the athletes who can just jog but have to semi-try, the dorks who are OK at sports that do pretty well (me!), the cool kids that just walk, the unhealthy people who saunter, and then the coolest dudes who hide behind the scoreboard on the other side of the track as the teachers and smoke cigs.  True story!  But the real run to talk about this morning is C.J. Miles‘ run, who’s capped off three straight great games.  Hit a ridiculous 10 treys last night, for a 34/5/2/2 line shooting 11-18 and 10-14 from deep.  If only someone called it yesterday!  And proof to the theory of ThrAGNOF.  Got you 10 treys for just one spot start.  Great night for Miles and shows us yet again that if you need to stream guys, play anyone facing the Sixers.  As I mentioned yesterday, their D is league worst in points allowed by nearly 7 points more a game given up than the second-worst.  It’s a fast-paced team with bad D no matter how you slice it.  Unfortunately for Miles, the acquisition of Luol Deng is really going to hurt his minutes, making him a guy you’re probably not picking up in standard leagues or solid 12-teamers.  Just won’t have the minutes or upside.  But luckily he had one last game to show his range and should stay in the mix for deeper leaguers.  Here’s what else I saw last night in a big slate of games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?