Before I begin, head on over to the football side and play and/or host some RCLs by clicking here. I’ve got my league up, so come get it. I have no doubt that you are a degenerate so I’m just trying to help a brother or sister out. Also, check out Jay’s rankings. Not because he’s a swell guy, but because he was the third-most accurate ranker according to FantasyPros.
Ok, now back to hoops. If you missed it, here are the links for the Top 10 and Top 25. I’ll keep the intro to this piece short and sweet because there’s a ton of players to get through.
As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.
Welcome back to The Abode. If you missed the genesis, click here.
After a blowout-infested playoffs, the hype leading up to Warriors/Cavs III in the NBA Finals almost reached Mayweather/Pacquiao levels. Almost. Nothing will surpass the chicanery of Mayweather/Pac, though. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey would’ve been most impressed. Anyways, storylines and narratives were tossed around and many thought (perhaps wished?) that a heated, epic Finals would be showcased.
Game 1. Warriors 113. Cavs 91. The Cavs had 20 turnovers and the Warriors made 15 more field goals on 20 more attempts.
The Warriors Voltron’d up, while the Cavs were a bunch of scurrying ants trying to escape the ray of death from the magnifying glass of a nine-year old.
The Cavs did not panic, though, and Game 2 was an epic battle for two and a half quarters.
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:
The Bulls came into Toronto having beat the Raptors in 11 straight games. It took overtime, but the Raptors snapped the losing streak behind DeMar DeRozan’s 42 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Double D shot 17-38 and helped erase a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter to secure the win.
DeRozan battled all game against Jimmy Butler, who also went off for 37/10/6. Despite these two all-stars’ phenomenal performances, the game was overshadowed by the fight between Serge Ibaka (16 and 6) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks):
Usually Lopez only fights mascots, but took exception to Ibaka’s shove in the back. Fortunately the guys were separated rather quickly, but the league will obviously review the fight and make a decision later on whether either player will be suspended any games. Personally, I’d expect both guys to miss at least one game, but hopefully it’s just a fine and they return for their teams’ next game.
What a way to kick off the week! Well, that is, if you own Rudy Gobert! Monsieur Elbow says “No!” And “Oui, I own l’paint!” Absolutely monstrous 16/14/3/0/8 last night against the Pacers, hitting 7-12 from the field with only 1 TO.
So much swattage! His 13 blocks the last 2 games now gives him a 13.2/12.8/1.2/0.7/2.6 slash on the year, hitting 65% from the field. Oddly 65.5% from the stripe too! Which isn’t good, but not a punt either. BB Monster has him 20th overall in per game stats, and 12th in total. Absolutely insane draft day value, but it really grinds my gears he’s doing this this year, and not in 2015-16! Had him 11th and well above consensus, just one year too early – stupid FIBA wore him down. Focus on the NBA, you Frenchy! Oh shit, now he’s gonna hunt me with one of those elbows, NOOOOOO!!! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:
For LeBron, he needed just 28 minutes to post 16/11/12 against the Pistons, a team he seems to dominate since his unforgettable 48-point performance in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. He wouldn’t be denied and knocked over anything in his path, including teammate Kyrie Irving:
The Cavs were in a bit of a slump, losing 4 of 5, heading into their matchup with the Pistons. With the Cavs just 2.5 games up on the Celtics, hopefully James will finish the year on a tear. It was James’ 10th triple-double of the season and third in the last four games.
The Warriors are now fighting to regain their composure after the massive injury to Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, without him, this is a much weaker squad than last year. This was quite obvious in their 87-94 loss to the mediocre Bulls squad on national TV. Although, Matt Barnes did an admirable job of filling in KD with a massive 2/0/0/0/0 line…
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:
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:
Oh man, super emo title for today! But what kind of irony is it that on Valentine’s Day, we might get some terrible news about Kevin Love‘s knee… After playing a few nights ago, nothing big on the news front until he was ruled out for tonight last Sunday afternoon, then yesterday news broke he’s “seeking a second opinion on his knee”. This coming after an MRI, with results that have not been revealed yet. Ugh! I traded for him a week ago in the REL as all my good injury karma is drastically flipping the past week! And tonight the Cavs go to Minny, in what could’ve been a great “revenge” game. Although, I bet he’s kinda happy he’s on the Cavs instead, hah! Andrew Wiggins is actually playing a little better lately as well, and it would’ve been nice to see them face off again… Alas, be prepared for a lengthy absence from Love, and while he’s having a great season – much better than in 15-16 – thankfully his stats to replace aren’t the tougher-to-find AST-STL-BLK. There have been a lot of bigs to emerge for PTS/REB, and for the treys, we all know you can always ThrAGNOF! So if we get some brutal news today, hop into the comments, and let me be your Love counselor! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action: