Just like a vacation to Cape Cod, Tim Hardaway Jr. got a sabbatical Mike Woodson’s bench at the start of 2014.  “My New Year’s resolution will be… Bench my best players!  Well except Melo…”  Playing under 15 minutes in first 5 2014 games, it looked like it would be a Hardaway Way Back.  But as they say, “slow and steady wins the race!”  Then how come Andrew Bynum isn’t running track?  “Usain Bolt got nothing on me!”  Then starting on the 14th, Coach Woody got Timmy Tim more minutes, capped off with 30+ in three of the last four.  And man, was last night some straight ballin’!  Topping his career-high by 8, Timmay(!) went 29/3/1 in 31 minutes, shooting a sizzling 11-17 FG with 6-12 from deep.  “That means he made every shot inside the arc!”  Thanks arbitrary remark man!  Enough with the quotes this morning JB… This game was virtually over the second Tyler Zeller lost the tip to Tyson Chandler (the ridiculous mismatch on the tip was a nice foreshadowing of the game…) and the Knicks embarrassed the Cavs about as bad as “The Decision.”  But while Timmay(!) racked up some points in junk time, the Knicks have won four straight with him helping to stretch the floor.  Of course no Iman Shumpert factors in, but there’s no way Coach Woody doesn’t have some morning woody seeing 4 straight wins – thanks to a lot less of Timmay(!) on the pine and more of him on… hardwood.  So I think Hardaway Jr. is here to stay as a ThrAGNOF, which isn’t necessarily a derogatory term.  Stream him when you can even in shallow leagues!  Free points and threes!  But not much else… Here’s what else I saw last night in a light slate of Thursday games:

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Deron Williams could sell Citizen Eco-Drive watches too!  “Be precise!  Be powerful!  And whatever you do, don’t in-bounds the ball on a terrible underthrown pass when you’re up a point with seconds to go!”  Just an awful way for the Nets to drop a game last night, as one of my favorite underrated guys right now Patrick Patterson stole Deron’s pass and buried a game-winner.  If only that was a fantasy category!  While you may have been suckered in thinking I’m gonna talk about Deron, Pit Pat is who I want to lead with, who ended with a 15/3/1/2/0 night, punctuated by that steal and dos points on that last play.  In 22 minutes he shot 6-11, hit a three, and is playing pretty well in limited time.  In only 23:12 a game thus far in 2014, 11/5.6/1.6/0.8/0.6 with a trey a night.  Dem fightin’ numbers!  Obviously was on the court in the critical juncture last night, and pulled a Richard Sherman defensive play.  Plus he played after breaking his nose Saturday!  Dem fightin’ numbers!  Only owned in 12% of Yahoo leagues, Pit Pat’s strong play should have him on the brink of high 20 minutes a game.  Not like he’s playing for the Bucks or anything!  Sure he’s behind Amir Johnson, but Amir was quiet last night in 30 minutes (8/6/1/0/1) and Tyler Hansbrough is still out with a psycho ankle.  If you step up in an opportunity, rewards shall be reaped!  Just don’t typo that last word without the first “e”.  Like I almost did!  Hashtag edetting.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

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Yeah, I think about the Thompson Twins. They sang one of the 1980s most epic cheese ballads. And yeah, I think about the Minnesota Twins, specifically the 1987 Minnesota Twins, who were one of the raddest teams ever, especially on RBI Baseball. And what was the deal with the Wonder Twins? Who decided to come up with superheroes where one could turn into animals and the other forms of water? How is that helpful at all to anyone?

But I never gave the Morris twins’ story much thought beyond, “Hey, that’s pretty cool that twin brothers play for the Phoenix Suns.”

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When the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009, it was a great example of how the Sports Karma Gods can sometimes rush in after tragedy strikes to lift a city up and help it rebuild.

But then that was it. No more, said the Sports Karma Gods. Because since 2009, Big Easy sports fans have endured the Sean Payton scandal, the Chris Paul trade, the Hornets changing their name to the Pelicans, the freaking horrible uniforms for this year’s NBA All-Star game and a rash of injuries not unlike the rash Candy Flanders gave me in my sophomore year of high school. Er, ah, moving on.

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If you’re like JB and myself, then you like your fantasy basketball to be Head-To-Head.  The ability to talk smack to a new opponent every week keeps the intensity high.  And unlike Roto or NCAA football, we get The Playoffs, where heroes are made and injures decimate championship aspirations.  A nasty little side effect however is a shortened regular season.  After this week we will have played 10 weeks.  Marking the halfway point of the regular season.  If you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league then sacrifices must be made.  Injured players may need to be traded at less than face value or flat out dropped.  Streaming takes priority over upside.  There is still plenty of time to make up ground and sneak into the playoffs but it’s safe to say something isn’t working.  If you’re in the middle 3rd then you should take a long hard look at who on your team is on the way up and who is on the way down.  We all had our favorite sleepers coming into the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was one of mine, Archie Goodwin was well liked around these parts too.  They weren’t giving enough so we had to move on to the next opportunity, c’est la vie, life goes on…  If your in the top 3rd of your league then you need to ensure you stay there.  You can be much more risky and shouldn’t pass up any high upside guy who is getting big minutes.

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I would like to get your opinion on something.  It’s been bothering JB and I to the point that we finally made a friendly wager on it.  By friendly I don’t mean without a consequence.  If somehow I’m wrong I have to finally teach JB how to play, I’m Blue, with a didgeridoo.  In public I laugh at him for liking that song but between you and me…  That’s my Jam!  There’s a reason he knows I can teach it to him.  But that’s not important cause he’s not going to win our bet.  When I win he’s going to finally teach me the one true Carolina secret.  I’m going to finally learn how much vinegar it takes to ruin otherwise perfect BBQ.  You would think if you just pour a bottle of vinegar in with the sauce you would be done.  Oh no, It’s far more complicated than that.  The trick is that perfect amount to lure them in just enough to try a bite because as the old southern adage goes, “The first time you taste Nort Carlina BBQ, will also be the second.”   I trust you can now see the urgency by which we need this settled.  It really is a simple question.  I’m surprised we’ve had such heated debates.  OK, so assuming Bigfoot is real.  Obviously that isn’t exactly a stretch of the imagination.  Would seeing him in the wild be enough to convince you to just give up your lifes work as a cryptozoologist?  I know right!  Wouldn’t it just further the drive to explore every fuzzy photoshopped picture that gets posted in a random message board?  I’ll let that sink in for sec, until you realize just how long you’ve actually spent thinking about it.

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In what was some brutally bad basketball last night, John Henson led the woeful Milwaukee Bucks into Chicago against a Bulls team more battered up than a candy bar at a state fair… and the Bucks actually won!  It’s horrifying to think in today’s NBA that a guy like Henson might have been the most polished offensive player on the court for EITHER TEAM.  It was brutal.  This was the game I made the Yahoo highlights for, and man, it was more of a wreck than if you went out partying and decided that Lindsay Lohan would be your DD.  But for fantasy, whew-ee if you’re a Henson owner!  Huge rainbow line of 25/14/2/3/6.  It was so good from the big man that Larry Sanders punched a wall.  But the icing on the cake, was this preposterous rainbow shot to close out the rainbow night.  I love the Bulls announcers reacting to that.  “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  Good thing he didn’t take that shot in Cowboys Stadium, that mighta hit the scoreboard!  It feels really good seeing Henson going off, as he was a guy I ranked really high (#100 exactly) and have recommended him over a lot of fringe-wire adds through the young season.  His stats are helping fill all the Andre Drummond voids I have!  Win some, lose some… Henson is obviously a must-own in all leagues, and I think can maintain solid production playing at the 4 when The Colonel is back.  Here’s what else I saw last night in hoopsland:

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When the Obamacare website launched, it was a lot like the Nuggets.  Load errors, mental mistakes, and only 6 people actually showed up because George Karl got fired.  But after JaVale McGee went down (I bet the Nuggets wish their healthcare bills were free!), the 1-3 Nuggets are now 11-6.  Coinky-dink?  I think not!  J.J. Hickson has been great at the 5 fillin’ in for Shaqtin-a-McGee, but it was Timofey Mozgov who has stolen the show the past two games, with 15+/15+ back-to-back including 17/20 against the hapless Nets last night.  But a trend is a-surfacing as Hickson has been under 18 minutes in those games while Mozgov was over 30.  Hickson is still starting, but Mozgov is just being a straight Godzilla out there against opposing B-teams.  I’m not ready to completely hand over the torch – I think Mozzy Bear getting in there was just matchup-based and Hickson gets back to the 30 minute range and Mozgov to the low-to-mid 20s.  But if you need boarding and scoring help, Mozgov is available in a lot of leagues and can still be valuable with that sort of run.  Pete even put him on the radar!  Now he’s in full view.  Even 12-teamers needing the big man help need to take the flyer while they can.  Here’s what else went down last night in the hoops-o-sphere:

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Sometimes it’s nice, oh so nice, to see so much potential that you saw through the preseason finally get the chance to shine, the star to sizzle, the Sun to finally get his run.  With Eric Bledsoe sitting last night with a bruised shin, my boy Archie Goodwin finally got a chance, running a season-high 19 minutes for 16/2/2/2 shooting 7-10 and hitting a three, including this highlight worthy pick 6.  “Give me a chance coach!”  Goodwin has great speed and a good feel for the game for a 19-year-old, and is showing a little bit of what he could do should he get extended time.  The Suns backcourt is flooded, muddled mostly by the breakout Gerald Green is putting on, but the hot start-Suns have now dropped three straight, going from 3-1 to 5-5.  Green is an ultimate sell-high, both in fantasy and in the NBA trade market, for his highlight-inducing big plays and he’s shooting 12% better from the field and 11% better from 3-point land than last year.  Obviously 2012-13 was a disaster, so some bounce back was coming, but yea, if the Suns could get anything in return, they’ll take it.  With Green signed through next season and Goran Dragic with a player-option for next year, both are potential trade chips the Suns could use to build around Bledsoe.  Sure, I’m dreaming up a scenario that may not be the most likely, but what I’m really dreaming about is a Bledsoe/Goodwin starting backcourt.  Mmmmmm.  Fantasy goodness everywhere!  Goodwin is worth keeping an eye on with the Bledsoe shin injury in the deepest of leagues, and deeper dynasty leagues should have him on the radar as well.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops:

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As an ancient proverb goes – “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and a new friend.”  Ok, so I made that up.  But it sounds good!

For an old friend I’ve mentioned a few times and pumped up in my last rankings update before the season started up, my boy Omri Casspi had another solid outing last night that probably was under the radar.  In 24 minutes, he went 7/8/5 with no turnovers, 2-4 from the field and 3-4 from the line.  He just looks awesome every time I see him play.  Did you know he was the first Israeli to play in the NBA?  He’s pretty much Chandler Parsons but with Chandler Parsons in his way.  After a ho-hum first two games, his past two have been fantastic – and this last one without hitting a three which is a big part of his game.  Not necessarily a must own in 12-teamers, but definitely worth a look, and needs to be grabbed in 14+.

Then my new friend - Gal Mekel on the Mavericks.  You’re like, “who the eff is Gal Mekel?  I thought this was NBA not WNBA!”  Mekel was signed to a three-year deal by the Mavs this offseason, and became the second Israeli to join the NBA.  Cut to Amar’e Stoudemire going, “Hey, I should count!”  With Shane Larkin dealing with an ankle injury, and no Devin Harris for a while, Mekel is getting full-on backup PG run and playing well doing it.  He got his 2nd 6 assist game last night going 9/4/6 and hitting a 3.  Sure some run was in junk time, but with the oft-injured Jose Calderon the only one ahead of him (hasn’t played in over 68 games since 2007), Mekel could find his way into starts.  Of course, now I’ve ruined my play on him in the REL League.  Let’s just hope no one in that league is reading!  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?