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It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips. 

Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:

“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”

TTP. Trust the Process.

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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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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:

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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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For anyone who is in their early 30s (or older), this song would be familiar.  Sadly, I’m giving away my age.  Slim is totally not gonna be drafting me if I was a professional NBA player.

In any case, it’s the 1st week of the playoffs and where it’s either you make it to the next round, or it’s sayonara until next season.  Going into the weekend, it could be do or die… as is the case for most of my teams in Razzball leagues where I hobbled into the playoff spot without Kevin Durant.  So if you’re finding yourself in the similar situation of trying to get through via the band aid solution, these ideas below might help.

Let’s take it by day and some potential pick ups:

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It was the night of the triple-double. Perennial MVP candidates, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, each notched a triple-double to lead their teams to victory.

Westbrook added 25 points, 19 assists, and 12 rebounds for his third straight triple-double, all of which are Thunder victories. It was Westbrook’s 33rd triple-double of the season, who remains just 8 shy of tying Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 in a season.

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.

Now onto the rest of the nightly notables:

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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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JB be California dreamin’!  Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow.  I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something!  But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!

In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting.  All that in 20 minutes too!  Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?!  It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad.  Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season.  Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores  in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford.  Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:

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Not a Shia LaBeouf, fan so I’ve never even heard about this movie ’til now.  Well, what a difference a week makes.  We were analyzing trade impacts last week.  This week, we’ll be looking at a few major injuries that has hit some top tier fantasy players.  Kyle Lowry, Kevin Durant, & Joel Embiid.  And due to Embiid being gone for the season, no more EmBIIIIID for him.

Let’s start with the easy ones.  Lowry and Embiid.

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Man, what a horrid week for injuries!  Highlighted by the worst injury of all: yesterday we got news that JB Gilpin – yes pickup basketball superstar – rolled his ankle in his after-work pickup game on someone else’s fat foot.  That’s right, I got a kankle!  Some rough swelling, probably out 1-2 weeks, go ahead and give me that INJ tag!  No joke, this is the second time in a row I’ve gotten a kankle before a big trip.  Now I’m gonna be gimpy walking around Spring Training games on my baseball trip starting this weekend!  Stupid kankles…

Anyway, some lower-tier basketball talents also got news of rough injuries, of course highlighted by Kevin Durant‘s MRI revealing a Grade 2 MCL strain and a tibial bone bruise.  Stupid Zaza Pachulia flying around willy-nilly!  He’s going to be “re-evaluated” in 4 weeks, so there’s no way he’s making an impact on your fantasy playoffs.  Mayyyyybe he plays in the last game or two, but I highly doubt it.  According to BB Monster, he was by far the best per-game player and total value player, so it’s an unbelievable loss.  But hey, he got you to your fantasy playoffs (hopefully) and anything can happen week-to-week in H2H leagues.  Injuries are the mother-flippin’ worst!  Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night, including one other major injury piece of news:

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