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.

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Rusell Westbrook continued his dominating ways against the Raptors, and the Thunder steamrolled them tonight.  123-102 was the final score, and the Thunder outscored the Raps by 17 in the third quarter. OKC has moved into 6th place in the west, and there’s a decent possibility that they could lock up home court, since they’re only 3.5 games back of the 4th seeded Jazz squad.  At any rate, let’s get back to Westy.  He finished with 24/10/16/1/0, and oh yeah, he only had 2 TOs.  Plus, he hit 4-8 from deep! Did I mention that he did it in only 28 minutes?  Oklahoma City had 7 players in double digits, and they seem primed for a solid playoff push.

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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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…comin’ for to carry me OUT of my fantasy playoffs!  Brutal news yesterday that Kyle Lowry has to undergo surgery on his right wrist – his shooting wrist – to remove some loose bodies.  Should’ve kept those bodies in a well, like Buffalo Bill!  “It puts the lotion on the skin!”  Without an IL spot, you’re cutting him in your redraft leagues, even with the prospect he gets a couple games in right before the playoffs.  The timeline is “hopeful to return in 4-5 weeks”, which would put us in early April.  Plus he’s a shooter, and gonna have a rusty wrist.  Hah, that sounds like a sex thing…  Moving on!

In his place, it’s time for the Cojo mojo!  11/1/6/3/0 then 14/1/6/1/0 over the weekend for Cory Joseph, with only 2 combined TO, showing what kind of sexy roto-asset he could be.  But thennnnn, struggled last night – as did the Raps as a while – to knock off the Poppycockers in a 1-point win, going 6/3/4/2/0 with 2 TO.  Still got 33:30 minutes, but he’s more in the fringy starting PG class (your Brogdon, McConnell, et ceteras) than in the most-own zone.  You could say he’s in the friendzone.  Although dudes don’t really have a friendzone, it’s only chicks that apply that logic.  The friendzone is a very sexist area!  After this dunk in the 2014 Western Conference Finals (back when he was on my REL team), Cojo could have his way with me any time he wanted!

Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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I don’t typically do this, but I’m going completely off-script for the open today, after we got the awful news Bill Paxton passed away in his early 60s due to complications from heart surgery.  Isn’t it weird how attached we get to actors we obviously don’t know in person?!  Especially more a character guy like Bill, but this one hit me hard for some reason!  Who doesn’t love True Lies?  Aliens?  The GOOD James Cameron movies?!

And for this to happen on Oscar weekend too, just a real shame.  Alas, it’s been a busy-as-hell weekend across the association plus I finally wrapped up my Pitcher Rankings over on baseball that’ll be out this afternoon or tomorrow.  Weekend of writing!  That’s what really pulls me through man, getting to write about sports for all you wondrous people in Razzball Nation.  The game will never be over, there will always be basketball and baseball!  Tackle football…?  Eh, maybe not-sa-much…  Here’s what went down over the busy weekend – the first after the break with a lot of fresh faces in new places – in fantasy basketball action:

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With this being the NBA All-Star Weekend, our typical weekend streamer options post will take a backseat to some fantasy implications of any trades that have (and will) occur with the trade deadline coming next week.  There’s been a couple of trades that already happened.  I was hoping to get a glimpse on all of them but looks like the players involved in the ORL-TOR trade didn’t suit up for their new teams.

I said fantasy implications, but let me just add to the growing voices that are asking the Magic management-WTF?!  You trade Victor Oladipo, a near solid (at the very least pretty darn serviceable) stretch 4 in Ersan Ilyasova, the #11 pick (Domantas Sabonis) for Serge Ibaka which you in turn trade for Terrence Ross and TOR’s 1st round pick which is probably no earlier than the 20th pick.  It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that ORL traded away all those essentially for Ross and that 1st round pick.  No disrespect to Ross but seriously?! </rant>

So, with both Ibaka and Ross not playing last night, we can only speculate as to see how they could initially be utilized in their respective teams.

Let’s start with Ross: I think he will end up being the starting SF.  The way I see it the starting lineup will be this:

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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:

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With the regular season drawing to a close, the waiver wire is starting to get pretty sparse, so today I’ll just talk about a few highlight players, and you can ask me about individual situations in the comments below!  As a bonus, feel to ask me anything else you feel like – basketball or non basketball related.  I’m an open book for today!

Terrence Ross – I’m not quite sure how he’ll blend into the Orlando rotation, but I could definitely see some major playing time as the team kicks his tires a bit.  A nice speculative add in the wake of the Serge Ibaka trade.

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The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.

The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.

Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.

Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:

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C.J. McCollum, last year’s Most Improved Player, continues his ascension as one of the best shooting guards in the game. In a battle for the 8th playoff spot in the west between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, McCollum dropped 32 points (13-21 FG), none bigger than his runner with 0.9 seconds left that sealed a Blazers’ win:

Ultimately the game winner, it came right after Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch three to put the Mavericks up 113-112 with 3.9 seconds to go. Nowitzki turned back the clock in the game to post 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 threes, but it wasn’t enough as McCollum put the nail in the coffin.

The 4th year guard is having a career year, but has been shooting even better lately. In the last 5 games, he’s knocked down 13-28 from deep and shot 55.8% from the field overall.

Having such an efficient backcourt mate has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard (29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 threes), who is having his best shooting season of his career as well.

Unfortunately, both guys will need to continue to step up, if the Blazers have a chance at the playoffs, as guard Evan Turner broke his right hand in the third quarter of the game. No timetable has been announced, but he should miss at least a couple weeks. The injury should open up opportunities for Allen Crabbe (4 points) and Maurice Harkless (8 points, 7 rebounds).

It was a short slate of games on Tuesday, as only 3 games were played. JB made sure to make it known to me that he had to recap 11 games on Monday. Boy, did I get lucky this week! Here are the rest of the nightly notables:

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