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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Andrew Wiggins will turn 22 in less than a month, but he knocked down what should be the first of many buzzer-beating game winners, becoming the youngest player of the season to do so:

A buzzer-beater win in Minnesota is rarer than a healthy Nikola Pekovic. The last one happened almost 5 years ago on a Luke Ridnour floater on February 22, 2012. About the same time as Pek’s last game.

In addition to the game-winner, Wiggins added 31 points (11-22 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 threes. Wiggins continues to develop in his third NBA season and makes the young Timberwolves roster a fun team to watch.

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Uggghhhhhhh. I hate when the intro has to be about a bad injury, but alas, tis what tits with fantasy sports. After playing pretty well against the Pacers last night (21/4/0/2/1 in 28 minutes), Rudy Gay went down in the third quarter and had to be carried off the court, with tests indicating he tore his Achilles. He’s had issues with that Achilles in the past with a partial debridement, but it gave out at absolutely the worst time. Yeah, maybe he didn’t handle wanting to get out of Sacramento the most gracefully (who WOULD want to play there?!), but at least he showed up, ya dig?! Now he has to stick it out while rehabbing, this was going into a contract year… It just sucks. I’ve never been the “biggest” Gay fan, but I’ll be rooting for his rehab and hopefully he can be vintage Gay a few more years on a new squad.

In the meantime, it opens up a ton of wing minutes in SAC. Arron Afflalo of DNP-ville got 31 minutes last night, aided by Garrett Temple having to play backup PG because Ty Lawson is nursing a kankle. A R Ron! went for 11/1/1/0/1 in his usual snoozefest line, with Temple going 9/4/3/0/0 with a trey. Yikes. Matt Barnes might move back into the starting 5, but he’s hit-or-miss, depending on how drunk he is at the night club. Hey oh! 7/4/4 for Barnes in 20 minutes, and Ben McLemore only got 4 minutes this game. It’s a real trainwreck without Gay, and I don’t see any sort of clear answer on this team to fill in the void. So you’re likely looking elsewhere on the wire for Gay’s scoring, and hopefully you sold high after a red hot start through the first stretch of the season. Get well soon, Rudy! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Ya know, playing a typical “bad” team can help cure all ills, but then there’s playing a New York team that goes full Poppycock… To kick off MLK day, the Knicks continued their epic collapse, by being forced to start doofy Ron Baker and Mind Games Koozie Mints. I’m kinda guessing at that second guy, I don’t know why Razzball isn’t linking to his name though! It’s about right! Baker got 22 minutes of 12/3/1/2/0 and was OK, and I guess Mindaugas Kuzminskas was OK too for 14/5/2/2/0 in 38 minutes, and well, the Hawks only beat this make-shift roster by 1, so there’s that! But the big thing to watch in this game (for me) was Dennis Schroder, who is off two horrid games where he got out-minutesed by Malcolm Delaney. Fortunately Das German broke out of his funk, and went 28/3/3 on a mad hot 13-16 shooting with a trey.

The trey being the game winner! Still got 2 TO and no D stats, but hey, at least he kept another split-PG situation from developing. Already have seen to much of that in the NBA! It was an action-packed, holiday-filled day of basketball last night, so let’s daily notes it up!

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So my lead on Tuesday morning about Derrick Rose disappearing on his team (Gone Girl 2 – Gone Rose!) I thought would be a pretty bad low point for the Poppycockers. But I dunno, I think they may have hit it last night! Rose was surprisingly vintage Rose – considering all the rumors he wanted a buy out or the Knicks should suspend him for a while – for 25/2/4/1/0 on 11-16 shooting. That said, he was -21 in a 1-point loss, while the bench kept the Knicks in it. In the end though, the Poppycockers just didn’t have an answer for this new, upstart PG who is taking his offensive game in the league by storm! And of course I’m talking about T.J. McConnell!

Melo, you just got skeeted on! “What is that in your hair?! Is that hair gel?!” “No, Melo, it’s Dapper Dan!” Yup, hit the buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks 98-97, for NY’s 9th loss of their last 10. To quote the immortal Friends like I love to do, “There’s rock bottom, then 50-feet of crap, then” the Knicks! But hat’s off (because it would mess up the gel) to T.J. running away with the Sixers PG job, playing a team-high 34 minutes of 8/6/7/2/0 on 4-6 shooting with 2 TO. Pretty solid, efficient line. On the flip side, Sergio Rodriguez is turning into melted White Chocolate, going 14 minutes of 2/1/4/0/0 on 1-7 shooting with 3 TO. The two could still flip flop, but T.J. has always been a Brett Brown guy, and this was a pretty big moment. Dapper D should probably be owned in all 12ers, although if you have AST locked down, I’m not sure what else you’ll be happy with. 2 steals in 4 straight is nice I guess, but no 3s, low scoring, bad FG%… Wait, why do I hate on this guy but love Ricky Rubio?! I guess it’s all in the spiciness, baby! Here’s what else went down in fantasy hoops action last night:

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…title sounds like some sort of Adult Swim episode. Something the Squidbillies might do! Oh man, what a time to be a Nikola Jokic owner! I don’t know if any top-50 pick has played with your emotions quite like this! It’s like the crazy hot girlfriend in college – and might as well be a crazy hot redhead because ginger girls are nuts! She’s hot as hell at first, goes a little nuts on you early on, but the hotness keeps you around. 16/8/11/0/1 last night on 6-12 shooting, and point guard-ing the shit outta that game last night!

He was dishing so good, I decided to edit together that GIF this time! And it was tough to show only 15 seconds worth! Perils of trying to explain why you’re hanging out with a hot redhead that is acting nuts in your dorm (I have no personal experience here…)… it takes some finesse explaining it! Anyway, the Nuggets are looking soooooo much better with Jock Itch running the point: after ups and downs with his AST, since Dec 10th when he got 6 dimes, the Nuggets are 6-3 over the last 9 games with Jokic averaging 5.7 dimes and 67.7% shooting from the field. While the dimes from a C are beastly and all, he still only has 19 STL and 19 BLK on the season, good for 0.7/0.7. I thought my #44 overall rank was going to end up being bold, but turns out the hype machine pushed him top-30 in several ranks/draft selections, which made his value a little bit of a bubble. But thankfully if you gutted through that rough November, you’ve got a mad case of Jock Itch keeping you red hot right now! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Oh man, no rest for the wicked! Speaking of wicked, oh man quick shout out to the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, that brewery rocked! But yeah, an absolutely amazing slate to catch me back up on the daily notes, with 4 overtimes last night. Including a super size me doubler in Miami! Most of the other games stayed close too, and 20 of the 22 teams in action last night topped 100 points. Fantasy orgasm! And leading the charge on such a big-and-tall NBA night was of course Isaiah Thomas! Career-high 44 points for IT2/3, putting up a 4/3rd’s of a full line of 44/3/6/1/1 on 10-16 FG (7-10 3PTM, 17-17 FT) including a big three in extra time in the OT win.

I’m just glad this groin thing got worked out! …That sounded wrong… If you have a smaller groin muscle, does it heal faster?! I’m not saying he doesn’t have a kick stand down there with a line like this, but just wondering! After semi-breaking out last year (well he was only 2/3 better than his career year in 13-14 for the Kings), IT2/3 has taken an even further step up – scoring 26.6 PPPG, upping the FT volume to 8.8/per at 90% (remember when he was like 70% the first few weeks, that changed quick!), and even though the steals are only at 0.9, he’s drastically cut his TO rate to only 2.2 despite all the added USG. After a slow start due to injuries, the Celtics look like a pretty tough team at full strength right now, and maybe IT2/3 can lead this squad into a deep run. I’ll be cheering for them! (cough, REL bias, cough…) Here’s what else happened on an action-packed Tuesday night of Holiday Season basketball:

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Peter here, back from a work trip in Jamaica. JB was right when I needed to escape the cold of the Wizards losing season. Maybe they will bring back JaVale McGee and Javaris Crittenton!?!? One can only hope.

Fortunately, the Wizards were off on Tuesday so that meant I got to watch actually good teams, including an overtime game in Phoenix. Here’s your Tuesday recap:

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Sooooooo…roughly 20 games in and more data to look at!  Let’s get right down into it.  Remember the 1st time I did this about 5 weeks ago?  Now let’s take a look at the grid and do a short comparison. Left is the latest, right is what it was when we first started this series.

Dec. 7 Grid                                             Nov. 4 Grid

matchupswk5matchupsv2

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6369580

Twas a star studded evening

And all through the league

Not a player was stirring…

Because it was time to play defense and nobody #%*%#%@ wanted to!

Yeah, I’m looking at you Cavs, Rockets, Warriors, and J.R. Smith.

Anyway…. Outside of that cheesiness, it was a fairly interesting Thursday evening, but many of the games were just irksome.  It’s ironic that the Utah/Miami game deserved to be on TNT over the Cavs and Clippers.  I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed an LA blowout win after that 70 point dud in Indy, but that’s pro sports for ya!  At any rate, let’s get into it!  At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll cover the whole Rockets – Warriors game, but I can already tell you that the winner scored over 120, and it was a race to see who could jack up more 3s.  It’s entertaining, but it isn’t basketball, in my humble opinion.

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