Here we are again, stuck in limbo between the excitement of the NBA draft, free agency, the Summer League, and the start of draft season. Fear not! Son and I will keep you abreast of all that goes down in the world of fantasy basketball.

So what have I got for you this week? Five sophomores that are poised to break out and avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

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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:

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Ah, the fountain of youth. Something Arizona certainly doesn’t have! The retirement haven of America – just ask Tyson Chandler – oddly boasts the most ridiculously young team. Last Thursday, they had a younger starting 5 than all but 1 of the 8 college teams playing in the Sweet Sixteen that night, and not surprisingly, the youngest starting 5 in NBA history. The retirees in Phoenix love to watch em young!

Despite being a god awful team, there still is a lot of promise with the draft picks they made, highlighted by the absolute insanity that Devin Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics last Friday night. Insanity that he was the youngest player to break 70, that he set a franchise record, OR THAT THE SUNS STILL LOST?! Hah, take your pick.

On that layup there to kick off the GIF, Marcus Smart is like, “meh, whatever, we up 20.” 21-40 FG (4-11 3PTM 24-26 FT) for 70/8/6/3/1 in the craziest line of the year. I mentioned on our last Pod that the Suns are kinda like random number generators right now, so who knows what you’ll get next?! Well, next was 23/4/5/0/1 with 4 TO in a blah encore for Dbook. His shooting arm was tired! He did get another 7-7 FT yesterday though against the Hornets (nice to see the volume staying high), but they yet again lost, and he’s doing this without Eric Bledsoe, instead with a group of similarly young pups. It might vault him to be drafted a little too high for my liking for next year, but maybe he can turn into DeMar DeRozan with 3s. Which hurts the FG%, but I’m all optimism right now! “Never Seen So Many Guys Happy After An L!” huh?! Well, Jae Crowder – aka Party Pooper – it’s the end of March and I’m in super depressed mode after I had 3 of my 4 alive teams lose in semis this week! Why you gotta harsh my buzz!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball action over the weekend:

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Nope, not talking about baseball here.  Hopefully most of the us reading this advanced into the 2nd round of the fantasy playoffs.  As for me, I got knocked out in the JB vs. Slim Razzball Year 3 League.  I was somewhat disappointed, but with no KD and a combination of missed and sub par games from Poison Goose it was inevitable.  No excuses, all part of the game.  I’m in the midst of trying to advance in JB’s ‘Secret Attack’ RCL League so hopefully I can advance…at the expense of Mr. JB himself.

Planning for the remaining games this week is tricky and I think the margin of error is slimmer – not just in terms of what’s at stake, but due to the scheduling.  Friday and Sunday are slated to have 10 games each.  Now, if you wait until Saturday before making any moves, your team might not even make use of it due to the number of teams playing on Sunday.  So you really have to look at your Friday-Sunday rosters and see if it makes sense to wait before adding for Sunday’s games.

Players on teams playing on Saturday should be a target as there are only 5 games being played.

WAS/MIN/CLE are the only teams that play on Fri. & Sat.

POR/LAC are the only teams that play on Sat. & Sun.

You see what I’m getting at here?  You need to be really clever about your moves trying to shore up or catch up on some cats you’d need to advance to the next round.

Let’s get right to it.

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Why yes, Jim Mora. Playoffs. That’s all we’re talking about.

(Hangs head in shame for using the Jim Mora reference)

Alright, let’s breathe new life into this whole post-season conversation. It’s The 7 Ahead, dern it! Can’t you hear my enthusiasm? Haha. We’ve just managed our way through 21 weeks of the basketball grind to reach this pinnacle. Or at least the foot of the mountain that we believe will provide a pinnacle. Chances are that if you’re still reading this you’re still in the mix for some fantasy basketball hardware, since this is, after all, Razzball, and it’s the middle of March. In other words…no one’s reading the basketball side of things during the site’s heaviest month of the year: baseball draft season. Let those sabermetric nerds worry about preseason…let’s focus on what they hope to get to.

PLAYOFFS!

Ok, it’s still not Jim Mora, but just about everything is better. Oh, and yes…I’m one of those sabermetric nerds, too. Make sure to play some fantasy baseball this year, join an RCL, and watch me and JB be the Top 100 banner carriers for Hitters and Pitchers. But before that it’s time for a Playoff Edition of…

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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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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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…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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Fun night for JB last night! I was driving down a desert road, opened up my suitcase, did… something with a lot of things… and next thing I know I’m raging next to Benicio Del Toro and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a hotel bathroom! KCP was absolutely unconscious last night, hitting 12-18 from the field (8-11 3PTM 6-8 FT) for a career-high 38/4/1/4/0.

Somebody call the ThrAGNOF police, we’ve found a face! As Slim noted on the Pod, KCP has some of the wildest game-to-game variance with his scoring, but as we saw last night, when he hot, he hot! The big changes for this year is he’s taking and making career-high treys (2.3 for 5.6), and making them at fantastic 40.3% clip. Even though he’s at a career-high scoring, he’s actually taking less shots per game than last year. And you know I’m an addict for AST:TO – 1.8:1.4 last year to 2.9:1.3 this season. So much to get addicted to! Let’s just hope the good times keep rollin’, and John Travolta won’t have to stab a foot-long needle in my heart if things go sour! Here’s what else went down on a busy night of basketball last night:

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So. Many. Minutes. 240 of them. That’s 4 hours of basketball. Now, the exact amount of hours doesn’t matter, and no player plays every minute of every game (what is this…video games?!?), but this week we get 240 minutes of Chicago Bulls basketball. What about their midwest rival, Indiana Pacers? A measly 48 minutes. Haha, seriously, the NBA scheduling committee breezed by these seven ahead apparently, because both the Pacers and the Nuggets play just once, whereas the Bulls take the court five times. 5x the minutes means 5x the volume means 5x the production. Well, potentially. But even the best players are on alert for a good benching when faced against that many minutes on the other side.

If you own any Bulls this week it won’t quite equal the amount of time mentioned by The Office team in saying bon voyage to Michael Scott, but it will certainly feel like it. It’s a minutes game in Week 12! Here’s The 7 Ahead!

Please, blog, may I have some more?