Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, Christmas has always a great day for basketball fans. We got a great slate of games, including some pretty amazing performances from John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Dwayne Wade. We even got to see the Knicks’ teammates come to Qunicy Acy’s aid for a fight with John Wall.

Unfortunately, a few stars were missing from the Christmas games. The Thunder beat the Spurs in San Antonio, despite having superstar Kevin Durant on the sideline. He missed his fourth game in a row due to an ankle sprain. Durant was quoted as saying, “I can’t play basketball. I can’t run. I can’t jump. I’m not just sitting out just because. If I could play I would play. But I can’t play.”

Based on his comments, owners should expect to see him out another week or so. The injury is not related to his surgically repaired foot, but is similar to an injury he had in 2009, when he missed nine games. While Perry Jones will replace KD in the starting lineup, Durant is impossible to replace in real life and in fantasy. Owners will have to just wait for his return.

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Thursday night’s Draft was as exciting as advertised.  Some of the top prospects we’ve seen come around in a while found homes amongst the NBA’s 30 teams — yet, there were very few surprises, outside of maybe Aaron Gordon getting picked No. 4 overall by the Orlando Magic.

Those of us expecting some big trades to go down were also disappointed.  There was really only one trade that didn’t involve a straight swap of picks or previously picked players, and that was D-League phenom Pierre Jackson getting shipped from NOLA to Philly for Russ Smith.

The big trade news around the league came a few days prior to the Draft when the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks announced a blockbuster deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from the Big Apple to D-Town in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks, which ended up being Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

Now, how does this affect fantasy basketball owners going forward?

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The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty.  With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar.  Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:

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If you’ve gotten started with fantasy baseball, you know it’s been yet another season of horrendous closing across the MLB.  I bet Kobe Bryant could close effectively in the MLB.

Just think about it.  He has such a will to win that it made Shaq hate him, he’s got consistent mechanics, never gets hurt and would be a tall presence on the mound.  OK, so I have no idea if he can throw a fastball, but right now I’d take him in my Brewers bullpen that looks more like a joke than Joaquin Phoenix’s career as a rapper.

Kobe just went bonkers against the Hornets in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 of his 30 in the last 12 minutes.  He just couldn’t miss, hitting a couple threes, jumpers in people’s faces, and was diming when there was openings.  With the Jazz losing, the Lakers might actually get the 8th seed.  Huzzah!  Kobe has been tremendous since the whole ankle injury soap opera, not missing a beat with a bone spur in his foot actually playing more minutes to keep it loose.  He’s not only closing games for the Lakers, he’s closing the season for fantasy owners.

Here’s what else happened yesterday:

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I bet you haven’t heard and I’m breaking the news… The Heat lost last night!  27 games in a row, down the drain.  One of the most impressive streaks we’ve seen in American sports is over.  However, instead of linking highlights to the game, I think this sketch from one of the best sketch comedy shows Mr. Show encapsulates what happened last night.  David Cross is the Bulls and Bob Odenkirk is the Heat.

Fantasy-wise, the Heat big three had their usual games and Luol Deng was the Bulls top performer with 28 Pts and 4 3PTM.  It was one of the most-hyped, most-talked about regular season NBA games in recent memory, so apologies this isn’t a fantasy-heavy open.  That’s what the rest is for!

Here’s what else went down across a heavy slate of NBA action (yes, there were other games!):

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So I was at working my job logging highlights last night for the Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks (which was on the ESPN broadcast), and there were at least 20-30 updates/mentions/ohhhhh-ing and ahhhhh-ing about the Heat Cavs game where the Heat found themselves down more than 20 only to come back and win it.  Jeff Van Gundy is like that annoying friend you keep around in your group – he does something funny half the time then irks you the other half.  On the tip-off between Chris Kaman and Brook Lopez he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “that was the worst tip in NBA history, they shouldn’t be allowed to tip off ever again!”  Pretty good stuff.  Then, and admittedly I was checking the score too, all he and the other guy were talking about was the Heat game.  What about the other fans?  Even at halftime, the crew said they would give highlights for the Thunder game and Bill Simmons was like, “no I’m watching the Heat game.”  I get it ESPN it was the biggest game of the night, but sheesh.

After a rough first half, LeBron James absolutely went off, ending his night with both a rainbow line and a triple-double going 8-22 FG (3-7 3PTM) 25 Pts 12 Rebs 10 Asts 3 Stls and 2 Blks.  If that’s not gonna win you your first round of the playoffs, then you need better ancillary players!  Ok so I’m a hypocrite and my open is all about the Heat game and nothing else… Let’s just dive right into other action:

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Razzball Nation!  So if you’re reading this you’re probably in the playoffs of your fantasy league, but if not and you read for my mere musings and devilishly witty forays into the intricacies of the English language (and obtuse adjective overuse), then huzzah!  And huzzah for a site like DraftKings.com where you can draft a new line-up every day and play the matchups that you decide for the players you pick on a nightly basis.  Maybe you squeaked into your playoffs with all your hopes and dreams that Derrick Rose would be playing by now, only to get crushed by the 3 seed.  Either way, if you lost your fantasy league buy-in or it seems to be as useless as a Bernie Madoff investment, why not play in daily tournaments where your winnings can be much higher!  Today DraftKings is running their SUPERQualifier for their $150k Bank Shot, where 25 people will win a ticket into their huge $150k contest.  First place will win $50k for picking the best lineup tonight in only one day of fantasy goodness.  It’d be like winning your NCAA bracket in a single night.  Would be a rush.  More a rush than going to see Rush.  Ok, so they were before my time, but I like their music when it’s on.  Here’s who I like tonight to give you a rush of cash:

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