Let’s take a momentary break from fake basketball to focus a bit on Razzball’s real basketball predictions for the 2011 season. I’m of two minds about making preseason predictions about the league on a grand scale. If I’m wrong, I’ve voluntarily published my wrongness for anyone to see. That’s not good for my self-esteem. Then again, if I’m way off, it means the season was full of surprises and it was well worth the time I spent invested in it. Here are our predictions for basketball’s post-season awards and who’s getting a new banner in their stadium. Adam’s picks in RED.  Jason’s picks in BLUE.


Eastern Conference Playoffs  1. Miami, 2. Chicago, 3. New York, 4. Philadelphia, 5. Boston, 6. Indiana, 7. Orlando, 8. AtlantaSame crew as last season, different order. What? You thought John Wall and his merry band of goofballs had a chance? Though I do think Milwaukee will be in a dog fight until the end.

Eastern Conference Playoffs  1. Miami, 2. Chicago, 3. New York, 4. Boston, 5. Indiana, 6. Philadelphia, 7. Orlando, 8. Atlanta I’ll be awfully surprised if the Miami and Chicago aren’t atop the conference; they seem noticeably better than anyone else. As has been pointed out all over the internet, this schedule doesn’t favor Boston, which ought to be enough for New York to slide by them for the division (though I’d pick the Celtics to beat them in a playoff series if the Heat and Bulls decide to skip the playoffs). Indiana proved in the first round last season that they’re a team on the rise, I like them in this shortened season. If Howard stays in Orlando all season, they’ll finish better than this, but I don’t think that will happen.


Western Conference Playoffs – 1. Oklahoma City, 2. L.A. Clippers, 3. Dallas, 4. L.A. Lakers, 5. San Antonio, 6. Denver, 7. Memphis, 8. Portland Much like the Heat last year, ranking this Clippers team second could be way too high or way too low. Anyone that says they know how this team will gel and hold up is full of beans. I know this: Chris Paul has made a career of dragging overrated players and dead carcasses into the playoffs. Imagine what he can do with this roster. Still, the gelling and the youth favors the Thunder. They’re largely the same team they were last season, they’re gelled, their great and they’ll all be one season better, while the usual suspects are all one (big) year slower.

Western Conference Playoffs 1. Oklahoma City, 2. L.A. Lakers, 3. San Antonio, 4. Denver, 5. Dallas, 6. L.A. Clippers, 7. Memphis, 8. Portland  After Oklahoma City, I expect most of these teams to finish very closely bunched together. The compact schedule ought to favor young, deep teams, but a lot of the top talent is on older teams. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I believe the Lakers’ demise has been greatly exaggerated and expect their roster to improve by the middle of the season. I am not as sold on the Clippers as many seem to be. Perhaps I’ve just seen too much of Vinny Del Negro’s “coaching” to trust them. San Antonio is being overlooked because they got bumped early last year, but I believe they’re still a top team.


Eastern Conference Champion – Miami Heat – Haslem is healthy, Eddy Curry has taken some of the spotlight off the Big Three (by standing in front of the spotlight and blocking it with his mass), Bosh got ripped, Norris Cole and Dexter Pittman are developing and Shane Battier’s head wrinkles are the only significant changes the NBA Finalists have made to the roster. The team was strong last season, they’re stronger this season.

Eastern Conference Champion – Miami Heat  They were the best team in the conference last season and I don’t see Rip Hamilton changing that. Here’s to hoping that I’m wrong.


Western Conference Champion – Oklahoma City Thunder – The Lakers ripped away their bench, the Mavericks are either old or fat or both (Vince Carter), and the Clippers are coached by Vinny Del Negro (do not underestimate this. Coaches must either be the smartest men in the building or get out of the way. VDN isn’t and won’t).

Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder – Unless the Lakers swindle their way into Dwight Howard without giving up Gasol, I think the Thunder have to be considered the favorites out west.


NBA Finals Champion – Miami Heat – I’m also predicting they win at home and a nearly ¾-filled stadium is there to see it!

NBA Finals Champion  Miami Heat – It’s boring to pick what is probably the consensus Finals’ match-up, but it would be very entertaining basketball, should it come to this. It’s a question of when, not if this Miami team will win a championship. I think the answer is June, 2012.


Most Valuable Player – Kevin Durant – No one will want to vote for LeBron James … ever again.

Most Valuable Player – Kevin Durant – Lebron is the best player on Earth, but Durant is awesome too, and his narrative will have more pull.


Rookie of the Year – Brandon Knight – The most obvious answer is Kyrie Irving. The most popular answer is Derrick Williams, but I’m going with Knight because: 1) Williams fell into a crowded situation on a mess of a franchise and I don’t think he’ll have enough opportunity to shine, 2) Irving is on an equally messy franchise and will be asked to carry a team – it’s no easy task and no guarantee, especially if the pieces don’t fit. 3) Knight on the other hand is on a less messy franchise with ample room to produce, but without the weight of having to be a team leader. He’ll play PG, but also run the two alongside Bynum or Stuckey.

Rookie of the Year – Kyrie Irving  ROY is largely about opportunity, and Irving will be given that in large doses.


Most Improved Player – Jrue Holiday – The award recipe goes like this: take one (1) third-year player, mix in marked improvement from the year before that went largely unnoticed, sprinkle in a dash of team winning percentage, whip until stiff peaks occur and voila, you’ve got yourself Danny Granger, Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday.

Most Improved Player – Evan Turner  I think he’ll step up his production, though he could just as easily sit in Collins’ doghouse all season. Doug is like that.


Defensive Player of the Year – Dwight Howard – To paraphrase “The Social Network,” ‘if anyone else were the year’s best defender, they’d have won Defensive Player of the Year.’ I will say that if I had to pick someone other than Dwight, I’d pick Joakim Noah.

Defensive Player of the Year  Tyson Chandler  Voters will have Dwight Howard fatigue and Chandler will benefit from the Knicks’ rise in the standings.


Go ahead and drop your predictions in the comments so that we don’t have to go down on record as being fools all by ourselves.

  1. Sarah Palin Rice says:

    10-team, H2H standard 9-cat, non-keeper

    Final draft of the year, what do you think? I had the 4th pick.

    PG- Rose (PG)
    SG- Afflalo (SG)
    G- Holiday (PG)
    SF- Granger (SF, PF)
    PF- Amar’e (PF, C)
    F- Bosh (PF, C)
    C- Hibbert (C)
    UTIL- Odom (SF, PF)
    UTIL- Jennings (PG)

    Bench- DeRozen (SG, SF)
    Bench- Hickson (PF, C)
    Bench- Casspi (SG, SF)
    Bench- George Hill (PG, SG)
    Bench- Rashard Lewis (SF, PF)
    Bench- Evan Turner (SG, SF)

  2. Oilcan Giuseppe says:


    10 team h2h,Im looking for some more pts/assists.What do you think of this trade?

    I give up Ibaka/Gerald Henderson and receive Mike Conley/JJ Hickson….


  3. Oilcan Giuseppe says:

    @Adam….same league(btw,its a keeper league),what about Ibaka/D. Collison for Granger?

  4. Mr Duck Fat says:

    @ adam and everyone
    Just lookin for some feed back.
    14 Team H2H 9 cat. 3rd Pick
    Round Pick Player Position
    1. (3) Chris Paul PG
    2. (26) Al Horford PF,C
    3. (31) Steve Nash PG
    4. (54) Andre Iguodala SG,SF
    5. (59) Carlos Boozer PF,C
    6. (82) Devin Harris PG
    7. (87) Lamar Odom SF,PF
    8. (110) Boris Diaw SF,PF
    9. (115) Ryan Anderson PF,C
    10. (138) Corey Maggette SF,PF
    11. (143) Brandon Bass PF,C
    12. (166) Jordan Crawford PG,SG
    13. (171) Rodrigue Beaubois PG,SG
    14. (194) Beno Udrih PG
    15. (199) Andris Biedrins C

  5. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Sarah Palin Rice: I like to look at my team (and every team in my league) as one person and think of my team in terms of what it needs to average each night in order to compete. Like, if I have two guys going on a given night, and one of them sink three 3-pointers, while the other sinks none, my team averaged 1.5 3ptm that night. And then think of that in terms of, as long as my collective team averages at least 0.9 3ptm each night, I’m likely to be in the top three in that category.

    That said, your top nine players should average as a team:

    .470/.797/0.8 3ptm/18.3 pts/6 rbd/4.3 ast/1.2 stl/0.7 blk/2.4 tov

    That’s pretty damn solid. You’re a little short on 3ptm (aim for 1.1 per night) and RBD (aim closer to 6.8-7.0) and BLK (0.8-0.9), but you’re not way off anywhere and you’re strong in FG%, PTS and STLs.

    And that’s not including your bench, which you should be able to mix ‘n’ match as needed, or simply plug in if someone like, say Evan Turner, figures it out this season.

    @Oilcan Giuseppe: Do it, unless you need a ton of blocks. Hickson will get you some, Serge will get you more. Otherwise, Conley is worth a ton more than Henderson. That said, I like the Granger deal better, but not if you’re looking for assists.

    @Mr Duck Fat: For the same explanation I gave to Palin two comments above you, your team’s per player averages shake out like this (taking the first 11 men on your roster and assuming the next four are on your bench):
    .483/.786/0.7 3ptm/15.3 pts/6.3 rbd/4.5 ast/1.1 stl/0.5 blk/2.3 tov

    This is a strong team with its only real weaknesses in blocks (maybe threes as well). Grab a couple more Channing Fryes, another Odom or Batum or something for maybe your Boozer or Maggette and you’ve got yourself a contender.

  6. Mike Scobey says:

    Dwyane Wade will get hurt, with Chicago getting Hamilton the Bulls will be champs of the East. My Pistons look like they well be the worse team in the East. Joe Dumars in the last 5 years has not drafted a shot blocking, rebounding defensive big man.
    Okur was traded to NJ for only a second round pick, Okur well be the starting center for two months, I expect for fantasy Okur well be moving up draft lists. Phoenix rookie Morris is he that good, last night 3 blocks, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal in 18 min.

  7. Hebrew Hamm says:

    Adam–what do you think of my team?

    10 team league. 9 category head to head. We use Pts, Rbd, Ast, Stl, Blk, 3PTM, FG%, FT%, and TO. Its not a points league though, its roto per week vs. your opponent. So if i win 6 categories my record is 6-3.

    G- R. Rondo
    G- J. Wall
    G- T. Evans
    G- A. Afflalo
    F – D. Granger
    F – G. Wallace
    F – JJ Hickson
    F – A. Varejao
    C – B. Griffin
    C – J. Noah

    B. Jennings
    O. Casspi
    R. Anderson
    M. Okur
    R. Lewis

  8. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Mike Scobey: No one will be worse in the East than D.C., Charlotte and Toronto. And, no. Markieff Morris is not going to be a 24 pts/14 rbd/ 2 stl/ 6 blk- per36-type talent. I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb saying that.

    @Hebrew Hamm: This team is actually more balanced on paper than it looks at first site. Your per player averages are likely to shake out as follows:
    .481/.735/0.5 3pt/16.8 pts/7.6 rbd/4.2 ast/1.3 stl/0.8 blk/2.4 tov

    Your FT% and 3PTM are going to give you the biggest fits. And having so many point guards bump your TOVs higher than you’re going to want them, but you also have a bench that might be able to help with some of that. If someone like Anderson or Okur start out hot, you might want to switch out Varejao.

  9. Tony says:

    My Prediction: Cavs are terrible, again, yet Lebron still doesn’t win a ring in south beach.

    Adam/anyone: keeps were due last night, im Keeping Steph Curry $38, David Lee $29, Dar-Collison $16 and Paul George at $10.

    I’ve got $117 to spend at the draft and looking at my team so far I have 2 pgs, and 2 Forwards. We start 3 guards, 3 forwards, 1 center and a utl slot. Last yr David Lee had dual eligibility at F/C but this year its looking like he’s just a forward, which sucks:

    every damn center is kept almost except Horford, Nene, tyson chandler, diaw, camby, kaman, yep UGLY

    forwards: durant, Melo, Amare, bosh, pierce, wright, david west, boozer, cassipi, gallinari, batum, odom, scola, KG, duncan, brand, are all available, strong at the top 3 there, old at the bottom end, then of course theres a bunch of other garbage available.

    Guards available: all kept above Nash! but nash is there, tony parker, devin harris, DJ aug, felton, kidd, toney douglas, billups, irving, calderon, stuckey, jarret jack, andre miller, shump, kemba, b-knight, jimmer and a bunch of other guys near the end are available.

    With what I have in keeps, and whats available what would you look to do here? I’ve wanted to take a shot at buying durant. I’m just thinking so is everyone else. Maybe spending less on someone like Horford, securing a center, then going after maybe Nash/parker and getting two top guys would be smarter? Then maybe I could swing a gallinari or cassipi in there from the forward group with the cash i have?

    Nash was $52 and got tossed in, Horford was $47 and went back in, they’ll both likely fetch that much, parker was $42…. I see Durant going around $80ish maybe a little more. I could likely buy two better players or get the best player (durant) and then just see what I can do with the money i have left? Deep league 18 teams.


  10. ETMcgee says:

    I’m not sure I can agree with both of your western conference playoff seedings. both portland and memphis are being vastly underrated, and you both have them finishing behind Denver? Really? I like lawson and nene and afflalo, but their lack of overall talent mean they will likely be fighting for the 8th seed.

    Do you not remember that portland gave the champs the most competitive series last year? The blazers might be one of the most athletic teams in the league, with long defenders and a vastly underrated bigman. Both portland and memphis can defend every position and can present different lineup combinations to take advantage of mismatches.

    In a shortened season, the Lakers and SA will suffer from their age/lack of depth, and the clippers don’t have anyone on their bench.

  11. Eric says:

    Alright I made a couple of trades in my league and I ended up with the following team, I have good players but my team chemistry looks like a mess right now haha, what do you think?

    14 Team H2H

    PG: John Wall
    SG: Arron Afflalo
    G: Jeff Teague
    SF: Lebron James
    PF: Rudy Gay
    F: DeMarcus Cousins
    C: David Lee
    C: Andrew Bogut
    Util: Landry Fields
    Util: Chuck Hayes
    Bench: Ed Davis
    Bench: Empty
    Bench: Empty

    From my point of view, it looks like I’m weak in blocks, FT%, TO, and 3 pointers. If that correct, I’m thinking that switching out Cousins for an excellent 3 point shooter (Gallinari? Probably have to add someone) and David Lee for a blocker (Hibbert?) and a 3 point hitting PG (Lawson?) would fix that?

  12. Tony says:

    @Tony: wow actually george is a sg, so i have 3 guards… and i checked and it looks like on cbs AMARE has center eligibility.

  13. d2bnz says:

    @Tony: you gotta love guys with multi eligibility , helps you to mix n match

    Hey Adam ….and my fellow Razzballers ………Love all this prediction stuff and most of it I cannot fault , however there is one team out there that people seem to not be taking notice of in fact you are sleeping on them .I realise that they are not fashionable like the Lakers or Heat ….whilst they seem to be tipped to make the playoffs by most pundits, I’m sure you all are thinking first round exit ….well last years playoff performance showed me they have METAL and this year with the grace of God they will have Rudy in the lineup …..YES i’m picking the Grizz .

  14. ringo says:

    I was just wondering if you could critique my team. We had our 16 team Draft the other day where I ended up with the 10th selection. I had a gameplan to get 3 quality PGs and 3 quality Cs, hopefully starting at least one of each every gameday. We start one of each Position plus a UTIL (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, UTIL). Picks are as follows:

    1. (10) PG – Russell Westbrook
    2. (23) PG – John Wall
    3. (42) PG/SG – Tyreke Evans
    4. (55) C – Andrew Bynum
    5. (74) PF/C – Elton Brand
    6. (87) PF/C – DeMarcus Cousins
    7. (106) SF/PF – Antawn Jamison
    8. (119) SF/PF – Hedo Turkoglu
    9. (138) SG/SF – Carlos Delfino
    10. (151) SG/SF – John Salmons
    11. (170) PG/SG – Ramon Sessions
    12. (183) C – Brendan Haywood = Subsequently dropped for PF/C Chuck Hayes

    Upon seeing I got 10th spot I was anticipating getting Westbrook with my first pick, and was really hoping to pair him up with a big, particularly LaMarcus Aldridge, but it wasn’t in the cards. Its impossible for me to get a trully objective look at my team so any info would be great.

    Also, I was recently offered PG Ricky Rubio for PF/C Chuck Hayes.

    I am sure you are being inundated with all sorts of request similar to my own so any info would be appreciated. Thank You.

  15. Steve says:

    Hi Adam,

    I would like to get some feedback from you! 12 Team, H2H Standard League 9-cat.

    PG: Chris Paul
    SG: Kevin Martin
    G: Tyreke Evans
    SF: Michael Beasley
    PF: Al Jefferson
    F: Jared Dudley
    C: JaVale McGee
    C: Roy Hibbert
    Util: Marcus Thornton
    BN: D.J.Augustin
    BN: Austin Daye
    BN: Kemba Walker
    BN: Evan Turner
    BN: Kenneth Faried

    Thank you.

  16. thegrave says:

    eastern champs: heat
    western champs: okc

    heat>okc finals

    rookie of the year: kemba walker… although i hope bismack does some damage.. just so I can say DAYUM. Bismack just bitchsmacked yourmombro.

  17. Run n' Gun says:

    My first year for Fantasy Basketball and I was wondering in a 10 team league 10 cat where TO is instead team wins, how would my team look? According to the site’s projections for 2012 I was slated with the best team after the draft. However I traded Elton Brand and Andre Miller for Ty Lawson.

    PG: Raymond Felton
    SG: Dwayne Wade
    SF: Andre Iguodala
    PF: Pau Gasol
    C: Al Horford
    G: Ty Lawson
    F: Paul Millsap
    UTIL: Andrea Bargnani
    UTIL: Channing Frye
    UTIL: Greg Monroe
    Bench: Nicolas Batum
    Bench: Memo Okur
    Bench: Tim Duncan/Kris Humphries (depends on what I can get for the waiver its empty right now)

    Thanks in advanced!

  18. Sarah Palin Rice says:

    @Sarah Palin Rice: Thanks for the feedback…do you think I should drop Lewis for Harrington or McRoberts?

  19. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: It’s hard to predict what will happen with the other owners and therefore it’s hard to suggest how you should proceed. I do think you’re going to need to studs. Maybe not Durant specifically. Maybe Horford and ‘Melo. Or Amar’e and Nash or something. I’d strike first either way. Don’t let Nash go by, assuming you’d get Durant, then let Durant go, then Horford, then ‘Melo, etc. That’s how you end up with Casspi, Gallo and $12 leftover. Get your money’s worth. If you’re scraping for $1 guys at the end, make sure you’re happy with who you bought with the bulk of your dough.

    @ETMcgee: This isn’t the same Portland squad. For one, Felton isn’t as good of a fit with this squad as Miller. And as far as that Dallas playoff series: I remember Brandon Roy’s role in Games 3 and 4. That’s gone now and they didn’t adequately replace it.

    @Eric: You’re more weak in assists. Wall and James are about it. Teague isn’t likely going to be enough of a third assist source.

    @d2bnz: I hope you’re right. I pulled for the Grizz during last year’s playoffs and will probably do so again with most matchups in the Western Conference .

    @ringo: It looks as if you mostly achieved your 3/3 goal. The biggest problem I see here is that if Evans gets hurt, 2/5 of your starting five were picked in the seventh round or later. I’d look to trade a big for a solid player with SG/SF eligibility. Ricky Rubio isn’t useful to you. You’ve already got plenty of PGs.

    @Steve: Solid, but unless Daye turns it up to 11 this season, you’re fairly weak in players with SF eligibility. Also, because of your finesse bigs, your FG% might be in trouble, too. Other than that, you’re good.

    @thegrave: Hehe.

    @Run n’ Gun: Team Wins is an interesting stat cat. Don’t often see that. At any rate, your projections look fine and you’ve got 8 of 13 guys probably going to the playoffs, which would suggest a hefty amount of wins. 7 of 13 if you pick Humphries instead of Duncan.

    @Sarah Palin Rice: I’d give McBob a shot. I’m convinced ‘Shard is done.

  20. Sarah Palin Rice says:

    @Adam: would you put in a waiver bid (I have 7 out of 10) or wait till he clears waivers

  21. Chris says:

    @Adam: Drafted my first $$ NBA league that I’ve done in years. 12 team – PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, Util, Util, BN, BN, BN – standard 9 cats. What do you think of my team? Your top 200 lists helped me a lot.

    Round Pick Player Position
    1. (5) Derrick Rose PG
    2. (20) Kobe Bryant SG
    3. (29) Zach Randolph PF,C
    4. (44) Chris Bosh PF,C
    5. (53) Tony Parker PG
    6. (68) Carlos Boozer PF,C
    7. (77) Michael Beasley SF,PF
    8. (92) J.J. Hickson PF,C
    9. (101) Antawn Jamison SF,PF
    10. (116) Corey Maggette SF,PF
    11. (125) Richard Hamilton SG,SF
    12. (140) Brandon Bass PF,C
    13. (149) Charlie Villanueva PF

    Wanted to draft another PG late, but Knight and Crawford got snatched right before me. Figure I’ll go WW hunting early and probably drop Villanueva.

  22. blaster says:

    I am in an 8 team auction league. I dropped a significant chunk of budget on Durant ($79), Deron Williams ($43), and Pau Gasol ($39). I then went bargain hunting the rest of the way. As a result I ended up with an abundance of mid-tier big men.

    Joakim Noah ($5)
    Andrew Bogut ($3)
    Greg Monroe ($3)
    Andray Blatche ($1)
    Marcin Gortat ($2)

    I feel like I’m going to need some more positional flexibility but wondering who I should look to trade or drop. I think I would be best suited by grabbing someone with (SG, SF) eligibility and someone who can contribute with points and assists. Here are some of the waiver wire options:

    Tony Allen
    Jared Dudley
    CJ Miles
    John Salmons
    Caron Butler
    Carlos Delfino
    Chase Budinger
    Landry Fields


  23. blaster says:

    Also just noticed Rip Hamilton and Casspi if that helps.

  24. Eric says:

    @Adam: Thanks, I’ll work towards getting another PG, I guess LBJ, Wall, and Teague aren’t enough assists in a 14 team H2H League.

  25. Gareth says:

    Ello mates asking for a bit of advice here now. 9-cat H2H Auction Yahoo league. How did I fare? What should I drop/seek?

    SF- Beasley
    PF- Love
    F- Hickson
    C- Bynum
    C- M. Gasol
    Util- Collison
    Util- Lawson
    BN- Casspi
    BN- Frye
    BN- B. Lopez

  26. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Sarah Palin Rice: Depends on how shallow your FA pool is.

    @Chris: Unless Hickson goes bonkers on blocks, that’ll be your biggest category struggle for you … and turnovers if Kobe doesn’t get his shizz straight.

    @blaster: $14 bucks for those bigs is huge. Monroe, Noah, Bogut. Tremendous value. Noah could have gone for $14 by himself. If Butler is still available, I’d grab him or dudley among those you listed.

    @Eric: Didn’t realize it was a 14-team league. You might be okay on assists in such a deep grouping.

    @Gareth: Balanced and effective roster with the exception of SF. Beasley, Casspi might be your Achilles heel. I’d wait it out. The strength of the rest of your roster might hide your need for another SF.

  27. I’m a tad lad on these predictions, but here goes:

    Western Conference – 1. Ok. City 2. LA Clips 3. Dallas Mavs 4. LA Lakers 5. SA Spurs 6. Memphis Grizz 7. Portland Trailblazers 8. Houston Rockets

    Eastern Conference – 1. Miami Heat 2. Chicago Bulls 3. NY Knicks 4. Boston Celtics 5. Atlanta Hawks 6. Philadelphia 76rs 7. Orlando Magic 8. Indiana Pacers

    West Finals – Ok. City over LA Clips
    East Finals – Miami over NY Knicks

    NBA Finals: Ok. City over Miami Heat

    MVP: Chris Paul, LA Clips

    ROY: Shumpert, NY Knicks

    Defensive POY: Dwight Howard, (Orlando/LA Lakers)

    6th Man of Year: Lamar Odom, Dallas

    Most Improved: Arron Afflalo, Denver

    Coach of Year: Vinny del Negro, LA Clips

  28. Adam

    Adam says:

    @El burro: Nice … nice … Shumpshump, sweet … nice … VDN FOR COACH OF THE YEAR!?! … I need to go lay down.

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