A ravine is a “deep, narrow gorge with steep sides” according to Google. LaVine’s RaVine is a sight to see. The drop off in his stats based on the outcome of the game is truly something to witness. In wins, he’s great… he averages 27.1 points per game, with an offensive rating of 119, a FG% of 51.7, and an absolutely absurd 3Pt% of 57.5. And that’s similar to the LaVine we saw last night, in the Bulls’ unexpected victory over the Kawhi-less Clippers:

31 4 2 2 0 3 4-7 11-21 5-6

In losses? LaVine’s scoring output falls to 20.2 points per game, with an offensive rating of 95 and FG and 3Pt percentages of 38.5% and 32.4%, respectively. That’s some sort of drop off, and it speaks to how much the Bulls depend on him if they want any chance of winning. His usage is nearly identical in both, but his inability to consistently perform at a top level makes us question his future as the leader of a team.

Here’s what else we saw around the league on Saturday night.

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The fact that James Harden can drop 50 points in a night without anyone batting an eye is ridiculous. The story line shouldn’t be about how he scored 54 last night, topping the 50-point mark for the second consecutive night. It should be about how no one is talking about it. He had 10 threes and everyone just shrugs and goes about their business. Like, how is such an incredible feat just happening without it being the headline on every major sports media source? It’s mind boggling. This happened three times in between 1980 and 2000. Three times only. Trivia: try and guess who they were in the comments for absolutely no prize at all!

But Harden has done it two separate times this year alone!! And no one is talking about it!! Insanity. Here’s his stat line from last night:

54 5 7 2 3 3 10-15 19-31 6-6

He single-handedly can bring your roster to the top of the league in multiple scoring categories, and is currently the top asset in fantasy basketball. Let’s go around the league and take a look at the rest of Friday night’s action.

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Be ready for some James Bond references. 

It’s an Oddjob guarding James Harden. And De’Andre Hunter found out the Harden way. Because Agent 0013 tied Agent 0023, one Michael Jordan, for the third-most 60-point games in NBA history with his fourth such game (it only took him three quarters). And he had the Goldfinger going as well, dishing out eight assists, which is also tied for the third-most assists in a 60-point effort (Harden is also first on that list, putting together the only recorded triple-double in a 60-point game when he had 10 rebounds and 11 assists two years ago). 0013 knows that You Only Live Twice, and He Only Missed Thrice from the free throw line, going 20-for-23 and continuing to lead the league with a staggering 14.4 attempts per game, leading runner-up Giannis Antetokounmpo by more than three attempts in each contest. He’s the Man with the Golden Shot, sinking eight threes for the third time this year. And most importantly, Harden was Dr. No in allowing the Hawks to even get close in this one… his +/- of 50 trails the highest +/- of the past two decades by only 7 points (Luc Mbah a Moute with the Rockets, believe it or not). Here is his full stat line:

60 3 8 3 1 5 8-14 16-24 20-23

Alright, that’s it with the Bond references. Was that enough? For me it was, but for 0013, the World is not Enough. Here’s what else occurred in a four-game slate on Saturday.

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When Kyrie Irving went down to injury on November 14, the Nets lost their leader. The fantasy community lost its leader. And hope was starting to look bleak for the upcoming stretch of games without the explosive veteran running the point.

But Spencer Dinwiddie has not missed a beat. In the eight games that he’s started in place of Irving, he has averaged 24.5 points, 7.8 assists, three boards, a steal, and a block per game. He’s shooting 93% from the line with a decent sample size of 7.5 attempts per game. He has limited his turnovers to 2.4 per game. The only knock has been his efficiency from the field (42.4%) and from deep (34%), but all things considered, Dinwiddie is deserving of many thanks from his teammates.

His teammates were especially thankful last night, as he was giving at a particularly generous rate and recorded the following stat line:

32 5 11 2 2 4 6-8 10-19 6-6

His 11 dimes led the NBA (along with LeBron and Luka), and his sharp-shooting from deep led the Nets to a great win over the division-rival Celtics. Here’s what else happened around the league on Friday night.

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The stage was set.

After having a two-week long stretch of fantastic performances night after night, capped by a 27 point, five assist, seven rebound, and four steal pseudo-revenge game against the Bulls, all signs were pointing to Jimmy going OFF in the real revenge game on Saturday night.

The boos poured down from the Wells Fargo Center as he was introduced. It just felt like he was ready to explode and lead his Heat to their sixth-straight win. But alas, the opposite occurred. Harvard Sports Analysis actually found that superstars perform worse by a pretty good margin in “revenge” games, so maybe we should reverse that narrative. Here’s the line that Jimmy put up:

11 5 3 2 0 1 0-2 4-13 3-4

Here’s what else happened around the league on Saturday night.

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Imagine you just got crossed up really badly by James Harden, allowed a massive three, and fouled out of the game with under two minutes left to go. Harden’s three allowed his Rockets to go up by five against your team. You exit the game with this stat line:

6 3 0 1 0 1 1-2 2-6 1-2

You probably wouldn’t be too arrogant, or braggadocious, if you will. But you’re not Pat Beverley, and Pat Beverley isn’t you.

Because after Russell Westbrook missed a three to take the lead after a late Clippers surge in the final 100 ticks, Beverley was seen mocking Russell Westbrook’s three-point stroke from the bench. Jumping around, giddy as hell, looking right at the opposing bench while he mimicked the missed three and the subsequent loss for the Rockets. The cojones on this guy!

Luckily, his teammates were there to bail him out and allow for that celebration. Here are notable stats from that game and from around the league on Friday night.

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2-18, 2-16, 9-19, 8-22.

In the four recaps that I’ve written this year that James Harden was a part of, those have been his three-point shooting lines. For you math whizzes, that averages out to 18.75 attempted threes per game, and expanded across an 82-game season, that means Harden will have chucked up 1,537 threes.

Pause. One thousand, five hundred thirty-seven. The NBA record, held by Harden himself, is 500 fewer than that total.

With that said, the four times I’ve written about Harden happen to be his four highest attempt totals from beyond the arc so far. But maybe it’s not totally coincidental. I write the recaps for Friday night and Saturday night games. Maybe there’s some sort of correlation between looking forward to the weekend and getting three-point happy?

A Reddit user, Angry Centric, found a pretty significant correlation between Harden’s performance and the quality of the strip clubs in the city he’s playing in. When the strip clubs are better, the quality goes down. Maybe, just maybe, this could factor into Harden’s three-point shooting. Could he hoist up more threes when he’s excited to go out to a strip club after the game? We’ll keep looking into this as the season goes on.

I guess Minnesota doesn’t have the best strip clubs, though, as Harden exploded last night:

49 5 6 0 0 16-41 8-22 9-11 4

Here’s what else I saw from around the league on Saturday night.

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I was supposed to go to a Greta Van Fleet concert with my brother. If you don’t know Greta, definitely check them out. They’re today’s version of Led Zeppelin and are quickly rising to prominence in the rock and roll world. Anyway, I was supposed to see them. Keyword supposed.

The lead singer developed the flu and had to cancel the remainder of the shows on the tour. This came just six months after I was supposed to see a Led Zeppelin tribute concert at the House of Blues in New Orleans before it got canceled due to the band’s Boeing 747 being grounded. And that came just six months after I was supposed to see Avenged Sevenfold, a band that pushes my music fandom to the brink of heavy metal music, when their lead singer developed a rare vocal cord infection and had to cancel.

In sum, my history as a concert-goer is similar to Gordon Hayward’s career as a Celtic. Setback after setback has made it a difficult run in Boston, and the latest was just a freak accident that could keep him sidelined for over a month. It’s especially a shame, too, because he was really starting to gain momentum this season and bring his game back to days of old.

9 2 1 1 1 1 1-3 4-9 0-0

He’ll end his season, for the time being, as the No. 28 player in fantasy with an impressive line of 18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, and 4.1 apg.

Here’s what else we saw in five games of Saturday night action:

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With the release of Joker – a truly chilling and exceptional movie, by the way – the Jokic and Joker puns and references are becoming a bit tired. So let’s take this a different route: who gets a place on the Mount Rushmore of seemingly out-of-shape athletes? Jokic is certainly making a case for a position. He doesn’t look like the most trim guy out there.

So I got to thinking, and in terms of basketball, people like Bryant Reeves, Glen Davis, and Eddy Curry came to mind. Other sports have some really strong contenders, with baseball throwing out some especially heavy competitors. CC Sabathia, David Wells, Pablo Sandoval, and the Babe himself could create a fairly heavyset Mount Rushmore. The NFL is a different case, with guys like Vince Wilfork needing to be as big as they were in order to dominate the opposition.

It’s really an interesting discussion, so comment your picks below. But I digress. The point here is that Jokic was able to outwork the Greek – or rather Cameroonian – God himself, Joel Embiid, in the ultimate matchup of chiseled vs. flabby.

26 10 6 2 2 1 2-9 10-22 4-5

The three-point efficiency is really the only thing to be mad about here… but the game-winning three that sealed the deal helped make up for that showing for Denver fans.

Here’s what else we saw from around the league on Friday night:

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When I heard that Joel Embiid was suspended two games, I knew that my Sixers would need someone to step up if they wanted to win a tough contest against Portland. Al Horford was too obvious. The rest of the starters would fulfill their roles as usual. No… the Sixers needed to unveil a secret weapon. Furkan Korkmaz didn’t do much with the Sixers after they drafted him at 27th overall in 2016. In fact, he was such a non-factor that the team decided to declined his option heading into the 2019-2020 season. Korkmaz was going back home to play for Fenerbahce in the Turkish league.

That didn’t last long.

And, at least for one game, the Sixers are glad to have him around. Seriously, on a team with Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson and a few trusty bench weapons, who else but Furkan Korkmaz gets tasked with making the game-winning three pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Basketball is magical sometimes. And for anyone who drafted Korkmaz for their daily fantasy roster after some telepathic sensation advised them to take the 22-year old guard, kudos to you.

11 3 2 0 2 0 3-6 4-9 0-0

With stats like these, it may seem like Korkmaz has some fantasy value, but he doesn’t… don’t be fooled by this strong showing. Let’s instead give one more nod of recognition to Korky, and then dive into some relevant fantasy performers from Saturday night’s action.

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After news came out that Kyrie Irving had completely shut himself out to teammates and coaches during one of his infamous mood swings on the team’s trip to China, it was worth questioning whether or not this experiment would work out. He clearly had chemistry issues towards the end of his run in Cleveland and in his brief stop in Beantown.

After the point guard’s effort against the powerhouse Houston Rockets, though, it’s tough to deny that he does a tremendous job of leading the team once he’s on the court. Maybe it makes sense that Kevin Durant, when asked if he’d try to intervene during these mood swings, said he’d rather just let him be and watch him do his thing. Though the Nets suffered some heartbreaking losses early on, as Kyrie stole the stat-sheet show, he played a much more mature game this time around and led a nice team win.

22 4 10 0 1 6 5-8 7-18 3-4

His numbers took a slight hit, but as the current No. 1 player in fantasy, this line isn’t a disappointing one. Unlike the other games, Kyrie had some help along the way.

Here are some of the other significant performances from around the rest of the NBA last night:

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The only thing that could have made NBA Jam better was if each player had their own custom announcing package. The generic lines were fantastic and made up a good portion of the top lines in sports video game history, but personalized reactions to certain player performances would have just been epic. Like if Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer in today’s NBA Jam equivalent, announcer Tim Kitzrow having an absolute meltdown would have just taken the game to another level.

Bam Adebayo’s custom line is just built into the script. It’s too easy. There would have been a LOT of “BAM SHAKALAKA” last night after his performance.

19 13 8 0 1 3 0-1 5-9 9-12

His everyday starter role has benefitted him tremendously through two games and he’s showing why he’s deserving of that spot. Losing Whiteside, which has benefits in its own right, is also made a little easier when Bam is producing like this. Here are some other notable performers from Saturday night action.

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