Greetings and salutations my Razzball followers, as we are firmly entrenched into Act Two of the NBA season. Check your watch because it is winning time.

As the legend, Freddie Mercury bellows out:

“We are the Champions, my friends. And we’ll keep on fighting till the end”.

This is the mantra moving forward and, as your running mate, I hope to toss you alley oops weekly by way of a player who is underperforming and should target with hopes of securing at a discount.

This week there is only one question that comes to mind: “What’s so good about Cleveland”?

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, Goga Bitadze has established himself as the starting center in Indiana and should be rostered until the Pacers get their big men back while Kessler Edwards has been getting many minutes and has performed adequately. Finally, De’Anthony Melton had a great week but keep in mind that Memphis’ players in the protocol are expected back this week, so temper your expectations and be ready to move on if his playing time takes a significant hit. Finally, Coby White was a part of the “Sell” but with Lonzo Ball out for longer than expected and Alex Caruso going down as well, he is a hold for now.

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We still have plenty of time left in the fantasy season but winning time is almost upon us. Are we talkin’ bout playoffs?! Yessir, so it’s time to send out those trade offers or acquire the players who can possibly bring fantasy glory. Here’s how the schedule breaks down for the rest of the season. The playoffs may be different for your particular league so much sure to look at your settings. Shoutout to Hashtag Basketball as I utilized their advanced schedule grid and just put it into one sheet.

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Variety, they say, is the spice of life. So while there were monster games on Tuesday night from all the usual suspects — Joker, Joel, LeBron, Harden, Anthony Edwards, the Boston Boys — I’m bowing out on trying to split those hairs and passing on the opportunity to bestow the lede player honor on one of these repeat customers. Instead, we’ll spice things up by going off the beaten path and checking in on a number one pick who feels like he’s flying a bit under the radar.

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At this point, I’m just going to assume everyone here knows what love is, what it does, and how it both can be both the sweet and the sour. And of course you’d never know what sweet is unless you tasted sour, which is why Chinese food is just so darn good. Having a problem? Feeling down? Feeling up? Feeling all the directions? Just eat some Crab Rangoon, easy. But despite getting myself hungry just now (eternal life struggle), we have to move forward and make the pun work, so therefore, I insert one Kevin Love into this content. And discussing his season thus far seems apropos based on last night’s performance where he led the Cavs in scoring with 20 points in a game that he only played 24 minutes and literally just shot threes. I’m not quite sure what a figurative three is, but since all of his field goal attempts (12) were beyond the arc, my statement still stands true. A relief to everyone, I’m sure…

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The Hart family was one of extraordinary magnitude. Don Corleone would traverse up north and cross the border to pay his respects and kiss the ring of Stu, who had eight sons with Bret and Owen wreaking havoc on the WWF streets for many of years. There’s Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean, Bret, Ross, Diana, Owen, Teddy, Tyson, Mike, Hart, Helen, Martha…..Someone go get Son a ventilator! On Monday, a Hart from another mother represented the family name well, despite not being a part of the family yet I’m sure he’d be welcomed with open arms because of this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 10 2 1 0 3 1/5 6/11 9/9

“That’s my boy,” Stu proudly said. After being told that Josh did not come from his sperm, Stu grabbed that person, flipped him upside down, then piledrived him to China. With no Brandon Ingram on Monday, Hart saw a slight uptick in usage to 21.5%. It was the sixth time he scored at least 20 points this season and 11th time pulling down at least 10 boards. He’s racked up a steal in six straight games and has four games with three steals on the season. He’s a top 90 player for fantasy on a per-game basis. I. Hart. You.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The Miami Heat took home the nervy, 113-107 victory, but the Lakers nearly caught them slipping. In a game the Heat led almost the entire way and by as many as 26 points, the Lakers put together a fierce fourth quarter and nearly stole the victory. For three quarters, however, the Heat played the basketball version of “the beautiful game.” Offensive production was spread across the lineup and they were flowing into good looks. Jimmy Butler led the charge in Kyle Lowry’s absence (personal reasons) and he finished the game with a triple-double: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, and one block. Butler’s 10th triple-double moved him into the first place on the Heat’s all-time list, surpassing LeBron James. Duncan Robinson was hot early and even scored some important points in the fourth quarter; he finished the game with 25 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Bam Adebayo had a decent, but uneven game. He was stifled a fair amount by LeBron’s defense, as he was LeBron’s primary cover when the Lakers went small. Adebayo finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block. Gabe Vincent filled in admirably, once again, for Lowry and finished the game with 11 points, one rebound, six assists, and two steals. Caleb Martin also notched eleven points and further cemented his “best two-way player in the league status”—a dubious honor, he’d no doubt like to be rid of as soon as possible.

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Every Saturday, I will update the below Google sheet. It will show the upcoming schedule for all teams with color-coding for pace rankings. RED = slowest. YELLOW = middle of the pack. GREEN = fastest. Pace is the number of possessions a team has per game. More possessions increase the chances of more fantasy goodies. The data I use for pace, which is year-to-date, is from ESPN. I also want to give a shoutout to Hashtag Basketball, as their schedule grid is fantastic and allowed me to save time by not having to look at each team’s schedule. Good luck!

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There were a lot of great choices last night, but the fantasy star of the night must go to James
Harden for his massive 37-point triple-double. With Kevin Durant out with a knee injury, Harden
was forced to step up and did it in a big way on Friday with 37 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds
for his eighth triple-double this season. He ranks just outside the top-five fantasy players but is
likely to sneak into the top five while Durant is out. Kyrie Irving continues to only play in road
games because of his vaccination status but has been great when in the lineup. He scored 24
points in yesterday’s game and will see a larger role without Durant. He ranks in the top-20 on a
per-game basis, but that is only in six games this year

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Goga Bitadze is a must-add with the Pacers’ front line decimated. He’s kind of the only act in town now, and he’s got some talent. Bitadze played 31 minutes against the Warriors before getting tossed, scoring 13 points, grabbing nine boards, dishing out five assists, hitting a three, and blocking a shot. He needs to be picked up everywhere for the tremendous opportunity he’s got in front of him (21 percent rostered).

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 14!  There are still a few players in protocols, but we’re firmly on the back end of the recent spike in illness.  While this is generally good news for all, it means I can no longer blame COVID for my faulty predictions and recommendations.  On the other hand, I am enjoying the return to a time when my recommendations survived for more than two hours before being extinguished by the latest round of mass testing.  I’m not ready to declare “ops normal” just yet, as the situation is still fluid, but things are headed in the right direction.  Regardless of what’s going on in the background, my goal is to provide you with the best widely available streaming options in hopes of giving you an edge in your head-to-head category matchups.

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