With less than a third of the season remaining the battle for a playoff spot in the West is fiercer than ever. Utah’s latest winning streak has complicated matters even more and currently six teams are separated by just three wins.

Presumably, the Pelicans are the odd man out with DeMarcus Cousins done for the year, but anything can happen in the remaining games so I wouldn’t bet against any team. I’m very interested to see in the comments your own predictions about the final standings in the Western Conference. The commenter with the best prediction will win my eternal love, as it’s Valentine’s day today, and a Brian Scalabrine bobblehead. The last part is a lie, because if I ever get my hands on such a bobblehead I’m never giving it away….

Moving on to last week’s calls, Michael Beasley unsurprisingly took a big chunk of Kristaps Porzingis’ usage and during the last week averaged 19.7 points with 8.3 rebounds. Hope you were quick enough and scooped him off the waiver wire, as he can be a game changer for the fantasy playoffs. Josh Jackson also had a good scoring week and, if you can offset his bad percentages, is a great keep as the youth movement continues in Phoenix. Finally, Tyrone Wallace’s minutes are on a free fall and you can safely move on if you haven’t already, while Isaiah Thomas was one of the victims of Cleveland’s deadline frenzy and will close the year as a Laker. I think his outlook improves with this move, as he will try and prove he deserves the max deal he craves, but is bad news for Josh Hart’s ROS outlook. It will be interesting to see how Luke Walton tweaks his rotation when Lonzo Ball returns and if Thomas can embrace a sixth man role for the young Lakers.

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Another week, another gruesome injury in the NBA… Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL last night and will be out for the next 9-12 months, meaning he will miss a portion of next season as well. Seems like every week an all-star goes down these days. I can’t remember a season with more replacements needed for the all-star game. Get well soon Unicorn!!

A quick note before moving on with last week’s calls recap. During the aforementioned game, Giannis Antetokounmpo channeled his inner Vince Carter and did this:

Wow…Tim Hardaway Jr. looks so small right there. I just hope the coaching change and Jabari Parker’s return helps the Greek Freak lead them to a deep playoff run. Yes, I’m biased towards a compatriot but he has developed through hard work into a superstar and deserves more team success.

Moving on to the usual review of my suggestions from last week. Reggie Bullock solidified his place as the starting SG in Detroit with 35 minutes and 2.3 triples per game, while Boban Marjanovic is completely out of Doc’s rotation. Rumors about a DeAndre Jordan trade are heating up with Portland reportedly being added to the list of potential suitors, but Boban is a luxury stash for the time being and can be safely dropped if DJ is not dealt. Tomas Satoransky proved the better PG add in Washington, as predicted, and is providing solid production with 10.0/0.8/2.5/4.8/2.0/0.0/1.5 since starting. However, the best call must have been Terry Rozier, who posted a 11-10-17 triple double and followed it up with a 31-point performance against the Knicks. Finally, Bismack Biyombo’s minutes remain too low for my liking and I haven’t regretted the decision to cut him last week.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week (in which case I’m interested to know how you manage), you have heard the news about the Blake Griffin trade. For those aforementioned people who don’t, here is the summary:

Clippers get: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, a first round pick, a second round pick and the always charming Boban Marjanovic

Pistons get: Blake Griffin along with his portable clinic, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson

I would love to read your thoughts down in the comments about who won the trade. My first instinct was that it all depends on Blake’s health and on how well he will mesh with Andre Drummond. Another conclusion that can be derived from the trade is that loyalty is dead in the NBA. Remember all the efforts the Clippers made to convince Blake to re-sign, which included filling the court with his photos and even raising an actual banner with his name into the rafters as a sign of their future devotion??

As always, let’s take a quick look at last week’s suggestions and how they performed. The Spurs duo of Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson were not very impressive, but their minutes are safe and will only improve moving forward. Murray is even averaging an absurd 8.6 rebounds in the last eight games. The Sacramento duo of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, on the other hand, were not so hot as only one of them is having a good game each night. At least the Kings are sticking to their veteran-resting plan for now… Finally, Ersan Ilyasova’s minutes continue to trend in the wrong direction, but you can still get some value if you trade him right now…

Moving on to the new suggestions, this will be a heavy “Buy” week as injuries and the aforementioned trade have created opportunities for more players to become fantasy relevant.

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I was watching last night’s game between the Spurs and the Cavs and it was hard to guess which was the team that was missing their superstar, as Cleveland suffered another defeat and are now 3-12 in their last 15 games. Something has to change in C-town and fast, as they have been atrocious on the defensive end (ranked 29th for the season) and their rotation is erratic at best. And no, bullying Kevin Love and implying he was faking an illness is not the way to go. Tyronn Lue stated that a lineup change is coming, so stay tuned.With that said, maybe Jason Kidd was just the first of many Eastern Conference head coaches to be fired this season.

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The spirit of Mohamed Ali must have gotten into a lot of NBA players this past week as it was apparently a brawl bonanza. The first incident happened in Toronto, where Serge Ibaka came close to finding out first hand that James Johnson was undefeated in seven MMA matches and is the proud owner of a black belt.

Then the infamous Clippers-Rockets match provided one of the weirdest post-game incidents I can remember. Per reports, the Rockets players were angry with Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers so they came up with a masterplan to get into the Clippers locker room. They sent the imposing Clint Capela to knock from the front door while Chris Paul, James Harden, and Trevor Ariza tried sneaking from the back…. As we here at Razzball pride ourselves in our reporting work, here is a world-first look at the blueprint of the Rockets plans that night.

And to end the week, Arron Afflalo came just a bit short from connecting with a huge punch on Nemanja Bjelica, who promptly locked him up.

Kudos to Bjelica who genuinely tried to diffuse the situation when he could have reacted differently.

Ok folks, this was your boxing recap for the week. Let’s move on to the fantasy basketball review.

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We are at the midway point of the NBA season and I’m sure team strengths and standings are beginning to solidify in your league. It’s a great time, especially in roto leagues, to check if you are way ahead or behind in a category and plan your trades accordingly. And for God’s sake, don’t invite the guy that traded Jimmy Butler when he was slumping for Darren Collison or the other inactive guy that hasn’t changed his lineup since Carlos Boozer’s hairline looked like this:

If you look closely you can see the reflection of the ceiling scoreboard…Talk about a bad hair day…or should I say a bad hair dye…

Ok, enough with the Boozer bullying, let’s look at last week’s suggestions from the past week. Tyus Jones has been kind of a disappointment, as he never got it going as a scorer and facilitator during Jeff Teague’s absence. On the other hand, Trey Lyles continued his excellent form with four great games and looks like the real deal. Marquese Chriss and Caris Levert suffered minor injuries so they didn’t play enough and Nicolas Batum had only one game this past week. I still believe in him, as you will read in a bit for this week’s new suggestions…

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Hello everyone!  I’m joined by two of Razzball’s basketball writers, Brent and Craig, to have wide ranging discussion about the NBA and fantasy basketball.  We start by focusing on Isaiah Thomas’ return, what we can expect from him in fantasy, and its impact on the rest of the Cavs players.  After that, we mention some players that could be consideration for selling high, how incredible this rookie class is, and potential breakouts in the second half of the season.  All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Basketball Podcast!

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Although kinda late due to the fact it’s a Wednesday column, I wish to all you Razzball readers a Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true and your fantasy teams win it all this year. Except if you play in one of the leagues I also play…. If you do, I wish a happy Second Place and a great drafting position for next year’s draft.

Imagine an extra circle above the last zero in Chuck’s glasses because I lack the Photoshop skills to put it there myself and let’s review last week’s calls. Both Ish Smith and Bismack Biyombo have been on fire since getting the starting job, with Biyombo especially returning top 25 value during these games making me very happy for the calls. They were in fact so much on fire as Vangelis Ioannou, a Greek sportcaster, suggests in the video.

Jaycee Carroll’s face says it all…I admit we Greeks are not world-renowned for our English pronunciation skills. Moving on, Jordan Bell and Willie Cauley-Stein were also productive and look to maintain their value going forward. Finally on the sell front, Jonathon Simmons has seen his usage decline and has taken a backseat to Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, while Dirk Nowitzki was solid but I still stand by my advice to sell. Let’s take a look at this week’s candidates now…

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Merry Christmas Razzball nation. Hope you guys had a great time with your family and friends and continue to enjoy the holiday season! I always felt weird watching NBA games on Christmas Day, as they felt like the absolute contrast. On the one hand, you have elite athletes competing against each other in high-paced, tiring games while there’s me, contemplating whether I should stop on the fourth or fifth refill of my dinner plate.

Anyways, me and my five extra kilos will review last week’s calls, as always, before we move to the new suggestions. Both Nikola Mirotic and Josh Richardson continued their excellent play, rewarding owners that were quick enough to add them. The same can’t be said for Larry Nance Jr., who saw Andrew Bogut get the majority of Brook Lopez’s minutes while Alex Len continued his musical chairs winning streak and had an above average week. Lastly, I am pretty happy with the Jonas Valanciunas call, as his recent success was indeed matchup-dependent and he returned to his usual underwhelming self last week, firmly closing the sell opportunity for his owners.

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Why did you do this to me Jahlil?? I trusted you. I placed my faith in you to turn your career around in Brooklyn. I even criticized the Sixers for not wanting to develop you and what is the return? Three DNP-CDs and a meh 10 points/4 rebounds game in 23 minutes played. I rushed to pick you up everywhere but dropped you in all but one very deep league. Even his coach admitted he is out of shape and that it is going to “take some time to integrate him more into the system”. The vegan diet doesn’t seem to work that well….

I think I support Ron Swanson’s opinion on this matter more…

Thankfully, the rest of last week’s calls were much better than the gentleman above and Marvin Williams, who was also below average. J.J.Barea and Yogi Ferrell continue to hold down the fort until Dennis Smith Jr returns, Taurean Prince had a great week averaging 15.0/3.3/5.0/2.7/0.7/1.0/2.3, Lebron James’s Fg% dropped a bit as predicted, and Andrew Wiggins continues to disappoint so much that he was ranked 264th in per game value for last week.

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