Sometimes you need to stand back and take a good, hard look at your personal biases as a writer.

When I do that while wearing my NBA hat, I can clearly see that I don’t give the Philadelphia 76ers a lot of love. What can I say? I just can’t stand James Harden. A couple years back he came to my Nets amidst hope and big dreams – a “Superteam” with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – and left the way he always does: As a loser. Harden is one of the greatest regular season players of all time – a true fantasy basketball god over the course of his career – but he crumbles like no other in the playoffs. And can we really say much better for the veteran combination of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris? Despite big names and strong stat sheet production, this Philly team hasn’t gotten anywhere with this core over time.

Maybe this season will be different? I doubt it. Yet and still, Harden and Embiid had their patented pick-and-roll rollin’ Wednesday night, on their way to a solid 105-94 victory over the pesky, young Orlando Magic. Let’s dive in and take a closer look from a fantasy perspective.

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Five game slate on a rainy Tuesday evening.  Well, might not have been raining in your neck of the woods.  I hate ice storms more than I hate this year’s Bulls squad and watching LeBron James complain about every game mattering, the refs screwing us, and then resting the next game so he can break a scoring record later on TNT.

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I mean, you can, but would it be allowed in modern English? Perhaps, perhaps not. Am I supposed to know English? But let’s go deeper, something your mother enjoys all the time. In this regard, one might ponder not just about your mother, but also the fact that you can’t spell “luck” with Luka because the dude is just pure talent and skill. Luck is the last thing he needs. And don’t look at me, I’m not a Luka Doncic fanboy either, I’ve honestly never seen so much basketball talent executed in the slowest way possible. Man moves like the most agile molasses I’ve ever seen and I swear it takes roughly 18 minutes to wind up his shot. And the constant chirping… sure, I understand he doesn’t get the same calls like Steph does, but 18 technical fouls per quarter can sometimes be exhausting to watch.

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For the first four years of Terry Rozier’s career, he shot under 40% from the field. Boston fans were trying to figure out ways to bend the space/time continuum so that they could travel back to December 16, 1773, stuff Rozier into a wooden crate, and throw him/it into the harbor. Mercifully, Rozier was traded to the Hornets and the field goal percentage increased to 42%. With no harbors close to Charlotte, that must’ve taken a huge weight off of his shoulders. The efficiency continued to improve over the next two seasons and Terry was no longer scary to his teammates and organization. Instead, he was scary for the opposition. But, but, but….Scary Terry reared his ugly head once again this season. No, not that Scary Terry. The other Scary Terry. For the first 27 games this season, Rozier was shooting 38% from the field and 30% from downtown. In 13 games since the calendar flipped from 2022 to 2023, he’s converted 46% of his attempts and 38% from downtown. Last night, he continued the trend:

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Can you tell that Joel Embiid is tired of coming in second? Because that was made extremely clear after last night’s performance in the battle between the top two MVP finalists the past two seasons. After being snubbed as an All-Star starter and barely being mentioned in the MVP conversation this season, Embiid had a near 50-20 game on the head of the reigning MVP and this year’s lead candidate, Nikola Jokic. Embiid took this matchup so personally that he finished in style, hitting a dagger jumper in the closing moments, followed by the infamous Michael Jordan shrug. Five other Sixers finished in double figures, including James Harden, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but last night was all about Embiid.

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Iiiiitttt waaaas k-k-kiiiinnnd-uhhhv a slooooow F-f-frrrriiiiidayyyy niiiite innn thaaaa Ennn-Beeee-Aaaaa, wiithh-th ooonnnleeeee fiiiiiive gammmmess ooon the d-d-dooockkkkett …

It is difficult to write in slow motion. It’s got to be even harder to play a professional sport in slow motion. But the man they call Slo Mo [still wondering why his nickname isn’t The Sloth, since he even resembles the lovable creature], Kyle Anderson, is the enigma [another nickname possibility!] of the modern day game where stinging athleticism makes headlines. 

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Robert Covington has gotten lost in the sauce on a confounding Clippers roster. He hasn’t found his footing at all and been largely out of the rotation, but he’s maybe suddenly back on the map? Covington turned a vintage RoCo performance against the Spurs, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, two steals, three swats, and three triples in 21 minutes. He’s played at least 19 minutes in three straight, averaging 2.0 3PTM, 1.3 SPG, and 2.7 BPG. It’s impossible to rely on any set rotation from the Clips, but they did recently express a desire to cut back Ivica Zubac’s minutes. As Covington’s recent rim protection metrics show, he’s capable of sliding over to play backup center. We know what he’s capable of, and I’m okay with taking the risk of being fooled by the Clippers once more before letting him slip away to another manager if he’s indeed going to be a rotation regular going forward (21 percent rostered).

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The Utah Jazz were really a feel-good story early this season, right? With alpha Donovan Mitchell out of the way – absolutely dominating in Cleveland – the young, hungry Jazz stormed out of the gate to a strong start to their season. Lauri Markkanen continues to be one of the best players in the NBA this season, but things have sort of fallen back to earth for the rest of Will Hardy’s inexperienced squad. And well, Wednesday night was no different in that descent – superstar vet Damian Lillard tore them to pieces in another tough loss in this tumble for the Jazz. Let’s jump in and take a closer look.

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I watched the stupid Bulls lose to the stupid Pacers last night and am in a bad mood.  So in honor of my bad mood and in an effort to put myself through self therapy, all of my takes in the recap are going to be people to move off of or avoid altogether.  Seriously, blowing a 21 point lead to the Pacers without Tyrese Haliburton…

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While we normally focus on game performances in the lede, it’s open to any big news story that’s trending the day before. Plus, when a pun like this is available, you don’t ever hesitate grabbing that low hanging fruit. Literally every mission objective by any content creator, spoiler alert! Indeed, this also is what you call a double whammy, in that anything Los Angeles sports soothes that SEO soul… but enough about internet metrics and writer’s fruit. Let’s talk about the bromance between the Lakers and Wizards front office that started with the Russell Westbrook trade last season and then culminated into a Kendrick Nunn and three second-rounders for the enigmatic Rui Hachimura.

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I was high on Precious Achiuwa in the offseason, as he showed flashes at the end of last season, both offensively and defensively. He improved his shooting and was able to make it rain from downtown. In addition, he exhibited the ability to make life difficult for Joel Embiid while also being able to switch on the perimeter against guards. Most importantly, though, Nick Nurse spoke glowingly about him over the summer, commenting on his work ethic and finally “getting it.” Then the season started, and it didn’t go as planned. He had two monster games while playing over 33 minutes in each, but after that, was relegated to playing in the teens. To stick a rusty knife into my belly, Achiuwa then succumbed to injury and missed the next 24 games. My Precious once had bling that blinded the eyes, but now was as dull as my jokes. Upon returning to action, he was once again playing in the teens, but slowly but surely, the playing time increased. Christian Koloko was sent down to the G League and my Precious began to glisten once again. Over the last five games, he received 28, 21, 26, 21 and 37 minutes, starting in the most recent contest and putting up 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

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Big bounce-back game for Rui Hachimura who went from scoring 0 against the New York Knicks a few days ago to matching his career-high with 30 points in the win.
All five starters finished in double figures, but Kyle Kuzma led the way with 25 points, ten rebounds, and six assists; Notably, the Wizards’ injury issues continue to plague them. While this was only Bradley Beal’s second game back from his hamstring injury, Kristaps Porzingis was the next to fall as he went down in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. This team cannot catch a break.

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