It was tough to write this one until I was absolutely sure we could beat a Nets team without Kevin Durant or James Harden. The Bulls beat the Nets on Sunday 115-107, where they controlled the game from tip to the buzzer. I’m happy to report that I don’t have to commit fandom seppuku, and the Bulls still are very much relevant in the NBA playoff race this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How about some love for the underdog?

These daily recaps, especially on nights with a lot of games, often demand focusing on one of two players per team that had good nights. Most of the time we’re looking at star players doing what they do. It’s tough for a role player to get a write-up, and it’s even tougher for those end of the bench guys to get any ink.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to…

Alize Johnson

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 15 3 2 0 0 11/15 1/1 1

Johnson signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on Sunday and had himself a debut on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. A G-League monster who averaged 16 points and 13 boards in this season’s bubble, Johnson stepped up for a Nets squad that was without Durant, Irving, and Harden while playing the second night of a back-to-back against the best team in the West. If you watched the highlights, you noticed that this game was O-V-E-R pretty much from the jump. Johnson was doing major mop up work and will be facing an uphill battle for PT going forward. He’s not an add by any stretch, but I’ve got no problem highlighting him to celebrate his big night. Raise a glass to my man. He earned it.

Here’s what else caught my eye on a busy night of basketball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In high school, I went out with a girl who was two years younger than me. Things were amazing but then I got accepted to a school on the opposite coast. There was sadness at the inevitable end of the relationship but we made the most of it for those six months. We spent as much time together as we could and tried to cherish every moment. As the summer came to an end and it was almost time to go, the crescendo of emotion and activity was heightened, until the last hurrah knocked on the door and said it’s time. Jusuf Nurkic is close to returning back to action for the Trail Blazers. Enes Kanter knows his time is almost near. As I did with my high school sweetheart, so did Kanter do last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 19 6 0 1 0 0 6/8 7/8

In 40 minutes of action. Sooooo close to his eighth 20/20 game of his career and second this season. He grabbed 10 offensive boards, the fourth time in his career he’s accomplished the feat. On the season, Kanter is a top 75 player. As a starter, he’s averaged 29.7 minutes per game. In 12 games off the bench, he’s at 18.7 minutes. When Nurkic returns to action, it may take some time for him to get ramped up, but once that happens, Kanter will be playing sub-20 minutes again.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have so many questions regarding the porn industry. Do the actors get royalty fees? Do they get paid by the hour? Salary? Per orgasm? 401k? Dental? Health insurance? Are performance-enhancing drugs allowed? Are there rivalries? I have too much time on my hands. I mean, I uh, had too much time on my hands. Anyways, I have no questions regarding Collin Sexton of the Bulls. He’s a professional hucker and chucker. Sometimes they go in. Other times they go clang. Last night, though….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
36 3 4 2 0 6 6/9 13/24 4/6

….as he led the Cavs to a 116-105 victory over the Raptors. Sexton has attempted 24, 25, and 20 shot attempts in the last three games. On the season, he’s attempted 20 shots in a game 12 times. He’s failed to score in double figures just once this season, has gone for 20 points 28 times with four of those 30-burgers and a high of 42 points. Sexton will contribute some steals, tres, boards, and some dimes, but no blocks. The field goal percentage is a respectable 48% while he’s converting 80% of his free-throw attempts. On the season, Sexton is a top 100 player.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Career night for Joe Ingles, who stepped in as a starter for the resting Mike Conley. Ingles went off for a career-high 34 points on just 17 shots, including eight connections from long distance. With so much scoring he only distributed two dimes, but chipped in with a pair of steals as well. Conley’s return will cap Ingles’ value, but he’s still a borderline top-100 player off the bench contributing threes, assists and good percentages.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Orlando Magic have made it to the playoffs in two straight seasons and they’ll be returning with pretty much the same lineup, same head coach in Steve Clifford, and not a whole lot to be excited about except rookie Cole Anthony. Jonathan Isaac suffered a pair of devastating knee injuries which will reportedly sideline him for the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

That will leave a huge hole to fill as he averaged a shade under 29 minutes per game last season to go with 18.3% usage. Most importantly though it leaves the team with a severe lack of identity. There’s a logjam at point guard and very little to suggest they will get a different result than last season. It looks like another year of drudgery for 30-year-old Nikola Vučević and 28-year-old Evan Fournier, who should headline the offensive side of the ball.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Portland took a step back last year, falling from 3rd in the Western Conference to 9th despite the best efforts of Damian Lillard, who recorded his best season since turning pro. On the face of it, the most glaring difference was the absence of the Bosnian, Jusuf Nurkic, who sat the entire season with a leg injury. Losing Nurkic and later Zach Collins seriously crippled the Blazers, as they were forced to trot out a starting frontcourt of Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony for much of the season, though Whiteside owners weren’t complaining. The much-maligned big man absolutely demolished his ADP, ranking within the top-20 on the season. Say what you will about Whiteside, but given the minutes, he’s always produced.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve often wondered what driving while being color blind would be like. Yeah, I have too much free time on my hand obviously. Anyways, a STOP sign would just be a sign. The lights at a traffic signal would just change by sequence instead of the red, yellow, and green. It’s a good thing that most lights are standard, in that red is either at the top or on the left in horizontal signals. What if I ventured to a place that had the red on bottom or right? I’d be f’d. Anyways, there are many of players in the NBA who are definitely color blind when it comes to shot selection. Or maybe they just see green. Hmmm, now that I think about it, dolla bills are green and teams pay dolla bills for shots made, so players shoot shots to get the green. Now, not all players can get away with this because one has to actually make the shots to get the green. If a player has the red light, but shoots for the green anyways…and misses….then he will no longer be in the league. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what helps you get the green? The Stocktonator. One player who does not have this issue is Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. He averaged 16.6 shots per game last season and converted at a 45% clip. As a result, the Kings gave him a four-year extension worth $106 million. That is a lot of green. So far in 2019, he’s averaging 16.4 shots, but since De’Aaron Fox went down due to injury, he’s averaging 20 shots per game! Last night….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
35 6 2 1 4 3 7/12 14/24 0

A season high in both points and shot attempts for Buddy. He’s been a top 25 player since Fox went down and the usage has ticked up close to 30. It was a tick under 28. Now, Buddy won’t provide many dimes or blocks and the uptick in steals is likely an outlier, but he will provide a ton of points, tres, and some boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What excites you? Skantily-clad women? All-you-can-eat buffet? Damn, now you know all about me. Whistling while walking away. Aaaaannnyyyways, we all have love for the hoop game. And we all have favorite players who we enjoy watching. Well, I’ve never been the biggest fan of James Harden, but man, when I watch him play, I get Harden excited. He’s not the most athletic player, but the skill that he has with the basketball makes him one of the most dominant players in the game. He can get to the rim at will and has figured out ways to get off his J anytime against anyone. Oh, he also grabs boards, dishes out dimes, gets his 211 on, and even blocks a few shots. Last night wasn’t his best game….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
44 8 5 4 0 3 6/14 13/26 12/14

……kind of crazy that the above stat line is a little ho-hum for Harden. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what else is Harden-esque? The Stocktonator. He just seems to do it on a consistent basis and has shown to have access to a higher ceiling. Aren’t you Harden excited too? He’s the #2 player for fantasy right now and will likely end up either #1 or #2. Remember all the talk about Russell Westbrook? BSGALsgaskghas;khas;fhmv aiwwmus. Harden had a 40.5 usage rate last season. He’s at 40.3 this year. Lol.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I always enjoyed the cartoons with the little red devil on one shoulder while the white angel was on the other. Maybe it’s my appreciation for the duality of life. Or maybe it’s because I understand there’s a time for talking shit and another time for just letting the results speak for themselves. Gordon Ramsay is the ultimate shit talker. How someone hasn’t grabbed a souffle and shoved it down his throat is beyond me. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what doesn’t talk shit and just delivers results? The Stocktonator. With that said, his Hell’s Kitchen franchise is a rousing success. The reality show was viewed by millions, primarily due to his berating of chefs. The restaurants seem to be popular (I’ve never gone), but I’ve heard that Ramsay isn’t just some shit talker with nothing behind it. He’s actually a good cook, but the shit-talking persona is why most people are familiar with him and his food. Gordon Hayward Heaven’s Kitchen is the complete opposite. Hayward is unassuming and has that All-American look. His game isn’t flashy but very effective. Last night, though, he put on a heavenly performance that was almost flawless:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
39 7 8 0 0 2 1/4 17/20 4/4

Unfortunately, the 40-burger wasn’t on the menu but there were plenty of goodies to go around. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who don’t have the most stifling defense, but Hayward looked smooth, attacked the basket when given the opportunity, and his mid-range game was lethal. Fully healed from his gruesome leg injury two years ago, Hayward is currently the #28 player in fantasy and will likely end up in the 30-40 range come season’s end.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?