Basketball is a funny game. The Atlanta Hawks were riding a six-game losing streak and heading to Utah to face off against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Dennis Schroder, the point guard for the Hawks, had failed to score 20 points in each of the six losses. Then, a funny thing happened. The D went missing. Did Dennis change his name to Ennis? No!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 5 7 0 0 2 3/7 16/28 6/10

Forty burger! Against a team that was 8th in defensive efficiency against the point guard position. Against Ricky Rubio, who was 10th in defensive real plus minus. Schroder had a 42.7 usage rate last night! Going forward, though, I wouldn’t expect too many performances like last night. Taurean Prince, who had been the alpha in terms of usage, got Prince’D, so someone had to step up. In addition, while Schroder has had a couple of big games this season, they have been too few to count on. Expect scoring to be in the 18-20 point range with 5-7 assists, and 2-3 boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Certain things in sports are sexier than others. It’s as simple as that. While Ichiro strives to make singles sexy, the saying goes, “chicks dig the longball.” In hockey, Barry Melrose’s mullet screams sexy over Ovechkin’s buzz cut.  Big hits catch the eye before a 3 yard run up the middle. Lastly, slam dunks will always be more exciting than a mid-range jumper. Larry Nance finds himself in quite the unique situation. How many times since the inception of the dunk contest, has a contestant debuted their fresh new jersey on that stage? I’ll admit, I didn’t look into this at all, but man would it make a great HQ trivia question. In comes Larry Nance, I assume junior, or maybe even the third, traded from the Lakers and now sporting a Cavs uni. The same Cavs that are his favorite team, the team in which his father, Larry Nance, probably the first, played for and won the slam dunk contest with. The same Larry Nance whose number is hanging in the rafters at the Q. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, I don’t know what will. As Kevin Costner said, it’s hard not to get emotional about baseball. Wrong sport, yes, but the man just wanted to have a damn catch with his dad, and now he can!

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The City of Detroit has long been the s**thole of America. High crime. Low tax base. Corruption. Racial tension. Having the auto industry shut down plants and move them to other areas certainly didn’t help. One of my favorite movies of all-time, The Kentucky Fried Movie, put it best.

I remember during the housing crash, I’d log onto sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin, to see the true carnage. There were places in Detroit that you could buy for under $1000. Insane. Not all was bad, though. The Pistons teams of the late-80s, early-90s brought bling and optimism. Yes, they were the Bad Boys but bad equaled good in that context. Could history be repeating itself? Since Blake Griffin was acquired by the Pistons, the team has rattled of four straight wins. His presence has been so immense that the team gets a win even when he doesn’t play. Last night, Blake went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 9 6 0 0 3 3/7 9/20 0

Since arriving in Detroit, Blake is playing 36 minutes, scoring 20 points, grabbing 9.5 boards, dishing out 6 dimes, blocking 1, and stealing 0.5. It’s only been a three game sample, but things are looking on the up and up. The cheapest house that I can find on Zillow in the Detroit area for a 4bds, 1 ba, 1,777 sqft is $5,900. That’s progress.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Bullshitting is bad. Or is it? There are four reasons why people lie. 1) To hide or protect something. Good if you were harboring a Jew in Nazi Germany. Bad if you have a mistress. 2) Fear. Of getting caught. I guess that ties into protecting oneself. 3) To elevate one’s self-perception. You went to which school? You’re how tall? You slept with how many women? 4) It is the wise thing to do. Do I look fat in these jeans? BS’ing is often annoying or straight up lame, but it is an integral part of life. There are many situations in which being brutally honest serves no purpose other than to hurt the other person, which is lame. Damn it, is everything in life lame then? Last night, we had another example of BS’ing being bad….the good bad, though….as in dope. Now that I think about it, sometimes we just BS to mess around, which is what Ben Simmons did last night against the Bulls. Ironic, huh?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 19 17 14 0 2 6 0 6/15 7/10

Simmons has now messed around five times on the season. He had been in a slump lately, looking disinterested and lacking aggression. It’s mindblowing to think that he can dominate a game without being able to shoot from the perimeter. He’s that good. Anyways, BS is a nightly triple-dub threat and will contribute with the D stats. As we established above, there’s good and bad with BS. The bad? Literally no 3s, like he hasn’t made one the entire year. The turnovers are plentiful. As I always say, good if you are high in a pastry shop. Not so good for fantasy. The free throw shooting is abysmal, like 55% bad. DeAndre Jordan, with his 60% on the year, is like, “Yo, Ben. You really need to practice bro.” Simmons is the 75th player for fantasy on the year. For the last month? The 110th. There are just too many holes in his game to approach Top 50 territory, but for punt FT% and 3 teams, BS is lovely.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In my younger days, I used to run with a pretty deep crew. Most of them were older and more experienced than me. Most were better looking and had more charisma then me. Emphasis on most. Not being the man was just fine. You’d be surprised at how many layups you’d get by just being. All of this happened on the basketball court as well. Anyways, with so much attention on the alphas, dudes like me would be afforded all sorts of opportunities to score. At some point, the stars would align and everything would come to a climax. Whether it be on the court or at the club, there’s always that moment. Last night, Clint Capela had his moment.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 24 20 3 0 2 2 0 10/12 4/5

It was his first 20/20 game of the season and he actually hit his free throws. Chris Paul, James Harden, and Eric Gordon all had great games, but it was all about Capela last night. Now, most of his opportunities came because of all the attention given to the superstars on the team. No matter. Production is production. And that’s how it’s going to be all season. Capela is a top 30 fantasy player right now. Imagine if he shot better than 58% from the charity stripe.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 2016, Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. It was a match made in heaven, as Morey believed that three-pointers, layups, and free throws were the most efficient shots to take. D’Antoni? Did someone say three-pointers? Three-coooooola. The Rockets improved from 41-41 in 2015 to 55-27 with D’Antonio at the helm. They blitzed the league with 115.3 points per game, just 0.6 fewer than the vaunted Golden State Warriors. They hoisted up an absurd 40.3 three-pointers a game and made a league-high 14.4. Then the playoffs happened. After disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder, D’Antoni and Morey were bested by Greg Popovich. Pop did not figure out the magic formula to shut down the Rockets O. What he did do was disrupt the rhythm and force the Rockets to do what they were most uncomfortable doing: shoot the midrange. Pop would use Kawhi Leonard to chase James Harden all over the court and plant Pau Gasol in the middle of the lane. The other three players would be paparrazi and follow their subjects wherever they went. As a result, three-pointers, layups, and free throws were defended. Everything in the midrange was conceded. Result? Spurs 4. Rockets 2. There was only one option to pursue. Better Call Paul, as in

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Good morrow to thee, neighbours! It was a fun night for hoops, especially if you’re a fan of mediocre basketball teams! The Atlanta Hawks scraped by the previously decent Orlando Magic and what a matchup it was! A special shoutout goes to Ersan Ilyasova who went for 26/3/4 on a perfect 9-for-9 FG with five threes, 3-for-5 FT. and no turnovers. It was a pretty spectacular game for Ersan. With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins (and Mike Muscala) all missing from the Hawks’ frontcourt, there’s minutes to go around and Ilyasova is definitely the man in line to take them. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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It’s been a rough stretch for Lakers fans. The team is 8-15 to start this season and had win totals of 26, 17, 21, and 27 from 2013-2016. Prior to that, though, there was a Golden Age of epic proportions. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the team had missed the playoffs only four times and had fewer than 40 wins in a season just six times (one being a strike-shortened season).

Please, blog, may I have some more?