This week we take a look at the Northwest Division, which boasts some exciting teams to watch, some great individual offensive talents, and one seriously unresolved soap opera situation. This division is filled with teams that keep coming at you; hardworking, team-oriented outfits that don’t stop until the whole tree is on the ground. In other words, what the Timberwolves want to be.

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I live in LA, so rain is not a common occurence. According to the Google machine, LA averages 36 days of year with measurable precipitation. Last night, though, we experienced thunder and lightning. That’s akin to most people seeing Haley’s Comet. The way lightning lights up the sky is kind of cool. Just don’t think about the 300 kilovolts it delivers when it touches the Earth. Thunder by itself is scary, as it rumbles, stumbles, and bumbles. In unison with lightning? A smorgsabord of emotions that make the most diesel of men shiver and quiver. That is your Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook and Paul George are amazing basketball players individually, but when the two combine forces….Thunderstruck.

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If you are wondering about the title, just look at the postscript at the end of the article. It’s not basketball related but some things are far greater.

The playoffs have started for most fantasy leagues and I hope your teams are competing in them. May the basketball gods bless you with no injuries to your key players (ahem Stephen Curry) and good percentages to lead you to the championship. If you are instead in a Roto league, like I prefer for the most part, these injuries affect you less but it’s still a good time to focus on the categories that can give you the most points in the standings and shape your team accordingly.

On a completely different subject, as soon as I saw Josh Richardson and James Johnson celebrating after a made triple, I knew I had to include it in the article.

Master Yoda, you sure look taller…..The phrase “teamwork elevates you” gets a new meaning with these guys.

As per usual, let’s check the performance from last week’s suggested players, but before that, an extra shout out to my man Nemanja Bjelica, who I mentioned 2 weeks ago and is straight carrying my teams for the past weeks (ranked 18th during this period). Larry Nance Jr. has taken full advantage of the starting role in Cleveland, with three double-doubles in his last 5 games and will maintain this production for as long as Tristan Thompson is sidelined. On the other hand, Jakob Poeltl’s impressive defensive numbers faded this week as he averaged only 1.0 block after going for 2.7 per game during the previous two weeks. Finally, Skal Labissiere had two solid games before going down with a minor injury, while Marcin Gortat and Al-Farouq Aminu proved good drop calls as they had at best forgettable performances.

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What’s up Razzballers? We had an epic standoff last night between two of the league’s best teams, the Celtics and the Warriors. And this game didn’t disappoint. The Celtics pulled out to an early lead, but Steph Curry simply proved to be too much to handle as he led the the Warriors to the big win. On the night, Steph put forth 49/4/5/2 on 16-for-24 FG (8-for-13 3P, 9-for-10 FT) with only one TO. This guy is a cheat code. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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For most things in life, more is better. More digits and commas in your bank account is good. When walking down a dark alley, more companions by your side is beneficial. Having more points than an opponent in any competition is usually optimal. For E’Twaun Moore of the New Orleans Pelicans, though, less has been Moore.  In November, Moore was averaging 29.4 minutes per game. So far in December, he’s averaging 37.5 minutes per game. But Son! You said that less is Moore. Patience my grasshoppers. In November, Alvin Gentry had a pretty deep rotation. Nine players were playing over 15 mpg. In December, that number has dropped to seven. See? Less is Moore. Now, what happens when AD can’t play due to injury (shocker)? Three players get 40+ minutes, with another one at 39. Last night against the Houston Rockets, Moore played 42 minutes and went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 36 3 3 0 0 3 6/8 15/20 0

The 36 points were a career-high and he’s not going to shoot 75% from the field every night. With that said, he’s scored in double digits in seven of the last eight games and, as mentioned above, he’s been playing a ton of minutes. With teams focused on Boogie, Rondo, Holiday, and AD (when he plays), Moore is going to get a ton of open looks. Translation: LESS defensive attention equals MOORE points.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Ah, the fountain of youth. Something Arizona certainly doesn’t have! The retirement haven of America – just ask Tyson Chandler – oddly boasts the most ridiculously young team. Last Thursday, they had a younger starting 5 than all but 1 of the 8 college teams playing in the Sweet Sixteen that night, and not surprisingly, the youngest starting 5 in NBA history. The retirees in Phoenix love to watch em young!

Despite being a god awful team, there still is a lot of promise with the draft picks they made, highlighted by the absolute insanity that Devin Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics last Friday night. Insanity that he was the youngest player to break 70, that he set a franchise record, OR THAT THE SUNS STILL LOST?! Hah, take your pick.

On that layup there to kick off the GIF, Marcus Smart is like, “meh, whatever, we up 20.” 21-40 FG (4-11 3PTM 24-26 FT) for 70/8/6/3/1 in the craziest line of the year. I mentioned on our last Pod that the Suns are kinda like random number generators right now, so who knows what you’ll get next?! Well, next was 23/4/5/0/1 with 4 TO in a blah encore for Dbook. His shooting arm was tired! He did get another 7-7 FT yesterday though against the Hornets (nice to see the volume staying high), but they yet again lost, and he’s doing this without Eric Bledsoe, instead with a group of similarly young pups. It might vault him to be drafted a little too high for my liking for next year, but maybe he can turn into DeMar DeRozan with 3s. Which hurts the FG%, but I’m all optimism right now! “Never Seen So Many Guys Happy After An L!” huh?! Well, Jae Crowder – aka Party Pooper – it’s the end of March and I’m in super depressed mode after I had 3 of my 4 alive teams lose in semis this week! Why you gotta harsh my buzz!  Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball action over the weekend:

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Nope, not talking about baseball here.  Hopefully most of the us reading this advanced into the 2nd round of the fantasy playoffs.  As for me, I got knocked out in the JB vs. Slim Razzball Year 3 League.  I was somewhat disappointed, but with no KD and a combination of missed and sub par games from Poison Goose it was inevitable.  No excuses, all part of the game.  I’m in the midst of trying to advance in JB’s ‘Secret Attack’ RCL League so hopefully I can advance…at the expense of Mr. JB himself.

Planning for the remaining games this week is tricky and I think the margin of error is slimmer – not just in terms of what’s at stake, but due to the scheduling.  Friday and Sunday are slated to have 10 games each.  Now, if you wait until Saturday before making any moves, your team might not even make use of it due to the number of teams playing on Sunday.  So you really have to look at your Friday-Sunday rosters and see if it makes sense to wait before adding for Sunday’s games.

Players on teams playing on Saturday should be a target as there are only 5 games being played.

WAS/MIN/CLE are the only teams that play on Fri. & Sat.

POR/LAC are the only teams that play on Sat. & Sun.

You see what I’m getting at here?  You need to be really clever about your moves trying to shore up or catch up on some cats you’d need to advance to the next round.

Let’s get right to it.

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