20 years ago, UPS had an ad campaign with the slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” 

Brown says: Make your life easier

Brown tells me that you have all the choices you want

Brown says to me: Get your shipments to your customers, when they need it and where they need it

Brown says: Relax, we’ll get it done

Brown says: How about some more pie?

Brown didn’t say that

What a stupid ass commercial but it serves our purpose today because Jaylen Brown freaking delivered the goods on Sunday.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Most things in life have an ebb and flow to them. Some have steady drumbeats while others are volatile like an illiquid capital market. In order to get to the top of any venture, there is usually a combination of both. At some point, there are breakthroughs and jumps of multiple levels. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected by the Clippers with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He averaged 26.5 minutes per game as a rookie and showed that he belonged, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 47% from the field and 80% from the line. He was the 141st player for fantasy on a per-game basis. He was then traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal and immediately played 34.7 minutes per contest. He finished as the 53rd player for fantasy, the first significant jump in his career. He improved in each of the next two seasons, but at a pace akin to the sink filling up, drip by drip, finishing 44th then 32nd. Then 2022 happened, and Shai rocketed up to where he is now, as a top 5 player. Yesterday, he continued to show that he is now one of the best and most well-rounded players in the NBA:

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The Bulls lose and refuse to play Patrick Williams and Coby White in an effort to make the play in.  Noble goal, but I was hoping to see more minutes go to these guys.  Nikola Vucevic ruined a 4 three-pointer evening with 6 turnovers.  Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan both disappointed with less than 20 points.  The Bulls really aren’t interesting, but keep an eye on them if they tank and go to young guys at the end of the season.  Keep in mind though that Williams and White aren’t actually very good.

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I’ll start with the TNT game, which I almost didn’t watch because Devin Booker and Kevin Durant were out.

Wait, what was that?  Is that………

Devin Booker’s music???????

Yes, Booker returned with 19 points and six assists and the Suns are whole again.  Torrey Craig has lost what little value he had (3 points in 25 minutes).  Chris Paul did have 12 assists with his 9 points, but the guy just looks slow to me.  He’s thicker than he used to be and seems like he’s a step slower.  Still good, but I’m wondering how long this will last before he craters.  I’d get off him and trade him to someone who isn’t watching.  And what happened to Deandre Ayton?  35 points and 15 boards, keep that going.

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Last night I was able to test out a new Seuss-style story during my kids’ bedtime:

“An Ant-man with cool fluffy hair, who went the nation’s capital and let it rain from behind the arch. He was hitting ‘em on the pull up. He was hitting ‘em on the spot up. He nailed 3s on the swing. He nailed 3s on the run. He hit 3s from the corner, at the top. He created a skookum of 3s like it was a skookum of tallywade  ….”

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The legend grows. 

With the Jazz hanging on to a 1-point lead with seconds left on the clock, Collin Sexton stepped to the line and choked away two free throws in a row. But our hero, Walker Kessler, Utah Ranger – who kicks posterior not just for a living, but for America – bullied his way to an offensive rebound and was fouled. 

There, he faced his most challenging nemesis of all: the free throw line. What’s he do? But, of course, he steps up and drains back-to-back; turns, and flashes a look to the camera that says, “Even I can’t believe how much of a badass I can be.”

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I was prepared to lead this Friday Night Recap with a fancy take on Aaron Gordon, but King James had other plans. With Anthony Davis sitting the second half with a bum foot in the Lakers-Nuggets game, Denver had a double-digit third quarter lead and were cruising to a road win. Then LeBron James stepped into the center spot and ran circles around Nikola Jokic and friends, finishing with 30 points (13-20 FG, 1-4 3pt, 3-4 FT), 9 boards, 4 dimes and 2 steals along with a +26 in the 126-108 victory.

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I’ve always had the need for speed. Since I was able to reach the pedals, my legs always pushed them to the metal. Video games helped to refine my urges, as the experience of playing countless other driving games gave me the experience and instincts to anticipate potential hazards while identifying slivers of space to maneuver through. For you New Yorkers, I used to pick up a buddy on the Jersey side of the GW bridge then see how fast I could make it to the east side of Manhattan. Sure, that was driving on expert mode, and we should’ve died more than a few times, but we always escaped unscathed. Oh, what a thrill. The same emotion is elicited when I watch the fantasy points rack up for Joel Embiid this season. He’s scored at least 30 points 11 times this season with three over 40 and a high of 59. On Sunday, he did this:

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With one of the deepest and busiest schedules, Wednesdays in the NBA bring action, drama and monster fantasy box scores. Last night was par for the course – or should I say, par for the court? – as superstars Jayson Tatum, Trae Young, Kevin Durant and a number of others went HAM on a jaw-dropping night of basketball that had as many twists and turns as a gymnast driving a racecar in an episode of Black Mirror.

Not to mention – as always in the NBA these days – injuries, illnesses, rest and load management. I can’t wait to crack this slate open. Let’s dive right in.

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You can’t win a championship at the beginning of a season, but you can lose one. Much as it pains me to say, I think I’ve already lost.

After a successful Writer’s League last year that ended against Kostas in the semifinal and a pretty intensive offseason of thinking about hoops, I came into this year’s draft feeling like I was in decent shape to post a good showing again. But this year ain’t last year. Stats and success don’t carry over, and if you’re resting on laurels rather than applying lessons learned, there’s no way to bank Ws on account of “experience.” If you’ve been following Kelder’s weekly recaps, you might have noticed that my team isn’t anywhere in the mix. Indeed, you’ve got to scroll almost the way to the bottom of the table to see my name. A record of 19-34-1 is good enough for 11th and I feel all but certain the hole that I’ve put myself in is going to be too deep to recover from. I’m not quite ready to quit on some other struggling squads, but I think it’s safe to let go of preseason expectations at this point and set a different goal for the remaining three-quarters of the season here in the Writer’s League.

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I really do hate to admit this, but it sure looks like these Atlanta Hawks got my ass again. 

Two seasons ago, wigged out about the pandemic and in the midst of a cross-country move, I volunteered to write for Razzball hoops and agreed to participate in the RazzJam. A true noob, I spent two of my first four picks on Trae Young and John Collins and then spent the winter watching that team be ground into dust and a bottom-20 finish. Never again, I told myself. 

After confusing “never” with “just take a year off,” I once again find myself rostering Young (on another struggling RazzJam team) and Collins and living in a world of hurt. Blinded by the value of threes, points, assists, and elite free throws, I was snagging Trae at the end of the first round with an amnesia patient’s enthusiasm. Collins I was more disciplined about, passing on him in the middle rounds most of the time, but I still bought in during a 30-team dynasty start-up where I now have the privilege of rostering him for at least three years.

The season is still young, no doubt, but it’s not baby-fresh anymore. After 13 games, Collins is treading water as the 52nd-best player in 9-cat while Trae and his grotesque shooting percentage are languishing at 67th. 

Yes, my people, these Hawks got another one over on me, at least for now. But will it last? 

Please, blog, may I have some more?