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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Hello Razzball Nation! Back again here to break down some NBA DFS. Got a nice sized slate here with nine games. #1 piece of advice as always is to be up to date on injuries, as the info in this article will only be up to date as of Tuesday night. There is once again not a lot of great value on this slate with the current injury news, so we’ll need to wait for more info to get to multiple spend ups.

Let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/DraftKings). I mostly play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.

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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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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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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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I’ve always been fascinated with how humans can control other objects. The Shaolin monks are able to access the energy of the universe and light things on fire from a distance. Think Ryu’s Hadoken from Street Fighter. Random people can spin a 10-pound ball down a lane and knock down pins. Others can use a stick and make a ball spin like planets in an orbit around a table. For hoops, the ultimate joy is making the net dance after launching the ball into the air with the perfect amount of backspin. I always appreciated the chain-linked nets. There was nothing better than that sound. In the NBA, there’s no need to ghettofy things as they can supply the finest nylon for their nets. On Sunday, Julius Randle was the conductor of a nylon ballet, putting on a show for the Detroit crowd.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazer, Blazers win 136-119

Top Performers

Luka Doncic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
15 6 10 7/19 0/5 1/6 1 1
Damian Lillard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
36 5 10 11/20 4/11 10/10 0 0
Biggest Takeaways

The Portland Trailblazers snap their five-game skid with a win over the Dallas Mavericks by holding Luka Doncic to a season-low 15 points. That and Damian Lillard dropping 36 points is the story of the game. Hate to make it sound so simple, but you have to realize that Doncic has been terrorizing the league all season long the last time he scored under 20 was in the opening game against the Orlando Magic where he scored 16 points, but he only played 16 minutes. So, for the Blazers in the bottom ten in defensive rating, to hold him to his lowest-scoring total of the season is major.
Offensively though, the Blazers also reached their second-highest point total of the season with 136. This is due to seven players finishing in double figures including the trifecta of Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Jusuf Nurkic combining for 80 points.
On the other hand, the Mavericks relied on Reggie Bullock, who was an absolute madman from three with all 24 of his points coming from hitting 8-of-10 from three. Spencer Dinwiddie led the team with 25 points and hit four three-pointers of his own, but the three-point barrage from these two just wasn’t enough.

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It was a “double win” kind of night for sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu on Wednesday, as he sent the Atlanta Hawks home crying in dramatic fashion, while simultaneously earning more playing time in the immediate future. A teammate never likes to see a fellow soldier go down, but Alex Caruso is now in concussion protocol, opening the door to a possible resurgence for Dosunmu who had recently faded into fantasy basketball anonymity. Let’s dig a little deeper into this game, as well as the rest of Wednesday’s fast-paced action in the NBA.

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In this life, do-overs are rare. The opportunity to go back and change the mistakes of the past is reserved for science fiction plots or melancholy discussions over a pint in dimly-lit watering holes. But over this last week, I was presented with an opportunity to do just that – to go back with the knowledge of hindsight and fix where I failed, to atone, to set things right. I had screwed up once and now I was gifted a second chance. Please, I told myself, don’t blow it again. 

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Devin Booker with the 50-ball! 58 points on 35 shots with 15 free throw attempts and six made threes. In short, Booker was letting that thing fly last night. The next closest player on the team in terms of shot attempts was Mikal Bridges with 13. Speaking of Mikal Bridges, he and Chris Paul combined for 33 points on the night. Notable players that missed this game were Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) and Cameron Payne) right foot strain.

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