This was the Gary Trent Jr. game! He willed the Raptors to a much-needed victory over the Cavs in Cleveland. Of course, we have to start off with Trent Jr. Last night, the man shot 17-19 (89.5%!) from the field and did not miss a single two-pointer on his way to 44 points! He also grabbed seven boards while dishing out four assists. Rookie Malachi Flynn also had a very good game scoring 20 points, handing out 11 assists, and stealing the ball twice. Chris Boucher had another excellent defensive night swatting four shots while getting one steal with his teammate OG Anunoby scored 15 points with five rebounds and three assists. 

On the other side, the Cavs got 29 points from Collin Sexton, who shot 50% from the field and also handed out five dimes. Kevin Love put another 20 minutes of action under his belt scoring 18 points, grabbing in three boards, and stealing the ball once. Before exiting the game due to injury, Darius Garland put up 19 points and had eight dimes on 41.2% shooting from the field.

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Steve Urkel and CJ McCollum have so much in common. Just look at them. Both are underappreciated and often get brushed aside. In Urkel’s case, he’s got an annoying, nasally voice, the style is juvenile, and he’s just a straight-up nerd. McCollum plays alongside Damian Lillard, who spits hot fire off the court and goes NBA Jam He’s Heating Up on it. But man, both are ballers on the hardwood. Here’s Urkel:

McCollum had his own heroics last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 7 5 2 3 1 1/7 9/18 4/4

Yes, he did that. He rarely is a maven on defense but he got busy last night. In his career, that was the eighth time in his career that he’s notched at least two steals and two blocks in the same game. Since returning from injury, McCollum has played eight games, scored at least 20 points in four with two of those over 30, and garnered a usage rate over 30 in four of those contests. Last night, the usage rate was 22. With Norman Powell now in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the pie is spliced between Lillard, McCollum, and Powell. Regardless, McCollum gonna get his and could finish as a top 40 player in fantasy.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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The scorching hot Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to eight in Los Angeles against the defending champs. MVP candidate LeBron James did go down with an ankle injury in the second half and did not return.

John Collins had the standout performance for the Hawks, racking up an impressive 16 rebounds with 27 points on 11-15 shooting. Trae Young contributed with a double-double of 14 points and 11 assists but was 0-7 from beyond the arc. Clint Capela continued his excellent season hauling in 16 rebounds, blocking one shot, and scoring eight points. The Italian Rooster, Danilo Gallinari, also continued his good run of form with 18 points and four rebounds as well as three assists and two steals. 

For the Lakers, before getting unfortunately injured after his ankle got caught between the court and Solomon Hill, LeBron scored 10 points and dished out four dimes in only 10 minutes of play. Dennis Schroder picked up the slack with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while Kyle Kuzma hauled in five boards, stole the ball once and had eight points. But the stat line of the night came from Montrezl Harrell who scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had one block as well. 

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This week’s Friday Night games hit differently. With the recent announcement of both the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star reserves, the talk of the town has zeroed in on the topic of All-Star snubs.

Some guys like Devin Booker and Domantas Sabonis recently went from being snubbed to just squeaking in as alternates for the injured Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant. But not every All-Star snub was so lucky. Guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, and even Jimmy Butler are just some of the notable names on the outside looking in who just missed the cut. With that, it feels safe to say that there are a good handful of former All-Stars and potential All-Stars that may feel a bit overlooked.

So, what better way to draw national focus and attention to yourself than to play under on the big Friday Night stage. This Friday we had some standout performances by a number of guys who put up some pretty spiteful stat lines with the intention of showing voters what a big mistake they may have made by passing on them. With that, here are the top performers from Friday Nights’ big games under the bright lights!

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Yep, I’m going to subject you all to my friends and family league yet again. We’re at the midway point of our regular season after today, so I wanted to go back and see where my predictions from the preseason were right and wrong, and which fantasy players are performing better or worse than their average draft position (ADP).

What I hope you can take from this is how to better formulate your strategy in your own leagues, and what seems to work best for people in a relatively average league. Our league is listed as a “silver” league on Yahoo!, which isn’t really scientific but indicates our team levels combined are slightly below the average of “gold.” We have two platinum, one gold, four silver, and five bronze managers. It’s a top-heavy league, which is the case in most scenarios as the people who run the league seem to be far more invested.

Anyways, the below records and rankings are based on if the scores stay the same as they are at the writing of this article. Those are subject to change, but not by much.

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….More solid than reinforced concrete. Plays lots of tricks and provides plenty of treats. Is not indiscreet when he provides the latent heat. Fills up most of the stat sheet. Is not from the main street. Yet remained upbeat. Put in the time until he became elite. This did not happen in a heartbeat. No conceit. Just a regular athlete who kept all the receipts to make the haters obsolete. Last night, turned the Bucks into mincemeat. 

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There’s an argument to made for LaVine or Giannis being the lede tonight (spoiler alert: 40 burgers ahead), but I’m going a different direction in my first ever recap. Karl-Anthony Towns returned to an NBA court last night against the Clippers following his bout with Covid. It’s just the fifth game he’s played this season, and while the line is hardly a stunner by KAT standards, it’s just really good to see this dude back on the floor. The impact that the pandemic has had on his family is well documented, so on a human level, it’s wonderful news that he’s back on his feet. Fantasy players will be rejoicing too, as replacing the sheer volume of goodies KAT provides has been a tall order.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 3PT FG FT
18 10 3 1 0 3 2 8/15 0/0

He played 31 minutes tonight, which should quiet some concerns about conditioning. Whatever. He’s here. Welcome back, KAT!

Here’s what else I saw from last night’s action…

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Baby got, back again for another installment of under-whelming players from the Association who have, by definition, underperformed. As usual, our criteria is a player who is not only delivering subpar results but also has a reasonable path to improved play. Depending on your team construction, these players should be pursued at a discount with the hope being that when the player rights the ship and performs closer to expectations, you will reap the benefits.

We’re staying in the Western Conference for another week with one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.

Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West. A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness.

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The Nets were mired in a two-game losing streak, dropping games to the Hawks and Wizards no less. Then he heard the news that Kevin Durant would miss the next four games due to COVID protocols. Frustrated, Nash stood up from the couch, heel kicked the soccer ball conveniently laying on the floor, then began heading it against the wall. At first, it was a slow rhythmic pace….thump…..thump…..thump

Then thump..thump..thump..thump..thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. The woodpeckers in the neighborhood all flocked to the noise and gawked in amazement at the display of pecking dexterity. Then he heard it. “Honey, rewind that. And turn up the volume.”

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