The Brooklyn Nets took home the 121-119 victory in this Sunday matinee against the rebuilding, but still pesky San Antonio Spurs. In classic 2021-22 Nets fashion, they gave up a 14-point lead and allowed the Spurs to tie the game late in the fourth quarter and push the game into overtime, where Nets’ rookie Cam Thomas stole the show. Both teams struggled to score in the waning minutes of regulation and overtime, most notably Kevin Durant. As a result, when Durant was doubled on the Nets’ final possession at the elbow, with about six seconds left in the game, he rose up and fired a pass to Cam Thomas sliding up from the corner. Thomas pump-faked, took two hard dribbles and rose up for a one-legged runner fading to his left at the free-throw line. Nothing but net. Thomas’ made floater in overtime turned out to be the game-winner as Lonnie Walker was blocked on the Spurs ensuing inbound play. Even if he hadn’t been blocked, however, the shot wouldn’t have counted. Walker released the shot after the buzzer, as the Spurs had just one-point-four seconds to shoot. The narrow escape victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Nets.

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Look, if you thought I was above such a simple and obvious pun, you were wrong. But it’s okay because I actually like curry (the food) and believe there is no such thing as bad tasting curry unless you actually try. Now on the other hand, perhaps the same cannot be said of one Steph Curry who went on to have a pretty spectacular night… spectacularly bad that is which, you know, is technically a form of spectacular, so there’s that. But for a talent like Steph, it does make you raise an eyebrow (especially if you’re Spock) when you see a stat line that involves 3/17 shooting and just 1/10 from beyond the arch. Despite the Warriors win over the Heat, there is some concern with Curry’s shot lately and after last night’s attempt at becoming a certified mason (the brick-layer, not Washington’s religion!), it’s hard not to at least consider the idea that something may be just a bit off. And then you also might have to consider the idea of is he just playing terrible or shooting terrible. While the former would be a bit more obvious, I’m still willing to think it’s the latter as while wonky, he was still at +0 after missing 17 shots, which I’m still trying to figure out how you do. At the very least, with a line like 9/3/10 on the night, we can see he makes a fine Draymond Green impersonator. Which is probably not what you want from a potential MVP, but I’m sure Green doesn’t mind. Here’s what else I saw last night…

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DeMar DeRozan does it again as he hits yet another game-winner to steal the victory for the Chicago Bulls over the Washington Wizards, 120-119. With this game winner, DeRozan became the first player in NBA history to make back-to-back game winners in back-to-back days.

This was a game that the Wizards led for 90% of the time, but Chicago clawed to within two points on multiple occasions in the final minutes of the game.

Zach LaVine finished with a game-high 35 points and knocked down 7-of-12 threes. Nikola Vucevic had a solid night with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Then there’s Coby White who stepped up big time in the absence of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso as he finished with 20 points of his own with four big threes.

This win makes seven straight wins for Chicago and propels them to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 24-10.

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Looking at the score I thought to myself oh, what a low scoring affair. Julius Randle probably scored around 20, maybe even under. I know he’s been struggling as of late. Is RJ Barrett playing tonight? If so, most likely a disappointing night. Let’s just open up the box score to check. Meanwhile Alec Burks just played the best game of the season, putting up 34 points on just 17 shots. As for the young stars of New York, 15 for RJ and five for Julius Randle. He only played 26 minutes but to only put up five points is unacceptable for a supposed star player. As for the Detroit Pistons, Saddiq Bey continues to prove why he deserves a spot on your, no doubt fluctuating roster. 

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After defeating the Orlando Magic 93-83 Sunday afternoon, the Miami Heat are now 11-5 without their starting center, Bam Adebayo. Many of those victories also came without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Assuming Butler can stay healthy going forward and Kyle Lowry can make a swift return from the NBA’s health and safety protocol, the Heat can begin their quest to move up the Eastern Conference standings.  They’re no doubt eying the Chicago Bulls who currently are second in the conference with a 19-10 record, due to some postponed games. However, even if the Heat is unable to move up from their current position in fourth place in the conference, their focus will be on health and continuity heading into the playoffs. They’ve gotten needed contributions from fringe players on the roster like Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, Max Strus, and Omer Yurtseven. The in-game reps these players have received over the past few weeks should only help them later in the season.

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I’ve called players like Royce O’Neal and Marcus Smart some of the league’s best defenders, but one player may have them all beat. This monster has on a nightly basis shut down some of the league’s best offensive weapons. His name is COVID-19, and over 25% of the league has been stripped by him at some point this season. So as we watch the league’s backup squads and aging vets inflate their stats, let’s dissect who is actually worth picking up.

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The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 114-116 on Sunday night, making them 3-3 since LeBron James has been sidelined due to an abdominal injury. None of the victories have been particularly impressive, but they’re doing what they need to do—staying afloat until they get healthy. After a lackluster performance that led to a 24-point loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves in their previous contest, Anthony Davis set the tone early for the purple and gold in this game. Davis had 19 points (8-10 FG) in the first quarter and finished the game with 32 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block. It was the kind of dominating performance the Lakers will need in James’ absence as well as when he returns if the Lakers have any hope of achieving their championship goals. This game also saw Talen Horton-Tucker return from injury, pushing Kent Bazemore all the way out of the starting lineup and into a DNP (Coach’s Decision). Horton-Tucker had a solid game with 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. Carmelo Anthony continues to shoot the ball well at home and he received a surprise start in this game. He finished the contest with 15 points (5-7 FG, 2-3 3PT) and five rebounds. He’s still shooting a ridiculous 47.3% from three on the season and an even more ridiculous 56% from three at home. Finally, Russell Westbrook had a quiet, efficient night for the Lakers. I might contend that quiet and efficient should be the goal for most of Westbrook’s contest given his rocky start to the season, but that’s a conversation for another day. Westbrook finished the game with 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-5 3PT), 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and seven turnovers.

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HE’S BACK!!! Or is he…?? After having essentially zero impact thus far (he hadn’t played 20 minutes in any game and only scored in double figures once), Chris Boucher broke out with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes. He tossed in a trey, steal, and pair of swats to boot. His lack of playing time has been extremely concerning to fantasy managers. Coach Nick Nurse has played his starters heavy minutes all season, leaving little room for fantasy viability off the bench. And this may just be a blip given the absences of both Pascal Siakam and Khem Birch. I still can’t trust him at this point, and I wouldn’t be one of the 55 percent of Yahoo! managers still holding him if there was anything interesting on the wire.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for week four!  My focus is on giving you the best streaming suggestions as we approach winning time in H2H matchups.  Fantasy hoops matchups are won on the margins.  Unless you drafted flawlessly, you’re going to have to outmaneuver your opponent via waiver wire adds in competitive leagues.  Fortunately for you, I’m here to take on some of the research burden.  I trawl through the NBA schedule on a weekly basis and identify the teams and players who give you the best chance of success in various categories.  Let’s get into it!

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The bloom has been coming off the Kristaps Porzingis rose in recent seasons. Thursday’s opener didn’t do anything to dissuade the critics, as the oft-maligned big man tallied just 11 points on 13 field goal attempts, with just five rebounds, zero assists, and four turnovers. A steal and two blocks kept it from being a completely lost night, but he didn’t exactly look like an integrated part of the offense, often forcing bad shots out of rhythm. Managers investing in the artist formerly known as The Unicorn are hoping it was just a case of the game getting out of hand early.

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