I figure y’all don’t need reminding that these aren’t your father’s Rockets. I don’t even think these are your brother’s Rockets either, especially if you don’t have a brother. That kinda eliminates you out of the metaphor. But the point stands, the Rockets are basically last year’s Rockets in that this is a team still in rebuild mode. But, as one of the dozen or so Padres fans from another ball sport (heehee balls), one can be accustomed to a bad team and still like the parts on it. In this, I guess “mechanic” type metaphor, parts are people and before I start getting too random, yes, the Rockets will be terrible, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some non-terrible things on it. I guess I could have just said that and saved 250 words of bad metaphors. Hmm.

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One team in this matchup projects to be a difficult and gritty playoff opponent and a sneaky conference finals contender; the other team in this matchup is the Brooklyn Nets. The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 126-120, behind a historic 54-point performance from Jayson Tatum. It was Tatum’s fourth 5o-point game, tying him with Larry Bird for the most 50-point games in Celtics history. Tatum finished the night with 54 points (16-30 FG, 8-15 3PT), five rebounds, three assists, and it was his hockey assist that led to a dagger Jaylen Brown three to stamp out all hope for the Nets. Jaylen Brown added 21 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Marcus Smart finished the game with 14 points, three rebounds, nine assists, and one steal. Al Horford finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. Robert Williams III tallied 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and five blocks.

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The Denver Nuggets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-104, behind a well-balanced scoring attack and more Nikola Jokic brilliance. Seven Nuggets’ players scored in double figures, led by the Joker, who finished the game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and one block. It was Jokic’s 14th triple-double of the season and the 71st of his career. Will Barton added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one block. Aaron Gordon tallied 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. Monte Morris chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds, and eight assists and Jeff Green finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Bryn Forbes (11) and Zeke Nnaji (10) also scored in double figures. Forbes (25), Nnaji (20), Bones Hyland (17), and DeMarcus Cousins (16) played the most minutes off the bench.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 16!  In this post, I look for widely available streaming options who can help you increase the odds of winning your head-to-head matchup.  Undoubtedly, there are several of you who are locked in battles for playoff seeds and/or bye weeks as most fantasy leagues reach their terminal phase.  I will do my best to find you players who meet your categorical needs!

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The Pacers beat the Thunder in overtime on Friday night behind the fantasy star of the night, Domantas Sabonis, who was questionable to play coming into Friday but suited up against his former team to get revenge. He finished with 24 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and two blocks. He found a way to get it done in almost every category. He is a top-30 player this year and should enjoy an increased role with Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner out for the foreseeable future. Justin Holiday added 22 points and five rebounds on 4-7 three-point shooting, but numbers like this are unable to be counted on in the long run. 

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The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 125-102, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Jazz were just 1-4 without Rudy Gobert in the lineup and Gobert and Donovan Mitchell seemed to trade subliminal jabs in press conferences and on social media. They appear to have righted the ship, for now. The Jazz are a bit of conundrum. They are an undeniably good team that has been labeled “a regular season team” for a few years, maybe even erroneously, except it didn’t matter because they did fall short of expectations in the playoffs. This year, there is once again general indifference towards the team outside of Utah and most interested parties are just wondering when Donovan Mitchell asks for a trade because he can’t get along with Gobert. The Jazz can’t get very far without Donovan Mitchell’s scoring, but they appear even more doom-struck without Gobert’s defense. What can be done? Would Jerami Grant help? Harrison Barnes? Whatever happens, I know fans outside of Utah will watch with crazy-eyed delight if the foundation once again crumbles beneath them in the playoffs.

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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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The Covid situation and more specifically the Omicron variant has forced most NBA teams to sign players on 10-day deals, in order to fulfil the minimum roster requirement and avoid postponement of games. Most of those players come from the G-League, some from European Championships but the one signing that caught my eye was the return of Joe Johnson to the Celtics at 40 years old. Exactly 20 years ago, the Celtics drafted Iso Joe with the 10th pick and that age gap is the largest one in NBA history. Of course, what would be more fitting than him making a basket in his return with his usual isolation play.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions the four Brooklyn players contributed in varying degrees and will still be relevant as the Nets are battling injuries, as is the case for the Bucks duo of Pat Connaughton and Grayson Allen who continue to contribute with both Giannis and Middleton sidelined. Larry Nance Jr. on the other hand seems like a good bet to retain value for the rest of the season as his good performances are not a result of absences. On the “Sell” front, Zion Williamson is nowhere near a return and Spencer Dinwiddie is getting worse by the day and was even held scoreless, so I remain fairly confident for both suggestions.

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The Bucks snapped the Rockets’ seven-game win streak last night behind the fantasy star of the night, Giannis Antetekounmpo. The Greek Freak finished with 41 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He stuffed the stat sheet on the way to a 123-114 win. Antetekounmpo is just inside the top-20 in category leagues, so owners will hope he can produce more stat lines like this one so he can justify his ADP. Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis each added 21 points and eight rebounds in last night’s win. Portis has been an excellent producer while starting for Brook Lopez who remains out with a back injury. Both Portis and Middleton have been top-60 players with Portis ranking in the top-50.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Eight! In competitive leagues, the difference between winning and losing often comes down to which player(s) you pick up. The goal of this post is to help you identify those players on your wire who can help win tight head-to-head matchups.  While I primarily focus on nine-category formats, there is applicability for points leagues and eight-category as well.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions both Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley gained significant playing time with Kemba Walker out of the rotation, as was the case with De’Anthony Melton and Tyus Jones sans Ja Morant. All four of them remain strong holds in my opinion and hopefully, you grabbed your chance to have them in your team. Garrison Mathews also had a productive week and is a must-play as long as Kevin Porter Jr is out. On the “Sell” front, Terry Rozier unfortunately was sidelined due to protocols, so the sell-high window was postponed for his return and Jalen Suggs remains injured and remains unworthy of a roster spot.

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