What’s up Razzballers?!? I’m back and will be handling the daily recaps from Tuesday night this season. We had a total of 9 games so let’s get to it!

Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James – Whenever the Rockets are in town, you know that fantasy stat lines are going to be great for both teams, with the increased pace of play. The Cavaliers were the beneficiaries of the Rockets’ matchup and all the main guys delivered. Kevin Love posted 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block; Irving scored 32 points with 4 threes; and James nearly messed around and got another triple double, finishing with 19/13/8. They played almost as well as their costumes from James’ yearly Halloween party. Don’t forget the shoutouts to the Warriors!

J.R. Smith – Smith knocked down 5-11 from downtown to finish with 15/3/2. Iman Shumpert (8 points, 2 steals, and 2 threes) seems to after suffering a concussion from opening night, but the steals just aren’t enough to help fantasy owners, except for the deepest of leagues.

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Lady and Gentlemen, finally, we have reached the final half of the final week of the fantasy finals.  Yes, I had too much fun writing that sentence… Moving on!  Since there are only 3 days left for pickups this week, I’m going to focus primarily on players that are going on Saturday the 2nd.  This is going to be the critical day, since Friday and Sunday both have full slates.  One player stands out above the rest, and if he isn’t already owned in your leagues, then I’ll be very disappointed…

*Drum Roll*

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Well, kids…we have officially entered the NBA silly season.

Coaches for teams locked into the post-season are only too happy to rest their starters, as evidenced Tuesday by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka all receiving healthy DNPs.

Coaches for teams destined for the lottery are exercising extreme caution with future core players, as seen last night with the Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson & Thaddeus Young getting a precautionary rest day, and franchise center Brook Lopez sitting for the entire second half of a blowout loss.

Even teams not in action on Tuesday were making headlines by shutting down players or announcing their plans to rest star players periodically as the 2015-2016 season draws to a close. DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday have all been added to the “shutdown watch” list. (And in Jrue’s case, you can officially stick a fork in him. He’s done.)

Additionally, DeMarre Carroll suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery and won’t be of use to fantasy players until next year, Nikola Vucevic can’t get cleared to return from what was believed to be a mild groin strain, and the starting Philly frontcourt of Nerlens Noel & Jerami Grant is going to be treated with kids’ gloves due to knee injuries.

It’s bad, folks. It’s real, real bad.

Thankfully for fans of the NBA and fantasy owners grinding through the final days of their season, a select few professional basketball players did, in fact, decide to earn their pay checks last night. Let’s take a look at who shined brightest, who fell short of expectations, and who else made waves on a six-game Tuesday slate.

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Welcome to the semis! Hopefully your week 1 matchup of the playoffs didn’t go as badly as most of mine… And with a mix of my awful bracket in the Razzball Bracket Challenge, who’s ready for baseball season?! Haha, I keed, I’m still alive in a few leagues and still have my-Heels-as-champ pick alive and well.

And just like the Hoosiers – one of virtually all the teams in the Sweet Sixteen I got wrong – Victor Oladipo went ham over the weekend, including living up the RainbOladipo nickname for 45/5/3/3/2 against the Cavs Friday night. Shot an unreal 16-22 FG including banging 6 treys. With a game like that, I would’ve expected the Magic to BEAT the Cavs! But then again, they’re coached by Scott Skiles… SKIIIIIIIILES! Oladipo kept it up last night for 21/6/3/0/2, giving him 7 straight games with blocks and multi-blocks in the last 4. Better shot blocker than Serge right now! In per-game, Oladipo is still only ranked 45th (42nd in total) according to BBMonster, so he’s still finishing right at my pre-season rank. If only this team was coached by someone else, I would be going Eric Bledsoe-nuts for this guy in my 16-17 ranks. Scott Skiles – ruining basketball one player at a time… Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy hoops action, plus The 7 Ahead for week 20 and the semi-finals of standard league H2H playoffs:

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You’d think a team decimated by injuries would throw in the towel. Not the case with the Bulls. Already missing Jimmy Butler (left knee strain), Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis), and Joakim Noah (shoulder surgery), Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch due to right hamstring tendinitis. The Bulls won anyways, their third straight victory.

Playing alongside a makeshift lineup, Pau Gasol played through the flu, just missing a triple-double with 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. While it wasn’t Michael Jordan’s flu game, it was a still a pretty strong line.

Even with the Bulls’ starters ailing, there is value to be had on the roster. Under-owned guys like Taj Gibson (17/7/7), E’Twaun Moore (17 points and 3 rebounds), and Doug McDermott (14/5/2), can and should be relied upon down the stretch for both the Bulls and your fantasy teams. McBuckets also had the dunk of the night.

They won’t win you a championship on their own, but don’t overlook lesser named (and owned) guys during your playoff push.

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Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki. He passed Shaquille O’Neal for number 6 on the all-time NBA scoring list.

While Kobe Bryant gains the headlines in his last season, Dirk and Tim Duncan have quietly shown how to adapt their game for the team’s sake, taking less money and adding more wins to their already impressive résumés.

At 37, Dirk isn’t the same fantasy monster that he used to be, but is still valuable. He’s scored 20+ points in three straight games and so far has posted better overall numbers than last season. His game is much different than Kobe’s, with much less wear and tear on his body, allowing him to remain relatively healthy later in his career. Personally, I don’t see any reason why Dirk has to tie the sneakers up anytime soon.

In addition to passing Shaqtus, Dirk hit the game winner in the Mavericks’ overtime win over the Nets. He finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Not bad for a 37-year-old.

Overtime basketball is free basketball and it usually means great stat lines for everyone involved:

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After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.

Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.

As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.

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Hard to believe Steve Carell, half of The Ambiguosuly Gay Duo, is now an Oscar nominated actor in Foxcatcher.  That kind of ascension is bigger than a promotion from the D-League and turning into a fantasy superstar like the Hassanity!  I would say it’s about as miraculous as Brad Stevens finally getting some sense slapped into him…

We figured it would happen at some point, but the Marcus Smart reign as the Celtics starting PG appears to have begun.  Smart actually led the C’s in minutes with 37 in a 13/4/3/2/0 line.  It’s nothing too flashy, but with the role finally bequeathed unto Smart we can finally stop calling Stevens a queef.  Well, maybe not, because the Celtics coaching staff continues to mismanage Smart’s role, relegating him into a 3-point camping PG.  It’d be like trying to turn Robin Lopez into a good player!  Doesn’t make any good basketball logic…  Smart shot 3-9 last night, with 2-7 being treys.  A fantastic slasher at OK State, Stevens continually hammers this square peg into a round hole.  They had the same problem when they tried to make the R-rated version of the Lego movie!  Everything was not awesome…  If Smart is still available in your 12er, now is the time to go ahead and hop on board.  The FG% might not be awesome either, but I think he’ll fall into enough dimes and swipe enough to be usable.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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This NBA DFS season has been kind of a roller coaster ride.  The ownership of players is higher than normal.  Seems like everyone is on the same value players night after night.  If your high priced players you spend on don’t tank and reach value then you’re going to do well.  So be smart and don’t take too many risky players.  Also with the NFL, NHL and College Football going on too, be smart with your bankroll.

On Saturday we have a 7 game slate:

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It feels like each time I have to submit the weekly injury report, someone big gets a last minute injury. The first week it was Victor Oladipo and his facial fracture. Last week, it was Russell Westbrook. Let’s hope that this week no one gets hurt after I hit submit.

Speaking of Russell Westbrook, he will be out 4+ weeks after surgery to repair his broken right hand. This is a huge blow to the Thunder who are already hurting with injuries. They are so desperate for a living, breathing player that they signed Ish Smith as part of their hardship exception. He is definitely not the Ish and should not be anywhere close to fantasy rosters.

Fortunately for the Thunder, and fantasy owners, Reggie Jackson is back from his ankle injury. He already has 36 points and 19 assists in just two games back. Jackson should continue to be a fantasy beast, but expect his field goal percentage to dip with the added pressure as the lead scorer.

Since Jackson is definitely already owned, Perry Jones is the next best Thunder option to pick up. Averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds, Jones should continue to see playing time, while knocking down threes. He’s day-to-day with a bruised knee, but shouldn’t be out for long.

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