If you’re reading this, congratulations. You’re probably in your fantasy basketball championship week. If you’re not, you have a sick addiction to NBA basketball and still care how your friends’ weeks are going, or you’re a a masochist and want to see how you could have done if you made the finals. It has been a crazy couple of weeks in the NBA, with injuries, teams resting key guys, and extreme tanking. I would move your league’s final week up at least one week if I was you, because your team at this point in the year probably doesn’t resemble what it was even three short weeks ago. I think if you’re wise you will draft guys on mid to upper tier teams next year, who actually will be playing for something down the stretch. One of these guys is Paul Millsap. The Nuggets are battling for a playoff spot and Millsap got all the run he could handle going 2-36-9-2-0-0-1 on 13-of-18 shooting and 8-of-11 FTs. He could be on a lot of winning squads with four games this week. With that said, there have been some key steamers and beneficiaries of rested players and late season injuries. Here is what went down on a key Friday night for Fantasy Basketball:

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Basketball is a funny game. The Atlanta Hawks were riding a six-game losing streak and heading to Utah to face off against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Dennis Schroder, the point guard for the Hawks, had failed to score 20 points in each of the six losses. Then, a funny thing happened. The D went missing. Did Dennis change his name to Ennis? No!

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 5 7 0 0 2 3/7 16/28 6/10

Forty burger! Against a team that was 8th in defensive efficiency against the point guard position. Against Ricky Rubio, who was 10th in defensive real plus minus. Schroder had a 42.7 usage rate last night! Going forward, though, I wouldn’t expect too many performances like last night. Taurean Prince, who had been the alpha in terms of usage, got Prince’D, so someone had to step up. In addition, while Schroder has had a couple of big games this season, they have been too few to count on. Expect scoring to be in the 18-20 point range with 5-7 assists, and 2-3 boards.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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What do you think of when you hear the phrase “messing around?” Perhaps a joke. Maybe it takes you back to high school. First base. Second base. Third base with Peggy Sue or Billy Bob. How about Ice Cube when he called up the homies and asked them which park are y’all playin’ basketball? Whatever it may be, “messing around” is not associated with being of the serious variety. For fun. For shits and giggles. For Russell Westbrook? “Messing around” ain’t no joke. It’s 100% pedal to the metal. It’s I’m going to dunk on your head and shoot in your eye. It’s I’m grabbing every rebound because the ball is mine. That reminds me of Shaq’s T.W.I.S.M. Any of you remember that? Ha! Anyways, for Russ, it’s I’m dishing every dime because I will not be denied of my stat orgy. Yesterday, Russ notched his 102nd career triple dub.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
37 13 14 2 0 5 1/1 15/22 6/8

That’s now five straight triple-dubs. For the season, he’s 0.3 rebounds shy of AVERAGING a triple-dub, which would make back-to-back seasons of accomplishing the feat. Damn, Russ ain’t no joke, espccially when it comes to “messing around.”

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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I remember this time back in college. A buddy of mine was visiting over Spring Break, and brought a guy that went to school with him. I had a bag of shrooms, a bag of trees, and Die Hard was playing on the tv. ‘Twas looking like a fantastic night. After we puff, puff, passed, and munch, munch, munched….my buddy’s buddy started saying that he wasn’t feeling anything and wanted some more. We advised him that he needed to chill out and let things percolate a bit, but he kept insisting. A few hours later, we found him curled up on a chair in the middle of a room, with a blanket over him, and swiveling himself round and round. My buddy’s buddy was bugging out big time, but that’s what he gets for being impatient. Which segues perfectly to Nemanja Bjelica.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 30 12 2 0 0 2 6/9 11/16 2/2

Prior to last night, Bjelica started four games for the injured Jimmy Butler. He averaged 10 points, 9 boards, 2.5 dimes, and 1.5 steals. Not bad, but not great. Here’s the thing, though. He was playing a ton of minutes. 45, 34, 34, and 33 to be exact. Last night, he played 40 minutes. It was just a matter of time. Remember earlier in the year when Butler was underperforming? Similar deal, in that it took time for things to gel. Anyways, will he be dropping 30/12 every night? Probably not, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. He has the ability and, most importantly, is going to continue getting a shit ton of minutes.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Devin Booker had yet another great scoring performance against the Thunder on Friday night. 6-39-6-8-0-1-5, shooting 16-of-28 from the field in 39 minutes. He also crossed the 4,000 point threshold, becoming the third-youngest player to do so, behind LeBron and KD. Pretty remarkable for a guy that doesn’t get that much attention on a terrible Suns team and this great performance still wasn’t enough to beat OKC last night…Anyway it was another big slate of games on Friday and crunch time is approaching for a lot of fantasy teams, so let’s jump in to the daily notes! Here’s what went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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Don’t take Anthony Davis in the top 5. He’ll miss at least 25 games. Avoid Old Man LeBron James, because he rests all the time. Tyreke Evans has only played 65 games in the last two years combined. Not even worth drafting.

A few of the prevailing opinions going into the season that I thought had gotten a bit overblown. The risk of missing games is scary, but it’s not often very predictable. And yes, I’m cherry picking examples, but AD has played 54 of the first 60 games and is #4 on the ESPN Player Rater (#3 per game). LeBron hasn’t sat one game yet, is among the league leaders in minutes per game again, and is #1 (#5 per game). Tyreke  has played 49 of 59 games, sitting five of those when the team was holding him out before the trade deadline. He’s #58 (#44 per game). And sure, that’s partly due to Mike Conley missing almost the whole season. Yes, there are examples of injury fears being once again substantiated, like in the case of Danilo Gallinari. It’s all guesswork. It’s part of the fun, predicting what a season will bring. But, figuring out the puzzle can drive you mad.

Today, I thought we’d have a little fun revisiting some preseason predictions. Maybe we can learn a bit about what types of projections are more trustworthy than others. Maybe not. I also don’t think this would be a great way to figure out who’s great at predicting things like sleepers and breakouts, because this is a small sample size. Continue to look at the methodology behind the predictions to see if it’s backed up by reason. I just figured that we rarely actually go back to see what was right and what was way off. If it teaches us something for next preseason, great.

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What’s up Razzball nation? We’re back with our first edition of Any Given Saturday since the All-Star break and last night was a nice, heavy slate to get us back into things. There weren’t a lot of marquee matchups, but Damian Lillard kept things interesting as he pushed his tired Blazers past the Suns. He went for 40/10/5/1 on 13-for-27 FG (3-for-11 3P, 11-for-15 FT), four TOs and a clean game-winning basket. Dame has been lighting it up recently and could be the type of guy to be the fantasy playoff MVP. Anyways, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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I love food. American. Korean. Chinese. Italian. French. Vietnamese. Brazilian. I show no discrimination towards race or culture. There’s a reason why I am now nine quarters, after being a svelt 165 pounds for most of my early adulthood. The only bias I have is towards mayonnaise. I’m dry heaving just looking at the words on the screen. Anyways, so it was with enjoyable delight that Beal Parmigiana and 40-burgers were on the menu last night. Mmm Mmmm good. Delicioso.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 41 12 7 2 0 5 6/11 15/26 5/7

Bradley Beal played 46 minutes and sliced and diced the Thunder D like a Benihana chef. Who cares that the Wizards lost 112-121? Outside of the thousands? millions? that root for the team. Oh, and the folk that layed or took the 5 points. All this talk of burgers and parmigianas is getting me hungry. Enjoy the Top 40 production from Beal while I dig into my pasta with tomato sauce. Slllllllluuuuuuurrrrp.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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“Who am i? My name is Ish

On my hand I have a dish.
I have this dish to help me wish.
When I wish to make a wish
I wave my hand with a big swish swish.
Then I say, “I wish for fish!”
And I get fish right on my dish.
So…
If you wish to make a wish,
you may swish for fish with my Ish wish dish.”

– The Good Doctor Seuss

I remember reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish when I was a little kid. The Good Doctor was indeed a genius. I had forgotten all about the book until I had kids of my own and decided to participate in the circle of life. Always puts a smile on my face when I read it to them. Anyways, Ish Smith first made us smile back in 2014 when he played for the 76ers and flashed potential. Unfortunately, he’d disappear, then flash. Disappear, then flash, until we pushed him to the side and forgot about him. Well, he’s baaaaaaaaack. With Reggie Jackson out 6-8 weeks with an ankle injury, Ish will be taking over the reigns at point guard for the Pistons. If last night was any indication, we may not have to wish for a dish. Rather, we may get lots of swish swish.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 18 7 5 1 1 1 0 9/18 0

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?