LeBron James has missed 12 games due to injury. Entering last night’s game, the Lakers had four wins and seven losses without their king. After an overtime ordeal in Oklahoma City, the Lakers made it five wins and seven losses, thanks in part to the play of Kyle Kuzma.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 8 4 3 0 4 7/12 11/20 3/3

The seven threeecolas tied a career-high. Without LeBron on the floor, Kuzma has been the offensive leader, sporting a usage rate above 30. He’s averaged 34.2 minutes, 21 points, 7 boards, and 2.9 dimes. He’s jacked up 18.4 shots per game, with 7.2 being from downtown. Now, the efficiency hasn’t been good (41% from the field and 24% from downtown) and he provides little in the D cats. As a result, he’s not the best fantasy asset, which sucks because this is a fantasy website. Just let me enjoy a Lakers victory on the road in OKC with Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz leading the way.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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It’s a contentious time in our nation’s capital. Bryce Harper may be departing, the name White House is being taken a little too literally, and questions abound regarding the viability of the Wall. That is why I propose that we, as a fantasy nation, Kneel4Beal 2020. Good things come from kneeling: marriage proposals, getting knighted, […]

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We are all attracted to different things. Some like the boobs, while others prefer the butt. Some like the wit, while others like to laugh. Whatever you’re into, what you consider fine and what blows your mind is totally subjective. Nikola Jokic had his detractors when he came into the league. He was too pudgy. Not athletic enough. Doesn’t play D. He didn’t look like a ball player. That was one perspective. But he shoots and passes. Man, can he pass.

He did that during last night’s game against the Clippers, but that’s not all he did.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
18 14 10 0 2 1 0/5 8/19 2/3

Ho hum. Just Nikola messing around in back-to-back games and fifth time this season. I count another nine games in which he just missed as well. Such a Jokic! Anyways, he’s the #12 player on the season, but over the past eight games, he’s been #6. Jokic has averaged 33.8 minutes, 24.9 points, 1.3 threeecolas, 11.8 boards, 8.6 dimes, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks. 55% shooting from the field and 83% from the line on 3.8 attempts puts the cherry on top. Nikola may not have the body of supreme baller, but the way he plays the game and the skill set he possesses makes me googly-eyed, while the plays he makes blow my mind.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Have you ever read those stories of mothers that morph into the Hulk to lift a car so that their babies can be freed? Wild stuff. While that is an extreme example, it does show that motivation is a powerful tool that can propel us to do some insane things. And one of the greatest motivators comes from rejection. The hometown school doesn’t recruit a player? I know it’s narrative street, but said player often balls out against that school. A girl or guy breaks up with you? After the mourning period, you eventually rise from the ashes and try to be so nice that they become jealous. Well, last night, DeMar DeRozan provided another example.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 14 11 2 0 3 0 7/15 7/7

His first career trip-dub, as the Spurs blew out the Raptors 125-107. Don’t tell me he wasn’t extra motivated. Shh. Zip it. I can’t hear you. Anyways, he doesn’t play the Raptors every game, so what can we expect? Top 30-40 player sounds about right. He averages 35 minutes, around 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 0.5 blocks. 47% from the field and 84% free throw shooting on 6 attempts are nice. Turnovers are low at 2.4 and the usage rate is in the 27 range. The only thing that’s missing are the threeecolas. It’s not the debauchery we witnessed last night, but it’s not bad at all.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you remember Young Joc, you lived through the downfall of hip-hop. OK, no one can really pinpoint when Rap music really started to go downhill, but there was a time when Young Joc captivated the minds and ears of 13-year-old children everywhere. Similarly, last night Jamal Murray captivated the minds of NBA fans by going 9-46-6-8-0-1-5 on 16-of-24 shooting and 5-of-6 FTs. It’s been a bit of a down year for Jamal, but he had 31 on Friday and 77 points in two games is going to help your team a lot, especially with 13 three-pointers. He’s been kind of a disappointment on the year, but could end up having a solid season.

Here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

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Does it sometimes seem like what AD does on the basketball court is kind of unfair? He simultaneously makes everything look way too easy, while also looking like he hasn’t reached his potential. Those eyebrows only add to his mystique as some otherworldly basketball entity. I’m not saying he’s secretly a real life Monstar, but if that was revealed to be true, I would only be like 90% shocked. He’s the clear cut #1 option in fantasy basketball this year and it’s not even close. If you drafted him #1 this year, enjoy your chip.

Anthony Davis

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
20/32 8/11 0/2 48 17 4 1 2 1

AD has been on a crazy tear this season, and especially so in December. This game is just additional icing on the cake and shows his insane ability to produce in every cat. The only nitpick is the lack of 3’s, but hitting a go-ahead basket, in addition to nearly 50 points more than makes up for that.

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Oh Washington. Like the great Linkin Park song, you tried so hard and got so far (not that far), but in the end it doesn’t even matter.  The John Wall/Bradley Beal combo looks so good on paper, but they never really got the complementary pieces to make it work. Ownership tried to cobble together something resembling a good team, but they could only get second rate players, afterthoughts, and Dwight Howard. I feel for teams like them. You know they’re not going to win a championship, but they’re still pretty good. The timing was all wrong. A bunch of players who were great at certain times in their lives, just couldn’t all be great at once. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, John Wall was out for the Wizards and Bradley Beal went 4-40-11-15-0-1-8 on 17-of-33 shooting and 2-of-2 FTs in a mind-boggling 54 minutes of triple-overtime glory. He could be headed to the Lakers or elsewhere, and no one on Washington is really safe from being traded, so for now, Wizards fans are just going to have to enjoy what they have. Pretty much what they’ve been doing for their team’s entire existence… Hopefully, you had some players on the Suns or the Wizards.

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Last. A truly underrated word that gets a bad rap. We often associate the word with the sad events of life: that last kiss, last breath, last meal, last dollar, last call, last game, last day….sniff, sniff. I’m sad. But fret not, because one word can represent emotions at opposite ends of the spectrum. What do you think of when you read last man standing? Or last team left? Last = winner in that context. How about when the last shot goes in for the last score to leave the last team victorious? That’s exactly what Larry Nance Jr. did last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 16 6 3 1 2 1/3 7/14 0

Got the start, played 33 minutes, and tipped in the last shot to bring victory to Cleveland. Duh!! Play the man, especially at center, where he beasts. You did pay the man with a four-year, $45 million contract after all. Not talking to you, my much appreciated reader. Cleveland! Do you hear me??!!! I know you like Ante Zizic, but c’mon man! Over the past eight games, Nance has averaged 29.6 minutes, 11.3 points, 0.8 threeecolas, 8.8 boards, 4.5 dimes, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks. He’s shot 58% from the field and 75% from the free throw line. He’s been a top 20 player! Wake up Cleveland! Or you will literally be the last team, but maybe that’s what they want in order to draft LeBron 2.0.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Remember when Emmanuel Mudiay was the #7 overall pick by Denver? He never seemed to live up to his potential or draft position. He ended up in NY and, for fantasy teams, was a complete afterthought. Well, looks like we were wrong because he has been playing great lately. I am skeptical about Mudiay’s overall production and his ability to continue, but for now, enjoy the ride because he’s playing like a totally new player. He’ll probably fall victim to the notorious Knicks rotation, but you have to like the production recently and, if you could use points, assists, and surprisingly solid percentages, you could do worse. He’s a definite sell high if you can find someone who is buying in. Just point to this game and see what a GM might give you in exchange.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
14/21 5/6 1/4 34 3 8 1 0 3

Wow! Mudiay had been hovering close to the top 100 over the last month, on the strength of nice scoring, assists, and FT%, but this was his coming out game. The 34 points were a career-high. More importantly, he showed confidence and swagger and seemed to know he was the man. He nearly hit the game winner, which we all thought was going in. He could be a contender for Most Improved Player if he keeps it rolling.

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Mondays can be rough for many. Some may be recovering from too many adult beverages, while others may still have the bass bumping in their heads from the clubbing. There are those that went out of town and….are still mentally there. Whatever the case may be, for those that don’t work on the weekends, Mondays are a recuperation and recovery day. Which is apparently what happened in the NBA, as players were scratched left and right, and many others got injured during the game. I’m not saying that the nightlife was the culprit, but I just wrote it so….All jokes aside, yesterday was one of the craziest slates I’ve seen in a while. Below is a list of the inactives:

Pre-game:

John Wall (heel)
Ish Smith (groin)
Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Gordon Hayward (illness)
Al Horford (knee)
Aron Baynes (ankle)
Blake Griffin (rest)
Reggie Bullock (ankle)
Hassan Whiteside (personal)
Evan Fournier (personal)
Stanley Johnson (knee)
E’Twaun Moore (rest)
Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
During the game:

Jimmy Butler (groin)
Henry Ellenson (ankle)
Glenn Robinson III (ankle)
Otto Porter Jr. (knee)
Nikola Mirotic (ankle)
Tristan Thompson (foot)
Lou Williams (hamstring)
Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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