The Brooklyn Nets are back for another Friday night, so it’s only fitting that the fantasy star of the night is from the Nets. James Harden ended with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in the narrow, 115-113 win over the Magic. We got a glimpse of the Nets with just one superstar on Friday as Kevin Durant was out with injury. Whenever one of these superstars plays alone, they will have immense upside and control the offense entirely. Harden continues to have more upside when both are on the court together because of his high assist numbers.

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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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The ridiculous and predictably bad “condensed” NBA schedule has finally reared its ugly head. The injuries are rolling in faster than me when they say there’s free cake in the break room, and fantasy teams everywhere are hurting. Hopefully you have multiple IL spots. I have two in the league I run usually, but we upped it to three midseason.

If your commissioner didn’t have such foresight, RIP. But there’s good news: You don’t have to hurt anymore.

When players go out, that means other players step up to fill the void. So who should we be grabbing for the week? Who is going to win us our fantasy playoff matches?

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The fantasy hoops world is one of diversity, danger, and drip. Some parts of the world are in constant drought with bricks raining down from the heavens. In others, there are only waterfalls that splash to the rhythm of a metronome. Tucked on the highest peak in the most remote part of the world lies a pantheon of extraordinary magnitude: The Nikola Pantheon. Nikola Jokic has been sitting on its iron throne for much of the season, as he has been the numero uno player in fantasy hoops. Nikola Vucevic has been valiantly trying to unseat Jokic. While he’s been a tier below Jokic for much of the season, there have been moments when the guardians of the Nikola Pantheon have discussed making it a timeshare. Last night, Vucevic went for 32 points, 17 boards, five dimes, and one block while shooting 14-for-29 from the field and 4-of-7 from downtown. Jokic went for 27 points, eight boards, 11 dimes, one steal, and one block in only 27 minutes. What a Jokic! Vucevic is the number 11 player for fantasy and has been narrowing the gap somewhat, but the divide is still a massive one. The iron throne on the Nikola Pantheon is no joke as it will be inhabited by Jokic for the foreseeable future.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Jeremy Lamb went back to the bench, but it didn’t affect his game at all. Lamb still played the most minutes he has in the month of February and was ridiculously efficient, making six of his seven field-goal attempts, all three of his triples, and both of his freebies for 17 points. For the season, he’s shooting 51 percent from the floor, 52 percent from downtown, and 97 percent at the line. This level of accuracy is unsustainable so see if you can get anyone to bite while he’s on fire.

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This was definitely a weird Friday Night spree of games for the NBA, maybe the weirdest of the entire season. All-Stars like Jaylen Brown and Paul George missed their games due to injury. All-Stars who did play like Domantas Sabonis, Bradley Beal, and Russell Westbrook could not seem to hit a shot to save their lives. And maybe the oddest of all, Kevin Durant was put in the game, taken out, put back in then yanked out the Toronto game after only playing 18 minutes. Basically, this was a Friday filled with games where a good handful of superstars either did not play or did not play particularly well.

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The number 3 is considered a mystical and magical one by many because the Universe is predicated on it. There’s the Holy Trinity. Three little bears. Larry, Moe, and Curly. Past, present, and future. Birth, life, and death. Beginning, middle, and end. Menage a trois. Yummy. Outside of a circle, the minimum number of sides you need to create a pattern is three. Only a third person can break a tie to decide where to go eat. Last night, Fred VanVleet, who has three capital letters in his name and wears the number twenty-three, went H. A. M.

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