You know a team is peaking at the right time when its role players are shining. The Pacers are getting set for an epic playoff run led by their All-Star Victor Oladipo (3/27/3/5/3/0) and their breakout star Domantas Sabonis (0/30/8/3/3/0). Yes, the 30 points were a career high and, yes, both players were acquired via trade (for Paul George) in the off-season, but that is not even the most amazing thing about the Pacers’ season. The crazy thing is that the person who was supposed to be their can’t-miss stud has been an all-time dud.

Myles Turner has had an extremely disappointing season in both real-life and fantasy (funny how those are tied together) and last night he may have finally hit rock-bottom: 0/0/1/0/0/0 in just 6 minutes. No, it wasn’t injury-related. It was foul-trouble related, which should be strictly a rookie problem for big-men. The Pacers could end up being a very dangerous playoff team if somehow Turner can figure out his issues. My money is on…..drumroll…..no, no he won’t. This has been a problem the entire season, so there is no reason to believe he will suddenly be the team star again. I do think he will have some good nights, but overall he will be the same.

The good news is that the Pacers can win without him (maybe that is messing with his head and confidence), so it is not really that big a deal. The bad news is the Pacers cannot win a championship without him. But more good news, nobody expected them to even be in the playoffs, so they are playing with house money.

Anyway, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are always a few players that magically appear at fantasy playoff time and help propel some teams to victory. Championship teams know this and they read sites like Razzball and closely watch the waiver wire so they can be the team that snags the hot rookie who finally put it all together or, in the case of MarShon Brooks, the veteran that nobody even still thought was playing professional basketball in America.

Brooks popped up a few games ago and had a huge night, but he was injured and missed the next game, which is why he is still on waivers in most leagues. Last night he showed that the big game was not a fluke, however, as he finished with a line of: 5/25/4/7/2/0. He hit 9-17 from the floor, including 5-10 from deep. Wow! I thought he would be a nice THRAGNOF at the end of the year, but his all-around line makes him a must-add in every league and a must-start in nearly all formats. So stop reading this and go get him!

Here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For playoff bound teams, every win at this point in the season is huge. This was not only a big win for the Washington Wizards, it was avoiding a terrible loss. Yes, they are missing All-Star point guard John Wall, but the Boston Celtics were starting someone named Guerschon Yabusele.

I did some digging and discovered that Mr. Yabusele, before donning a jersey and being announced with the Celtics’ starting five, was one of those giant security guards that stand at the bottom of each staircase with their arms crossed and their backs to the court during the game. In fact, prior to playing 18 minutes in last night’s double-OT loss against the Wizards, the most exciting thing to ever happen to Guerschon on a basketball court was high-fiving Marky Mark Wahlberg after a Kyrie Irving game winner.

The Celtics may have ultimately lost the game, but to get as close as they did is a real testament to just how much the Wizards play down to an opponent’s level. I am pretty sure a Division II high school basketball team could take Washington down to the wire.

Besides the Wizards almost losing the Celtics G-League squad, here is what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was younger, much younger, I used to consider myself a fairly athletic guy. Played competitive volleyball and could hang when I hooped at most courts. Then the Summer of ’96 happened. I was playing tackle football, when one of the guys brought his friend to play. The new guy was a third string cornerback for the University of Maryland and he said, “No tackle for me guys. Just two-hand touch.” Didn’t matter because no one could get one hand on the guy. Ok, I’m exaggerating. One hand was possible, but two hands? Fuggetaboutit. 3rd stringer for a Division 1 college team. I couldn’t even imagine the level of what a professional player would be at.  Which brings me to TJ McConnell. Myself and many others clown him that he should be playing at the YMCA, but let’s not forget that he’s in the top 1% of ballers on the planet. Last night, he reminded us all as he messed around.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 10 10 11 6 0 2 0 5/11 0

Played 37 minutes off the bench. The last time TJ received 30 minutes of run in a game was on January 20th. More than likely, TJ will get around 24 minutes a game, but does have the capacity to contribute across the board. Just don’t expect 6 steals and for him to mess around on a nightly basis. More often than not, I’m going to talk about his hair. Every once in a while, though, he’s going to remind us that it’s fun to stay at the YMTJ.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was a big subscriber of superstitions and curses in my younger days. Sports team I root for wasn’t playing well? Had to move to another seat, like I was some antenna made out of aluminum foil. Never drafted a player in fantasy football if he graced the cover of Madden. I mean, come on. Without fail, either a player got injured or production fell off hard the following year. We have grown as a society, though. I have grown as well. We now utilize our brains to explain things that were previously unexplainable. For the Madden Curse, a logical explanation was that players are celebrated by being on the cover of the videogame because they have reached the pinnacle of their careers.

pin·na·cle
ˈpinək(ə)l/
noun
              “he had reached the pinnacle of his career”
There’s literally no place to go but down. Add in the age factor and number of games played, and the “curse” doesn’t seem so mysterious after all. How things have gone down the past couple of weeks in the NBA, I’m beginning to reevaluate my stance on the issue. In late January, LeBron James and Steph Curry particiated in the All-Star Draft.

First, DeMarcus Cousins went down with injury. Then, Kevin Love. John Wall. The latest victim? Kristaps Porzingis. Last night, he tore the ACL in his left knee after this. I will think of you everytime my 2-year-old daughter puts on My Little Pony. Michael Beasley is the obvious get, but he’s probably been rostered already. Kyle O’Quinn is also an interesting pickup, as he would be the big off the bench to give either a break. Yo, LeBron. Whatever you’re doing? STOP!!!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week (in which case I’m interested to know how you manage), you have heard the news about the Blake Griffin trade. For those aforementioned people who don’t, here is the summary:

Clippers get: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, a first round pick, a second round pick and the always charming Boban Marjanovic

Pistons get: Blake Griffin along with his portable clinic, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson

I would love to read your thoughts down in the comments about who won the trade. My first instinct was that it all depends on Blake’s health and on how well he will mesh with Andre Drummond. Another conclusion that can be derived from the trade is that loyalty is dead in the NBA. Remember all the efforts the Clippers made to convince Blake to re-sign, which included filling the court with his photos and even raising an actual banner with his name into the rafters as a sign of their future devotion??

As always, let’s take a quick look at last week’s suggestions and how they performed. The Spurs duo of Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson were not very impressive, but their minutes are safe and will only improve moving forward. Murray is even averaging an absurd 8.6 rebounds in the last eight games. The Sacramento duo of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, on the other hand, were not so hot as only one of them is having a good game each night. At least the Kings are sticking to their veteran-resting plan for now… Finally, Ersan Ilyasova’s minutes continue to trend in the wrong direction, but you can still get some value if you trade him right now…

Moving on to the new suggestions, this will be a heavy “Buy” week as injuries and the aforementioned trade have created opportunities for more players to become fantasy relevant.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Being in the middle is…..

Bad for a sports team, as perpetual mediocrity permeates. No chance at the trophy and no possibility to draft a franchise-changing player. Bad if you are a piece of lettuce or meat between two slices of bread. I guess everything in that situation sucks as they all get eaten. Bad if you’re an avid surfer that lives in Nebraska. There’s good, though. You ain’t poor. Malcolm did alright. You’ll never be first or last. In the NBA, being a part of the bourgeoisie is great. You’re not the worst of the 1% of the ballers on the planet. But, imagine if you are a part of the 1% of the 1%? Kyrie Irving doesn’t have to imagine because he’s living the dream. Yesterday, he went:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 7 5 0 1 1 5/7 14/23 7/8

The Celtics lost to the Magic, 103-95. That should’ve been grounds for automatic disqualification from being the lede, but….a 40-burger is a 40-burger. You drop one of those and you’re always going to be a contender. Now, it’s felt like Kyrie has been a relatively quiet member of the fantasy elite, as he hasn’t been messing around or going nuts on a nightly basis. He’s the 14th player for fantasy and his numbers are almost identical to last year. Imagine if he was on a shitty team that didn’t play any defense?

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?