On this exciting edition of Friday Night Lights in the NBA, there were two kinds of games that you could have watched with no real in between.

The first kind was the nail biter games that came down to the final possession. Games like Indiana vs. Orlando or Denver vs. Phoenix where each team’s superstar talent had to step up in the closing seconds of the ball game to help steal their victory. These are the games where each team can taste the victory, yet only one team is able to truly capitalize and come out the winner. The Detroit Pistons may have felt the brute of this kind of game as they fell just short of the win due to Jerami Grant being just a hair too late on getting his shot off in the closing seconds the Rockets.

On the other side were the blowouts or the “humble games.” These were the games like the Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this week and the Boston Celtics losing to the Philadelphia 76ers despite getting 42 points from Jaylen Brown. These are the kinds of games that can tell you a lot about a team’s weakness and force them to look in the mirror after simply being outmatched.

In a week filled with buzzer beaters and overtime victories, the Friday Night games did not disappoint as they continued the trend we saw throughout the week of high-level matchups, surprise performances, late game heroics and exciting finishes. Here are my Primetime Players from Friday Night’s matchups!

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On a night riddled with postponed NBA games due to COVID-19 protocols and safety precautions, the avid basketball fan was probably a little underwhelmed. I mean no Bradley Beal going off for 40+ against the Pistons. No matchup between Stephen Curry and Devin Booker. Shoot, we could not even see Anthony Edwards show out against the Memphis Grizzlies. Nonetheless, the games we did get were nothing less than entertaining. There were a few blowouts but there were also plenty of nail biters to go around. But what made these games so great was the emergence of even more young talent across the NBA landscape. The New York Knicks with RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickly. Zach Lavine and Coby White over in Chicago. Even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came out and had a career night. There is a saying that goes “Out with old and in with the new.” Well, I am here to say that there are a handful of “new” guys that are starting to make a name for themselves, and what better way to announce yourself to the league than great performance under the Friday night lights! Here are some of the top performers from yesterday’s games.

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It was a bit of a light week for watching games here in the Hooper house. I know this is a fantasy corner of the internet, but reality always manages to find a way in. The ratio of news to NBA games got flipped in the middle of the week, so instead of longer, deeper looks into one or two specific teams, this edition of Hangin’ will feature check-ins on past (incorrect) statements and some quick hitters on what I was able to catch this week. I’m aiming to get back on track this week — aren’t we all? — so hopefully next time will be less doom and gloom and more dimes and dunks.

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I try not to write up the same player in the top blurb two days in a row for a variety of reasons. It’s good to change it up. My wife and I are on page 360 of the Kamasutra book that we “read” every night before bed. Ha! Who am I kidding? I’ve been married for 12 years and have two kids. Page 360. Ha! It’s nice to show love to everyone, as there is so much skill in the league, and every night greatness is produced by many. But sometimes, a string of performances is so great that there is nothing to do but bow down and pay homage. In my many years at Razzball, I think I’ve only written a player in back-to-back nights maybe four or five times. Now, this is not a back-to-back, but it’s damn close. On Sunday, Julius Randle went 29/14/7 against the Bucks. After meditating and correcting his issues, Randle came back the next game and went HAM….

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The consensus no. 1 fantasy draft pick (despite the over-40 rec-league bod) may have frustrated owners early, but it was Second Christmas last night, with a stat line as beefy as Harden’s mid-section. While he had a chance at a game-winner, the Christmas Spirit must have bubbled over as he actually tried to pass (right to new Blazers F/C Robert Covington), Harden produced over 44 minutes what fantasy owners paid for in his debut.

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It’s a story as old as time. Hot girl from a different continent arrives at the new local high school. All the dudes go goo-goo gah gah over said hot girl. Popular girls at high school, who were the hot girls before are now relegated to has-been status. But they ain’t going out like that. They get their hair done, splash some intoxicating perfume on, hike up their skirts, and flash some boob, then voila! All the dudes in the house go, what? WHAT?! LaMelo Ball was the hot girl and got all the love and attention in the preseason with his fancy passes and what not, but Terry Rozier wasn’t impressed.

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I’ve been running the same fantasy basketball league with roughly the same players for nearly a decade now and a while back we converted it into a keeper league. This past Tuesday we had our fantasy draft. We are like most leagues in that there are a few players nearly always on the top and the rest of the league is a mixture of people who don’t care nearly as much or are just novices trying to learn. If you’re in a casual league, it probably looks a lot like this.

One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a KEEPER league, and as such 41 of Yahoo!’s top 50 players were kept and unavailable to be drafted. You’ll see them pop up in rounds much later, in most scenarios, as they were kept on the cheap. It’s a 9-cat H2H league as well with nothing to play for but a trophy we have engraved every season. We added two more teams this season that did not play at all last season and held an expansion draft before the actual draft, and we replaced one manager who decided to focus on his life instead (which is totally okay and encouraged, btw.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?