For about two and half quarters in last night’s TNT showcase of the Lakeshow in MSG, it looked like we were in store for yet another Tuesday night disappointment (seriously, how bad have these national games been lately?). No LeBron, an under-the-weather Anthony Davis, and some ghastly shooting from the rest of the roster (LA shot 37.4% as a team) allowed the Knicks to amass a huge lead in front of the home crowd. How ugly was it? The Lakers never led, only drew even twice, and the Garden was rocking and bing-bonging through for most of the evening. Despite the dire straights, this is a Laker group with championship aspirations, so they got off the mat and competed in the second half. Though it was in a losing effort, Russell Westbook tried his best to make a game of it.

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When I first moved out to the East Coast, the changing of the seasons was kind of cool because I had never experienced it before. After a year, F that. NAW mean? The summers are so freaking humid. The winters are cold and nasty. Fall is kind of cool with the leaves and all but it’s chilly as well. Spring time is when people are most jovial because they’ve been cooped up all winter but it’s also the nicest weather. NAW mean? So, why not be in a place that is spring all the time? If you want to frolic in the snow, then drive a few hours to the nearest mountain. NAW mean? Anyways, sorry for the rant but Nickeil Alexander-Walker got me all amped up from his performance last night.

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All the absences in Philly has opened the door for some new contributors to step forward. Case-in-point—Shake Milton, who entered the starting lineup and played 34 minutes on Thursday. He took advantage of the opportunity, doing a little bit of everything with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, with eight rebounds, five assists, and a pair of steals and treys. Stream him (15 percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues) as long as he’s getting this much burn.

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The Charlotte Hornets were everyone’s favorite League Pass team last season and they should remain one of the most exciting teams to watch, though they might have some serious competition from the Houston Rockets. It was a mixed bag of a season for the Hornets in 2020-21. LaMelo Ball emerged, Gordon Hayward looked good when healthy, and both Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges had breakout seasons. They managed to sneak into the expanded playoffs, where they failed to advance out of the Play-In tournament. They might fall out of the Play-In this season due to the surprisingly tough Eastern Conference, but it’s all about development and improvement for this roster anyways. As long as they draft well, or, you know…tank, their best years should be ahead of them. Let’s figure out what all this means for fantasy!

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Daniel Theis still got the start even with Nikola Vucevic back in the lineup. The former Celtic contributed across the board in his 26 minutes, with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with 7 rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks, and a three. Theis (46 percent owned in Yahoo!) has averaged 12.5 PPG over his past six, while also amassing some defensive stats and making close to one triple a game. He’s a great streaming option if he’s still out there in your league.

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The NBA Trade Deadline is officially in the books and we all know what that means. New faces in new places. Teams are tanking. Contenders are making their final push for the playoffs. And most of all, the lights get brighter as every game means more than the last.

But no matter what time it is in the NBA season, we all know that nothing shines brighter than the Friday Night Lights! So, to kick off Post-Trade Deadline weekend in the NBA, here are some of the top performers from Friday night’s great slate of games.

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How about some love for the underdog?

These daily recaps, especially on nights with a lot of games, often demand focusing on one of two players per team that had good nights. Most of the time we’re looking at star players doing what they do. It’s tough for a role player to get a write-up, and it’s even tougher for those end of the bench guys to get any ink.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to…

Alize Johnson

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 15 3 2 0 0 11/15 1/1 1

Johnson signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn on Sunday and had himself a debut on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. A G-League monster who averaged 16 points and 13 boards in this season’s bubble, Johnson stepped up for a Nets squad that was without Durant, Irving, and Harden while playing the second night of a back-to-back against the best team in the West. If you watched the highlights, you noticed that this game was O-V-E-R pretty much from the jump. Johnson was doing major mop up work and will be facing an uphill battle for PT going forward. He’s not an add by any stretch, but I’ve got no problem highlighting him to celebrate his big night. Raise a glass to my man. He earned it.

Here’s what else caught my eye on a busy night of basketball…

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Here we are, down to the nitty gritty portion of the fantasy NBA basketball season where some fantasy managers are getting desperate while others are looking to position themselves for a nice postseason run. If your team is one of those on the bubble, you’re probably looking for some easy w’s in your quest to make the playoffs.

Some leagues have a bit over a month to go while others will extend until the end of the season, but either way if you want to compete you need to start winning NOW. The good news is that I’ve got your back, and we can do this together. So let’s do it.

One of my favorite strategies if I ever find myself on the bubble in a league is to look at my competition and where they can be exploited. Take a look at whoever you are playing this week right now and take a look at their win-loss record in each category. Are they 9-1 in one category? If you happen to have a similar record in that category, you can still beat them with some proper planning. Are they 5-5 in a category? Even if you are weak there, you can easily turn the tides by being smart.

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One, two, three and to the four. Giannis Antetokounmpo is all that we ask for. Ready to make an entrance so put your hands up. ‘Cause you know he’s about to hammer the cup. Give him the rock and it’s nothing but trouble. Maybe he’ll mess around and get a triple-double. He racks up more points than a daily double. Ain’t nuthing but a G thang, baby. One loced out G going crazy. He racks up so many stats that it’s hazy. Unfadeable so please don’t ever fade him. But, um, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected so you best understand. From G’s persepctive. Every defense is completely ineffective.

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This week’s Friday Night games hit differently. With the recent announcement of both the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star reserves, the talk of the town has zeroed in on the topic of All-Star snubs.

Some guys like Devin Booker and Domantas Sabonis recently went from being snubbed to just squeaking in as alternates for the injured Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant. But not every All-Star snub was so lucky. Guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, and even Jimmy Butler are just some of the notable names on the outside looking in who just missed the cut. With that, it feels safe to say that there are a good handful of former All-Stars and potential All-Stars that may feel a bit overlooked.

So, what better way to draw national focus and attention to yourself than to play under on the big Friday Night stage. This Friday we had some standout performances by a number of guys who put up some pretty spiteful stat lines with the intention of showing voters what a big mistake they may have made by passing on them. With that, here are the top performers from Friday Nights’ big games under the bright lights!

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