The Portland Trail Blazers are an odd team for fantasy basketball. They are a good regular season team, but for fantasy there are only two stars and Jusuf Nurkic, a borderline top 100 player. They’re in a tough spot because everyone knows they’re not going to compete for a championship, big free agents are hard to lure to Portland, Oregon, and the team is too good to get a high draft pick. Damian Lillard is locked up, for this year and the next, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021. He has gone on the record stating that he’d like to stay in Portland, but if the Blazers front office doesn’t do something drastic, this team is going to be on the proverbial treadmill for years.

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What’s up Razzballers? We had an epic standoff last night between two of the league’s best teams, the Celtics and the Warriors. And this game didn’t disappoint. The Celtics pulled out to an early lead, but Steph Curry simply proved to be too much to handle as he led the the Warriors to the big win. On the night, Steph put forth 49/4/5/2 on 16-for-24 FG (8-for-13 3P, 9-for-10 FT) with only one TO. This guy is a cheat code. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

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Santa Claus is known by the names of Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle. Rajon Rondo is known by the names of Johnny, Swag, and The Yoga Instructor (nicknames courtesy of Basketball Reference). Claus’ height and weight are classified. Rondo is 6′ 1″ 186 pounds. Claus moves around via reindeer-drawn sled. Rondo uses his own two legs to run around the court. Claus is a global icon. Rondo could be if he hired the right marketing agency. Claus and Rondo are different on so many levels, but both are some of the most generous entities that man has ever known. Claus gives gifts to children that are well-behaved and coal to the bad children. Has anyone ever figured out why Claus is so freaking generous? Like, what’s his motivation? We are taught not to accept candy from strangers, especially those that stick their heads out from a windowless van. And for good reason. The candy is the bait to lure us in. And Claus? Anyways, regardless of motivation, Claus is a generous dude. Rondo is also generous. He dishes out dimes that enable his teammates to score buckets easier. In fact, he is so generous that he had dished out 6,216 dimes, good for 31st on the all-time list, before the start of last night’s game.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 2 7 25 1 0 3 0/1 1/5 0

Make that 6,241 dimes, good for 30th on the all-time assist list. The 25 assist game was the ninth-best of all time! Scott Skiles, of all people, holds the record with a 30 assist game. Go figure. Rondo is not going to contribute much outside of assists and rebounds, but the dimes will definitely be plentiful. As for Claus vs Rondo, the edge has to go to Claus, as he has no rival and always seems to deliver. Rondo has his off nights.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I’ve always been infatuated with the “zone,” that state of consciousness when one has Neo’d the Matrix. Mental steroids and practice can induce it, but often it’s a state that transcends reality. Life progresses frame by frame, as if someone pressed the slow motion button on the VCR. My fault, I mean DVR. In the real world, a shooter believes that every shot will go in, while understanding that it’s a mathematical impossibility. In the “zone,” screw math. Everyone morphs into a video game Dion Waiters on rookie mode. Well, last night, Mario Hezonja of the Orlando Magic gobbled the mushroom, morphed into Super Mario, and entered the “zone.”

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 28 6 2 3 0 2 8/12 10/18  0

Now, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier did not play yesterday, so Mario was afforded an opportunity to showcase. When those two return, Super Mario will shrink back to the bench. Just file it away for the future that Mario has the ability to enter the “zone” when called upon.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Image result for 76ers logo

It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips. 

Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:

“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”

TTP. Trust the Process.

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So this is going to be the lamest open ever, but I sustained a blogging injury!  Wife wanted me to make this crockpot chicken marsala recipe, which as you guessed, calls for marsala wine.  She buys this cheap bottle at the grocery store, and it’s such a shitty product, the lid of the bottle won’t separate from that little connector part at the bottom.  Obviously I’m a straight MacGyver with these things, so my first thought is to get a small kitchen knife to try and pry the main part of the bottle top off.  I even said to myself, “this is probably going to end badly…”  And aha!  The knife shoots into my finger and I bleed everywhere like a moron.  But the good news is a pair of pliers finally got the job done!  Little bitch, you bottle of chicken marsala wine, you…

And you probably felt the same way as me hovering over a cheap bottle of wine with a knife if you started Nikola Mirotic last night.  “I think I’ve made a huge mistake!”  However, with Robin Lopez suspended and Cristiano Felicio out with a sore back-io, the Bulls were down a few on their front line (mainly calling for Bobby Portis to play C), so Miro was sure to get some run even if he was playing like a zero (no Gilbert Arenas – 0 is the number of guns you should have in your locker!).  But eureka!

28/5/2/3/1 for Miro last night, on 12-15 shooting with 4 treys.  I also wanna mention that Googling “Youtube Mirotic” had me find some sort of Kpop album, which has me think a future nickname or Podcast sounder has to come from this…  Anyway, the top 7 in the Bulls rotation actually looked really, really good despite no Wade and no big men, while Tom Petty croons about the Pistons…  Free fallin’!  Miro has been one of the most inconsistent players in fantasy this year, so with Rolo due back Friday, I still wouldn’t go too nuts to add Miro.  Tomorrow against the Sixers still might be worth the upside ThrAGNOF stream though, even if it feels as risky as jabbing plastic with a kitchen knife…  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball:

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Fantasy playoff time is just a mere few days away.  Whether it’s playing for that final playoff spot, playoff positioning or just like me in one of my leagues—playing spoiler, the next few days could end up being very pivotal.  I will not show the opponent ranking grid for this article as it hasn’t really changed much for the last few weeks.  If you’ve been reading the posts here, it’s basically a big fantasy opportunity to face teams like the LAL and BKN.  If you’re looking for PG stats, ATL, DEN and CHA are teams to target.  PHO, PHI and ORL are the teams to face if you’re looking for big man stats although you’d have to be specific as to which big man stat you’re looking for for each of those teams’ opponent.

So let’s get straight to it…

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Man, big weekends all around!  And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns!  I was in Phoenix all weekend!  …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was…  Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time…  Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!

It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya!  And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!

NBA getting taken over by shorties!  Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate!  20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior.  Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around!  23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday.  While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role.  So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode.  Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix!  Stupid pale skin…  I’m not built for the desert, even in early March!  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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… A Long Ass post trade deadline analysis (couldn’t come up with a word that rhymes with automobiles). I’ll dive deep into a couple of trades (Boogie and Nerlens Noel). I’ll also cover the much hyped but somewhat boring (thanks to Boston, Indiana & Chicago!) trade deadline that has come and gone.

Oh and by the way, if you’d rather just listen to an analysis instead of read and see some copy/pasted stats from NBA.COM, just go ahead and listen to JB’s podcast.

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