I watched the stupid Bulls lose to the stupid Pacers last night and am in a bad mood.  So in honor of my bad mood and in an effort to put myself through self therapy, all of my takes in the recap are going to be people to move off of or avoid altogether.  Seriously, blowing a 21 point lead to the Pacers without Tyrese Haliburton…

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With one of the deepest and busiest schedules, Wednesdays in the NBA bring action, drama and monster fantasy box scores. Last night was par for the course – or should I say, par for the court? – as superstars Jayson Tatum, Trae Young, Kevin Durant and a number of others went HAM on a jaw-dropping night of basketball that had as many twists and turns as a gymnast driving a racecar in an episode of Black Mirror.

Not to mention – as always in the NBA these days – injuries, illnesses, rest and load management. I can’t wait to crack this slate open. Let’s dive right in.

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The Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 119-110 to remain ahead of the Nets in the Eastern Conference standings. The two teams have identical 39-36 records, but with this win, the Hornets move to 2-1 against the Nets and secure the tiebreaker. Led by LaMelo Ball’s hot shooting, the Hornets spoiled Kyrie Irving’s home debut. Ball finished the game with 33 points (10-21 FG, 7-12 3PT), seven rebounds, nine assists, and three steals. Miles Bridges added 24 points (9-24 FG, 3-6 3PT), eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal. P.J. Washington tallied 18 points (8-12 FG, 2-3 3PT), 11 rebounds, and five assists. Terry Rozier notched 14 points (5-12 FG, 2-5 3PT), seven rebounds, four assists, and one steal. If the Hornets are making their threes they can be tough to beat and that was the case in this game. They shot 42% from the field as a team, but they shot 53% from three (17-32). As things currently stand, the Hornets would match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament, rather than the Nets. That’s unfortunate for us, the fans, as the pace of play and lack of defense on both sides would make a Nets vs. Hornets matchup must-see TV. Then again, there likely won’t be much defense in a Nets vs. Hawks series either.

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Changing the format slightly, as I will choose two players from each NBA game last night who are available on the waiver wire. I highly value minutes played and opportunities given when it comes to fantasy. Every single NBA player is elite at basketball and, given the right opportunity, every single player could produce fantasy goodies. There’s a reason every player made the league, so the more chances they’re given the more likely they can produce. So without further adieu, let’s get into the first match from last night.

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Can LeBron be corny at times? Yup. Does LeBron flop sometimes? Premier League players break down his tape. Is LeBron entering the final stages of his hooping career? Father Time is undefeated. That said, is LeBron one of the greatest players of all time? He almost won a chip with Eric F’ing Snow at point guard. He’s Magic Johnson in Karl Malone’s body with Zion Williamson hops, before Zion morphed into the long lost Klump. He’s won the chips, received all the accolades and awards, and is still doing this at age 37….

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The Indiana Pacers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 129-98. In a rarity for this version of the Pacers, they were the more veteran team. Oshae Brissett spearheaded the Pacers’ attack, as he tallied 24 points (8-10 FG, 2-3 3PT), nine rebounds, one assist, and one steal. His day also included a highlight reveal reverse dunk in transition which came off a behind-the-back pass from Lance Stephenson. Have I mentioned that the Pacers are fun now!? Justin Anderson added 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Jalen Smith notched 17 points, five rebounds, and one block in just 17 minutes of play. I’m not sure if Smith will ever become the player the Suns hoped they were getting when he was drafted with the 10th pick in 2020, but he has at least grown into an intriguing prospect. He was 2-of-3 from behind the arc and also whipped out a Dirk-esque step-back off the dribble in the midrange. Terry Taylor (17) and Duane Washington Jr. (13) both had solid games as well. The Pacers led wire to wire and the lack of competitiveness of the game is reflected in the lower minute totals for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Haliburton finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. Hield tallied nine points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Finally, Lance Stephenson scored just two points, but grabbed six rebounds, dished out 11 assists, and swiped three steals.

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The NBA claims that it consulted several medical experts when making this decision.  I imagine the finance department was also involved, especially after the spate of big name absences for Christmas Day’s marquee slate.  At any rate, I choose to believe that we’ve turned the corner and will start to see additional policy revisions in the near future.  In the meantime, this post will continue to provide you with the best possible intel on widely available players who can help you down the stretch of a head-to-head matchup.

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Back in high school, Cam Reddish was THE man. Granted, most NBA players were THE man for most of their lives but Cam was THE man.

His peers on the AAU circuit knew. By the way, that’s Anthony Edwards who’s kind of aiiight right now. With all the injuries on the Hawks, Cam made his fourth straight start and….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 4 0 0 1 4 8/13 11/23 3/3

In 40 minutes! The dude is a walking bucket but there’s a reason why he doesn’t have a more prominent role. He’s not an efficient scorer and doesn’t contribute much outside of points, tres, and steals. He’s shooting 41% from the field on the season and was a sub-40% for the first two years in the league. Over the last four starts, he’s scored 33, 10, 18, and 34 points on 47%, 26%, 53%, and 47% shooting. When the Hawks get healthy, Cam will return to a reserve role so sell Cam if you can.

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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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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More time has passed in the Eastern NBA world, but it still remains a little off to say the least. The New York Knicks are actually still good? The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer undefeated but are still over.500 at the time of writing and the Toronto Raptors are occupying one of the bottom positions amongst the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Hornets. Normalcy has not yet been restored and I kind of hope it doesn’t. This added level of surprise and unexpected things happening gives a different flavor to the magic of the sport we all love. At this point in time, we find the Philadelphia 76ers being on fire and leading the East with a 7-1 record followed by the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. But for me, the story of the week is at the bottom. The Toronto Raptors have been far from their best. So, what is the problem in Toronto (or Tampa Bay now) and what assets can we expect to pick it up or stay the same? 

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