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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The biggest news of the night comes from a guy who barely played at all. Less than 2 minutes into the game between Golden State and Washington, Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 8 rebounds) fell into Kevin Durant’s left knee. KD walked away gingerly before heading to the bench and being whisked away into the locker room. Diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, Durant did not return to the game.

Is this karma from the Basketball Gods for his comments about not wanting to come home to play for the Wizards? Kidding aside, this is terrible news to the Warriors, fans of the NBA, and fantasy owners. Hopefully KD’s injury isn’t long-term, but more will be known after examining the MRI results.

In the meantime, the Warriors wasted no time in reaching out to free agent Matt Barnes and are expected to sign him later this week. Released by the Kings after trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, Barnes is excited to rejoin the Warriors, after playing for them from 2006-2008. I wouldn’t rush to add Barnes until more is known about KD’s injury, but Barnes has been useful for fantasy purposes before.

On happier notes, here are the other nightly notables:

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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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We’re almost there! It’s almost the time of dunks, crappy exhibition games, and most importantly – the time of getting injured players back. Last night only had 2 games on the schedule, so it’s going to be a short wrap up today! In the first game, the Wizards had a solid win over the Pacers, with a final score of 111-98. The Pacers just didn’t manage any big performances. The second game was a lot more interesting, as Jimmy Butler won it with clutch free throws after a very questionable foul call on Marcus Smart. 104-103 Bulls win.

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The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.

The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.

Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.

Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:

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The Wizards have been playing much better as of late. Despite being down 18 points in the second quarter, the Wizards came back to win to push them over .500.

John Wall knocked down the game-winning jumper with 5 ticks left, to complete another fantastic performance with 26 points, 14 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Now that’s what Steve Buckhantz calls a dagger!

Wall was voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and continues his strong play in the New Year. There hasn’t been a better player in the East over the last 6 weeks.

Now the Bulls were missing Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), but I don’t care. I’m going to take every opportunity to talk positively about my Wizards. They’ll disappoint me soon enough so let me enjoy my moment.

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You hate to see in sports when a guy gets hurt, then loses his starting spot once he’s back to action. Usually it’s for a youthful upside guy that takes off when given an expanded role, but don’t say that to Alex Smith… And it’s not like Matthew Dellavedova was some sort of entrenched starter either… Before we feel too bad for this guy, he just sold his life story into a movie. Crocodile Dundee 4 – Welcome to the NBA! The last one was written by someone in fantasy sports, gimme the green light, Hollywood! Delly returned from 5 games off with a bum hammy (due to all his storyline pitching to studios) to go 2/2/4/1/0 in 18 minutes off the bench. Taking the starting minutes like a bull by the horns (maybe I should’ve gone with “Buck” by the horns!), Malcolm Brogdon had a fire lit under him yesterday afternoon seeing the incumbent get back, posting a career-high 22 points on a 22/1/5/3/1 line with 2 treys.

Hitting his Js and taking it to the rack! Take that, Dundee! They actually overlapped a few minutes as well, and while I still don’t think Brogdon is going to keep ascending (and Delly was likely on a little bit of a leash), I kinda wish I got some Broggy shares. Alsoh, there was Disturbingly no Giannis Antetokounmpo who was down with the sickness, but someone needed to score a little more, and Malcolm stepped up! If he’s somehow still available in your 12ers (maybe he was cut for streaming with Delly coming back), I’d be sure and give him an add. But in 10ers it might get a little roster crunchy. Roster Crunchy – a new cereal from Patty General Mills! Here’s what else went down over a cold & snowy weekend of fantasy basketball action:

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So. Many. Minutes. 240 of them. That’s 4 hours of basketball. Now, the exact amount of hours doesn’t matter, and no player plays every minute of every game (what is this…video games?!?), but this week we get 240 minutes of Chicago Bulls basketball. What about their midwest rival, Indiana Pacers? A measly 48 minutes. Haha, seriously, the NBA scheduling committee breezed by these seven ahead apparently, because both the Pacers and the Nuggets play just once, whereas the Bulls take the court five times. 5x the minutes means 5x the volume means 5x the production. Well, potentially. But even the best players are on alert for a good benching when faced against that many minutes on the other side.

If you own any Bulls this week it won’t quite equal the amount of time mentioned by The Office team in saying bon voyage to Michael Scott, but it will certainly feel like it. It’s a minutes game in Week 12! Here’s The 7 Ahead!

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So I’m not a basketball historian, and I’m still a young pup. I barely remember the Bulls glory years – I was in elementary school when they won titles 4-6 (yikes, aging the crap outta myself), but I do vividly remember the Byron Russell push-off and I cherished my Michael Jordan cards. I still have a bunch of em! This one is still in a nice case and one of my favorites… Anyway, when I saw Jimmy Butler go off for 52/12/6/3/1 last night, I was about to make all sorts of tongue-and-cheek MJ parallels…

Got the same reverse layup and everything! But then it dawned on me… Butler is more like Scottie Pippen if there was no Jordan. Pippen’s best season was 93-94, unsurprisingly the year without MJ, and went 22.0/8.7/5.6/2.9/0.8 on 49% shooting with 0.9 treys. So far this year, J Buckets is 25.3/6.8/4.4/1.7/0.3 on 46% shooting with 1.1 treys. While Pippen was obviously one of the best defensive players of his generation, Butler is a much better FT shooter and gets to the line more. But the rest is really close, and I thought kinda interesting food for thought. So the answer for the Bulls is simple – find a Michael Jordan for Buckets to play next to! I’m a problem-solver – if only every team’s issue in the NBA was this easy! Hah! Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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Happy 2017, Razzball Nation!

After immense pressure from the DA’s office to flip on Tommy DeVito and Paulie Cicero, [redacted] needed protection to secure his testimony in putting those good fellas away. It didn’t start on the best foot either, as the WitSec guys asked [redacted] if he had any distinguishing marks and he lied about his tattoos… But the man formerly known as [redacted] changed his name to the very inconspicuous James Johnson, and moved his family to Miami. After being a humbling under-the-radar role player, Johnson was supposed to continue as merely a minutes-filler, amongst an uninteresting mix of PF to get through the tough void of losing Chris Bosh. He’s supposed to just shy away from dunk attempts and stand around on offense…

Well, way to ruin that, Johnson! We can’t protect you no more! An absolute monster weekend from Johnson, going 22/3/6/2/2 against the Celtics on Friday night with 4 treys, then followed it up with 20/7/3/1/1 against the Pistons. After a rough stretch of FT last week, he made 6-7 in these games too. With the added onus on O (no Goran Dragic or Justise Winslow OR Hassan Whiteside last night), he is turning it over a little too much (8 total in these two games), but with all the injuries and a void in playmaking on the Heat right now, Johnson is as erect as ever. He’s playing SF, PF, and even some C right now, so while we shouldn’t expect the 34 minutes like he got against the Pistons, he should be pretty solidified in his 25ish MPG role even when everyone is healthy. He’s gotta be a must-own in all leagues while this hot, as he has brazenly blown his cover. Hopefully no one recognizes him as [redacted]! Here’s what else went down over New Year’s weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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