We are finally here! The waning days of the 2021 NBA regular season where the Playoff picture is rounding out into its final form and teams preparing for their Road to the NBA Finals.

Yesterday marked the regular season’s last slate of regular-season games under the Friday Night Lights and boy did it go off in a bang. Unsung casts of characters. Triple-doubles and career-highs. And most importantly, we had a few playoff position clinches as well.

But enough talking, let’s get into these games as we highlight the last set of Friday Night primetime performers of the 2021 regular season!

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During draft season, I joked with the other Razz writers that, according to my extremely unscientific research, 100% of LA guys were in on LaMelo Ball. The echo chamber and hype bubble were too well-constructed for this not to be the case (also I didn’t really do much research and threw out evidence that didn’t support my theory. I’m Mister Hooper, not Doctor.) LaVar’s greatest creation was not the trio of ballers he sired (or those ugly shoes), but the machine he constructed to discuss them ad infinitum. Put off the Ball family brashness, I was lukewarm on LaMelo when drafting and missed out on an extremely fun and productive rookie year. The hype will be hot again next season, I assume, especially if the Hornets show some fight against one of the beasts of the East, so I’ll probably miss him next year too. But perhaps there’s a backdoor to one of these Balls. While little bro is taking up all the shine, Lonzo Ball has taken another step forward, especially as a shot maker. The vision and passing has always been legit (even my hater-ass was quick to concede that after watching him at Summer League) but the stroke has been sanded down and his 3-point percentage now creeps towards 40%. Still shy of 24-years-old, he’s putting it together.

Last night, playing in the aptly named Ball Arena in Denver, Lonzo consistently got where he wanted to go on the floor and then dimed up his teammates once he cracked the Denver defense open. The highlight package below isn’t spectacular, but if you want to watch a dude move to the exact spots  where he’s most dangerous, then I have the clip for you.

Lonzo Ball

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
16 12 12 4 2 4 6/14 0/0 4

It was another busy Wednesday in professional hoops. Here’s what else stood out:

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Beef Stew is running away with the starting 5 job in Detroit as the season winds down. Casey has been resting his vets in Plumlee and Ellington and as a result, Stewart has been feasting. 8 blocks in his last four games alone, to go with an average of 14.25 boards in those four outings. He’s going to make a huge difference in fantasy playoffs for those who foresaw the downfall of Plumlee.

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Carmelo Anthony has been a reliable source of points and treys on good efficiency, and stayed on brand Thursday night with 20 points and four triples, while hitting all four of his freebies and turning the ball over just once. Adding Norman Powell to the mix shouldn’t have too much of an impact on Melo, who should continue to get minutes in the mid-20s and put up enough shots to retain value.

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I would like to dedicate today’s intro to Joakim Noah, who announced his retirement from the game of basketball this week. Noah was a player who based his career solely on defense, but he was an imposing presence in the paint and a great defensive anchor, resulting in two All-Star appearances and a Defensive Player of the Year award. During his two best years in Chicago, he was also a solid fantasy contributor, finishing both years inside the top 20 with solid big man stats plus out-of-position assists. His unique free throw shooting style was also memorable, albeit usually for the wrong reasons.

This week is double for many leagues, counting stats up until the 14th of March, due to the All-Star break. I am really perplexed by the fact that the NBA decided to organize an All-Star game this year, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, but it will at least be a good chance for players to get a breather and nurse some of their lingering injuries, as they get ready for the second half of the season.

Regarding last week’s suggestions, Saddiq Bey and Jalen Brunson have been solid, Jae’sean Tate got fewer minutes than I thought but I still like him, and Saben Lee was underwhelming. If you are losing minutes to Dennis Smith Jr, you are in trouble. But he is a rookie, so he gets a pass. Finally, Elfrid Payton was, is, and will remain a “Sell” candidate with the season he is having in New York and is currently also injured.

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Yep, I’m going to subject you all to my friends and family league yet again. We’re at the midway point of our regular season after today, so I wanted to go back and see where my predictions from the preseason were right and wrong, and which fantasy players are performing better or worse than their average draft position (ADP).

What I hope you can take from this is how to better formulate your strategy in your own leagues, and what seems to work best for people in a relatively average league. Our league is listed as a “silver” league on Yahoo!, which isn’t really scientific but indicates our team levels combined are slightly below the average of “gold.” We have two platinum, one gold, four silver, and five bronze managers. It’s a top-heavy league, which is the case in most scenarios as the people who run the league seem to be far more invested.

Anyways, the below records and rankings are based on if the scores stay the same as they are at the writing of this article. Those are subject to change, but not by much.

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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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We had some options this week my Razzball revelers as there was no shortage of players who fit the profile of the name bestowed upon this column. Unfortunately, for some managers in your league or perhaps even you, there are underperformers taking up real estate on squads with the hope they are able to return to form or at least come close to expectations. The question for those with ownership of an underperformer becomes, “how long do I wait?”

“What if this is the new normal and he never sniffs his ADP?”

“Should I drop him for a hot hand off the wire?”

“Trade him to whoever gives me an offer?”

There we have it, the thought process of a frustrated GM as they approach the crescendo of reasoning within themselves. This is the sweet spot where a savvy fantasy basketball Don such as yourself looks to get in on the ground floor of a stock with the potential to exceed the cost.

We are off to the Eastern Conference for a closer look at a player that has been doing not much for just long enough to allow a window of opportunity.

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Masonry is difficult work. It requires technical savvy, can be physically taxing, and is dirty work. Bricks, concrete blocks, and natural stones are all used to build fences, walls, and walkways. To become a Freemason is just as difficult but from a different perspective. It is more mentally taxing than physical and requires three degrees, […]

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