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Mostly NBA Notes: Talking Blake Griffin, Joakim Noah and a look around the league

Dalton Del Don
Roto Arcade

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Blake Griffin continues to get better (USAT)

Since Chris Paul has been sidelined with a separated shoulder, Blake Griffin has averaged 24.8 points, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals over nine games. Despite playing without arguably the NBA’s best passer, Griffin has also shot 53.9 percent from the field over this span (he’s now up to 62.4 percent from shots taken on any touch that starts within 12 feet of the basket, which one would think has plenty to do with Paul feeding him inside the paint). Weirdly, Griffin’s biggest hit since his star point guard went down has been on the boards, as he’s averaged just 7.4 rebounds (his season average is 10.0 rpg). It’s likely just an anomaly, as Griffin has bounced back in a big way from last season when it comes to corralling missed shots (he has to deal with sharing the court every night with the NBA’s leading rebounder by a wide margin), as his contested REB percentage of 38.7 is on par with Kevin Love’s (38.8), is better than Dwight Howard’s (36.9) and is much better than LaMarcus Aldridge’s (28.2). DeAndre Jordan has seen 2.3 more uncontested rebounding opportunities per game this season. Among the top-20 players who’ve averaged the most touches per game this year, only Griffin and Love aren’t point guards (Griffin ranks fifth in the league in total touches. Put differently, he’s touched the basketball 468 more times than LeBron James this season). Griffin has been a top-30 fantasy player in 2013/14 who’s surprisingly been even more valuable without Paul, as his game is evolving.

This Paul George 360 Windmill Slam was pretty ridiculous.

Here’s an insane (regulation) finish to a high school game.

The Wizards’ bandwagon cam is brilliant.

After failing to reach double-digit rebounds in 11 of the first 15 games this season, Joakim Noah has pulled down 10+ boards in each of his past 14 contests. In fact, over Chicago’s last dozen games, he’s averaged a whopping 15.1 rebounds (the season leader is DeAndre Jordan at 13.9). Moreover, Noah’s 3.9 apg are the third-most among those center-eligible, and he’s also just one of five players C-eligible who are averaging both more than 1.0 spg and bpg. With Derrick Rose (knee) sidelined and Luol Deng traded, Noah’s numbers this month are just plain silly: 14.4 ppg, 15.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.9 bpg. His season’s Usage Rate (18.1) is easily a career high, and Noah has been a top-20 fantasy player over the past month. There’s seemingly always an injury right around the corner when it comes to him, but Noah is on quite a roll right now. He’s set up for a monstrous second half of the season if he can stay healthy. The Bulls somehow have a winning record despite the third-worst Offensive Efficiency in the NBA, which might have something to do with opponents shooting just 42.6 percent at the rim against Noah (no other team in the bottom-12 has a record above .500, although to be fair Indiana’s Offensive Efficiency ranks 17th). It’s almost as if Tom Thibodeau is good at coaching basketball.

Here’s a Devil Baby Attack Prank.

I found this look at the violence in the first two “Home Alone” movies oddly quite funny.

Here’s a woman eating a 72-ounce steak in less than three minutes, shattering the previous world record.

This “Superpimp” gets “more attention than some of the Cavs players as he hits downtown on the weekends.” He’s the king of Cleveland nightlife!

Quick Hits: LaMarcus Aldridge has double-doubled in each of his last seven games, averaging 29.9 points and 15.0 rebounds while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor and 84.2 percent from the line over that span. Aldridge is averaging career-highs in ppg (24.7), rpg (11.6), apg (2.9) and FT% (81.7) during his best season yet as a pro…Ricky Rubio just ended a stretch in which he shot 37.5 percent or lower from the floor in eight straight games, and his shot chart continues to be depressing. He’s one of the best passers in the league and leads the NBA with 2.7 spg, but Rubio’s shooting appears to be getting even worse as opposed to better…Patrick Beverley returned to action Monday for the first time since Dec. 21 and scored 17 points while immediately being placed back in the starting five. He looks fully recovered from the hand injury and will be Houston’s starting point guard moving forward. He provides more value to the Rockets than fantasy owners thanks to his defense, but he needs to be owned regardless…Ramon Sessions has averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks during his two starts since Kemba Walker went down with an ankle injury. Sessions, who’s scored the fourth-most points on drives in the entire league this year, will be well worth using as long as Walker is sidelined…Over his last 11 games, Brandon Jennings has shot 29.9 percent (46-of-154) from the floor, and that’s after he went 11-for-23 during his last outing. Jennings has always struggled shooting, but his current 37.4 FG% is his worst since his rookie season...Monta Ellis has scored 88 more points on drives to the hoop this year than the next highest player (Kevin Durant).

This compilation of Ukrainians defying death is pretty much the craziest footage ever.

Speaking of daredevils, this driver is pretty insane.

Finally, here’s more crazy footage of a Hawaii plane crash caught on tape. How can they be so calm? Those people are a lot more courageous than I am, that’s for sure.

Quick Hits Part Deux: Andrew Bogut has double-doubled in three of the past four games and is averaging 2.0 bpg in January, but he’s also made just one free throw since Dec. 19. At least his volume has been low (he’s attempted 11 freebies over that span)…Since playing more than 60 minutes in a win in Orlando last week, Jimmy Butler has shot just 31.4 percent (16-of-51) from the floor over the following four games. His FG% is down to 37.1 on the season…Despite averaging only 24:06 mpg, Manu Ginobili has been a top-75 fantasy player this year. Pretty impressive for a 36-year-old who looked nearly done at times during last season’s playoffs…D.J. Augustin has averaged 19.3 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 3pt over the past seven games and will see an uptick in minutes with Kirk Hinrich currently dealing with a hamstring injury. Augustin deserves to be a popular add in fantasy leagues right now…. Here’s John Wall hitting a ridiculous falling shot...The Kings likely felt fortunate when Ben McLemore fell to them with the seventh pick in last year’s draft, but he’s been a huge disappointment during his rookie season so far. He has a higher turnover (10.0) than assist (9.0) ratio while shooting an ugly 36.1 percent from the field. His PER is an embarrassingly low 7.15, and McLemore has found himself buried on Sacramento’s bench for most of this month. Keeper league owners have to be highly discouraged at this point…Speaking of disappointments, Harrison Barnes has failed to break out like many hoped he would after he became the first player in NBA history to have two 25+ scoring games in the playoffs after failing to score 25 points during any game in the regular season last year. He’s been plenty valuable when starting, but when the Warriors are at full strength, Barnes has been useless to fantasy owners when coming off the bench. The 21-year-old likely has a bright future, but in his current situation, Barnes isn’t worth owning in redraft leagues.

Here’s Russia doing Russia things when driving.

And here’s yet another, featuring a Russian Bus Driver aptly named “The Punisher,” who claims to have been involved in more than 100 accidents.

And now here’s a big twist – a POSITIVE compilation of Russian dash cam footage.

Headlines of the Week: Tampa Woman Chooses To Embarrass Attacker By Making Him Hold ‘I beat Women’ Sign...Youth Drug Can ‘Reverse’ Ageing In Animal Studies...Oregon Man On Meth Fights Off Cops While Masturbating In Bar...1 in 200 Mothers Reports a “Virgin” Birth, Study Finds...Man Fleeing Bad Date Jumps Fence At Newark Airport, Breaching $300 Million Security System...Las Vegas Cabbie Finds $300,000 in Backseat, Returns it to Poker Player...Starbucks Busted For Brewing With ‘Toilet’ Water In Hong Kong...Target Customer Service Allegedly Kept A Woman On Hold For Six Hours...Man High on Compressed Air Crashes Into Three Cars...Pastor Drowns When He Attempts To Walk On Water...Woman At Red Light Hit By Car Driven By Chihuahua...Man Has Gone 60 Years Without Bathing.

Quick Hits Part Tres: After averaging 32:06 mpg while starting 35 games for the Celtics, Jordan Crawford is down to 13:54 mpg while coming off the bench since getting traded to Golden State. The deal was obviously a crushing blow to Crawford’s value, and he can be safely dropped in all fantasy leagues. Meanwhile, it doesn’t look like Rajon Rondo is going to be the savior many fantasy owners hoped for, at least not for a while with that minutes limit restriction…The Rockets scored 19 points at home in the second half against OKC last week after scoring 73 points in the first half, which was the biggest differential in NBA history…Andray Blatche has been a major disappointment this season but has turned it around of late, averaging 19.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks while shooting 61.1 percent from the floor over the last three games. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come, as Blatche was once a fantasy force a few years back…This Tweet by Nick Collison was pretty funny...The Trail Blazers are the only team in the NBA to have the same starting five in every game this season…David Lee has scored in double figures in 119 straight games, the third longest current streak in the NBA (behind only bums like Kevin Durant and LeBron James).

Police Blotter: Two Drivers Called up to Pick up Drunken Driving Suspect Are Also Charged With DUI...Wife Fends Off Husband During Alleged Drunken Rage (check out his mugshot)...Man Runs Onto Phoenix Airport Taxiway, Slaps Jet...Man Caught Copulating With Sandwich Shop Window...Man Runs Through Bingo Hall With Pants Down, Screams “Bingo”...Fake Cop Pulls Over Real Cop...Drunken Driving Suspect Tells Officers There’s a Man in Trunk...Florida Woman Assaults Boyfriend After He Refuses To Cuddle...Mugger Shot Dead After Bullet Bounces Off Victim’s Face...Man Allegedly Tries to Rob Naples 7-11 With Tomahawk...Bomb Squad Removes Dildo From Downtown SLO...Man Found Decapitated, Police Suspect Suicide.

Longread of the Week: “The Waste And Corruption of Vladimir Putin’s 2014 Winter Olympics.”

Longread of the Week Part Two: “He’s Going To Be Better Than He Was Before.”

Quick Hits Part Four: When starting at home this season, Kendall Marshall has averaged 14.8 apg. It’s meaningless and in a small sample, but he hasn’t exactly disappeared while on the road either. Since taking over starting duties at the beginning of this month, no player has helped fantasy teams more in assists than Marshall. Steve Nash looks ready to return to action next week, but he’s going to be on a minutes limit, and it’d be a surprise if Marshall took a big fantasy hit as a result. It helps the Lakers have the third-highest PACE in the NBA. Moreover, Marshall’s 32.2 points created by AST per 48 minutes are second only to Chris Paul this season. Jordan Farmar ranks sixth in this category, while Steve Blake comes in seventh (Nash was also top-15). In other words, it’s good to be running a Mike D’Antoni offense…Here’s Stephen Curry casually making a full court shotGreg Oden is a huge long shot to have any fantasy relevance, but it’s great to see him back on a basketball court. It was especially cool to see him dunk during the first time he touched the ball since 2009. (Fun Fact: Oden currently leads the NBA in points per half court touch with 1.13 – minimum three games played. He’s back!).

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