I’ll let one of my favorite bands, Sleigh Bells, narrate everything that happened in the fantasy week(s) that was.
Every Christmas, there’s always that present you accept with a smile out of courtesy, but which you secretly want to set fire to. I received mine as early as last week: a 7-2 pummeling at the hands of Sweet Thang. Going into that weekly matchup, I had already accepted my eventual fate as a bloody piece of roadkill, since Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were still nursing injuries. Still, the loss was tough, considering it came against the team manager I consider my bitter rival.
Technically speaking, we’re not exactly “bitter” rivals in the sense that we’d kill for an advantage over the other. We’re good friends in real life. We talk about the sport 80% of the time, and he was the one who introduced me to the fantasy realm of basketball. But ever since our teams met in the finals two years ago and he narrowly edged me for the victory, I’ve measured myself against him, making sure I’m one step ahead always. I keep track of all his trades and transactions, and try to do him one better.
It’s more of a one-sided rivalry—I doubt he measures himself against me as I do with him. But as “Bitter Rivals” by Sleigh Bells goes, “You are my bitter rival/But I need you for survival.” The paradox of a real rivalry is in play here: I feel the itch to beat Sweet Thang every time, but at the same time, he makes fantasy basketball fun. He pushes me to be better, to erase complacency from my mind. The fact that he’s always at the top of the standings is always extra motivation, though for the past two years I’ve somehow managed to be a seed higher than him even if he’s clearly better than me.
So far, I’m 2-3 against him, although I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting even in the next round.
That divine ass-kicking from my bitter rival sunk my record to 32-31. This marks the first time I’m teetering towards .500 since I started playing fantasy basketball. I hate to brag, but I’ve never had a losing record—ever since the first match which I won 7-2, I’ve never looked back. If I ever finish a season below .500, you’ll have to keep any sharp objects away from me.
Because of the recent injury plague, my team came dangerously close to losing three in a row, if not for that 6-3 comeback win over RAMOS sandwiched in between the losses. What I’m especially proud of is that I always bounce back from a loss—last year, my team ripped off a 9-game winning streak after Sweet Thang (again!) handed me a 7-2 beatdown.
I’m confident that feat can be duplicated this year, and I can be the comeback kid again. The song goes, “You know you tried so hard, but you can’t even win/You gotta try a little harder, you’re the comeback kid.” That was the theme last year, and I’m pretty sure that will be the theme again this year. Once all my players are healthy again (still waiting Marc Gasol), my team will be able to roll with anyone.
Damian Lillard went nuts last week. His averages: 33.7pts, 5.3rebs, 7asts, 6.3 threes on 51% shooting. The highlight of the week? Back-to-back 36-point games (on a back-to-back!) with at least 7 threes in each. He had a 29-point game in the next one. I was in Baguio then, but I swear I felt the heat from Lillard’s hands from there. It was insane. It’s like he went through the same rigorous training as the kid in the “Riot Rhythm” video, except for the fact that he’s been doing this for two straight years now. Lillard is the Terminator. He’s been a beast ever since he came into the league, as if he didn’t need training to flick off my opponent last week, just like what the kid did at the end of the video.
More happy news: Anthony Davis made an unexpected comeback last week. Of course, he was on my bench that day so his 24-point, 12-rebound effort was squandered, but the news gave me all the good vibes that “Rill Rill” gives whenever I hear it. Any time you get your best player back is a call for celebration. Ring ring, call ‘em up, tell ‘em ’bout the new trends.