Breakfast Special: Silly College, March is for Pros

The talk on most of basketball Twitter yesterday turned from the NBA to college, as everyone’s a bracketologist om Selection Sunday. And besides my alma mater Nevada getting in as a 7 seed (and apparently 26th overall by the NCAA’s gimcrack math), that’s all I have to say about college ball until the draft. The NBA was too busy giving us amazing matchups, like… Did the Sixers Just Make a Finals Case? Philadelphia beat Milwaukee on the road 130-125. Imagine a world where either the Pacers pull off a major miracle and finish third or else Boston gets hot down …

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LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and “Making Teammates Better”

The Lakers are a burning Dumpster fire of a franchise, and it looks like for the first time since 2005, the NBA playoffs will happen with no LeBron James present. Despite this, LeBron is having another top-notch season statistically, posting 27.4 points per game (above his career average of 27.2) and, considering his 35.3 minutes per game are a career low, he’s actually posting the highest scoring rate on a per-minute basis in 16 seasons in the league. He’s posting a 26.0 PER, .595 True Shooting, .186 WS/48, and 4.5 VORP, all despite playing in just 50 of the Lakers’ …

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Breakfast Special: A Thunderous Collapse in Indianapolis

Ave Sabonis, we who are about to highlight film salute you. As the Ides of March dawn, the Indiana Pacers, far from being four games into an 11-game losing streak like your reverse-jinxing columnist predicted Tuesday, have now won two big games at home to get to 44-25, retain their hold on third place in the Eastern Conference, and give their fans…optimism (?!) heading into a monstrous Western swing on the road. Russell Westbrook got his triple-double, of course, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing 11 assists. Paul George, in his old building against his old team (such …

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Zach LaVine: Is He Any Good?

In the NBA, there are Dunk Contest Guys and there are actually-plays-in-real-games guys as far as effectiveness is concerned. Rare is the man who can combine greatness in the dunk contest with the kind of career that, say, Michael Jordan had or Dominique Wilkins had or Vince Carter had. Look at the past few years of the dunk contest for All-Star weekend. Hamidou Diallo and Glenn Robinson III and Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine. The only guy to do real damage in the dunk contest who isn’t a Dunk Contest Guy, at least not in how he’ll be remembered, was …

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Breakfast Special: Three Warriors and a G-League Team

How many more games are the Golden State Warriors going to have where they get 20-plus from three guys but the rest of the team combined wouldn’t even be the second-leading scorer? They can’t keep winning those with a paper-thin bench, can they? Golden State beat Houston 106-104 Wednesday night on national TV behind 30 points from Klay Thompson, 27 points from DeMarcus Cousins, 25 points from the rest of the team, and 24 points from Stephen Curry. One Steph three more and the field wouldn’t have even cracked the top three. What are they even doing out there offensively? …

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Breakfast Special: Competitive Games Are For Suckers

The NBA put on seven games for the entertainment of the viewing public Tuesday night. Only two of them were anyone’s idea of competitive in the fourth quarter, and a third finished with the tightest final score margin (five) but the team that won was up 14 with little enough time left in the game that it would’ve been bonkers had they not put the game on ice (give it up for Darren Collison, and we’ll get to the Pacers-Knicks game shortly.) The rest of them were either double-digit blowouts or a Spurs-Mavs game where every time Dallas looked like …

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Dispatches From An 11-Game Pacers Losing Streak

As I sit here writing this, the Indiana Pacers are preparing to play against the New York Knicks at home, the only game in an 11-game stretch in which Indiana is the unquestioned favorite. Which has, every other time I’ve been watching this team in the four seasons I’ve been a basketball writer, augured a horrendous performance and a brutal, disappointing, “how did you lose to THAT tanking Dumpster fire at home?” game. Tyreke Evans is missing the game for “personal reasons”, which is a nice little euphemism for his contracting a case of Butler’s Disease. Domantas Sabonis looks like …

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Breakfast Special: A Serge In On-Court Violence

Serge Ibaka built an NBA reputation on swatting shots away from the rim. But in the Toronto Raptors’ 126-101 humiliation at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, Ibaka decided instead to swat—and by swat I mean clobber—an opponent instead. Marquese Chriss ended up on the receiving end of Ibaka’s rage, and Everybody Hates Chriss: Ibaka and Chriss out here throwing punches 😳 pic.twitter.com/NwRhL6Apw4 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2019 That’s going to be worth a suspension. Possibly a lengthy one. Nice move for the playoff stretch drive, Serge. This was a beast of a game for Cleveland, …

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Whatever Happened to All Those 14th-Place West Teams?

On October 29, 2018, the Oklahoma City Thunder, losers of their first four games to start the season, beat the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix dropped to 1-5 that day, sinking into last place in the Western Conference, a position they would occupy for the rest of the season (as this goes to press and includes games through March 10, 2019, the Suns’ “tragic number” for clinching last place stands at four; they are 16-52, while the 14th-place Dallas Mavericks are 27-39. In fact, the Suns would only manage to be as good as “tied for 14th” for two days, as they …

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Breakfast Special: The Pacers Stink on National TV

Smart Pacers fans knew to watch anything besides ABC yesterday, as smart Pacers fans saw the 106-89 beatdown—featuring 30 second-half points and some of the worst shooting the team’s put up all year—coming down Broad Street in Philadelphia with its doors open. Take a returning Joel Embiid, on the road, on national TV, and that’s a perfect storm for the 76ers to dominate, and so (at least after halftime) they dominated, all while Pacers fans resigned ourselves to wishing we had the dulcet tones of Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner on Fox Sports Indiana/League Pass to soothe our souls instead …

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