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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Derrick Rose: Is He Any Good?

Derrick Rose is one of the most polarizing figures in basketball, with eye test fans insisting that he’s the Sixth Man of the Year and statheads countering with “go home, you’re drunk.” Rose drew a ton of All-Star fan votes, but fan vote alone wasn’t enough to get him into the game, and when sensible people got to decide who the All-Stars were, Rose was wisely left off the list. But that’s not the question we’re asking here. We’re asking if Rose is good, and the stats in 2019 don’t care that Rose was MVP once and got a salary …

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Breakfast Special: The Long, Dark Night Begins

Indiana Pacers fans have been dreading this moment ever since Victor Oladipo got hurt. A stretch of 11 games in which Indiana plays 10 playoff teams, eight of them on the road, and gets only the woeful Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to break up the potential 11-game losing streak started on national television… …and the Bucks came out in the third quarter, turned a game that was close at the half into a runaway, and won 117-98. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added 12 rebounds. The Bucks hit half of their shots and 40 percent …

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How Do Fringe NBA Teams Make the Playoffs?

It’s a maxim in the NBA that your typical 8 seed gets into the playoffs by taking care of business against bad teams and then winning just enough against other teams in their neighborhood to get a little separation when the wins are counted after 82 games. And sure, because it’s a long season, there will be some surprising wins in there, beating Houston or Golden State on the road, and there will be some cringeworthy losses, dropping a game to a tanking team at home, but for the most part, you get to that 42-win range (East) or 48-win …

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Breakfast Special: Achtung Panzer!

The New York Knicks just played the most important game of their season, a showdown in Phoenix with the future of the franchise at stake. And the Knicks gloriously lost the game 107-96, getting out on the dance floor to do the Prokhorovka Shuffle and pull a game and a half ahead of the Suns for last place in the NBA; the Knicks are 13-52 against the Suns’ 15-51. Great work, New York. Devin Booker, a guy who exists in a weird vacuum where he puts up All-Star scoring numbers and does absolutely nothing beyond that to help his team …

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Breakfast Special: A Weird, Wonderful Rockets-Raptors Game

In the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy, “consider the following.” The Houston Rockets defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-95, James Harden had 35 points, and Clint Capela grabbed 15 rebounds while Chris Paul had 10 assists, all despite the starting lineup shooting the ball poorly from the field. The bench shot the ball much better, put up big plus/minus numbers, and helped the Rockets to the win. All fairly ordinary stuff, right? Well, that doesn’t adequately tell the tale of a game that at points featured each of the following scores: 25-21 Houston (11:24, 2nd quarter), 49-27 Houston (5:00, …

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