Breakfast Special: Denver’s Impending Second-Round Exit

The Houston Rockets continue to round into form as the second half of the season looms, and their 125-113 win over the Nuggets Monday night was exactly the sort of performance we’re likely to see repeated if the Nugs are the 1 or the 2 and Houston’s between 3 and 5 and they somehow manage to meet in the second round of the playoffs. The Nuggets remind the viewer of nothing so much as those Seattle teams in the 1990s that were heavy on regular-season highlights and, except for one run in 1996 when they put it together in the …

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Breakfast Special: O Myles Turner, Where Art Thou

The Indiana Pacers went 7-4 in the absence of Victor Oladipo earlier this season, 8-4 if you count the Hawks game where Vic came in, had a cup of coffee, and left. The Pacers are 0-2 without Myles Turner, who sat out Sunday with a sore right shoulder as the Pacers lost 121-105 to the Toronto Raptors, who in the process became the first team with 30 wins as they ran their record to 30-12. The Raptors improved to 8-2 without Kawhi Leonard. Things that make you go “hmmm…”, since Toronto has a .688 winning percentage (56-26 per 82 games) …

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The Spurs’ Success Is in Spite of, Not Because of, Gregg Popovich

Earlier this week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote a fantastic breakdown of the San Antonio Spurs’ offense that is well-written, eye-opening, and dead wrong. In it, O’Connor correctly points out that the Spurs, since December 1 (and through games of January 2) have the best offensive rating in the NBA despite shooting the lowest percentage of their shots from three-point range. And on the day that piece ran Thursday, the Spurs didn’t just beat the Toronto Raptors, they pulled their pants down, stole their lunch money, and kicked their bare asses back to Canada. It was a 125-107 beatdown …

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Not All Stars, but All-Stars: The Guys-Fox-Likes Team

I like to think of myself as a reasonably objective observer of the sport of basketball. Sure, I have my biases—I am an unrepentant stan for the Pacers and a believer in the Bill Simmons school of sportswriting where it’s OK to root for your team in national media—but for the most part, Sheed’s Law is the first rule of my writing here. But let’s face it. Basketball isn’t any fun without the ability to watch it as a fan, to root for guys, to make certain League Pass choices based not on what national trends say makes the best …

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Montrezl Harrell: Is He Any Good?

The Los Angeles Clippers were left for dead after finishing last season 42-40, their collection of castoffs, nobodies, and HERO OF SERBIA not considered to be enough to compete in a loaded Western Conference. But there the Clips are, at 21-16, sixth in the West and hanging in a top eight that is starting to create some separation between itself and the teams from ninth (Sacramento, at 19-19 2.5 games back of the Clips for sixth and two back of the Lakers for eighth) place on down. Part of this has been because what one observer would call a lack …

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Breakfast Special: DeMar Ate Kawhi’s Breakfast

San Antonio was up 45-19 before Toronto even got their pants on for this one, and that was a minute into the second quarter. And while the Raptors outscored the Spurs the rest of the way and lost by “just” 18, 125-107, the point was made: Gregg Popovich is not here for your criticism of his stars and their two-point shooting. DeMar DeRozan got his first career triple-double against his old team, scoring 21 points on 7-of-15 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line. He added 14 rebounds and dished 11 assists to make it official. Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, …

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Breakfast Special: Russell Westbrook, Guitar Hero

Since their improbable win over the Warriors on Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked like the G-League team they are without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, both of whom are out with injury. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat them 107-100 at Staples Center Wednesday night on national television, powered by Paul George‘s 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting and Russell Westbrook‘s 14-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Plus, there was this brilliant razz of Lance Stephenson after PG13 drew an and-one: Westbrook so petty 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/E9MhNJ8jd8 — Sports ReUp (@SportsReUp) January 3, 2019 Never mind that Russ shot 3-of-20 from the …

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2018-19 Might Just Be the Best NBA Season Ever

The NBA hasn’t been this entertaining in decades, as a full 14 years have passed since the last time the league added even one expansion team, and the dilution of talent that triggered the Dark Ages was so long ago that when the Raptors played their first NBA game in October of 1995 (a 94-79 win over the Nets!), it was just three months after Dave Grohl released the first album from Foo Fighters. Which, in turn, means that for the first time in ages, the level of talent in the league is stacked when compared to the number of …

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Breakfast Special: 3 is More Than 2, 2 is More Than 0

2019 might go down in history as The Year of the Three-Point Backlash, and the Toronto Raptors demonstrated the way forward with a guy who, of course, was coached up from a rookie by Gregg Popovich, the dean of the New Old School in San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard had 45 points on 16-of-22 shooting, but it’s how he did it that makes this a subject deserving of a deeper dive into Pop’s new NBA reality. If you count by twos, you’d say “that’s 32 points”, and you’d be right. But Kawhi also shot 13-of-17 as he was able to fight …

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Sizing Up the Indiana Pacers as 2019 Begins

May we all pray to the Basketball Gods that the Indiana Pacers’ December in 2018 doesn’t turn out the way November did in 2015, when the squad went 11-2 in the month of plywood turkey and salmonella stuffing only to go 34-35 over the rest of the season, nearly missing the playoffs. Unlike that 2015-16 squad, which was basically Paul George and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, this year’s Pacers team features a talent level so stacked from top to bottom that a guy who had a 20.0 PER in 77 games and 1,387 minutes for the Knicks last year …

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