Is Paul George 2019 MVP Material?

Russell Westbrook was the NBA MVP in 2017, the first of what has become three straight years in which he’s averaged a triple-double. Russell Westbrook is nearly inarguably the second-best player on his own team. Yet the Thunder are 45-33, and they’re almost certain to win either 47 or 48 games this year, which were their win totals in 2017 (when Westbrook put a G-League team on his back and dragged them to the playoffs) and 2018 (when Carmelo Anthony happened.) It is against this backdrop that we’re trying to build an MVP case for Paul George. The Thunder ditched …

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Breakfast Special: Blowouts! Nothing But Blowouts!

There were 12 games in the NBA Wednesday night. The only ones that were close were meaningless games between non-playoff teams, so you can guess how the Lightning Round’s going today. But first, we’ve got three games with pretty meaningful playoff implications, even if all of them were clobberings. Nugget Revenge The last time the Nuggets and Spurs faced off, in San Antonio, Denver got sent down by the squeakiest of margins, losing by a single point. For the return engagement in Denver, the Nuggets left nothing to chance and destroyed the Spurs 113-85. Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 11 …

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Breakfast Special: Players Only Make Broadcasts Worse

There is a classic formula in sports broadcasting that has worked for at least my entire lifetime (since 1977.) If you credit Monday Night Football with codifying the modern sports broadcast format and mainstreaming the three-man booth in 1970, it’s been nearly 50 years. You have a play-by-play announcer, usually someone with a background in traditional journalism and broadcasting, a torch that has been passed, depending on the sport, between the likes of Chick Hearn and Keith Jackson and Mike Breen. You have a color man, a former player or coach, giving expert analysis (indeed, the term “color commentator” is …

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Teammate of the Year? They Should Call it the Thaddeus Young Award

This week’s edition is brought to you in part by Pacers Twitter, who were collectively and understandably getting sick of the doom and gloom inherent in this weekly department ever since the team went 4-10 in March and…ahem, I’m doing it again, aren’t I? So the preview of the Celtics series, a hit piece on Tyreke Evans, a comparison to the 2016 Grizzlies…all of those will have to run some other time. This week, we’re talking about the greatest teammate and glue guy in the NBA if not in all of sports, the one, the only Thaddeus Young. Specifically, Young’s …

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Breakfast Special: Angry Sabonis Is Best Sabonis

Journalistic integrity and standards are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I really wanted today’s headline to be “Breakfast Special: Great Job, Motherf—er” to give proper credit to Domantas Sabonis after his first-rate outburst at the referees following his sixth foul in the Indiana Pacers’ 111-102 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night. On the other hand, Pace and Space is a content partner with Basketball Reference and I’m pretty sure their editorial staff would be less than pleased by one of their content partners providing them with a headline—even a censored one—featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite word. So …

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The Lakers Without LeBron, By the Numbers

The Los Angeles Lakers are a train wreck, and despite adding LeBron James during the offseason, the team is going to end up barely better than the 35-47 record they posted in 2017-18. With five games left, the Lakers are 35-42, eliminated from the playoffs, and they’ve sat King James for the rest of the year. The even crazier part? This team wasn’t even very good with LeBron in the lineup. In 55 games, LeBron’s Lakers were 28-27. They’re 7-15 without him, a 26-56 82-game pace, nine games worse than last year’s record, and with him, their projected 42-40 mark …

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Breakfast Special: RIP, My Favorite Weird Stat Story

The Charlotte Hornets got absolutely pantsed by the Golden State Warriors Sunday, losing 137-90 in the third-biggest margin of defeat by any team all year—Boston beat Chicago 133-77 on December 8, while the Mavericks beat the Jazz 118-68 on November 14. It was Golden State’s fifth win of the season by at least 30 points, while Charlotte has now lost five games by at least that margin. It also busted Charlotte’s net point differential to minus-1.6 per game, pretty much assuring once and for all that the Hornets will surrender more points than they score this season. And with that …

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Is James Harden 2019 MVP Material?

Welcome to the first of a four-part series where Is He Any Good takes on the 2019 MVP race. It’s the same as regular Is He Any Good except the bar’s been set a lot higher; the only way someone’s getting Confirmed on these is if in the estimation of the advanced stats and the Standard MVP Voter Rules™ (“best player on the best team” or exceptional statistical accomplishment like Russell Westbrook in 2016-17 or “his team would be drafting Zion Williamson if they didn’t have him”) says that he’s the MVP. We’ll be looking between now and the end …

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Breakfast Special: Mile High, Road Low for the Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets are 31-6 at home this season, half a game behind the top-team-in-the-league Milwaukee Bucks, who are 32-6. Denver is 19-18 away from the rarefied air of their home floor, and it’s the biggest reason they’re only in second place in the Western Conference, trailing the Golden State Warriors by a game after the Nuggets went to Houston and got absolutely pantsed by a 112-85 count. James Harden had 38 points on 10-of-22 shooting, hitting 13-of-14 from the line and taking anyone who tried to defend him to school. After losing a battle of MVP candidates to Giannis …

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Breakfast Special: Devin Booker, You Poor, Poor Fool

Devin Booker just had his third 50-point game of his career and his second in as many games Wednesday night in Phoenix. The Suns lost 124-121 to the Washington Wizards, dropping Booker to 0-3 in his career when he scores at least 50. Because Booker’s teammates are such a dumpster fire that we get yet another insane box score to gawk at the morning after. At least this time the Suns got five guys into double figures, but Booker was 19-of-29 shooting…and the rest of the team was 24-of-58 (41,4 percent.) The only reason this game was even as close …

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