Breakfast Special: Prelude to a Masterpiece

Several outcomes had to happen just right on Monday to set up the greatest last day of the regular season in recent NBA history. And all of them happened exactly the way they needed to. Three Western Conference season finales will be winner-take-all contests for playoff seeding; Utah plays Portland with the winner getting the 3 seed and the loser dropping into Tiebreaker Hell. San Antonio plays New Orleans, winner could place as high as fourth, loser as low as eighth. They’ve both clinched playoff berths, but they haven’t clinched playoff seeds. And finally, Denver plays Minnesota, winner gets at …

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Breakfast Special: Playing Out the String

Man, what a day in the NBA Sunday. Games between two teams set to make the playoffs: Zero. Games between a playoff team and a non-playoff team: Six (out of seven) Games in which the playoff team won: Five. So I guess that means our top story is… Nice Upset, Atlanta! The Hawks beat the Maine Red Claws…er, the Boston Celtics, in a game where the Hawks actually had more to gain by losing than by winning. Losing outright would’ve kept them on 23 wins and kept them alive for the second position in the lottery. As it stands, they’ve …

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Thaddeus Young: Is He Any Good?

The Indiana Pacers traded the 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, which became Caris LeVert, to the Brooklyn Nets for Thaddeus Young. Nearly two full years later, Young is a key piece in the starting lineup for a team that just won its 47th game, still has a chance to win 50, and has improved immensely this year after the departure of the majority of last year’s team. Now, we know Young’s not an All-Star. He’s a serviceable starter, the fifth option behind Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Darren Collison in some order. And since this column’s …

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Breakfast Special: Drubbed Nation

Last week, the Indiana Pacers went into Oakland and beat a depleted Golden State Warriors team 92-81. This week, the Warriors, with Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant all back, marched into Bankers Life Fieldhouse…and got destroyed 126-106. And besides Victor Oladipo doing this like he does every game… Dipo showing out as the Pacers sweep the season series with the Warriors 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TNxGea8dCi — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 6, 2018 …Bojan Bogdanovic had 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 6-of-7 from three. The Pacers shot 50-of-93 (53.8 percent) from the field, 15-of-29 (51.7) percent from three, won the …

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Breakfast Special: The Raptors Put the East On Notice

The Toronto Raptors marched into Air Canada Centre with a two-game lead on the Boston Celtics and with pole position in the Eastern Conference potentially hanging in the balance; the winner would almost certainly get the tiebreaker in the Atlantic Division and therefore in the race for the top seed. The Raptors left Air Canada Centre celebrating a 96-78 complete beatdown of the Celtics, a 3-1 season series victory assured, the magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed cut to one (and with an exhausted Indiana team coming to town on a SEGABABA Friday night and with Orlando, Detroit, …

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Image via Bob Evans Restaurants

Breakfast Special: For the West Is Wild And No Team Shall Die Softly

The Jazz, Spurs, Thunder, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Nuggets, and Clippers are locked in Mortal Kombat…er, mortal combat…for five spots in the playoffs available to the seven of them, even if the net result of all this is one team getting smacked by the Rockets and another by the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference just saw its five seed more or less locked in thanks to all this West madness, which brings us to our top story… A Rivalry As Old As the ABA The Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets met for the first time …

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The G-League Will Kill NCAA Basketball

Darius Bazley turned a lot of heads when he decided to decommit from the Syracuse Orange to instead declare for the NBA G-League draft. He won’t be drafted by an NBA team; he has to wait a year before that happens, and whichever G-League team picks him will have him as a rental for one year. Just because, for example, he ends up on the Mad Ants does not mean he’ll be picked by the Pacers when the time comes. There are plenty of good reasons why this is the right move for Bazley. For one thing, he’ll be freed …

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The Indiana Pacers have a depth problem

Ever since Glenn Robinson III returned from injury after the All-Star Game, he’s been used sparingly by coach Nate McMillan. He played just two minutes against the Clippers, and his minutes have been steadily declining as McMillan has shortened the bench down the stretch. Robinson hasn’t exactly justified the minutes he has played on the floor. His paltry 9.2 PER and horrifying 37.9/26.3 FG/3PT shooting splits have effectively negated him as a factor in Indiana’s bench offense. Indiana only goes about eight or nine deep (depending on which version of Lance Stephenson shows up that night). Cory Joseph, Trevor Booker, …

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Breakfast Special: No Fools in the Eastern Conference

The race between the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers for the 3, 4, and 5 seeds has been everything you want a playoff chase to be. Teams are going on winning streaks and gaining no ground because their opponents are keeping pace with them every step of the way. Two of the teams are teams on the rise, one coming out of nowhere, the other a realization of the possibilities of long periods of nonstop losing. Another is a team on the ropes, declining in fortune, kept alive only because its star is having one of the best …

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Damian Lillard: Is He Any Good?

Oh man, I can’t wait for Twitter to slam me for the headline. “Damian Lillard? He’s great! MVP candidate!” Settle down, Beavis. What we’re asking here is, as is normally the case when we’re talking MVP-candidate-level players, whether Lillard is truly worthy of that kind of consideration. If we were writing about, say, Evan Turner, we’d be asking if he was a waste of money and establishing he was good if he wasn’t. (He is.) As on the show from which this series’ premise shamelessly cribs, you have to remember what the “myth” is before it being busted or confirmed …

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