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, 2nd quarter), 60-59 Toronto (4:46, 3rd quarter), 83-73 Houston (9:03, 4th quarter.)

After a close-fought first quarter in which neither team went on any kind of a real run, Houston went on a 24-6 run in six minutes, Toronto answered with a 33-10 run in about a full quarter’s worth of time, then Houston jumped out by 10 seven minutes later.

What a roller coaster. No 20-point lead is safe in this world anymore.

And if that doesn’t entertain you, well…baseball season’s getting underway with spring training. Go watch that. Maybe eat some unflavored oatmeal and drink some water while you’re on some kind of anhedonic deprivation quest.

For the rest of us, there’s James Harden and his highlights:

All Is Right With the Celtics Again

What do you make of a Celtics team that on one day looks like they’re self-destructing and getting ready to trade Kyrie Irving to New Orleans or watch him sign with the Knicks or reunite with LeBron or whatever the rumor is…

…and the next day goes into Oakland and clobbers the defending champion Warriors 128-95?

Nothing in this world makes sense. Eat roast beef sandwiches.

Gordon Hayward came off the bench and scored 30 points while putting up a plus-32 in 28 minutes. Daniel Theis played 12 minutes, missed both of his shots, canned a couple of free throws to end up with two points and four rebounds…and put up a plus-15.

And Golden State shot 8-of-35 from three-point land (22.9 percent) and turned the ball over 22 times against just 11 for Boston.

Plus, the Celtics had 38 assists on 49 made baskets.

This was, plain and simple, a complete beatdown, and while it’s not official, the Celtics, with 39 wins, may have just clinched a playoff berth, since nobody in the East at 8 or below is on pace for better than a 38-44 record.

Danny Ainge built this roster to beat the Warriors…in June, but March will do too.

Hayward’s your man of the match:

KAT Man Do

The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-120, and sometimes the numbers really do tell the story:

Karl-Anthony Towns: 41 points, 15-of-27, 14 rebounds, two steals, plus-9

Derrick Rose: 19 points off the bench, 8-of-14.

Andrew Wiggins: 18 points, 7-of-15, and at minus-1 in 33 minutes, the only Wolves starter with a negative plus/minus in the 11-point win.

Yeah, ragging on Wiggins is fruit that is so low-hanging it’s practically a potato, but c’mon, the numbers tell the story.

Highlights? Yep, we’ve got those.

Lightning Round!

The Indiana Pacers played a lite version of that Rockets game, opening up a 16-point lead over the Bulls in the second quarter, giving the lead away, then fighting hard throughout the second half to eventually claim a 105-96 victory.

Myles Turner had a career-high seven blocks to go with a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double, Bojan Bogdanovic showed out with 27 points on 9-of-14 and 4-of-5 from three, and Darren Collison added 22 points, the game-clinching free throws, and a game-high plus-12.

How about a shotblocking supercut? Myles is the man of the match:

The Pacers were, unfortunately for their fans, unable to get some separation from the 76ers, as Philadelphia held on in the fourth quarter to beat the Orlando Magic 114-106 and stay half a game behind Indiana for the East 3 seed (and the NBA’s fifth-best record.)

J.J. Redick led the Sixers with 26 points, Tobias Harris added 21, and Ben Simmons added 16 points on 0-of-0 from three-point land to go with 13 rebounds and eight assists.

Simmons may not shoot threes, but he makes highlight reels:

And finally, the Grizzlies have been on a bit of a roll lately, winning three of their last five and beating Portland 120-111 at home Tuesday night.

Mike Conley went wild for 40 points, Delon Wright added 25 off the bench, and the Grizz shot 53.3 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from three to seal the big win, including a sweet 4-point play by Conley down the stretch that proved the dagger.

He may not have gotten his trade to a contender, but Conley showed out and made the most of what he has:

Feature later. Breakfast now. Lots of stuff to read on the homepage if you missed anything yesterday. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!