Breakfast Special: A Worthy, Deserving 3 Seed in the Eastern Conference

Say hello to your new second-round opponent for the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

It’s the same foe the Celtics lost to on Sunday: The Indiana Pacers.

Behind 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting from Victor Oladipo and 19 points on 8-of-13 to go with 10 rebounds for Myles Turner, the Pacers, who nearly watched Bojan Bogdanovic choke away the game by reaching for a loose ball that, had he simply let it go out of bounds, would’ve secured an Indiana victory, nonetheless triumphed 99-97 to split the season series at two games apiece.

Kyrie Irving missed the second half with injury, which turned a 10-point Boston lead at halftime into a four-point deficit after three thanks to the Pacers winning the third quarter 34-20.

Oladipo was the man of the match, but Domantas Sabonis in the restricted area with a basketball is the winning combination in a game of Clue:

Julius Randle Is Your New God

LeBron James just watched his 2018-19 teammates dismantle his 2017-18 teammates, as the Lakers beat the Cavaliers 127-113 in Los Angeles.

Randle had 36 points on 14-of-18 shooting, Los Angeles had four players with at least 20 points…and Lonzo Ball still sucks, hitting just 2-of-11 from the field, netting only five points, posting a minus-1 plus/minus despite the rest of the starters all posting double-digit plus-side figures, and doing this bit of Shaqtin’ a Fool:

Lonzo is, in every sense of the term, a big Number Two.

Randle, however, was the man of the match:

Take Note

Anthony Davis had a triple-double that featured 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks.

Utah’s bench hit 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting.

Oh, and the Jazz won 116-99.

Wait, what?

Yes, that actually happened. Powered by a 24-of-25 (96 percent) free throw game, dominant on the boards to the tune of a 55-38 rebounding advantage, and rescued by a starting lineup that hit 10-of-21 from long range, the Jazz did indeed beat a Pellies team that shot just 6-of-21 from the boondocks as a team and 11-of-13 from the line.

Donovan Mitchell had 27 points as he continues his campaign for Rookie of the Year:

Utah is 37-30. They’re still tenth in the West. Any thought of the West dropping to a seven-deep conference is no more, and we may yet see 47 or 48 wins grab the 8 seed.

Lightning Round!

Chicago beat Atlanta is the To Lose Is To Win Tankapalooza.

Rather than show highlights from the Bulls’ meaningless 129-122 triumph, here’s Darren Rovell getting schooled by Hot Sauce:

DeMar DeRozan played like DeDogcrap against the Knicks, scoring just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.

But it didn’t matter, because the Knicks are hot garbage and fell 132-106, as 12 Raptors players scored at least six points each and seven scored in double figures.

The Raps hit 16-of-35 from three; New York hit 7-of-21. Any questions?

Kevin Durant had 39 points, but he shot 11-of-32 to get there, as the Stephen Curry-less Warriors lost to the Timberwolves 109-103.

Karl-Anthony Towns had a much more efficient 13-of-24 to get his 31 points, adding 16 rebounds as well in the win:

Nikola Jokic busted out the whuppin’ stick in his 20-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double as the Nuggets smashed the Kings 130-104:

Cold, harsh Twitter, guys.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, the Rockets, their 17-game winning streak snapped in Toronto Friday night, got a new winning streak started, beating the snot out of the Mavs 105-82.

James Harden missed the game with a knee injury, but that just meant Eric Gordon and Chris Paul got to combine for 18-of-34 shooting and 50 points, while the Mavs shot just 16.1 percent (5-of-31) from three:

And finally, Philly smacked Brooklyn in the face to the tune of 120-97. Joel Embiid led a Total Team Effort with 21 points, while the 76ers put a combined eight players in double figures as they shot 52.6 percent from the field:

The Special is back. Pace and Space is back. You don’t want to know how my health went late last week. Thanks for sticking around. Normal service (knock on wood) continues this week.

And oh by the way, to seventh-seeded college squad Nevada: GO WOLF PACK!