Breakfast Special: Achtung Panzer!

The New York Knicks just played the most important game of their season, a showdown in Phoenix with the future of the franchise at stake.

And the Knicks gloriously lost the game 107-96, getting out on the dance floor to do the Prokhorovka Shuffle and pull a game and a half ahead of the Suns for last place in the NBA; the Knicks are 13-52 against the Suns’ 15-51.

Great work, New York.

Devin Booker, a guy who exists in a weird vacuum where he puts up All-Star scoring numbers and does absolutely nothing beyond that to help his team win, had 41 points, all while the rest of the NBA universe is content to write him off.

And no, beating the Knicks doesn’t count a lick toward shedding the “doesn’t help his team win” black mark. It’s the Knicks.

The Suns as a team shot 41.4 percent from three, won the turnover battle 21-13, watched the Knicks shoot just 15 threes all game (and make six), and just generally played basketball like they forgot that the object of the game at this point of the season is to lose.

The Knicks have now lost to Cleveland and Phoenix in the last week. That is how you tank!

Ruins of an army, Axis rest in hell:

#LOLakers

The Lakers are all but officially eliminated from playoff contention, as they lost once again—this time at home to Denver 115-99.

LeBron James had 31 points, passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, and he and JaVale McGee (16 points, 8-of-10) were the only Lakers who did a thing useful all night.

Los Angeles is now 30-35. They’d be a playoff team in the East. LeBron is not in the East.

Will Barton led the Nuggets with 23, all five Denver starters scored in double figures, the Nugs won the turnover (12-8), rebound (55-41), and three-point (13-of-42 vs. 7-of-31) battles, and that’s gonna win you some basketball games.

Nikola Jokic had another one of those weird stat lines he has a habit of putting up; he attempted just five shots (3-of-5 FG, 6-of-8 FT), scored 12 points, pulled down 17 boards, dished 8 assists, and flirted with a triple-double. While shooting five shots.

Here’s 5 for 5, as in five threes for No. 5, your man of the match:

I Come to Praise Gregg Popovich, Not To Bury Him

The Spurs might actually sneak into the playoffs and do damage. What a world.

San Antonio beat Atlanta on the road 111-104, and with the Kings and Lakers both losing (more on this in a minute), it’s looking more and more like the Spurs, tied for seventh with the Clippers, have just punched the tickets for the top 8 with only seeding left to be determined.

After all, the Spurs are 37-29, four up on the Kings and up 6.5 each on the Timberwolves and Lakers. There are about 16 or 17 games left, and just imagine an NFL team starting 0-4 and still winning their division (and imagine that division being the AFC East with the Patriots starting 4-0) and you have about the measure of it.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting, torching the nets from the free throw line for 9-of-11 to crank up that scoring total and make for a surprisingly efficient night for a guy who only shot (and made) one three-pointer.

The Spurs’ defense held Atlanta to 39.1 percent shooting and flummoxed Trae Young to the tune of 8-of-24 shooting and 1-of-7 from three.

Now can we shut up about Trae as Rookie of the Year?

How about Derrick White playing monster defense, blocking shots like a center even though he’s a guard?

Lightning Round!

The Hornets need to go 7-11 over their last 18 to post their third straight 36-46 season, although this time they’re actually giving up more points than they score.

Miami beat them 91-84 behind 22 points and 11 rebounds from Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside had 18 points off the bench (!) as Bam Adebayo started, and Kemba Walker was an awful 5-of-17 for the defeated Hornets.

Get that big man energy going, Kelly and Hassan:

Andre Drummond has gone nuclear in Detroit, scoring 31 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and hitting 8-of-10 from the free throw line, all in service of a 131-114 win over Minnesota at the Hot N’ Ready.

Luke Kennard had 21 off the bench and put up a loony-toons plus-29 in 29 minutes, while Ish Smith added a plus-28 in his 27 minutes off the bench while scoring 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Mr. Drummond?

Speaking as I was above about Luka Doncic, he had another one of those Luka stat lines, scoring 31 points on 11-of-26, trying to do too much on the road, while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists in a game the Mavericks lost 132-123 in Washington.

Dallas is 6-26 on the road. It’s frankly ridiculous at this point.

Bradley Beal paced the Wizards with 30 points, while Trevor Ariza added 22 and Jabari Parker poured in 20 off the bench.

The Wizards shot 53.8 percent as a team and dished 30 team assists, running the scoreboard operator ragged.

Plenty of highlights for the whole DC family:

Brooklyn beat Cleveland 113-107, both avoiding embarrassment at home and keeping pace with Detroit; both teams are a game over .500 as the stretch drive continues, tied for sixth place.

Jarrett Allen had 15 points and 11 rebounds on 6-of-7 from the field, D’Angelo Russell had 25, and Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench and went wild for 28 points on 10-of-21.

Team highlights? Team highlights!

The Bulls gave the Pacers all they wanted before losing earlier this week.

Last night, Chicago did Indiana a huge solid by beating the 76ers 108-107 in Chicago.

Zach LaVine had 39 points including the game-winner, the Bulls overcame a terrible 6-of-23 night from three, and for the Sixers, Ben Simmons had 18 points on 0-of-0 from three-point land to go with 11 rebounds and 7 assists but fell just short.

I love the Bulls’ City Edition unis inspired by the Chicago flag, by the way. See them in action with team highlights:

The Pelicans had a chance to catch the Lakers and Wolves and move into a 3-way tie for 10th.

Instead, they lost to the Jazz 114-104 at home.

Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 13 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting, Donovan Mitchell had 22 points on a less-efficient 10-of-18, and the Jazz shot the lights out from close to the basket, making 38-of-58 (65.5 percent) of their two-point shots to overcome shooting 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) from three.

Nothing wrong with getting up close and personal with the rim, right?

New Orleans had a heavy cross to Gobert on Ash Wednesday:

And finally, Gordon Hayward was the hero for the second straight game on the road in California for the Celtics, as Boston beat Sacramento 111-109 on Hayward’s game-winner.

Boston’s highly-paid sixth man had 12 points on 6-of-10, Al Horford had a huge game for the starters with 21 points (on 8-of-10), 11 rebounds, and seven assists, Jayson Tatum had 24, and the Celtics hit 50.6 percent of their shots from the field.

We’d show you the whole game’s highlights, but you’re just here for this, aren’t you:

Is He Any Good later. Me wondering how I turned into Douglas Adams in regards to deadlines now. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!