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 instead, I’ll just run this tweet…
Sabonis fouls out…gives the refs a piece of his mind on his way out. pic.twitter.com/YWrAwpTmqB
— Pistons Lead (@PistonsLead) April 2, 2019
Before Sabonis departed under less than ideal circumstances, he had 18 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes.
The Pacers are now guaranteed no worse than fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, with Friday night’s game against Boston looming large.
Speaking of the Pacers in the Pistons game, though, it was a Total Team Effort on the high end of the range for that term; Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points each, Sabonis had 18, Myles Turner had 17 points and five blocked shots, and the Pacers got seven guys into double figures.
Indiana only ran nine guys out on the floor, and T.J. Leaf only played four minutes because of the referees.
If Cory Joseph hadn’t have stunk out the joint (2-of-9, four points in 31 minutes), Indiana might’ve gotten eight guys into double figures.
“Are you done? Can I score now?”
Thon Maker jumps clear over Bogey before the layup. Seesh. pic.twitter.com/XmNVofknZd
— Tony East (@TEastNBA) April 2, 2019
Since the Pacers don’t run total game highlights or man of the match stuff on their Twitter feed like good social-media teams do, here’s Thon Maker when he wasn’t jumping over Bojan:
📊 14 PTS | 4-7 3PM | 6 REB | 4 BLK | 2 AST pic.twitter.com/wzxgwWdYuo
— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) April 2, 2019
C’mon, Indiana. Up your Twitter game.
Setting Up the First Round
The Celtics led 22-4 and 32-10 against the Miami Heat.
They nearly blew the game, holding off a furious Miami charge to end up winning 110-105.
Derrick Jones Jr. had one of the saddest stat lines you will ever see from an NBA starter, as he scored one point, grabbed two rebounds, and posted a minus-19 in 17 minutes.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 25 points, Al Horford had a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, and the Celtics, despite losing three of the four quarters, got enough of a head start in the first to grab the W.
Show me the triple-double, as Horford is the man of the match:
— NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2019
No Lead Is Safe
The Toronto Raptors trailed the Orlando Magic 42-31 in the second quarter.
They then went on an extended scoring run in which they outscored Orlando 58-24.
And despite opening up a 23-point lead in the process, the Raptors had to give some effort at the end to pull off a 121-109 final score.
Danny Green had 29 points to lead Toronto and shot 7-of-10 from three.
Toronto shot 19-of-37 overall from beyond the arc and posted a nice 50 percent shooting night from the field in total.
Nobody on the Raptors played more than 28 minutes, giving the starters a chance to start getting ready for the playoffs and a fun second-round matchup with Philadelphia.
Danny Green is, of course, man of the match:
Danny Green could NOT be stopped from behind the arc in the @Raptors win over Orlando! 💦🔥
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 2, 2019
Brooklyn’s brutal late-season schedule threatens to sink them out of the playoff picture, and running into Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks and losing at home 131-121 didn’t help.
Greekazoid had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe added 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting, and Milwaukee shot 47-of-94 overall and 26-of-30 from the free throw line to scorch the nets and scorch the Nets.
Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell had 28 for Brooklyn, but doing it on 9-of-27 shooting doesn’t make it good.
Who’s up for a Game 7 in Wisconsin in June?
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 2, 2019
With six minutes to go in the second quarter, the New York Knicks led the Chicago Bulls 59-31.
New York won…by eight points, 113-105. No 20-point lead is safe.
Mitchell Robinson had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks for the Knicks, Luke Kornet led Gotham in scoring with 24 on 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from three, and the Knicks made 18 three-pointers to Chicago’s four (18-of-38 NYK, 4-of-17 CHI.)
The Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg and somehow managed to get a worse coach.
Kevin Knox and his 19 points and 8 rebounds get the highlight reel:
No Nurk? Get the Turk!
Enes Kanter had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Evan Turner had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on just five shots (5-5 FG) off the bench, and the Portland Trail Blazers scored 75 points in the first half and 132 for the game to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 132-122.
Five shots and a triple-double. Wow.
— NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2019
Dallas smoked Philadelphia at home 122-102, barbecue winning out over cheesesteak.
Salah Mejri had 16 points and 14 rebounds off the bench, Justin Jackson led the Mavs with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and the Sixers stunk out the joint shooting the ball at just 38.7 percent overall and 6-of-33 (18.2 percent) from three.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 2, 2019
Kemba Walker had 47 points in Charlotte’s loss to Utah, as 111-102 ensured that none of Walker’s shots would have to come when the actual game was on the line, so he could show out.
Rubio gets man of the match because the Jazz Twitter person said so:
📹| @rickyrubio9 ⤵️
20p | 13a | 2r | 9-9 ft pic.twitter.com/Rc1XDOgye7
— x – Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 2, 2019
And finally, the Suns “beat” the Cleveland Cavaliers in a loser-gets-Zion match.
The Cavs did the Prokhorovka on the dance floor, winning the tank battle as the Suns and Knicks both won.
Devin Booker had 25 points, Mikal Bridges was plus-20 in 41 minutes (and the Suns were minus-11 in the seven minutes he sat), and the Suns won the ballgame 122-113 behind 54.8 percent shooting from the field overall.
Here’s to Josh Jackson and his monster stat line:
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 2, 2019
Coming later: Pacers Tuesday! It’s about a first-round playoff matchup. I may go into full-fledged panic mode.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading!