Breakfast Special: B-Sides And Rarities

The Charlotte Hornets actually gutted out a close win for a change.

Furthermore, they managed to get down 14 and still claw their way back.

Besides, holding Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 20 points and 11 rebounds is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

The real surprise here? Mike Budenholzer’s ultra-efficient inside-out game didn’t generate the easy two-point chances that are normally its hallmark (Milwaukee, at 59 percent, leads the entire NBA in two-point percentage), and that’s how 110-107 wins happen; the Bucks shot just 21-of-44 (47.7 percent) on the deuces.

Kemba Walker had a weird 21 points in this one. He shot just 3-of-12 (!) from the field, but managed a ludicrous 13-of-16 from the line, pulling a page from James Harden (more on him later), while Jeremy Lamb managed a much more traditional 21 on 8-of-15.

This wasn’t a game Charlotte had any business winning. Too many two-pointers, not enough rebounds, but a three-turnover advantage and four extra makes at the line did the job.

Walker and Lamb share the honors here:

The Unholy Humiliation of the Utah Jazz

The Pacers just ruined my Tuesday article.

See, later today, I’m going to be writing about Indiana’s record and point differential in games without Victor Oladipo since Vic came over to Indy before the 2017-18 season. I had a bunch of jokes ready to go about the 2012 Bobcats, and now I’m going to have to use “except for the games against Utah” to crack those jokes. (Stay tuned for that article though. You’ll like it.)

Because the Jazz just lost by 33 points, 121-88, against a team that didn’t have its best player on the floor, and they remain the only team in the NBA to lose to the Vic-less Pacers.

Sure, Donovan Mitchell was out, but that doesn’t explain why nobody on Utah had more than Derrick Favors‘ 13 points. Rudy Gobert had 12. Joe Ingles had 10. That’s your double-figure scorer list for the whole team.

Meanwhile, Doug McDermott had 21 off the bench to lead the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, Myles Turner scored 16 on 7-of-8 to pace the starters, and Indiana pulled a Total Team Effort getting seven guys over the double figure line.

The fundamental indicators were close. Turnovers, rebounds, free throw attempts, all even or within one, and Indy made just two extra free throws.

They just made shots. To the tune of 58.3 percent from the field and 9-of-18 from long range.

And no, you never like to see a team take 66 two-pointers and only 18 three-pointers, but if you hit 40 of those twos (60.6 percent), who’s about to complain? (besides me. Get a freakin’ modern basketball coach on that sideline!)

Give it up for Turner:

Defensive Curiosities And Scoring Explosions

Kevin Durant had 49 points on 16-of-33 for the Warriors. Klay Thompson had 29 points on 11-of-23 (and 6-of-12 for three.)

Meanwhile, Aaron Gordon had zero points in 22 minutes, missing all six of his shots.

So the Warriors won 116-110 to drop the Magic at Oracle Arena.

Draymond Green and Stephen Curry remain out of the lineup. Dray’s getting Butler’d, Steph has a gimpy groin (and apparently I’ve been replaced by Beavis and Butt-head writing this column.)

Even weirder in this star-driven monstrosity of a contest? Nikola Vucevic had 30 and Terrence Ross added 28 off the bench for the Magic.

Neither team got a thing out of their scorers below the two primary guys. In fact, the Warriors only had two double-figure scorers total in a game they got 116.

This game was wacky. Like, strangest-game-all-year wacky.

But hey, you score 49, you get on the highlight reel.

Lightning Round!

James Harden scored 54 for the Rockets, who lost to the Wizards (!) in overtime 135-131.

I guess getting a funky triple-double (Harden had 13 assists and 11 turnovers) isn’t good for your team.

Eric Gordon had 36 for the Rockets as well; getting 90 from your backcourt should win you a game!

But 36 from John Wall, 32 from Bradley Beal, and a 56.8 percent shooting night coupled with a five-turnover advantage (19-14) proved decisive in the end.

Give it up for the eventual new face of the amnesty clause:

A basketball game was played in Cleveland, the Cavaliers lost it after winning two straight, and order was restored to the NBA universe.

Minnesota won 102-95 on the strength of 24 from Robert Covington and 21 from Karl-Anthony Towns, who also pulled down 10 rebounds.

There weren’t eye-popping stats here, just a Timberwolves team that took good care of the ball, won the turnover battle 16-8, and parlayed the eight extra possessions into a seven-point win.

All eyes north and on RoCo, please:

A solid outing from the Boston starters led to a big 124-107 road win in New Orleans.

Kyrie Irving had 26, Al Horford had 20, Jayson Tatum also had 20, and Marcus Morris poured in 19, while Boston shot 19-of-39 from three-point land as a team.

Oh, and the Celtics won the turnover battle 22-13. That’s a paddlin’.

Chief Sitting Duck is your man of the match:

And finally, consider these weird stats from San Antonio’s 108-107 win at Chicago:

LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, besides combining for 41 points on 17-of-30 shooting, hit 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Only Patty Mills (who made his lone FT attempt) took another free throw for the entire team.

The Bulls shot 14-of-33 from three against San Antonio’s 10-of-30 and still lost.

And Zach LaVine‘s inefficiency? It might well have been the difference, as his 28 points came on a Dark Ages-esque 10-of-26 from the field.

And there were less “heroics” and more “LaMarcus throws down a hard and-one, gives his team a seven-point lead, and they don’t score again, nearly blowing the game” in execution.

Get ready for a wild ride through the Pacers’ roster in Pacers Tuesday today, stay tuned, and thanks for reading!