Breakfast Special: Blowouts! Nothing But Blowouts!

There were 12 games in the NBA Wednesday night. The only ones that were close were meaningless games between non-playoff teams, so you can guess how the Lightning Round’s going today.

But first, we’ve got three games with pretty meaningful playoff implications, even if all of them were clobberings.

Nugget Revenge

The last time the Nuggets and Spurs faced off, in San Antonio, Denver got sent down by the squeakiest of margins, losing by a single point.

For the return engagement in Denver, the Nuggets left nothing to chance and destroyed the Spurs 113-85.

Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Monte Morris and Malik Beasley had matching 19-point games off the bench and posted paired plus-20 differentials in their 26 and 25 minutes, respectively, to lead the team.

And the Spurs’ sniper rifles misfired as they went just 5-of-27 from three while the Nuggets shot 12-of-33 from out there and 54 percent overall.

If this is a first-round preview, we might just see a surprisingly competitive series that goes 7 where the home team wins every game.

Jokic is your man of the match in a game where Denver assisted on a crazy 41 of their 47 made shots:

The Celtics Set the Table…

Boston beat Miami 112-102 behind 23 points from Kyrie Irving, 21 from Al Horford, and 25 from Gordon Hayward off the bench.

Goran Dragic had an ugly game, shooting just 3-of-15 from the field, and Dwyane Wade wasn’t much better at 5-of-13.

Is Hayward peaking at the right time, have the Celtics found their own Lou Williams for the playoffs, and does all of this mean we may see a surprise Eastern Conference Finals run for Boston as they dispatch Indiana and (gulp) Milwaukee?

Celtics fans have had an emotional roller coaster of a season that is the bulk of the reason they’re in fifth at this point, but it looks like they’re finally coming together (it always looks like that.)

Kyrie is your man of the match:

…and the Pacers Come to Eat.

The Pacers, doing their part to keep the Eastern Conference first-round playoff narrative alive, made sure they remained tied with Boston in the standings ahead of Friday night.

Indiana went to Detroit and beat the Pistons 108-89, and this time Indiana’s infamously slow first quarter on offense was at least matched by a super-sized effort from the defense to make it 18-15 after the first quarter.

And unlike a previous era of Pacers and Pistons basketball that was famous for scores like that, nobody went into the crowd this time.

Thaddeus Young had 21 points to lead the Pacers, Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner had 17 apiece, and Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 13 rebounds (and just one foul—great job, motherf—ers!) as Indiana’s hotshot sixth man.

The Indiana defense played a truly lockdown game, holding Detroit to 38.8 percent shooting and 26.8 percent on their 41 three-point attempts; Detroit made just 11 of them.

The only malice in the Hot N’ Ready was fans getting annoyed at their own team.

Oh, and Wayne Ellington, Pacers Killer? He had 24 points and was just minus-1 in his 35 minutes.

Thad Young, Teammate of the Year and Man of the Match:

Lightning Round!

The Houston Rockets demolished the Los Angeles Clippers in Tinseltown 135-103.

James Harden had a ref-aided 31 points on 9-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line as Clippers broadcasters got salty at a guy who “plays the wrong way” and just hung 31 on your team in a blowout.

Git gud, son.

Highlights of a demolition:

The Orlando Magic cling to the 8 spot in the East at 39-40, tied with the Nets for seventh, half a game down to Detroit for sixth, and half a game up on Miami for ninth.

They handled the Knicks 114-100 at home behind 29 points and 13 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic and survived great Knicks games from Mario Hezonja (29 points) and Kevin Knox (21 on 7-of-13.)

New York shot 6-of-27 from three, Orlando shot 11-of-32, and five extra makes on five extra tries is a fine way to win by 14.

VOOOOOOOOOCH

The Bulls won a “thriller” in Washington 115-114 that would’ve been a lot more thrilling if the game had any meaning whatsoever.

Walt Lemon Jr. had 24, JaKarr Sampson had 18 off the bench, and the Bulls got a Total Team Effort from a lot of guys who I’ll admit I had to look up on Basketball Reference because I’d never heard of them.

Seriously, look at the ESPN box score and how many first names do you know by the initial? Even Bulls fans?

It’s a Lemon party:

The Sixers aren’t seriously trying to choke away the 3 seed, are they?

Philadelphia is 49-30, and while they are still all but guaranteed that third slot and a crack at the easy outs jockeying for position, a 130-122 loss in Atlanta wasn’t exactly a statement game.

Trae Young continues his late push to try and become Rookie of the Year, scoring 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting, combining that with 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Young brought a terrible season back from the dead, and now he’s man of the match:

In the playoff position hunt, Detroit, Miami, and Brooklyn all lost, a boon to the Magic.

That Brooklyn loss came at home to Toronto 115-105.

Pascal Siakam had 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting, added 10 rebounds, and all but locked up Most Improved Player.

There’s just one question left…is Siakam worthy of an All-NBA team this year? If Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are first team, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are second team…who’s third team? LeBron James? Blake Griffin? LaMarcus Aldridge? Tobias Harris?

Go ahead, tell me the case for leaving Siakam off the All-NBA list.

Here you go, the case for P-Skills:

Kemba Walker had 32 points, the New Orleans Pelicans turned the ball over 19 times, and the Charlotte Hornets, who had just 11 giveaways, won 115-109.

It’s amazing what Kemba can do when he doesn’t have to deliver in clutch situations.

The Hornets shot terribly (42.2 percent FG, 35.3 percent 3PT) but all those extra possessions made enough of a difference to elevate them.

Then again, 21 points in the fourth quarter, even if none of them were make-or-break individual shots, is still pretty impressive.

“No thanks to you, Andrew” has been the mantra of Karl-Anthony Towns, and as Towns’ 28 points and 13 rebounds carried Minnesota to a 110-108 win at Dallas, Andrew Wiggins had 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting and posted a minus-9 in his 35 minutes, forcing the Timberwolves to effectively win just over a quarter of basketball by 11 points.

Luka Doncic had 27 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, keeping up with Trae for bragging rights even in the spring.

But the big KAT and his 12-of-15 shooting earn man of the match honors:

Utah beat Phoenix 118-97 because LOL Suns.

Donovan Mitchell had 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting, Joe Ingles had 27 points on 10-of-13, and Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 13 rebounds on 7-of-9 from the field.

The Jazz as a team shot 57.1 percent from the field and 16-of-32 from three-point land because basketball is fun when the other team can’t defend a G-League team.

Let’s give this one to Gobert, because he does this every night it seems:

And finally, Portland’s “no Nurk? Call the Turk!” run with Enes Kanter continues, this time leading to a 116-89 home thrashing of the Memphis Grizzlies at the Domus.

Damian Lillard had 20 points, but it was the Turk who exploded to lead the Blazers with 21 on 10-of-15 shooting. Kanter also had 15 rebounds in a game that was functionally over after a 24-10 third quarter scoreline victory for the Oregonians.

And oh by the way, how about back-to-back triple-doubles for Evan Turner? The Kid had 13 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, and a man of the match nod in Portland’s 50th win:

Coming later (and I mean Thursday this time, I swear), Stephen Curry gets the next mention in the four-part Is He Any Good MVP race series.

Stay tuned for that, and thanks for reading!