Breakfast Special: Featuring Damian Lillard’s All-Star Beef Sandwich

Man, sometimes you just want to skip ahead to the lightning round, with a fairly modest slate of games in terms of playoff implications.

But then Russell Westbrook goes out and beefs with Damian Lillard about the latter’s All-Star selection and the snubbing of Paul George, and it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Mind you, the Blazers didn’t play Oklahoma City—that would’ve been too perfect—but instead took it out on the Minnesota Timberwolves at home by a 123-114 count.

Lillard laid the smackdown on Minnesota, scoring 31 points to lead Portland in a game where defense was for suckers; the Blazers shot 54.9 percent overall and 54.8 from long range against the Wolves’ 53.6 and 37.5.

It was those made threes—17 for the winners, six for the losers—and C.J. McCollum exploding for 28 points that powered the win.

Then there’s this alley-oop…

And the men (yes, men) of the match:

Pacers Put the Garbage In Garbage Time

Indiana led by nearly 40 at one point in the third quarter. They beat the Suns 116-101, coughing up a 25-5 run late and having to put the starters back in to make sure they didn’t pull off the biggest choke job in NBA history.

When the Pacers go to garbage time, it’d probably just be better if they brought out the Mad Ants then told them to commit 24-second violations on every possession. They’d blow the lead slower.

That said, it was a fantastic performance from the starting lineup, as Victor Oladipo went for 21, Thaddeus Young for 22, Domantas Sabonis for 19, and Bojan Bogdanovic for 17, all on a combined 30-of-45 (66.7 percent) shooting.

Even with the disaster that was that fourth quarter, Indiana shot 56.3 percent; they are undefeated this season when making at least half of their shots.

Josh Jackson led Phoenix with 20 off the bench, while Devin Booker added 19, but on just 5-of-16 shooting.

Meanwhile, the All-Star with the Hoosier pride gets man of the match:

The Spurs Win A Road Game. Yes, Really.

San Antonio is nearly unbeatable at home, but they’ve had an adventure of it on the road this season.

They’ve raised their road record to 12-15 (against 20-3 at AT&T Center) with a big win at Memphis Wednesday night; they led 51-40 at halftime and cruised to a 108-85 smackdown.

Eight Spurs scored in double figures; no player had more than 15. Dejounte Murray claimed the plus/minus honor, recording a plus-25 difference on the floor while scoring 11 points.

Memphis, meanwhile, shot just 2-of-18 from three-point land and 11-of-14 from the line; San Antonio was 22-of-25 from the line and 10-of-24 out in Siberia.

Put it all together and that’s how you win ballgames on the road.

Teamwork makes the dream work as the Spurs reclaim third place:

Lightning Round!

Ben Simmons had a huge triple-double in Philly’s 115-101 win at home against Chicago, putting up 19 points, 17 boards, and 14 assists:

Andre Drummond took out his anger over the All-Star snub on the Jazz, scoring 30 points and pulling down 21 rebounds, but it was Utah who grabbed the 98-95 win in overtime behind 15 points each from Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

We’re breaking our usual “winner gets the highlight” rule because nobody on Utah played well enough to overshadow Drummond’s fantastic individual effort in the loss; Mitchell was 6-of-21. No way does he get spotlighted.

DeMarcus Cousins had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday scored 19 each as the Pelicans won in Charlotte 101-96:

Toronto went into Atlanta and beat the Hawks 108-93. Fred VanVleet led the way with 19 off the bench on just 6-of-9 from the field, efficient as a German car:

Houston made 21 three-pointers in a big win over Dallas, 104-97 on the road. When they put James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela out on the floor together, they simply don’t lose.

Harden led the way in this one with 25 points and 13 assists on 9-of-16 shooting:

And finally, Kyrie Irving had 20 points and Jayson Tatum added 18 in the Celtics’ get-back-on-track win at the Clippers. The 113-102 defeat knocked LA back to 23-24, a game back of Denver for the 8 spot out West.

The Western Conference hasn’t sent a team with a losing record to the playoffs since 1997; that team was the 36-46 Los Angeles Clippers.

Blake Griffin had 23 for the Clips, who squandered a golden gift from the referees by shooting just 27-of-39 (69.2 percent) from the free throw line against 21-of-22 (95.5 percent) for Boston. 17 extra tries should yield more than six extra makes, guys.

Irving is your man of the match:

It’s Thursday, and that means asking and answering the question, Is He Any Good?

Today’s subject: Steven Adams of the Thunder, as we sort out the difference between his being your second-best player and your fourth. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!