Breakfast Special: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The saying goes that “when it rains, it pours”, and one piece of bad news has a nasty habit of spiraling into a cavalcade of horrors, all hope for the future seeming to evaporate in one blow.

And if you thought Nate McMillan‘s offense in Indiana was bad before, getting thumped 107-89 in Washington ought to show you just how much any sign of life in that ill-designed Dark Ages system was purely the doing of Victor Oladipo.

Without Vic, the Pacers have looked utterly lost trying to score the basketball, and even though the defense isn’t a complete disaster area (Myles Turner sees to that), this team looks like they could finish 32-50 with a 35-game losing streak.

On national television, nobody on the Pacers scored more than Bojan Bogdanovic‘s 13.

Meanwhile, for the Wizards, Bradley Beal had 25, Jeff Green came off the bench and scored 23, and the Wizards rung up the Pacers for 52.6 percent shooting from the field and 42.9 from three.

The Pacers? 39.3 percent from the field and 29 percent from three.

What a disaster. When it rains, it pours, and that’s the first three-game losing streak for the franchise since December of 2017.

Beal is the man of the match. The Pacers should trade for him.

There Must Be Some Kinda Way Outta Here, Said the Joker to Anthony Davis

Nikola Jokic feasted on a Brow-less and rudderless Pelicans team, posting a 20-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double stat line as the Nuggets beat New Orleans 105-99.

Denver weathered some terrible guard play (3-of-14 for Gary Harris, 3-of-9 for Will Barton) and made up for it in the frontcourt to shoot 47.2 percent overall.

Monte Morris matched the Joker’s points lead with 20, Paul Millsap added 13 points and eight boards, and Denver made use of some extra possessions (14-9 turnover advantage) to drive this one home.

The Nuggets also came out firing after the half and won the third quarter 33-19, providing enough of a cushion for losing the other 36 minutes by eight.

That’s four straight for Denver:

Send In the Reserves, Sacramento

The Kings had something of an unusual blowout win over the Hawks in Sacramento Wednesday night.

Harry Giles led the team in plus-minus (plus-27) and in scoring (20 points), the second-leading starter on points (Nemanja Bjelica, with 12, behind Buddy Hield‘s 18) was the sixth-leading scorer on the team, and the bench unit just otherwise pounded the Hawks like cheap steak in a 135-113 win.

How much did the bench power this win in earnest? Willie Cauley-Stein started, played 20 minutes, and was minus-6 in a 22-point blowout victory.

Just a strange game for the Kings, but they all count, and if the bench can give you confidence when the starters aren’t feeling it, sure, it was against Atlanta at home, but this is how good teams come together, and the 26-25 Kings might just still be sniffing around the playoff hunt right through the rest of the season.

Give it up for Giles, making his Breakfast Special man-of-the-match debut:

Lightning Round!

The Celtics and Hornets played 24 minutes of competitive basketball in Boston, going into the half with Boston up 63-59.

The score for the rest of the game was 63-35, the final ending up 126-94.

Jaylen Brown was a beast off the bench with 24 points, Jayson Tatum led the starters with 20, all 13 Celtics who suited up scored, and Boston shot a hyper-efficient 50-of-90 (55.6 percent) to grab the big win.

All this and no Kyrie Irving? The Celtics are rounding into form, and that’s a dangerous place for the rest of the Eastern Conference to be. Brown and Tatum led the highlights:

Lauri Markkanen continues to be a double-double machine for the Bulls, putting up 14 points and 13 rebounds in a 105-89 beatdown of the Heat in Miami.

Bobby Portis, however, stole the show, coming off the bench for 26 points on 10-of-17 in the win, as Chicago shot 51.3 percent from the field and 42.1 from three to dispose of the men from South Florida.

Portis is your man of the match:

The Dallas Mavericks are not very good on the road.

But the New York Knicks are terrible everywhere.

So, after a 114-90 win in Madison Square Garden that featured a team-high 19 points from Harrison Barnes and a 53.6 percent shooting night, the Mavericks are 5-20 on the road (and 18-7 at home.)

Also, Dennis Smith Jr. had a triple-double, so there you go, 13 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and a team-best plus-23 in the big win.

But let’s show some love to Dirk Nowitzki, who is in a farewell tour of his own even as nobody is calling him an All-Star. Dirk had 14 off the bench:

Memphis tried to drag Minnesota to their level and beat them with experience, but in a game that went to overtime and still couldn’t crack 100 points for the winning team, the Timberwolves beat the Grizzlies 99-97 on a buzzer-beating game-winner from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Remarkably, it was Jerryd Bayless who got the bulk of the glory in this one, scoring 19 points, dishing 12 dimes, pulling down seven rebounds, and posting a game-high plus-17 in his 43 minutes.

The game was something you don’t see every day; a team shooting under 40 percent (38.9) and still winning.

All eyes north…to the frozen wastes of Minnesota:

And Bayless gets his due:

And finally, Portland pasted Utah 132-105, following 36 points from Damian Lillard and 30 from CJ McCollum to the promised land at “Domus Arena” (c’mon, any American Truck Simulator fans reading? Anyone? Seriously, their mock-up of Moda Center is one of the coolest parts of the Oregon expansion.)

Now then, what was I saying? Right. Basketball.

The Jazz shot the ball…not terribly, notching 44.7 percent shooting, Donovan Mitchell hit half of his shots (8-of-16) and Rudy Gobert hit 78 percent (7-of-9) of his, but they simply couldn’t stop the rain of death from above that the Blazers’ backcourt heroes put up.

Portland ended up at 53.3 percent from the field, 50 percent (16-of-32) from three, and with the advantage in every statistical category except steals (Utah won that battle 8-7 but still had 16 turnovers to Portland’s 12.)

Dame was huge…

…and so was CJ:

More great stuff to come later, as thanks to you lovely readers, Pace and Space posted its best post-relaunch traffic month (surpassing last June, when lots of people were here during the Finals.) The best is yet to come, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!