Breakfast Special: Kyle Kuzma Goes Beast Mode

Kyle Kuzma, after shooting an atrocious 4-of-20 in his last outing, bounced back in spectacular fashion at Staples Center, scoring 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting in just three quarters of action as the Los Angeles Lakers clobbered the Detroit Pistons 113-100.

For Detroit, they helpfully provided an atrocious shooting night of their own (44.8/31.8/57.1), got to the line only 14 times all game (making eight, against 13-of-18 for the Lakers), and played horrific defense overall, allowing the Lakers to shoot 56.1 percent overall.

Someone clearly turned up Kuzma’s “recover from slump” slider in the video game of life.

Lonzo Ball had another one of his weird games where his offensive stats were garbage (five points, 2-of-6, 1-of-4 from three, no free throws) but evidence of his future as a slicker-passing Tony Allen were on display with his 11 assists and team-high plus-24 rating in 35 minutes.

And speaking of a big plus-minus, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came off the bench and dropped 15 points on 6-of-10 against his old team and notched a plus-21 in 26 minutes.

On top of all that, Blake Griffin was terrible (16 points, zero rebounds, minus-22 on 6-of-14) and Andre Drummond was a complete Dumpster fire (2-of-12 from the field, 2-of-6 from the line, only six points against his 17 boards.)

Detroit is in free fall, now standing 17-22. The East is dividing neatly into “the Big 5, the Easy First Round Outs, and Everyone Else.”

But let’s give it up for Kuzma, who is now shooting 45.5 percent in his last two games after going 16-of-24 (yikes!)

Indiana Needs Myles Turner Back, Like, Yesterday.

It was a SEGABABA. The Pacers didn’t have Myles Turner. The Celtics wanted a shot at revenge after losing on a Victor Oladipo clutch three-pointer earlier in the season. And Boston’s been rounding into form as they try to break back into the top four from their position in fifth place in the East.

Surprise, surprise, the Celtics won 135-108.

And sure, basketball is a team game, but if Indiana’s 1-3 record and 122 Defensive Rating don’t make the case for Turner as Defensive Player of the Year, nothing will.

(huge hat tip to Tony East for the stat.)

And can someone explain to me how Nate McMillan didn’t give some run to the Mad Ants on his roster? I thought with Tom Thibodeau’s firing, we were done with coaches running their starters into the ground by leaving them in too long when it’s an 82-game season. This isn’t college football.

Boston, meanwhile, shot 56.8 percent from the field, making 50 field goals and shooting 21-of-24 from the line. To no great surprise, they also put up a Total Team Effort, getting seven guys into double figures.

Marcus Morris Sr. and Jaylen Brown each had 22, and Morris did it on just 6-of-8 shooting. Jayson Tatum had 20 points…

It’s going to be a sad day in Boston when Tatum gets traded, but c’mon, Anthony Davis? (more on the Brow in a minute.)

Anyway, Brown is your man of the match:

Another Offensive Explosion In New Orleans

No team typifies the League Pass-friendly “great offense, terrible defense” style of basketball like the New Orleans Pelicans. They are a ton of fun to watch, even as they’re awful at actually winning games and threatening the playoff teams.

The Pellies mashed Cleveland 140-124 Wednesday night, getting 38 points on 11-of-17 shooting from Anthony Davis, got 19 from Frank Jackson off the bench, shot 54.8 percent from the field and a wild 36-of-39 (!) from the free throw line, dished 33 assists…and went just 10 deep, with not a minute of garbage time for the guys on the end of the bench.

Really, Alvin Gentry? You sure on that one?

Anyway, the Brow had himself a time, and he’d trade him for Jayson Tatum too.

Lightning Round!

The Sixers thumped Washington Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, the Wizards returned the favor in Washington, winning 123-106.

Joel Embiid had 35 points and 14 rebounds for the Sixers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 34 from Bradley Beal, 23 (and a +22 rating) from Otto Porter off the bench, and a 54 percent shooting night including 48.1 percent from three for the hot-shooting Wizards.

Sorry, Process, your team has to win for you to be man of the match, them’s the rules, so Beal outshines you:

Remember when the Nets and Hawks was a Mike Budenholzer-coached 60-win team beating up a sad sack franchise without a draft pick?

Well, vengeance is sweet, as the now-6-seed Nets beat an awful Atlanta team 116-100.

D’Angelo Russell led a Total Team Effort with 23 points, Rodions Kurucs led the Nets with a +22 on-court plus/minus, and the Nets’ defense held Atlanta to just 36.3 percent from the field and a horrific 6-of-35 (17.1 percent) from long range.

But your man of the match is Vince Carter. Because I said so.

Nine out of ten home teams won in the NBA Wednesday night.

The Houston Rockets were the “fifth dentist”, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 116-109.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 27 points and 21 rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon had 24, and the weird part? Milwaukee shot only 27 threes (making eight) but beat a Rockets team that hit 18-of-48 (37.5 percent.)

Then again, the Rockets only hit about three-eighths of their two-pointers (18-of-47) as well, and that’s good for nobody.

Here’s James Harden getting pasted in the face with a basketball, the best part of the whole game:

But it’s time for Breakfast With Greekazoid:

As this goes to press, the Grizzlies lead the Spurs 96-86 after three quarters…

…wait. That was the final score? Bloody hell, mate. That’s not NBA basketball. That’s not even WNBA basketball. That’s Missouri Valley Conference circa 2005 college basketball.

LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan combined to score just 21 points on 8-of-27 shooting without attempting a three-pointer, San Antonio hit just 33.9 percent of their two-point shots (but curiously shot 40.1 percent from three), and there were a total of 105 rebounds (53 for the Spurs, 52 for the Grizzlies) in this one.

What a stinker. Marc Gasol and his 26 to lead the winners gets the highlight reel:

Dallas continues to be hard to stop at home, and the classic Western Conference “collapse toward 14th then get a win” continues to hold, this time at the expense of Team No. 15, the lowly Suns, whom Dallas smacked 104-94.

Luka Doncic exploded for 30 on 8-of-14 from the field, the Mavs shot 32-of-45 (!) from the free throw line, the team assisted on 21 of their 30 field goals (yep, a team made 30 shots and won while scoring 100-plus. Welcome to the new NBA.)

Anyway, point is, Dallas is 16-4 at home and Luka is man of the match and Rookie of the Year.

Speaking of teams coming back from the Western Conference dead, winning some ballgames, and picking one up at home, the Jazz beat Orlando 106-93.

Donovan Mitchell had 33 points on 12-of-21 shooting, Rudy Gobert had a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double, and Raul Neto posted a plus-22 to go with his 10 points in the win.

I love the Utah retro jerseys. Fantastic stuff.

And finally, CJ McCollum finally had an efficient game (he’s been awful this season), shooting 10-of-14 to get 24 points on a night when Damian Lillard just didn’t have it (16 points, 4-of-12, though Dame did have 10 assists.)

Portland beat the Bulls 124-112 in a game in which the Blazers outscored the Bulls in all four quarters by 1, 4, 5, and 2 points respectively.

Shooting 56.6 percent from the field will do that for a team even when the other guys shoot well (46.2 percent FG, 40.9 percent 3PT for the Bulls.)

And since the Blazers social media people like full-game highlights about as much as their front office likes the G-League, let’s break this down to one big highlight for CJ:

Is He Any Good coming later. Breakfast now. All those eggs in the header are getting omelet-ized. Thanks for reading!