Breakfast Special: Lakers Softer Than Chris Denari’s Water

Pacers fans have for the past 13 years been blessed with the best play-by-play man you’ve probably never heard of, and Chris Denari did his 1,000th broadcast for Fox Sports Indiana (and for those of you in the national audience who don’t get the joke in the headline, Denari is spokesman for a water-softener company in the Hoosier State, a source of affectionate catchphrases from the Pacers faithful.)

The team rose to the occasion, giving Denari and his partner Quinn Buckner plenty to talk about as they turned a Kinetico riot hose on the Lakers and sprayed them down to the tune of the worst loss of LeBron James‘ career.

The final score of 136-94 was a perfect storm of the best the Pacers can be, as Indiana shot 56.6 percent from the field, set a franchise record for made three-pointers by hitting 19-of-34, and got an astounding 24 points and plus-37 on-court rating out of Bojan Bogdanovic.

Myles Turner had four blocks, twice as many swats as the entire Lakers team managed, and that went along with 22 points and…one rebound. Sigh.

(but seriously, Turner’s defense has been off the charts.)

On top of that, Domantas Sabonis, Aaron Holiday, and Edmond Sumner had 17 points each off the bench to aid a Total Team Effort from Indiana, which had seven players in double figures.

The Pacers dominated the glass, pulling down 11 offensive rebounds, out-rebounding the Lakers 41-34 overall, and they took care of the ball while taking it away from the Los Angeles offense (19-10 turnover advantage.)

On top of that, Bogdanovic had as many made threes (four, on ten tries) as the Lakers did as a team (4-of-21.)

What a masterpiece. For one glorious night, it was…well, not β€œVictor Who?” exactly (Tyreke Evans had just seven points in relief of the injured Victor Oladipo), but a sign of just how deep the Pacers are.

Looks like the Lakers need to trade their entire roster. Not even for Anthony Davis. Just to get them out of LeBron’s hair.

This is what β€œtough as nails” looks like:

A super-sized dose of highlights:

Russell Westbrook, Stat Sheet Stuffer Supreme

Westbrook put up another triple-double for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who disposed of the Orlando Magic 132-122.

Westbrook had 16 points on 5-of-14 (35.7 percent!) shooting, added 16 assists, and hauled down 15 rebounds, a super-sized triple-double in a weird game for Oklahoma City.

Besides Westbrook’s inefficient scoring but great counting stats, Paul George shot just 9-of-26 from the field, but that included 6-of-15 from three and 15-of-16 from the line, turning a mess into a 39-point outburst.

Take away the superstars’ 14-of-40 and the Thunder as a team shot 61.5 percent (32-of-52) to get their overall shooting efficiency up to an even 50 percent. Just a weird, wild ballgame, but that’s Thunder basketball for you.

In fact, all five Thunder starters plus two reserves scored in double figures, and that’s a Total Team Effort.

These highlights rated PG13:

Philly Needs More Serbia in its Life

The 76ers, as this goes to press, have just worked a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in which they’ve acquired Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic.

Because after losing 119-107 at home against the Toronto Raptors, Philly needs a hero. They need a HERO OF SERBIA at the end of the night.

Joel Embiid had 37 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. He’s no Boban.

Meanwhile, for the winners, Kawhi Leonard had a bizarre stat line in which he shot 3-of-11 from the field but ended up with 24 points thanks to going 16-of-17 from the line. Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyle Lowry, clearly riled up by trade rumors surrounding him, had a fire lit under him and went for 20 points as well.

Toronto dominated the turnover battle (18-10) and survived an amazing 38-of-41 shooting night from the free throw line for the Sixers. This game probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was, and it was a double-digit win for the Raptors.

Kawhilights for the man of the match:

Lightning Round!

Harris had quite the farewell game in Charlotte, as the Clippers beat the Hornets 117-115, coming from eight points down at the end of the third quarter to grab the win.

Speaking of big performances, Lou Williams is not here for the Sabonis as Sixth Man of the Year talk, and he poured in 31 off the bench to cement his point.

The Clippers hit 18-of-24 from three-point land in this one, somehow managing in equal measure to be strikingly efficient and maddeningly ill-disposed toward the long-range shot even when they had the hot hand. Good on them for the points, but 24 attempts?

This is how you get the job done:

The Celtics went to Cleveland and popped the Cavaliers in the mouth 103-96, an oddly close game for such a gross talent disparity.

What’s more, Boston’s offense wasn’t exactly MIA, but only four of nine players scored in double figures, led by Jayson Tatum‘s 25, in part because this game was played at such a crawl (an almost Fratello-like 92.2 pace.)

Boston also had the distinction of hitting all 14 of their free throws…and 12 of those were by Tatum.

They can’t all be barn burners. Sometimes the barn is left standing, especially since Cleveland couldn’t hit the broad side of one from three-point range.

Tatum’s your man of the match:

Detroit clobbered the Knicks 105-92, dropping New York to 10-43. That’s a 16-win pace over the course of a full season, just one better than the total I gave the Kristaps Porzingis-less Knicks in the season preview, and thanks for making me look smart, you beautifully incompetent fools.

Blake Griffin had 29 to lead Detroit in scoring, the Pistons turned the ball over just nine times as a team, Andre Drummond had a big 17-point, 16-rebound double-double, and the Knicks passing attack was nonexistent as they assisted on just 17 of their 36 makes.

A straightforward win by a mediocre team over a putrid one. Griffin is your man of the match:

A little bit of the ol’ grit-and-grind still lives in Memphis, as the Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-106.

Mike Conley led the way with 25 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. had 23, and the Grizz, continuing a theme for the winners in the league, had just eight turnovers.

It didn’t hurt that despite the fact that they couldn’t hit a two-pointer to save their lives, they were 15-of-34 from three (they hit just 21 of their 52 two-point shots.)

And how about Ivan Rabb, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and some love from the G-League:

And finally, the Dwyane Wade Farewell Tour headed to Moda Center for one last dance in Portland, which the Heat won 118-108 on national television.

Hassan Whiteside was 11-of-12 from the field on his way to 28 points and 11 rebounds, Wade scored 22 on 9-of-17 off the bench, and the Heat shot 54.2 percent overall as a team.

Miami also won the rebound battle 46-33. That will get you an advantage.

Give it up for D-Wade:

Seven games in the NBA Wednesday, as plenty of players might be playing their last game in the uniforms they suit up in. The deadline is coming Thursday, and that will set the stage for a big finish to the season after the All-Star Game.

And, of course, Pace and Space will stay on top of all of it. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!