Breakfast Special: LeBron, D-Wade, and Era Farewells

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade brought the world four Finals runs in Miami, tons of entertaining basketball, and no small few great matchups as foes when the King toiled in Cleveland.

And Monday night, we got the last time the two men will meet on a basketball court in a regular-season NBA game (and no, Wade doesn’t get to be an All-Star. Unless Victor Oladipo stays hurt. Then we can talk.)

Of course it was a competitive game. The Lakers won 108-105 to go to 17-10 overall and 11-4 at home. Wade got some extended run off the bench and finished…terribly, trying to do too much; he was 6-of-19 from the field to get to 15 points and 10 assists.

LeBron, on the other hand, nearly notched a triple-double with 28 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists.

But it was Kyle Kuzma who truly excelled, letting youth upstage the Class of 2003 by pouring in 33 points on 14-of-22 from the field.

The Lakers as a team shot 43.8 percent from three, won the turnover battle 17-12, shot better (45.6 percent against 44.7) from the field overall, and canned a win they probably shouldn’t have after they hit just 12-of-20 from the line and got out-rebounded.

Justise Winslow had 28 off the bench for Miami on 11-of-20 shooting and 6-of-10 from long range; Miami may be 11-15, but they’ve got some talent floating around that roster.

And sorry Kyle, but you’d have had to score a lot more than 34 points to upstage this moment in basketball history:

No 20-Point Lead Is Safe

The Indiana Pacers led the Washington Wizards 87-62 in the third quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the score was 89-84.

Variance is beautiful. The NBA is beautiful. And as a Pacers fan, I both loved (in the sense of it being fantastic competition) and hated (watching my team melt down) every minute of it.

Indiana rescued the game and won 109-101, but they made a meal of it thanks almost entirely to committing 23 turnovers to the Wizards’ 12.

Myles Turner led the way as the Pacers improve to 7-4 without Victor Oladipo after their fourth straight win. Darren Collison notched 17 assists. And Bojan Bogdanovic continues to step up his scoring with Vic out, pouring in 22 on 3-of-5 from three and 8-of-14 overall.

Turner had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and at least 5 blocks. I say “at least” because no way did he only have that few. The official scorer needs to lay off the sauce at work.

No 20-Point Lead Is Safe, Part Deux

As if the Pacers weren’t Cardiac Kids enough for one night, the Oklahoma City Thunder led the Jazz 99-75 at the three-quarter break.

They won by just nine, 122-113. At least they didn’t choke it away.

Russell Westbrook stunk out the joint (4-of-18 shooting) and got a triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) because that’s just the kind of player Russ is.

It was Paul George who powered the win, scoring 31 points on just 10 field goal attempts (8-10 FG, 5-6 3PT, 10-12 FT) as the perfect counterpoint to Westbrook’s trying to Josh Smith his team out of the game.

Dennis Schroder added 23 on 9-of-17 off the bench in 30 minutes.

Thunder players not named Westbrook shot 58.2 percent. That’s how you win a ballgame.

PG13 is your man of the match:

Lightning Round!

Ben Simmons had 18 points on 0-of-0 three-point shooting, threw in 10 rebounds and 7 assists, and played a role in a Total Team Effort, where 7 Sixers scored in double figures in a 116-102 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Joel Embiid had 24 points and hit 11-of-14 from the line, Philly grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, and Embiid’s plus-30 showed just how powerless Andre Drummond is defensively against him. Embiid’s real estate empire in Drummond’s head is growing!

But the man of the match? Furkan Korkmaz, whose name sounds like the Swedish Chef getting angry on December 25, scoring 18 points to set a new career-high:

Boston held New Orleans to just 100 points, which besides being absolutely bonkers and a sign that NBA scoring is back and here to stay (gotta love it!), is a good way to exploit the Pelicans’ terrible defense, which the Celtics did in a 113-100 win.

Anthony Davis had 41 points, but the Celtics, led by Marcus Morris and his 31 points, won the rebounding battle 53-39, shot 48.9 percent as a team, and did all of the above running the Maine Red Claws out there, as Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Kyrie Irving all sat this one out.

At some point you start to wonder if the Celtics aren’t better when they downsize their talent level. Brad Stevens does his best work without big star power.

Give it up for Morris:

Milwaukee spoiled Matthew Dellavedova‘s big Wisconsin homecoming, smacking the Cavaliers 108-92 behind 20 points from Eric Bledsoe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out the game with a “sore neck”, which is delightful coach-speak for “Dude, it’s the Cavs. We good.”

Malcolm Brogdon was 8-of-12 in an ugly game where the Bucks shot 43.8 percent and the Cavs just 37.5.

The Bledshow gets the highlight reel:

It was a huge night for the Namesake, as De’Aaron Fox notched 25 points on 8-of-16, Buddy Hield was plus-27 and added 14 points, and Willie Cauley-Stein put in a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds.

The Kings spanked the angry, discordant Chicago Bulls 108-89 at United Center, continuing to make a trash fire of the Jim Boylen era in the coach’s chair.

The Bulls turned the ball over 27 times. That’s not going to win you many ballgames.

Look who’s serving up some breakfast. Go get ’em, Namesake:

Luka Doncic and the Mavericks just flat-out humiliated the Orlando Magic 101-76. Sometimes a 20-point lead is safe, and it’s usually when the other team stinks out the joint so badly that they shoot just 36 percent from the field and attempt only five free throws the whole game.

Doncic wasn’t even that good; he was 2-of-11 but had a wacky stat line with 7 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, but Dallas shot 25 free throws (making 21, a 17-point edge) and stormed to victory.

Even though he couldn’t shoot for beans, he’s still the man of the match, because that’s just Dallas basketball for America’s Best Slovenian 2.0:

The Clippers may have needed overtime, but a win’s a win and the Clips polished off the Suns 123-119.

HERO OF SERBIA had six points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes as the starter, Tobias Harris had 33 points on 11-of-19 from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the line, and even though just three Clippers reached double figures, when you’re playing the 4-23 Suns, you can get away with a bad night. Even if they almost yacked it away.

Harris is the featured attraction for this one:

Denver now has Swaggy P, but Nick Young was a DNP-CD as the Nuggets beat the Grizzlies 105-99.

Nikola Jokic had 27 points and 12 boards, while Monte Morris channeled his inner Vinnie Johnson off the bench for 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

PRIVATE JOKER, SOUND OFF LIKE YOU GOT A PAIR!

And finally, Stephen Curry continues to prove why he’s the MVP, as the horror show that was Warriors basketball without Steph due to injury has evaporated in favor of the team that everyone thinks will go 82-0 in the preseason previews every year.

Steph had 38 points, hit 7-of-14 from long range, had seven rebounds and six assists, and led the Dubs to a 116-108 win over Minnesota.

For the Wolves, who are 2-10 on the road, Karl-Anthony Towns saw a great game wasted; KAT had 31 points and 11 rebounds on an efficient 11-of-15 shooting total, but it was for naught as the Wolves had as many threes as a team (in 25 attempts) as Steph had by himself in 14.

So you tell me who the man of the match is, hm?

Well, gee…guess who.

Pacers Tuesday is coming later, possibly early evening. Don’t worry, I’ll signal boost it for y’all folks tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @RealFoxD for all the latest updates and thanks for reading!