Breakfast Special: LeBron Joins the 30,000 Point Club

LeBron James has done the inevitable, and of course he’d do it in a game that had been scheduled for national TV before the season even started.

At the end of the first quarter of Cleveland’s 114-102 loss to the Spurs, LeBron hit a jump shot from the midrange, reaching the 30,000-point milestone at the youngest age out of any of the seven guys to pull off the feat in NBA history:

LeBron is the only player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, and 7,500 assists, and it’s not completely out of the question that if he stays healthy and has an unholy degree of longevity, he might not just break Kareem’s scoring record, but establish the 40,000/10,000/10,000 Club, never to admit another member.

Bron leads the league with 473 made shots, his Defensive Box Plus-Minus is actually higher than his career average despite playing on a trash team…without him, this Cavs team is the 2012 Bobcats.

As to the game itself, LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 30, shooting 12-of-18 and powering a Spurs attack that hit half its shots against Cleveland’s terrible defense. The Spurs committed just nine turnovers against Cleveland’s 18, held the Cavs to 6-of-21 shooting from three-point land, and pulled down 13 offensive rebounds to Cleveland’s six.

In other words, except for LeBron making history, this was a typical home game for San Antonio, as they ran their home record to 20-3 and kicked the Cavs’ butts all over the shop.

Aldridge is an All-Star, giving San Antonio a participant in the game in 20 straight years, the NBA’s current longest active streak, and he’s your man of the match:

What The Hell, Boston

The Celtics are regressing hard toward their point differential; take away their 16-game winning streak from earlier in the season and they’re 18-14, a 46-36 82-game pace.

Boston has lost four in a row, and their plus-4,4 differential splits the difference between 16-0 and 18-14 nicely; they project as a 53-29 squad by that metric and 58-24 by actual record.

All this is by way of saying “losing to the Lakers? Seriously?”

Sure, Los Angeles has been unbeatable at home lately, taking on all comers to win seven straight at Staples Center, not coincidentally doing it in the absence of the atrocious bust that is Lonzo Ball, but the Celtics?

Kyle Kuzma was downright heroic in this one, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter and ending up with 28 on 10-of-16 shooting overall and 5-of-7 from long range:

Marcus Smart nearly capitalized on Kuzma missing two clutch free throws, but his game-winner was no good, and the 108-107 win was complete.

Which is probably for the best; it would’ve been a shame for Kuzma to end up the scapegoat after that fantastic fourth.

Jordan Clarkson continues to make his argument that the Lakers didn’t need to draft a point guard:

Masonry Brothers in Brooklyn

Russell Westbrook had 32 in this one to lead Oklahoma City, and All-Star snub Paul George scored 28 in the Thunder’s 109-108 win at home against the Nets.

But on the subject of Brooklyn’s loss, Spencer Dinwiddie and Allen Crabbe are what would happen if the Monstars got to James Harden and Chris Paul but Mike D’Antoni continued to run his offense.

You gotta feel for poor Kenny Atkinson, who has a fantastic scheme that could win a lot of ballgames if he had better players. He’s the best coach of a bad team in the league; he and Luke Walton should be allowed to coach the All-Star Game for the East and West, respectively.

Dinwiddie and Crabbe combined to shoot 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) in a game the Nets lost by just one point. If they didn’t keep shooting the Nets out of games, the fleecing of the Cavaliers by Danny Ainge would be complete as that pick fell even further into the late lottery rather than being the bonanza that netted Boston a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2017.

Part of that is injuries; Brooklyn is a MASH unit and could seriously use Jeremy Lin right about now, but you play the hand you’re dealt, and Crabbe’s contract has become one of the worst in the league.

Then again, Crabbe and Dinwiddie, as bad as they were offensively, were only partially responsible for the Nets’ anemic defense forcing only four turnovers when Westbrook averages that many by himself this season. Brooklyn committed 12, and really, that’s about your lot.

Speaking of Westbrook, he was straight money on the game-winner:

Garrett Temple of the Dog

I don’t mind stealin’ bread from the mouths of decadence, but Garrett Temple just plain fed on the powerless as Sacramento’s cup was overfilled in Orlando, 105-99.

Temple was 14-of-17, scored 34 points, and played a big role in the continued relegation of De’Aaron Fox to the Sacramento pine; Fox started the game but played only 11 minutes.

The Kings as a team shot 49.4 percent, and Willie Cauley-Stein had 21 on 9-of-18 to pace the starting group.

But Temple was the man of the match:

Oh, and Vince Carter‘s ageless, even though he’s older than your columnist:

And Finally…

Golden State beat the Knicks 123-112 behind a 32-21 third quarter. Kevin Durant set a career high with 14 assists, Stephen Curry went for 32 points on 8-of-15 three-pointers, the Dubs shot 55.4 percent, yada yada yada…

…but the wild part is how Durant is turning into Rasheed Wallace with how he deals with the refs this season. Durant got tossed in the fourth quarter by referee James Williams, and Durant said after the game that he thought Williams was “searching” for him after Durant disputed a call in the second quarter of the game.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Kevin Durant Heel Turn. Not since Wallace and Bonzi Wells played together in Portland have a couple of whiny crybabies been so much fun to watch on a good team.

But how about some love for All-Star selection Klay Thompson, who joins Green, Curry, and Durant as the Warriors put four guys on the team:

The team you love to hate just keeps racking up the accolades:

Program note: I’ve got a good rant wound up and ready to run later today…if you want to see Angry Fox weigh in on the All-Star team…well, brace yourself. It Takes Everything to hold myself back from really getting vicious, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!