Breakfast Special: LeBron’s Gonna Sprewell Luke Walton

Can I talk to you for a minute about our Lord and Savior Serge Ibaka?

The Toronto Raptors, without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, went into Los Angeles and absolutely humiliated LeBron James and the Lakers Sunday night, winning 121-107 in a game they led by 31 points…in the first quarter.

Seriously, it was 41 to 10 at one point.

Ibaka was 15-of-17 with 10 rebounds on his way to 34 points, Kyle Lowry dished 15 assists to go with his 21 points, and Danny Green hit 5-of-8, all from three-point land, for a tidy 15 points of his own.

Meanwhile, well…

I mean, we knew the LOLakers were bad, but this? The team’s inability to mesh with LeBron on the floor? Coach Luke Walton‘s tendency, during LeBron’s off minutes, to be able to morph his team into the free-flowing offense he used to coach in Golden State during Steve Kerr‘s back issues?

I mean, if you’re a Laker hater, this is heaven on earth, but the simple fact that Los Angeles has the same record as the Brooklyn Nets, and LeBron is more problem than solution?

It’s only a matter of time before the King’s patience runs out, and I hope he just turns into 2006 Kobe Bryant when it happens, goes full selfish scorer, and tries to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s career scoring record in two seasons.

Or LeBron’s going to snap and go full Latrell Sprewell on Walton. Either way, it’s gonna be awesome.

But Ibaka, man. Glorious.

Mike Budenholzer For Coach of the Year

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to put up downright pornographic shot charts, as they refine the principles of 2018 pace and space basketball to their ultimate conclusion.

Milwaukee shot 56 threes (and made 22 of them, for a .589 eFG%) and that wasn’t even the most efficient use of the floor.

They shot 61.5 percent on two-point shots (24-of-39) and 30-of-33 from the line.

The Kings never stood a chance, as the Bucks thumped Sacramento 144-109.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points on 8-of-11 (!) shooting, eight Bucks scored in double figures in a super-size Total Team Effort where nobody attempted more than 11 shots (except Khris Middleton, who was the lone blemish on this game with an awful 3-of-12, 12-point day), the squad won the rebounding battle 56-44, and the Kings even obliged them a few extra points by only shooting 11-of-22 from the line as a team.

My namesake De’Aaron Fox had 15 points, six assists, and six rebounds on 6-of-14, and watching him get better has been a revelation this year; he was 3-of-5 from three to rescue his efficiency in this one.

Oh, did we mention that Greekazoid also had a triple-double to go with that efficient shooting?

No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn

The Philadelphia 76ers are 6-0 at home and 0-5 on the road. They have a negative point differential for the season.

Last year’s 52-30 looks like a total fluke powered by that end-of-year 16-game winning streak, and this year’s team looks like a mishmash of disparate selfish elements.

Which is great if you’re Joel Embiid, I suppose, but not so much if you’re the team that just got murdered 122-97 by the Nets in Brooklyn.

Ben Simmons did have 20 points on 0-of-0 from three-point land to go with 12 rebounds, so there is that.

The Nets attempted 105 (!!) field goals in this one, hitting 50. The game was played at a 101.2 pace (the high volume of shots tempered by just 18 free throws and 15 offensive rebounds.)

Wait, did I just imply a 101.2 pace was a slow game? Have I mentioned how much I love the NBA in 2018?

On the same subject, how weird is it that there was a 40-shot differential in attempts between the two teams? Philly shot 31-of-65 from the field and 31-of-41 from the free throw line, which is just plain ridiculous.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget the Nets just aren’t very good; D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert had 21 and 20 points…on 21 and 20 field goal attempts. Dear gods.

Jarrett Allen‘s double-double, featuring 15 points and 10 rebounds on just 5-of-7 shooting, was the real highlight here.

Lightning Round!

The Wizards beat the Knicks 108-95. LOL, New York, what a joke, right?

(seriously, before the season I picked the Knicks to go 15-67 based on their record without Kristaps Porzingis last year, and while that’s probably doing Coach David Fizdale dirty, the fact remains this Knicks team has no talent whatsoever.)

John Wall had 26, Bradley Beal had 22, and Jeff Green had a heck of a game off the bench with 14 points and nine rebounds.

And maybe, just maybe, someone needs to ask questions about the refs in a game where the Wiz went 30-of-39 from the line and the Knicks went 12-of-16. Really, guys?

“Full Highlights”, they say. Well, I can’t say no to that, can I?

Aaron Gordon had 26 points on 11-of-20 and 4-of-10 from three.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points on 6-of-14 and 0-of-1 from three.

Who’s got the better modern NBA skillset? Hint: It’s not the guy who’s forcing Gregg Popovich to get outcoached through fault that is his own only insofar as the Spurs’ roster-building effort makes them the worst possible team for today’s league.

And that’s why Orlando won 117-110 in San Antonio, dropping the Spurs to 6-3.

Yes, 6-3 is still very good. And Popovich could coach like it’s 1935 and still guide his teams to wins. But that lack of spacing and three-point shooting is going to kick the Spurs in the nuts come April.

Who’s the man of the match? Not Aldridge.

Phoenix beat Memphis 102-100 in a game in which Marc Gasol was 2-of-13, Mike Conley was 3-of-16, and…wait…what is this stat line?

DeAndre Ayton had nine points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks on just 3-of-4 shooting in 37 minutes.

What the crap? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said of Magic Johnson that Magic “could take only three shots and still impact the game”…so I guess Ayton got to be Magic Johnson for a night.

Devin Booker had 25 along with the game-winner to lead the Suns:

And finally, this is your daily reminder that the Minnesota Timberwolves are a joke and Jimmy Butler is a master troll for all the work he’s doing in screwing that franchise and Tom Thibodeau with a rusty…ahem, this is a family site.

Portland won 111-81 at Moda Center, holding human garbage fire Andrew Wiggins to a -29 plus/minus and 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting because efficiency is for other people.
Oh, by the way, Wiggins has a 13.9 PER, career-worst .018 WS/48, and a -0.1 VORP already in 215 minutes this year. He sucks like few things that suck have ever sucked.

This is all just my way of trying to avoid giving any more praise than I have to in the direction of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who shot 13-of-30 combined to get their 34 points (18 for Lillard, 16 for McCollum) and whose efficiency is disgraceful. But hey, Portland is 7-3 and beat my Pacers in Indianapolis so maybe I’m just being a crusty old man about it.

Your man of the match? Jusuf Nurkic! 19 points to lead the way, that’s the way you do it!

More tomorrow. Because you all deserve the very best. And thanks for reading!