Breakfast Special: LOLeBron

Image via Bob Evans Restaurants

Man, any night the Lakers lose is a good night. I wear my fan loyalties on my sleeve around here, and the simple fact is that I grew up in Boston, rooted for Larry Bird when I was a kid in the ’80s, and fully intend to teach my own children someday to recoil in instant disdain from anything purple and gold.

So for the San Antonio Spurs to march into Staples Center, get 37 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and 32 from DeMar DeRozan, and overcome those exact same point totals from Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James, respectively, in a 143-142 win?

Good times were had. Now for the Red Sox to inflict the same fate on the Dodgers and give Magic Johnson a double-whammy.

In the wacky game of dueling stat lines, DeRozan had 32 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds on 11-of-29 shooting.

LeBron? 32 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds. On 11-of-25, mind, a bit more efficient because c’mon, we’re talking about Dark Ages DeRozan here, but still impressive.

And the breakneck 103.6 pace and 125.0 offensive rating for the winners (and 124.1 for the losers)?

I’m going to examine this in a bit more detail next week when the sample’s bigger, but so far the NBA is playing with the highest pace since 1985-86 and the highest offensive rating of all time. I’m just Metta World Peace here; I LOVE BASKETBALL!

But how about Patty Mills getting the job done to win this one in the extra frame?

And five minutes out of your highlight-watching life that you’re sure to love:

What a game.

Dear Gods, the Raptors Are Scary!

Look, it’s not just that Kawhi Leonard looks like the MVP through four games, with 25.7 points and nine rebounds per game total.

Kyle Lowry has a new lease on life, the overall team is fourth in the NBA in both their own eFG% and lowest opponents’ eFG% (and the difference—.565 against .469—explains as well as any one stat why they’re 4-0), and thoughts that this team is a four seed rather than a potential Finals participant seem to be melting like the polar ice caps.

All of the above was on full display in a 127-106 home thrashing of the Hornets Monday night.

Leonard had 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Lowry had 16 on 5-of-9 to go with 14 assists. And the Raps shot 57.5 percent from the field against just 42.3 for the Hornets.

The Raptors are scary.

M-V-P! M-V-P! How about Leonard, your man of the match?

Don’t Look Now, But Steph Looks 2016-Ish Here

Stephen Curry is off to a blazing hot start on the young season.

The sharpshooter is shooting 46.8 percent from three-point range on over 11 attempts a game, he’s hitting over 60 percent of his two-pointers, and he’s averaging 30.5 points a game through four.

Plus, great teams win big and lose close, and the Warriors’ lone loss was by two points on the road against a Nuggets team that looks like a Western Conference Finals contender.

Golden State thrashed Phoenix 123-103 Monday, a bizarre stat game where Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, and DeAndre Ayton combined for 75 points on 29-of-49 shooting (59.2 percent) and the rest of the Suns combined had 28 points on 10-of-37 (27 percent.)

Steph, meanwhile, poured in 29 on 11-of-18 shooting including 6-of-13 from long range, making all five of his twos.

Kevin Durant added 22 of his own, the Dubs shot a combined 51.1 percent as a team, and there’s your ballgame.

Steph gonna Steph:

LIGHTNING ROUND!

The Pacers played a listless fourth quarter and turned a 73-72 third-quarter lead into a 101-91 defeat, honking the final frame 29-18 on the road in Minnesota.

The Wolves were in poor sorts when Andrew Wiggins got hurt, and Value Over Replacement Player was shown to be valid in as much time as it took replacement player Josh Okogie to come in and provide value over Wiggins with a 12-point, plus-8 night.

Karl-Anthony Towns had a field day on the boards, ending up with 17 points and 14 rebounds overall:

The Celtics lost at home to the Magic, one of those inexplicable losses that good teams don’t usually drop.

Trouble was, the C’s offense just wasn’t firing, and Orlando escaped with a 93-90 win in a weird game where there were only 19 free throw attempts total for both teams.

Nikola Vucevic led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds as all five Magic starters scored in double figures, as Jonathan Isaac‘s 18 and 12 did a lot to pace the squad as well:

The Bucks are now 3-0, off to a stellar start and sitting pretty at home.

Milwaukee beat the Knicks 124-113 behind 31 points (on 13-of-29) from Giannis Antetokounmpo and a great night shooting the ball from long range as they canned 17-of-40 from three-point land.

Khris Middleton added 30 points of his own on 11-of-14, a striking display of efficiency.

But let’s give it up for the Greekazoid, who’s thriving now that he has a real coach:

The Bulls may have gotten 34 points from Zach LaVine, but basketball is a team game and the Mavericks’ combination of offensive rebounds (13-7), superior free throw shooting (20 makes to 14 as both sides shot 21 attempts), and winning the turnover battle (19-15) proved decisive in a 115-109 conquest at home.

Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan shared the honors on their 19 and 18 points, respectively, in the highlight reel:

Memphis beat Utah 92-84 in what we can only hope is the ugliest game in the NBA all season.

The game was played at a 94.9 pace, the Grizz shot 36.9 percent and the Jazz canned just 35.4 percent of their attempts, and this was just ugly with a capital Ugly all game long.

Highlights, if they can be called such, from Mike Conley and Marc Gasol:

And finally, Markieff Morris got to play hero for the Wizards, who marched into Portland and beat the Blazers 125-124 in overtime.

Morris was 9-of-15 overall and 6-of-10 from three-point range, and the Wiz got some generous help from C.J. McCollum, who kindly shot 5-of-25 from the field in order to blow a winnable game for his team.

Of course, one team’s choke still requires another team’s solid performer, and that’s where Bradley Beal steps in:

Coming later today, an examination of Nate McMillan as Pacers coach that finally actually defines one of my favorite catchphrases. Learn all about Scott-Hollins Syndrome later, and in the meantime, thanks for reading!