Breakfast Special: Melo, Thunder Beat Rockets

Carmelo Anthony had a great game for the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night.

His 1-of-11, two-point, minus-22 performance was the next best thing to the Thunder planting a mole on the Houston Rockets to throw the game so he could give his real team the big win.

Accordingly, the Thunder, who don’t have Russell Westbrook until he recovers from his ankle sprain, won 98-80 in an ugly game on national television.

Houston shot just ten free throws, making seven of them, and even though they made 50 percent of their two point shots (20-of-40), they were a wretched 26.2 percent (11-of-42) from three.

And just to put a cherry on the sundae, OKC won the rebound battle 52-39.

Paul George had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and an amazing plus-35 during his 35 minutes to carry his squad to the win. Which also means the team was minus-17 in just 13 minutes without him.

PG13, who also had six steals, got a little help from Steven Adams‘ stellar offensive rebounding, so let’s honor the men of the match with some highlights:

13 Bucks on the Finals

Odin in Asgard, what happened in Oakland last night?

Milwaukee went into Golden State’s house and just ransacked the place, winning 134-111 behind a Triple 20 from Giannis Antetokounmpo (24 points), Eric Bledsoe (26), and Malcolm Brogdon (20) and a plus-33 and 17 points from Khris Middleton.

Meanwhile, the Bucks totally nerfed the best three-man combo in the NBA, holding Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant to a combined 51 points. Plus, Thompson and Durant were each minus-28 and Curry was minus-26 and suffered a left adductor injury to go with everything else.

And even though the Bucks didn’t quite get the perfect result from one of their pornographic shot charts, shooting only 9-of-35 (25.7 percent) from three, they shot a whopping 43-of-66 (65.1 percent) on two-pointers and 21-of-27 (77.8 percent) at the line. You get your points how you can get them.

The Bucks are now 9-2. And yes, it’s still early, but Mike Budenholzer looks like the Coach of the Year and the Bucks look like a potential Finals team.

Bucks-Warriors Finals? Yes, please!

A Triple 20 deserves a triple-dip of highlights.

Here’s Brogdon…

…the “Bledshow”…

…and Greekazoid!

To Boston, A Gift-Wrapped Comeback, Love Phoenix

Score of the first half: 55-35 Phoenix.

Score of the second half: 65-45 Boston.

And score of overtime: 15-9, with the Celtics completing the comeback and grabbing the win.

Gordon Hayward continues to struggle, grabbing only eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes. Jayson Tatum‘s in a bit of a sophomore slump, as he had just four points on 1-of-7 in 30 minutes.

But you want everything you need to know about the Celtics and Suns?

Devin Booker dropped 38 points but took 30 shots, turned the ball over six times, and ended up minus-2.

Kyrie Irving dropped 39 points on 13-of-28, had just three turnovers, and posted a plus-7.

Boston dominated the boards (56-42), and while DeAndre Ayton’s 14-and-11 points and boards were solid for the rookie, he’s not quite Shaq yet.

Give it up for Irving:

And Finally…

The Portland Trail Blazers just keep chugging ahead for glory.

Portland beat the Clippers 116-105, breaking open a three-point lead after three quarters to put this one away.

HERO OF SERBIA Boban Marjanovic has come down to earth with the starters, scoring just four points on 2-of-5, adding four rebounds, blocking two shots, dishing an assist, and committing zero turnovers.

He’s gone from a folk hero superstar of advanced stats to just a very good NBA center. If “very good NBA center” is his floor, let’s keep showing him the love…especially since that seemingly paltry stat line came in only 12 minutes of play. 12 boards and six blocks per 36 minutes ain’t bad!

On the winning side, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum continue to be an infuriating backcourt, as they scored a combined 48 points on 45 shots. That’s just not efficient basketball.

The Blazers’ statistical fundamentals really aren’t very good, but they keep winning games, running their record to 9-3, just a game back of Golden State and half a game short of Denver as the West’s 3 seed.

And 45 shots…well, at least you get a lot of highlights from the two-headed monster in the backcourt:

Program note, but in protest of Shaqtin’ a Fool’s lame new format, I’m not running it on Fridays anymore. Come back, Mike Goldfarb!

Weekend ahead. Might be a feature, might not. Haven’t decided yet, but I’ve got a bunch of freelance stuff to plow through and writer gotta eat. So why not read the great features I’ve posted this week? Got one about Domantas Sabonis, another about the Charlotte Hornets, so enjoy those, and thanks for reading!