Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award for seeing the Sixers through the deepest dark of the Process and into the playoffs.
But the question needs asked: Is Brown going to be tarred with the brush of a “rebuilding coach”, the guy you hire when you’re going to do a franchise teardown and then let go when the team is good to bring in a guy who’s more a veteran-leadership playoff coach in the mold of guys like Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Phil Jackson?
Not that there’s anything wrong with turnaround guys; for every Brett Brown or Kenny Atkinson turning the Sixers and Nets into contenders from nothing, there’s an Alvin Gentry who takes a team with plenty of youth and not a lot of wins and turns it into a full-on Dumpster fire.
Speaking of Atkinson and the Nets, they took Game 1 in Philly Saturday night, winning 111-102 while Joel Embiid did this:
NO WAY pic.twitter.com/JzoxlMQImF
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) April 13, 2019
D’Angelo Russell shot 10-of-25 on his way to a very Iversonian 26 points, the Nets assisted on just 15 of their 38 made buckets, and a team that’s normally something like Rockets East shot just 26 threes (making 11.)
This is a blueprint for a team like Philly to stomp Brooklyn into the dirt. Yet the Nets won.
The Sixers missed 13 of their 42 free throws while the Nets shot 24-of-26.
Philadelphia shot 3-of-25 (!) from three-point land.
And Ben Simmons was a steaming hot pile of suck, scoring nine points on 0-of-0 from three-point land while also hitting just 4-of-9 from the field and 1-of-5 from the line and posting a minus-21 and getting booed by his own home fans.
Man, the Sixers look like they won’t win a game in this series, so now that I’ve predicted that, watch them win in five.
Game 1 goes to Brooklyn. 👀
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 13, 2019
Kyle Lowry‘s Game One Yips
Lowry loves screwing up Game 1 of a series, and scoring zero points, missing all seven of his shots, and yet weirdly ending up with seven rebounds and eight assists like the Draymond Green Stat Line From Hell in Toronto’s 104-101 loss to Orlando?
It was a Total Team Effort for the Magic, who got seven guys into double figures while not only pushing Lowry into a meltdown but hitting 14-of-29 from three in a game where they couldn’t score from inside the arc (22-of-61, 36.1 percent, on two-pointers).
And for the icing on the cake, Orlando hit 18-of-20 free throws while the Raptors shot 9-of-14.
It’s just hard to see Toronto being this bad again this series, while Orlando played about the best game they could and only won by 3.
This still feels like Raptors in 5.
D.J. Augustin had 25 points, six assists, and the dagger:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 13, 2019
No, Golden State Isn’t Losing A Game 1 At Home
The Warriors briefly restored order to the NBA universe by thumping the Los Angeles Clippers 121-104.
In a day of upsets, the sheer disparity in talent combined with the Dubs in Playoff Mode Engaged meant the Clippers were doomed the moment they took the floor. Some things are best left to the true professionals.
Stephen Curry had 38 points on 8-of-12 from three, Kevin Durant had 23, Draymond Green put up a 17-7-7, and Kevon Looney played 17 minutes off the bench and posted a plus-30 to lead the team because sure, why not.
If Golden State hadn’t turned it over 21 times, they might’ve won by 40.
Oh, and Steph also had 15 rebounds and seven assists because why should James Harden have all the fun?
— NBA (@NBA) April 14, 2019
Sike. I’m not doing Spurs-Nuggs in three grafs.
Never Bet Against Gregg Popovich
Ahh, that’s more like it.
The Spurs beat the Nuggets 101-96, making a monkey out of me and my prediction that this would be a seven-game series where the home team won every game. I told you guys I hate doing playoff previews because the only way anyone ever looks in those is “stupid.”
Spurs gonna spur, since they shot 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from sniper range, 40-of-83 (48.2 percent) overall, took care of the ball (11 turnovers), played great perimeter defense (Denver shot 6-of-28 from three), and got a little help from a Nuggets team that looked an awful lot like they were suffering playoff jitters after a few years of franchise futility.
Denver hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2009. They’ll win something in this series, but not yet.
DeMar DeRozan had 18 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-17. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-19. That’s usually a recipe for a Spurs loss, but Denver was just hell bent on giving this one away for free.
Man, never bet against Gregg Popovich.
DeRozan’s the man of the match:
— NBA (@NBA) April 14, 2019
The Breakfast Special will be here every day of the playoffs that games happen. Seven days a week in the first and probably the second round. So stay tuned, and thanks for reading!