Breakfast Special: O Canada, Our Warrior-Crushing Land

No Kawhi Leonard? No problem! The Toronto Raptors were good before, they engaged in some serious addition-by-subtraction shipping the three-pointer-averse DeMar DeRozan out of town, and they they went out and demonstrated that team-first supremacy in Oakland Wednesday night as they beat the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on national television.

If you’re going to wreck the Dubs, holding Stephen Curry to 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting—and watch as this becomes a theme later, since “take away the star” got another team a big win that we’ll get to in a minute—is a fine way to do it.

Once again, Serge Ibaka led the way for the Raptors, putting up a double-double on 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Kyle Lowry continues to establish himself, at age 32, as the premier playmaker in the league.

Lowry’s 23 points and 12 assists went alongside a plus-23 plus/minus that led all Raptors in a game they won by 20.

And just for your weird statistical oddity of the day: Five different teams scored exactly 113 in regulation last night (including the Celtics and Wizards, tied at that score heading into overtime.)

Once again, the Dubs are their own worst enemies taking care of the ball as well, piling up 19 turnovers but forcing only 11, and their three-point shot abandoned them as they shot only 6-of-26 from long range.

Lowry’s the man of the match, but this was a team win:

A Wild Finish In Charlotte

The Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons 108-107, and the craziest part wasn’t that Kemba Walker, with the game deadlocked at 106 on the final possession, passed the ball to Jeremy Lamb in order not to brick and choke away the would-be game-winner and send the game to overtime.

After all, we’ve talked at length around here about Walker’s failures in clutch situations—it’s perhaps the least surprising part that Lamb made the game-winner.

No, it’s what happened next.

Charlotte got called for too many men on the floor when Malik Monk ran out onto the floor as Lamb’s shot went up, getting whistled for a technical (although, since Monk left the bench after the shot left Lamb’s hand, he didn’t negate the result.)

Detroit made the technical free throw, but they still had to inbound from their own baseline, and when Nicolas Batum picked off the pass like a Hail Mary in football, that was your ballgame.

Of course, it’s Charlotte, so yes, Walker still had a chance to choke; late in the fourth, he made just one of two from the line.

But then Blake Griffin missed both of his free throws at the other end, and what could’ve turned into “they have to foul” turned into what happened.

Nice job breaking it, Blake. You were less clutch than Kemba Walker. That’s…Will Ferrell-esque. Fans shouldn’t even be angry. (that’s a lie. Fans should be furious.)

Anyway, Walker’s 31 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists overcome his woeful 8-of-25 shooting night to make him the man of the match.

And you didn’t seriously think I’d leave out Lamb’s dagger:

Turning Greekazoid Into Dexter Douglas

Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of the worst games of his career, getting absolutely taken to school by Thaddeus Young; Greekazoid was minus-31 in 31 minutes of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 113-97 thrashing at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.

It was kind of a shame that Giannis didn’t finish off the triple-double (12 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) because I was kind of looking forward to talking about how on three consecutive nights, three great NBA players played like hot garbage and still got triple-doubles.

After all, Russell Westbrook was 4-of-18 in his on Monday and Chris Paul was 2-of-11 on Tuesday while still getting into double figures in three categories.

Victor Oladipo returned for the Pacers and put up a 12-point, 10-rebound, six-assist performance of his own, but unlike Greekazoid, Vic was plus-7 in his “limited” 29 minutes.

Young had 25 points and a plus-28 count to lead the way, pulling down 11 rebounds and yanking away five steals. So you can guess what happens next…

That’s right, it’s a THAD THE IMPALER highlight reel! Featuring Myles Turner, whose 23 points and fantastic defense continue to shine, as “Aggressive Myles” gets it done:

Also, I’m going to blame Mike Pence for this somehow:

Lightning Round!

The Celtics, or should I say the Maine Red Claws, didn’t have Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, or Gordon Hayward in the lineup, but they still went on the road and spanked the Wizards 130-125 in overtime.

Kyrie Irving was there, however, and he had 38 points on 12-of-28 shooting.

Throw in a 27-point, nine-rebound performance from Marcus Morris and a 12-12 double-double from Jayson Tatum and you start to see how Boston made the conference finals last year. They’re in fifth place now, but they’re just a single game out of second.

And if you want to know how to win basketball games, the Celtics going 25-of-25 as a team from the line in a game they won in overtime? That’s how you win basketball games.

The Sixers are 14-2 at home after a rare loss at Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night.

The surprising part is that their vanquisher ended up being the Brooklyn Nets, who held off a fourth-quarter charge and won 127-124.

Maybe it’s not that surprising, though—Philly’s other home loss was to Cleveland.

Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench for Brooklyn and had himself a time, scoring 39 points on 11-of-18 from the field and 13-of-14 from the line in 30 minutes. Nobody could solve the puzzle.

The fourth quarter score? 40-33 Philly. What a game.

Give it up for a guy who’s come straight outta the G League and gotten it done up in the big show:

Cleveland is a disaster movie of a franchise.

And what do disaster teams do? They beat teams even more dysfunctional than they are, as the Cavs beat the Knicks 113-106.

This was another benchstravaganza, as Jordan Clarkson came off Cleveland’s bench and led the team with 28 points.

Rodney Hood added 23 in his starting role, as the Knicks were lost defensively trying to guard the perimeter.

And Matthew Dellavedova? He’s home, scoring 15 points, making 4-of-7 from three, and looking like the Kyrie Killer he was when LeBron was still around.

Clarkson gets man of the match honors:

Oklahoma City had four players score at least 20 points—Paul George with 25, Dennis Schroder with 24, and Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook with 20 each.

They also lost to the Pelicans 118-114, because they got jack-all else from anyone else on their team; the rest of the Thunder had 25 points combined on 9-of-27 shooting from the field.

The Pellies had some big scorers of their own; Anthony Davis had 44 to lead all scorers, while Julius Randle had 22 and Jrue Holiday added 20.

On top of that, Davis had 18 rebounds, Randle had 12, and Holiday had 10 assists as the Pellies out-rebounded the Thunder 56-39 to help secure the win.

Give it up for the Brow!

Portland got 40 from CJ McCollum, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the grit and grind of a team that has held six opponents under 90 points this season; Memphis finished off the 96-86 win in a game they were down double digits in the first quarter.

Blazers not named McCollum were 16-of-60 from the field (26.7 percent.) That is…frightening.

Mike Conley led the Grizz with 23 points and a plus-19 on-court differential, as the Grizz weren’t great (41.5 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from long range) but they didn’t have to be on offense.

Put on your blue suede shoes and board a highlight reel:

Speaking of teams that got down double digits in the first quarter, Utah jumped out to a 22-4 lead over Miami in the first quarter of their contest.

And unlike the Blazers, the Jazz weren’t about to let their foot off Miami’s throat. It was a 39-point game after three quarters and ended 111-84.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, Rudy Gobert had a nifty double-double with 10 points and 11 boards on just seven shot attempts (4-of-7), and Utah shot 16-of-32 from three-point land as a team.

That’s how you crush a bad team that has no healthy players on its roster.

But how about Kyle Korver as the spark plug? 16 points in 16 minutes off the bench, that’s Boban-like:

Luka Doncic took Trae Young to school as the Mavericks beat the Hawks 114-107 in Dallas.

Doncic got 24 points on 5-of-14 shooting and 12-of-15 from the free throw line, looking almost Harden-like in his ability to rescue a poor shooting night from the line.

Young had 24 as well, getting his on 11-of-20 shooting and canning just two of his six three-point tries, which is actually an improvement for him.

The league is in good hands (at least it is if Young ever learns to shoot well more than once in a blue moon; entering Wednesday night’s games, he was 72nd of 75 guards with at least 500 minutes in True Shooting this season.)

Doncic also had 10 rebounds and six assists as the Mavs won their 11th straight at home:

And finally, defense is for suckers, as the Sacramento Kings beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 141-130 at Golden1 behind a 58.3 percent shooting night from the field and a mind-blowing 19-of-38 from three-point land.

Or it would be mind-blowing if we weren’t all used to those kinds of perimeter shooting games from NBA teams in the three-wacky modern era.

Former Minnesota player Nemanja Bjelica torched his old team for a game-high 25, Buddy Hield had 20, and The Other Bogdanovic—as in Bogdan—had 20 as well.

Both teams made 50 shots from the field, and that’s just entertaining basketball.

“Full squad effort”, Sacramento social media person? ‘Round here, we prefer the term Total Team Effort, and the Kings had one, getting the required seven guys into double figures:

Is He Any Good is coming later today, so stay tuned for that and thanks for reading!