Breakfast Special: Philadelphia 76ers 121, Brandon Ingram 36

Brandon Ingram had himself a time in the Lakers’ 121-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night.

He went off for 36 points on 16-of-20 shooting, which is great. But what’s not so great is the minus-14 plus/minus he put up, part of an overall flat outing from the Lakers’ starters in which all five saw the team outscored by double digits during their minutes.

Plus, if you take away Ingram’s shooting, the Lakers are left at 27-of-71 (38 percent), which is just straight-up lousy.

Meanwhile, Corey Brewer is getting a 10-day lesson in why he should stay retired or in the gym or whatever it is he’s doing when he doesn’t have an NBA contract, because he shot 0-of-6 from the field, posted a minus-11 in his 23 minutes, and got clowned big-time by Ingram.

As for the winners, Joel Embiid had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Ben Simmons had 19 on 0-of-0 from three-point land, Jimmy Butler was Borg-like in shooting 7-of-9 and assimilating 20 points, and the Sixers won the turnover battle as a team 21-12.

It was a big win with one heck of a performance by one valiant member of the enemy team, but…wait. Since when is Simmons THIS athletic?

I mean yes, he’s basically the next Magic Johnson if he hits his ceiling, a tall point guard who moves like a man six inches shorter, but that’s just mind-bending.

But it’s Embiid with the super-size stat line, and he’s the man of the match:

Dumpster Fires 121, James Harden 37

Speaking of players carrying bad teams, albeit a lot more often than the once required to headline a morning highlight column for it being newsworthy, James Harden had 37 points in the Rockets’ 121-116 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans, who were without Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, or E’Twaun Moore, got 27 points and 12 rebounds from Jahlil Okafor—yes, that Jahlil Okafor.

Jrue Holiday blocked six shots to go with his 19 points, six rebounds, and eight assists, the Pellies shot 51.1 percent as a team, and New Orleans grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, 30 percent of the available caroms, to amplify the effect of their makes by putting back their misses.

Chris Paul is back for the Rockets, and he had ten points and nine assists to go with a team-best plus-11 for Houston in 26 minutes.

But what a night for the guy whose career was left for dead by Sam Hinkie so long ago:

The Cavaliers are the East’s Hottest Team

Guess who owns the longest active winning streak in the Eastern Conference right now?

The honor is shared between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have won a whopping two games in a row, turning into unstoppable forces.

Or, in Cleveland’s case, “you can’t even tank right.”

The Cavs beat the Wizards 116-113 behind 26 points from Cedi Osman, 28 off the bench from Jordan Clarkson, and a shortened rotation in which only 11 players were active and nine got into the game.

Eight of those nine had at least seven points.

Cleveland shot 53.6 percent from the field, 44.1 percent from three, and overcame a mad 15-6 turnover disadvantage to hold off a Wizards team that got 31 from Bradley Beal and not much else.

Highlights from Vault 111:

Lightning Round!

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, the Bucks shot 54 percent and turned the ball over just ten times, and that was enough to power Milwaukee to a 115-105 win over the Pistons at the Hot N’ Ready.

Like Cleveland, the Bucks shortened their rotation, getting just nine guys into the game, and eight of those nine guys had at least nine points.

The Bucks have now swept the Pistons 4-0 for the first time in ever during a regular-season series. Detroit’s not making the playoffs, but if they do manage to sneak in, it’s hard to see that changing in April.

Giannis is your man of the match:

Oklahoma City pantsed Orlando 126-117, and once again Russell Westbrook got the press with another triple-double (23 on 7-of-12, 14 rebounds, 14 assists) while Paul George went out and did the heavy lifting in the cause of scoring 37 points and posting a game-high plus-16.

Westbrook was minus-3. OKC has a real problem on their hands.

PG13 is your man of the match:

Zach LaVine continues to epitomize “Great Stats, Bad Team” (to steal a line from Bill Simmons), scoring 26 in the Bulls’ 122-117 loss in Brooklyn.

The Nets, meanwhile, won this one with a little help from the defense, winning the turnover battle 17-8 and overcoming both LaVine’s heroics and the monster 18-point, 19-rebound night from Lauri Markkanen.

D’Angelo Russell continues to get better and better, and he’s probably the frontrunner for Most Improved Player at this point, having seized the crown from De’Aaron Fox.

Russell had 30 points, seven assists, three steals, and man of the match honors:

And finally, the Spurs got all they wanted from the Suns, surrendering 38 points to Devin Booker (on just 14-of-19 shooting!) but emerging triumphant by a hair’s breadth, 126-124.

It takes some real effort to shoot 60 percent as a team and lose, but the Suns pulled it off with turnovers (San Antonio won that battle 18-11), rebounds (14 offensive rebounds to three and a great 88.0 defensive rebounding percentage), and using the surplus of extra possessions to create extra shots.

Phoenix was 48-of-80. San Antonio was 47-of-100. 20 extra shots make a world of difference.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 29 points and 14 rebounds for the winners, whose fundamentals carried the day.

And Rudy Gay‘s game-winner is the big play of the night:

Pacers piece, a day late but good, coming later. Winter continues to beat my health up, but I’ll get it all up here for you. Thanks for bearing with me and thanks for reading!