Breakfast Special: Seven Short Films About Basketball

We begin our adventure today by discussing the wonderful word of point differential regression.

“Oh, gods, Fox, AGAIN?”

Yes, again.

The Miami Heat lost 111-109 at home to the woeful Orlando Magic, dropping them from nipping at Cleveland’s heels just a few games ago to seventh and falling in the East. Miami has now lost four straight, seven of their last 10, and stand just two games up on Detroit for missing the top eight entirely.

Their point differential, minus-0.8, is a 39-43 team’s point differential. At 29-25, they may yet have even further to fall.

But such is life when you shoot 13 percent from three-point range (3-of-23), get rung up by the other team’s bench (D.J. Augustin had 16 on 6-of-11 shooting), and let the other team have all the good looks they want as they smack you for 13 threes on 30 tries.

Play some decent offense and Miami wins this game by 20. Play how they played, and the numbers, not an individual player, get the spotlight.

Highlights, as Mario Hezonja led the Magic with 20 points, all in the first three quarters:

Meanwhile, in Sacramento…

Chicago has the worst point differential in the East, at minus-5.8. Sacramento is the worst in the entire league, at minus-8.1.

But when the Bulls went into Sactown, regression beat raw numbers and the Kings beat the Bulls 104-98. That’s seven straight losses for the Bulls, who are 15-15 since starting 3-20, but a bad team can only win for so long before things go to hell on them.

Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday combined for 47 points on 15-of-28. The rest of the Bulls were 17-of-52.

Meanwhile, The Other Bogdanovic, as in Bogdan Bogdanovic (we’ll get to The Real Bogdanovic in a minute), had 15 to lead the Kings, none of whom played great, but just about all of whom played serviceably. Except for DeAaron Fox, who is disappointing to say the least and went 2-of-7 in 17 minutes to net just five points, two rebounds, and two assists, everyone on the Kings played at least OK.

And “just OK” is enough to beat a Bulls team that is 7-21 on the road.

Gotta hand it to Sacramento, though. They were down 28-9 after the first quarter and battled back.



Victor Oladipo was out with an illness. Darren Collison missed the game with a knee bruise suffered in the Sixers game over the weekend.

The Pacers were outmanned, outgunned, and only lost by nine, falling to the Wizards at home 112-103.

The Real Bogdanovic, as in Bojan Bogdanovic, shot 9-of-15 from the field, 5-of-7 from three, and 6-of-7 from the line, pulling 29 points more or less out of his rear end, but Bad Lance Stephenson showed up, shot 4-of-14, and is not Oladipo.

And like a Renaissance cavalryman, the Pacers live by the Lance…and die by the Lance.

The Wizards had a super-sized Total Team Effort, getting double figures from eight of their guys, led by Bradley Beal, who had an impressive 21 points.

Yes, impressive. Beal, normally a volume shooter and especially so when John Wall is out, restrained his 30-points-on-30-shots Iversonian instincts and went 9-of-16. That’s smart basketball, and that’s how Beal needs to play in order to keep the Wiz competitive when Wall is away.

Wizards fans have a lot to love here, and here’s your highlight reel as Washington gets their fifth straight win:

Lightning Round!

Rodney Hood had 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting for the Jazz, who beat the Pelicans 133-109 on the road. Who does Hood think he is, Lou Williams?

That’s six in a row for Utah, clawing their way back onto the fringes of contention:

Danilo Gallinari was ersatz Blake Griffin on Let’s Be Someone Else Tonight Day in the NBA (consider Bojan turning into Oladipo, Beal morphing into Kyrie Irving, and Hood playing the role of Williams), going for 28 points on 9-of-13.

The Clippers rode Gallinari’s performance to a 104-101 win over a weird-as-hell Mavericks team that has the worst record in the West at 17-37 but is only minus-2.1 on points for the season.

Highlights, as a 10-point deficit became a three-point win in the final minutes when Dallas seemed to go home early:

Had Charlotte won this game, I’d have put them in the top three highlights for the day, titled this episode “Here Come the Charlotte Hornets”, and made a big point about how they were only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot and playing like a team much better than their record.

But they got blown out in Denver in the second half after only a one-point deficit at halftime and lost 121-104.

Gary Harris had 21 to lead a Nuggets attack that shot an eye-popping 56.8 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from long range, grabbing a huge win and keeping the Clippers at bay in a tight West four-teams-three-spots playoff race:

And how ’bout Nikola Jokic:

Yes, this was late this morning. No, I’m not apologizing. I’ve been asleep for 19 of the past 24 hours, sleeping off a combination of a nuclear weapons-grade migraine and nausea that, were I a woman, would have me wondering if I somehow got pregnant.

But hey, breakfast marches on (and I’m feeling better), so thanks for waiting and thanks for reading!