Breakfast Special: Still Russell Westbrook’s World

It remains a fundamental truth of the universe that when Russell Westbrook wants to impose himself on the stat sheet, there is not a player in the world who can stop him.

Westbrook went for 37 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds Sunday in the Thunder’s 122-112 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, and as if that weren’t impressive enough?

Steven Adams had 10 offensive rebounds. TEN. Anything OKC’s Big Three misses, Adams just hoovers up and puts back; Adams’ 20 points came on 10-of-11 shooting.

Oh, and newly-minted All-Star and injury replacement Paul George went for 31 of his own.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons combined for 49 points on 20-of-30 shooting. Defense? What’s that?

Well, don’t ask Westbrook. He doesn’t know…

Your man of the match…

And how about a whole bunch of dunks?

James Harden‘s Fun With Free Throws

Harden had 27 points on 8-of-21 shooting and 3-of-11 from three. It was one of those typical Harden games where he makes up for a Dark Ages shooting night by attacking the basket and getting fouled; indeed, he ended up with 8-of-12 free throws on this one to turn an inefficient 19-point, 21-shot mess into a 1.29 shooting efficiency night, entirely respectable.

He also pulled down 10 rebounds and came two assists shy of a triple-double.

Devin Booker left the game late with an injury after scoring 31 points and dishing 10 dimes; he’s been fragile as tissue paper, a real problem for Phoenix’s future plans for him.

Phoenix shot just 8-of-33 from three-point land, while Houston shot a you-gotta-be-kidding-refs 49 free throws; put those two stats together and no wonder the Rockets won 113-102.

Seriously, though, refs. Calling 29 fouls on Phoenix and letting the Rockets shoot 49 charity tosses? You could at least pretend you’re not in Daryl Morey’s back pocket. Teams play 5-on-8 in Houston like it’s a football game and the Patriots are involved.

It was a defense-optional point guard duel:

When Cleveland Attacks

The Cavaliers dealt the Pistons their eighth straight defeat, smashing Detroit 121-104 at the Q in Cleveland.

LeBron James had 25 points, Kevin Love had 20, and the two combined to shoot 16-of-29 from the field.

The rest of the Cavs weren’t too shabby either, contributing to an overall percentage of 50.6, so Cleveland was able to win despite the Pistons only turning the ball over six times.

Oh, and LeBron had eight rebounds and 14 assists while staying safely away from potentially dubious quadruple-doubles, committing only three turnovers this time.

Again the refs played a role; Detroit committed 23 fouls to send the Cavs to the line for 22-of-26; the refs called only 14 fouls on Cleveland to give the Pistons a 10-of-13 night. Those 12 points were a factor.

But what we really know here is that the Pistons are a team that might as well just forget about the playoffs; they are toast with a capital Toast.

All hail the King:

Lightning Round!

Fred VanVleet has emerged as an honest-to-gods bench star, sort of a poor man’s Lou Williams, scoring 25 in Toronto’s 123-111 win over the Lakers:

San Antonio overcame some early trouble; they were down 50-49 at the half before taking over in the third quarter and cruising to a 113-98 win over the Kings at home. The Spurs are 21-4 at AT&T Center, desperately trying to hold off the Timberwolves (one game behind them) and Thunder (two games) for third place.

Bryn Forbes led the way with 23 off the bench for the Spurs, but Dejounte Murray is your man of the match for his all-around performance, with 14 points, 10 boards, and six dimes:

Milwaukee is now 3-0 since firing Jason Kidd, albeit against Phoenix, Brooklyn, and Chicago. The Bucks beat the Bulls 110-96 at United Center behind 27 from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 53.2 percent shooting overall from the field:

And finally, the Pelicans led the Clippers by three games between sixth and ninth in the standings when DeMarcus Cousins went down with injury Friday night.

Well…now they’re ahead by two games. The Clips came into Smoothie King Center and beat the Pellies 112-103, coming back from 11 down at halftime to dominate the second half.

Blake Griffin had 27, while Sixth Man of the Year lock Lou Williams had 22 off the bench in the win. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 31 rebounds and the Clips won the board battle 50-47.

Williams is your man of the match:

Meanwhile, over the weekend, we hit our 6,000th view since the relaunch; to all those of you who keep coming here and enjoying our great content, THANK YOU! We’ll have more great stuff for you as this week kicks into gear, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!