Breakfast Special: Super Greek Super Freak

Before taking an 86-76 lead early in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers were 33-1 when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game.

And after the Bucks outscored them 30-11 the rest of the way, the Pacers are 33-2 when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game. (big hat tip to Pat Boylan of the Pacers’ radio broadcast team for dropping that stat on Twitter this week.)

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points, 19 rebounds, 11 assists, and one massively extended metaphorical middle finger at Thaddeus Young, who had shut Greekazoid down big time the last time these two teams met at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Thad the Impaler got staked on this one.

Myles Turner was the only Pacer with a positive plus-minus, at plus-3 in just 28 minutes despite shooting 4-of-13 from the field for just 11 points.

Nate McMillan was at his Nateiest with the substitution patterns…and Mike Budenholzer reminded everyone why he is the only choice worth making for Coach of the Year (sorry Nick Nurse and Dave Joerger, but Coach Bud’s finally unlocked Giannis’ full potential. That’s S Ranks Unlocked stuff.)

The Bucks shot just 29 percent from long range and appeared to abandon the three-pointer late in the game, but in point of fact that was mainly because with Turner on the bench, the Bucks started to feel comfortable attacking the basket, and that’s how a 10-point deficit turned into a nine-point win.

Milwaukee didn’t play great. But they didn’t have to, because the MVP wearing No. 34, the best Bucks player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, decided to have his revenge on poor Thad Young.

Greekazoid, the best player on the best team, taking man of the match honors ahead of the All-Star break:

Like Bad Sex and Bad Pizza

NBA basketball is like sex and pizza; even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. (unless you’ve died and gone to hell, in which case the basketball is that 66-64 playoff game between the Celtics and Pistons from 2002 on an infinite loop with the 19-18 game from the ’50s that inspired them to create the shot clock.)

The point of all this is that the Nets beat the Cavaliers, but they needed triple overtime to do it, and that’s OK because the final score of 148-139 is really all you need to know.

Sometimes avoiding embarrassment takes the long way around.

D’Angelo Russell had a relatively inefficient 36 points on 12-of-30 shooting, Joe Harris had an amazingly efficient 25 on just 9-of-12, the Nets and Cavs combined to hit 106 shots in 233 tries (45.5 percent), and the Brooklyn broadcast team remains one of the best on League Pass—the Nets should be everyone’s second-favorite team to watch right now behind whatever team y’all actually root for. (I’d give props to Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier, but the Knicks are a Dumpster fire and that’s never fun to watch.)

Oh, and speaking of entertaining, the teams combined to shoot 36-of-87 (41.4 percent) from three-point land as well.

The game was fantastic. Go cue up the replay if you didn’t see it live, and set the Away commentary team. Listen in the background at work. It’s worth it.

Five and a quarter quarters and one big highlight reel from D-Loading:

Pascal’s Wager

Pascal Siakam scored 14 points in the first half, keeping the Toronto Raptors in the game against a Wizards team that scorched the nets in the first 24 minutes en route to a 65-59 lead at the major break.

Then…wow.

Siakam ended up with 44 points total, the Raptors won 129-120, and just for giggles he also ended up with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots on 15-of-25 shooting.

What a game. The Raptors are deep and star-driven with rising players and crafty veterans, and tell me the Eastern Conference Finals won’t be one heck of a ride. I refuse to believe you if you say that.

Serge Ibaka had 10 points and 13 rebounds, Kyle Lowry had 14 points and 13 assists, OG Anunoby poured in 22 points and posted a plus-18 off the bench, and that’s your ballgame.

Siakam also hit four three-pointers. Dear gods.

Lightning Round!

When the Knicks canceled Latvian Heritage Night after the departure of Kristaps Porzingis, some on Twitter said of the Knicks, “guess we don’t care about Latvians anymore.”

Which is the same thing Mikhail Gorbachev said on May 4, 1990.

Philadelphia beat New York at Monosodium Glutamate 126-111, Joel Embiid had 26 points and 14 rebounds, Tobias Harris had 25 points on plus-27, Jimmy Butler had 13 but posted a plus-31, and the 76ers just generally behaved like they’d mistakenly gone to Westchester to play a G-League game.

And HERO OF SERBIA Boban Marjanovic had 10 points off the bench in 14 minutes on 5-of-7 because the basketball gods so loved us that they sent their son to bless us.

Ring my bellllll, ring my bell!

The Pistons went to Boston. The Pistons got smacked 118-110. Poor Pistons.

Jayson Tatum led six Celtics in double figures with 19 points, all nine players who saw action for Boston scored at least five points, the Celtics shot 51.1 percent from the field and 41 percent from long range, and if Boston hadn’t lost the turnover battle 16-11, this game wouldn’t have been as close as it way.

Easy as you like, and because the Celtics’ Twitter people are terrible about full-game man-of-the-match highlights (would it kill you to give me some Al Horford highlights, guys?), here’s Marcus Smart hitting some three-pointers:

Memphis lost by just one point at home to San Antonio, and all looked well as it can be for a team descending into the horrors of a secure hold on 14th place in the West.

Then they went to Chicago and got smacked 122-110. Ain’t that somethin’.

Otto Porter led the Bulls with 37 points, Robin Lopez had 25, and Lauri Markkanen added 21 to pace the Bulls in the big starter-driven win.

Did I mention Porter was 16-of-20? Because…wow.

James Harden‘s really getting to 3,000 points this year, isn’t he?

Harden scored 42 to keep his 30-point streak alive, he’s got 1,976 points with 25 games left in the season…he might actually do this. Dear gods.

Oh, and the Rockets lost to Minnesota 121-111, so that means I get to show you not just Harden getting clowned by a rookie for the second-straight game…

That’s Josh Okogie with the clean block one game after Luka Doncic did the Soda Popinski on Harden and dropped a three in his face.

I also get to show y’all Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague piling up the points in the big win:

There was a 2006 party in Dallas Wednesday night, as Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade exchanged farewell-tour jerseys and the Heat beat the Mavericks 112-101.

Luka Doncic flirted with a triple-double (18 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) but shot 5-of-17 to get there.

Wade led the Heat in scoring with 22 off the bench in a game where all nine Miami players to see action scored at least six points and seven of them got into double figures for the Total Team Effort.

One last dance in Dallas:

What’s better than a Nikola Jokic triple-double?

How about Jokic tipping in the game-winner as the Nuggets completed a 17-point comeback and beat the Sacramento Kings 120-118 in Denver?

Private Joker had 20 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, and one gigantic contribution to the highlight reel:

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry had 32 points apiece, but no other Warriors player scored in double figures as the Portland Trail Blazers handled Golden State at Moda Center 129-107.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 29 while eight Portland players scored in double figures in the super-sized Total Team Effort in which Portland turned the ball over just four times.

Combine that with a 16-of-37 night from three and a rock-solid 27-of-34 from the free throw line and good things will come your way.

Here are highlights. You should watch them. (their words, not mine!)

And finally, Lou Williams went bonkers off the bench again with 30 points, Danilo Gallinari scored 20 points on just 6-of-8 from the field, and the Clippers demolished the Suns 134-107.

The Clips shot 50-of-84 (59.5 percent!) from the field, won the turnover battle 16-11, dished 33 assists, splashed 11-of-22 from three, what’s not to love?

Williams ties Ricky Pierce with the most 30-point games off the bench (27) in NBA history, and why does it feel like Lou’s had way more than 27 of them?

Is He Any Good is coming later, after circumstances forced last week off. Features coming during All-Star week, including the annual spectacular where the Breakfast Special becomes an actual column about cooking breakfast!

So stay tuned for that, and thanks for reading!