Breakfast Special: The Rockets Round Into Form

James Harden had 42 points, Eric Gordon had 32, and the Houston Rockets absolutely mauled the Boston Celtics 115-104 in Boston Sunday.

For the Celtics, it’s a continuing demonstration of just how far they’ve dropped off despite in theory being a deeper team than last season with their superstars back from injury.

The paradox has the Celtics careening toward a fifth-place finish, and they only have five in the loss column on sixth-place Detroit.

And while the Pistons are extremely unlikely to catch the Celtics in just 18 games, it’s not out of the question if they catch fire. Boston’s got a rough March schedule ahead of them.

Harden and Gordon were a combined 25-of-49 from the field and 14-of-30 from three. The rest of the Rockets were 13-of-31—the same number of attempts with one less make than Harden had by himself—and 7-of-21 from three, or one fewer make on nine fewer attempts (and one more on three more) than Gordon and Harden had respectively.

The Celtics were supposed to be a great defensive team, with their backcourt defenders in particular noted for holding the shooting percentage and counting stat totals of opposing guards down.

Nobody told the Rockets.

And oh by the way, Chris Paul had 12 assists, setting up his teammates in the small lineups to perfection.

Harden is your man of the match:

Where Did Detroit Come From?

Meanwhile, over at the Hot N’ Ready, the Detroit Pistons needed overtime, but they beat the mighty Toronto Raptors 112-107 in a game that was tied at a C-note apiece after regulation time.

Kyle Lowry scored 35 points in defeat, but his output (and Pascal Siakam‘s 21 points) was no match for the force of nature that was Andre Drummond.

Drummond had 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting and notched 17 boards, but what blows the mind is his game-high plus-27 in 28 minutes. Nobody else on the Pistons was any better than plus-8 (Luke Kennard, in 35 minutes off the bench.)

Toronto shot just 38.5 percent from the field, giving away a winnable game by simple virtue of the fact that nobody outside of Lowry or Siakam could get anything going offensively.

Give it up for Drummond and Blake Griffin, Detroit’s gruesome frontcourt twosome:

Trae Young Gets Done Dirty

If Kris Dunn doesn’t want Trae Young taunting him, he should do more to stop Trae from…

…pulling up from the logo, draining a three, and letting everyone know that Luka Doncic may not be Rookie of the Year after all? Wait, what?

Seriously, when you’ve got Reggie Miller backing you up, you have absolutely arrived:

The Hawks rained death and destruction from on high in beating the Chicago Bulls 123-118. Young, before his departure after just 18 minutes of play, scored 18 points, recorded a plus-11 (a game-high!), and hit 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from three, part of an overall Hawks onslaught where they hit 21-of-42 from three-point land.

You gotta love an Atlanta team that decided midway through the season that tanking for a potential third star be damned, they’re going to ride or die with Young and John Collins and figure out the third guy when the time comes.

But let’s give man of the match to Alex Len, who held down the fort as the Hawks weathered the Chicago attack without Young in the game. Len’s 28 points and nine boards give him one heck of a case:

Lightning Round!

The Orlando Magic make no sense at all.

On the one hand, they’re one of the best teams in the NBA since Feb. 1, and they beat the Pacers on Saturday, the squad that made the case for being one of the other best teams in the NBA since Feb. 1.

Then, with the breakfast cameras watching, the Magic went to Cleveland and lost 107-93, which is just embarrassing.

Kevin Love had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland, Jordan Clarkson had 18 points and a game-high plus-20 off the bench, and the Magic suffered the effects of shooting just 6-of-26 from three in the loss.

Some team highlights for Cleveland:

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, with a chance to take back the 8 seed in the East after Orlando lost, got spanked 118-108 by the Trail Blazers at home.

Jusuf Nurkic had 26 points to lead Portland as he shot 10-of-11 from the line and grabbed 15 rebounds to go with six assists.

Damian Lillard added 23 points, while Rodney Hood went bonkers off the bench to grab 27 points of his own.

Meanwhile, Kemba Walker was just 5-of-21. The man has a losing mentality. Change my mind.

Did I mention Hood had all 27 in the second half and 21 in the fourth quarter?

The New York Knicks went to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers and hopefully assert their role in the panzer battle with the Cavs and Suns winning over the weekend (LeBron James should thank his lucky stars there’s no breakfast column on Sundays.)

It was 82-46 Clippers at halftime and the game ended 128-107.

Awesome job, New York, that’s just how you draw it up.

LA shot 54.3 percent from three-point land, seven of those threes coming from Landry Shamet, who led all Clippers scorers with 21 points. Three times seven. Now that’s how you play basketball in 2019.

Break franchise rookie record for threes in a game, and you get highlights:

The Andrew Wiggins Does Nothing Bandwagon continues to roll for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who got 14 points, four rebounds, a block, and nothing else from their “star” in their 135-121 loss to the Wizards in the nation’s capital.

Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker had 26 and 22 points respectively, doing a bit of irony as former Bulls, rather than ending up on the “Timberbulls”, instead ended up smacking Tom Thibodeau’s former employer in Minnesota, putting the Chicago deep dish shoe on the other foot for a change.

Portis added 12 rebounds to earn man of the match honors:

And finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder ground out a 99-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at home.

This was the most Russell Westbrook game you can imagine; he went 7-of-22 from the field, played like absolute trash for most of the game, then caught fire and came up huge in the clutch.

Never change, Brodie.

Steven Adams had 22 rebounds in this one, and the Thunder won the rebounding (53-44) and turnover (20-14) battle, and that was enough to overcome a disastrous 35.5 percent shooting in a low-scoring slugfest of a game.

If you’re good enough when it matters, nobody remembers how bad you were for the rest of the game:

It’s another week of great NBA content here at Pace and Space, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!