Breakfast Special: The Western Conference Thickens

It was a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre for the middle of the Western Conference playoff field.

The San Antonio Spurs are in real danger of having their consecutive 50-win season streak snapped, dropping to 35-24 with a loss on the road in Denver, 117-109.

The Spurs shot 53.7 percent from the field, out-rebounded the Nuggets 42-35, and held Denver to 49.5 percent shooting…

…but you’ve probably already guessed what comes next. The Spurs committed 18 turnovers to Denver’s 11. San Antonio also shot just 6-of-22 from three-point land.

Extra possessions and poor three-point shooting combine to kill even good two-point shooting nights.

Oh, and Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Will Barton added 20 of his own and all five Nuggets starters registered at least 15 points.

The man of the match? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?

Minnesota Flats

The Timberwolves have had plenty of opportunities to leapfrog San Antonio for that three spot, but they’re once again stuck half a game back in fourth after getting smacked by Houston 126-108 at home.

James Harden had 34 points on 10-of-20 shooting, dishing out 13 assists. Clint Capela scored 14 on just 5-of-7 shooting and completed his double-double with 12 rebounds.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 35 and hauled in 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough when Houston not only made 22 of their 47 three-point attempts (46.8 percent) but turned the ball over only six times as a team.

How impactful was the three-point shooting? Well, besides a .702 eFG% on three-pointers alone for the Rockets, there’s also the fact that Minnesota was just 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from the same range.

Highlights? Watch the Beard, who had just one turnover, win man of the match:

And No Soup For You, Oklahoma City

The Thunder are similarly locked in fifth, two games back of the top four after losing 120-112 at home against the resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron James exploded for 37 points on 14-of-23 shooting, pulled down eight rebounds, dished 8 dimes, committed five turnovers because he’s LeBron and he’s decided to make a complete mess of things with ball control and end up second in the league in turnovers this year.

Speaking of turnovers, Russell Westbrook leads the league in that stat, but he had just one.

The Thunder put up one of the weirdest team stat lines. Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Steven Adams all had over 20 points (21, 24, 25, and 22 respectively), and Jerami Grant added 14 off the bench.

Total points by the rest of the Thunder: Six.

Meanwhile, five Cavs not named LeBron were in double figures, and Cleveland shot 51.1 percent overall.

Oklahoma City shot 44,4 percent, as only Adams and Grant made more shots than they missed. Adams also had 12 offensive rebounds of his total 17 boards, a wonderful relic and putback master.

Cleveland just scored over 120 for the fourth straight game; that’s a first in franchise history.

LeBron is your man of the match:

Meanwhile, in the East…

Toronto continues to assert their dominance in the East, beating the Miami Heat, who would be their first-round opponent if the season ended today, by a 115-112 count.

Kyle Lowry had 22, DeMar DeRozan had a Dark Ages Special with 27 on 11-of-25 shooting, and Toronto had eight turnovers to Miami’s 16 in this one.

Dwyane Wade had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, clearly happy to be back in South Beach.

Your man of the match? The dinosaur, appearing in his 1,000th game as mascot:

Also, DeRozan had one heck of a third quarter, powering Toronto to enough of a lead to avoid a furious Miami charge late in the game:

Odds and Ends

Milwaukee beat Atlanta 97-92 behind 21 from Khris Middleton and a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Atlanta shot just 38.4 percent, and that was enough to overcome a weak game from Milwaukee in this one.

The Greek Freak is your man of the match:

And finally, Sacramento rode a Total Team Effort to a 114-109 win in Dallas. The Kings shot 54 percent as a team, led by Zach Randolph‘s 22 points:

In case you missed it, we had a big content day yesterday, with my thoughts on Steve Kerr‘s coaching decisions and the weekly Pacers Tuesday special. So why not click around some of the related articles, read something fun, and bookmark Pace and Space for your browsing convenience?

Or just go running off because you took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Thanks for reading!