Breakfast Special: Turkey Day Leftovers

We’ve got a Black Friday sale of NBA highlights for you today, as a busted Wi-Fi signal gave me the day off for what was supposed to be a Turkey Day Dinner special.

But enough about that. We’ve got to talk about the Milwaukee Bucks.

Because Milwaukee annihilated Portland 143-100 on Wednesday night, taking out the squad that entered the night as the top team in the Western Conference and giving them a good old-fashioned behind-the-woodshed beating.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 33 points on 13-of-20 shooting, grabbed 16 boards, and came one assist shy of a triple-double with nine.

Brook Lopez had just three points but posted a game-best plus-34 plus/minus.

And the game was played at a pace that can only be described as utter lunacy, namely 111.5 possessions. The Bucks gave up a hundred points and posted an 89.7 Defensive Rating.

Portland shot just 36.2 percent as a team, they lost the rebounding battle (59-40), they lost the turnover battle (17-14), they dished just 13 assists the whole game…sometimes you just get your butts kicked, and this was one of those times.

Greekazoid is your man of the match:

Wait, WHO is in First Place in the West?

The Memphis Grizzlies are in first place in the West, that’s who.

Mike Conley had 30 points, Marc Gasol had 20, and the Grizz snuck out a 104-103 win in San Antonio in a very clean game offensively (nine turnovers for the Grizz, eight for the Spurs) where the difference was simply in Memphis’ ability to make shots. Memphis shot 48.1 percent from the floor against 43.2 for the Spurs.

LaMarcus Aldridge continues to be a major liability masquerading as a star; his 19 points came on 6-of-20 shooting, and DeMar DeRozan wasn’t much better, needing 20 shots of his own to get his 24 points.

San Antonio just doesn’t have the horses to compete in the NBA in 2018; if you can’t make three-point shots, you simply can’t call yourself good unless you have the court vision of Magic Johnson and the ability to shoot 55 percent or better on two-pointers like you’re Ben Simmons.

The Grizzlies are in first place. Gods help us all.

The Great Oakland Meltdown

What in the name of all things holy in this world is going on with Golden State?

It can’t just be the absence of Stephen Curry. Steph’s good, but he’s not “this is a G-League team without him” good, not with Kevin Durant presumably supposed to be a superstar in his own right and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

But there’s the elephant in the room, a 123-95 beatdown on national television at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder that just comes right out and says that the Warriors can’t win without Steph.

Along the same lines, the utter embarrassment that is Klay Thompson‘s advanced stats this season continues. Klay had 27 points, but it was on 10-of-22 shooting, involved a minus-12 in his 31 minutes, and he’s on pace for a Carmelo Anthony-like season in terms of advanced stats.

Seriously, Klay has a -0.4 VORP in 645 minutes. Give him a full season and he is on pace to be worse than Melo was last year when he was the worst player in the league.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook recorded his first triple-double of the season with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists, while Dennis Schroder poured in 32 points off the bench to lead all scorers on both teams.

Paul George had 25 points. Jerami Grant and Steven Adams both had double-doubles thanks to their grabbing 11 rebounds each.

And OKC won the rebounding (61-42) and turnover (17-10) battles so decisively that there is little question why they pulled away and beat the snot out of the Warriors in the fourth quarter.

Oh, and Hamidou Diallo is not seriously injured, just an ankle sprain. No, I’m not showing how he got hurt. It was gruesome at the time.

Schroder is your man of the match:

Lightning Round!

Buckle up, we’ve got 10 games to fly through:

The vexing experience in Charlotte continues, as the Hornets beat a Pacers team minus Victor Oladipo, and in classic fashion, Charlotte is taking “win big, lose close” to silly extremes. They won 127-109 and now have a 9-8 record (on pace for 43-39) and a +5.4 point differential (which you’d expect from a team that went 56-26.)

Something has got to give.

Jeremy Lamb led a Total Team Effort with 21 points, but Kemba Walker‘s 16-point, 11-assist double-double makes him man of the match:

The Pelicans continue to struggle on the road, as they are now 2-7 away against 8-1 at home after falling just short, 121-120 against a 76ers team that has similar splits, as Philly is 10-0 at home and 3-7 away.

Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore each had 30 points for the Pellies, but Joel Embiid just made Anthony Davis his whipping boy, scoring 31 and pulling down 19 rebounds to power the win.

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, had 22 points on 0-of-0 from three-point land.

Embiid was the man of the match:

How much of a Dumpster fire have the Celtics been lately?

Well, they lost to the Knicks at home to drop to 9-9 ahead of Thanksgiving. That’s pretty putrid.

New York got 29 from Trey Burke off the bench, held Boston to 39.2 percent shooting, and should’ve done better than the 117-109 final score but for the fact that they got slaughtered in the turnover battle (17-8) and gave away the extra possessions that would otherwise have made this a blowout.

This was an embarrassing loss for Boston that wasn’t even as close as the score.

Burke, of course, is the man of the match:

When you’re the best team in the NBA by record, you beat the Atlanta Hawks. It’s what you do.

Toronto played the role of Geico commercial, smacking Atlanta 124-108, a game where Vince Carter scored his 25,000th career point by dunking on the team that made him famous.

Godspeed, VC. The only player in the league older than I am. Do it forever.

Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas (24), Pascal Siakam (22), and Kyle Lowry (21) posted a Triple 20 for the winners, and Lowry’s points came alongside a dominant triple-double that included 12 rebounds and a whopping 17 assists for the league’s leader:

LeBron James returned to Cleveland and presided over a 109-105 Lakers victory, and it says a lot about Wednesday’s action that it got buried in the Lightning Round this morning.

Bron had 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, and how bad are the Cavs?

Lonzo Ball shot 64 percent. That’s how bad the Cavs are.

The Lakers almost honked this one, and it’s amazing how good LeBron is that he can drag even a team as bad as this awful Lakers squad to a 10-7 record:

Denver stopped the bleeding and got a bit of revenge on Minnesota, as they are now 11-7 to the Wolves’ 7-11 after a 103-101 road win.

Nikola Jokic had a weird stat line where he had 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and just seven points, falling short of the triple-double.

Paul Millsap led the scoring with 25 on 11-of-13 from the field.

Points beat second-level counting stats around here, so give it up for the man of the match:

The Rockets, at 9-7, have clawed their way into the top eight in the West, and they did it with a statement win, 126-124, against a frisky Detroit Pistons squad.

Blake Griffin had 37 points and 11 rebounds, but he nearly committed a funky triple-double by turning the ball over nine times. Nine. Times.

But when James Harden scores 43 points and shoots 19-of-19 from the line, what can you do? Blame the refs?

Actually, yes. Let’s blame the refs. 19 free throw attempts for one player? Someone’s getting calls he shouldn’t.

Game highlights as Houston goes from 4-7 to 9-7 in five easy steps:

Chicago beat Phoenix 124-116. The teams are a combined 8-27. Jabari Parker posted a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Zach LaVine continues to light up the scoreboard, this time going for 29 points.

Devin Booker had 23 points, but he needed 20 shots to do it.

LaVine continues to impress, and that makes him man of the match:

If you want a crazy Western Conference stat, try “the Dallas Mavericks, at 8-9, are a game and a half out of the 8 seed but are in 12th place.”

Well OK, tied for 11th (with the Spurs, even!)

The Mavs beat the reeling Brooklyn Nets 119-113, as the Nets were without Caris LeVert once again, and how about his developing into a star on a fringe playoff team?

Harrison Barnes led the way with 28 points, and shooting 40.7 percent from three as a team was enough to power Dallas to the win.

Barnes is your man of the match:

And finally, the 8-10 Jazz are in 13th place in the West, just one game ahead of the 14th-place Timberwolves, but they’re just two out in the playoff race.

Utah stumbled at the hands of the Sacramento Kings, who are 10-8, in the mix for the playoffs, and playing great basketball thanks to De’Aaron Fox, who powered the 119-110 win with 17 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds.

It was a Total Team Effort for the Kings, with seven scorers in double figures, but give it up for the Namesake coming up big:

Not a bad Black Friday deal, eh guys? 13 games? Keep it tuned to Twitter (@RealFoxD) to find out what I’m up to…there might be a feature or two coming over the weekend. Or I might relax a little because gods know I need a bit of a rest these days.

Either way, stay tuned and thanks for reading!