Breakfast Special: Let There Be Game 7

After a complete garbage first round that was as chalk as the White Cliffs of Dover, we’ve got ourselves the thrills and chills of Game 7 imminent in Toronto and Denver. The Philadelphia 76ers got an insane MVP-level performance from Joel Embiid on their way to a 112-101 win, and the matched set of 11-point victories got completed by the Portland Trail Blazers in a 119-108 win over Denver in the nightcap. We begin in Philadelphia. Drawing an Embiid on the Enemy Here’s your insane stat of the night. Embiid had 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, pulled down 12 rebounds, …

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Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s MRI to Decide NBA Finals

Heading into Game 5, a strong undercurrent of “the team that wins this game is going to win the championship” permeated the atmosphere and lent heavyweight power to every dribble, every shot, every minute of the game. The Warriors won the ballgame 104-99, taking a 3-2 lead in the series and keeping alive a wild run where all five games have been decided by no more than four points nor fewer than six. Which, well, series over, crown the Dubs champs as the first three-peat since the 2000-02 Lakers, right? Wrong. Because Kevin Durant went down in the fourth quarter …

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Breakfast Special: Smash TV

Do you like closely-contested, intense playoff basketball that comes down to the wire and gives a thrilling finish? Well, tough. We’re fresh out. Can I interest you in a pair of one-sided beatdowns normally reserved for regular-season games against lottery teams instead? Nothing puts out the flames of an underdog in a seven-game series like losing Game 5, and the Raptors and Nuggets now get a chance to close out on the road before coming home where they’ll be heavily favored in Game 7 if that’s the way this whole show turns out. We begin in Toronto. DEFENSE! DEFENSE! To …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks Got In 5 On It

The Milwaukee Bucks are, in the plainest and simplest point of fact, a better basketball team than the Boston Celtics. Milwaukee’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the legitimate for-real honest-to-gods MVP in the whole league. Boston’s stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, are “the worst parts of Allen Iverson‘s game” and “half the Domantas Sabonis for twice the price” respectively. And there’s something oddly satisfying (if you’re a Celtics hater) in watching the culmination of Danny Ainge‘s years of wheeling, dealing, scheming, and roster building at the expense of the Nets and Sixers turn out to be Boston advancing just one …

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Breakfast Special: In Which Order Is Restored

Nothing shatters an in-six narrative quite like an underdog, up 2-1 and with a chance to lose Game 5 on the road before coming home and closing out their opponents, failing to do the one thing an underdog needs to do in order to win a playoff series. That’s right; the Sixers and Blazers couldn’t win a Game 4 at home. Toronto Raptors fans went from “crap, we’re going to lose on our home floor in Game 5 without Pascal Siakam” to “Conference Finals, here we come!” in as much time as it took Siakam to get some Mr. Miyagi …

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Breakfast Special: Stephen Curry, Playoff Choker

Kevin Durant has scored 45 points or more in three of the Warriors’ nine playoff games so far. The Warriors are 1-2 in those games. First it was the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Warriors despite Durant’s 45 in Game 5 of the first round. And Saturday night, it was the Houston Rockets either winning the obligatory Game 3 on their way to losing in 5 or winning the game that keeps this all about home court and stands as a milepost where the series will be won in Game 5 when one team goes up 3-2 and either closes …

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Breakfast Special: NBA Up! All Night

The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers played 68 minutes of basketball in Game 3, and when Portland won 140-137 on a late three-pointer in the fourth overtime by Rodney Hood, you had to get the feeling that the Nuggets’ fate—Portland in six—was sealed. This is doubly true when you consider that Nikola Jokic played 65 minutes—the second-most in a playoff game and third-most overall, and the longest time logged in a playoff contest since 1953 (Bob Cousy, 66 minutes against Syracuse)—while scoring 33 points, hauling down 18 rebounds, dishing 14 assists…and seeing his team lose. Enes Kanter‘s sore shoulder …

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Breakfast Special: Philly In-Six-Ers

One of the most fun parts (in that Nelson Muntz kind of way) of being a basketball journalist is watching the Hot Take Machine fire up during the first two games of a series, where a team that is excellent at home by virtue of being a top-two seed either holds serve and establishes nothing besides “this series might go 7” or loses one and opens up “road team in 6” talk (see headline.) There is absolutely nothing meaningful to be gleaned from a series until at least Game 3, when a combination of optics and stats tell us what …

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Breakfast Special: Portland’s Rocky Mountain High

The series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game, and by that metric, Game 2 just marked the start of the Blazers-Nuggets series. Portland won 97-90 in an ugly ballgame that was as close as it was only because the Blazers couldn’t grab a defensive rebound to save their lives. Denver shot 34.7 percent (34-of-98) from the field but grabbed 23 offensive rebounds against 40 Portland defensive rebounds (36.5 percent of the total in a league where the average is closer to 22 or 23 percent). Even with that, and even with just nine turnovers, Denver lost anyway, …

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Breakfast Special: Referees 115, Rockets 109

Jonathan Coulton famously sang that the first of May is the beginning of the season of having sex outdoors, but on April 30, the only screwing going on was happening inside Oracle Arena and involved Scott Foster going to the window, to the walls on the Houston Rockets. James Harden had 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting and shot 8-of-9 from the free throw line, but he also had four fouls, never quite looked completely in rhythm, and ended up carrying a minus-9 accumulated in the first quarter all the way through his 34 minutes of action in the game as …

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