Breakfast Special: No Fools in the Eastern Conference

The race between the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers for the 3, 4, and 5 seeds has been everything you want a playoff chase to be. Teams are going on winning streaks and gaining no ground because their opponents are keeping pace with them every step of the way. Two of the teams are teams on the rise, one coming out of nowhere, the other a realization of the possibilities of long periods of nonstop losing. Another is a team on the ropes, declining in fortune, kept alive only because its star is having one of the best …

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Breakfast Special: Bogdanovic Vs. Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic put up one of the weirdest stat lines in NBA history in Indiana’s 106-103 win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night. Bogey had 25 points…and nothing else. Zero rebounds. Zero assists. Zero steals. Zero blocks. He had a turnover and a foul, but 25 points in isolation from any other basketball activities? That’s the sixth-highest point total in such a situation of all-time according to Basketball Reference; Allan Houston scored 37 points with no other counting stats in 2000, and Reggie Miller set the Pacers record for this statistical anomaly with 34 points and nothing else in 1999. …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Who Is Made of Glass

Lonzo Ball is injured again, this time sustaining a left knee contusion in the Lakers’ 103-93 win over the Mavericks at home. Ball was his usual can’t-shoot-a-lick self in his 24 minutes, scoring eight points while shooting 3-of-7 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, and 1-of-2 from the line…then again, all those percentages (42.9/33.3/50) were actually improvements on his horrid season totals. Ball says he’s not likely to miss much time, but with the Lakers’ playoff hopes deader than disco at 33-41 (they were officially mathematically eliminated when they lost to the Pistons Monday night), they might as well just …

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Breakfast Special: O Dub Nation, Where Art Thou?

Consider the following… Sometimes you just have to find a way to win. #Pacers comeback win at Golden State their 7th when trailing by 15+ points. And that doesn’t include Sunday win vs. Heat when @Pacers trailed by 14 in 1H. — Chris Denari (@ChrisDenari) March 28, 2018 Seven 15-point comebacks. For a team that played like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz last year. Indiana beat the Santa Cruz Warriors 92-81 in a game where Quinn Cook‘s midrange jumper with 5:01 left in the second quarter made the score 44-29. It was an ugly game; the Pacers shot …

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Breakfast Special: The Triumphant Return of Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz returned to competition Monday, scoring ten points and recording eight assists off the bench for the 76ers as they beat the Denver Nuggets 123-104. For Philly, the fun began in the third quarter; they wiped out an eight-point halftime deficit with a 34-15 twelve-minute run of basketball that proved the margin of victory as they won the fourth quarter 38-30 as well. Ben Simmons, who would get a lot more triple-doubles if he could shoot a lick, scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Meanwhile, Denver couldn’t grab a rebound (they lost …

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Breakfast Special: Eat Your Heart Out, Paul George

If Kevin Pritchard isn’t Executive of the Year for trading Paul George to Oklahoma City for what looked like spare parts and a bag of basketballs and managing to improve the team, then there simply is no justice in the NBA anymore. The Pacers beat Miami 113-107 in overtime, riding late-game heroics from Darren Collison to a 43-31 record through 74 games; Indiana went 42-40 in 2016-17. With just three wins in their last eight games, Indiana will post its best record since going 56-26 in the 2013-14 season, a year in which they made the Eastern Conference Finals and …

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Breakfast Special: Charlotte Hornets Break the Point Differential Stat

Way back in November of 2015, the Memphis Grizzlies lost two games, one by 50, the other by 30, in one fell swoop reducing their expected win total for the entire season by 2.7 wins. They lost three games for the price of two, providing the foreshadowing that would, by the end of the season, foretell their 3-14 finish in the regular season and, once they limped into the playoffs, their sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. It was precisely the kind of predictive outcome that analytics was designed to catch (and, if I may point the …

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Breakfast Special: Atlanta Owns Utah? Seriously?!

You wouldn’t have expected the Hawks to account for two of the Jazz’s three losses in their last 24 games. The only thing standing between Utah and a 24-0 record since mid-January is two tanking teams; the third loss was to Dallas. But here we are. Dennis Schroder shot 16-of-28 to score 41 points, Dewayne Dedmon had 15 rebounds , Utah shot just 37.1 percent from the field and 17.6 percent (6-of-34) from long range, and the Hawks beat the Jazz in Utah 99-94. Donovan Mitchell was honest-to-gods atrocious, cementing his status as the Evolutionary Jerry Stackhouse by scoring 24 …

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Breakfast Special: In Which Gregg Popovich Owns Steve Kerr Again

The San Antonio Spurs, left for dead just last week, have turned things around in a big way, and their fourth straight win just came at the expense of the Golden State Warriors. Even crazier, the Spurs held Golden State to just 75 points in a downright collegiate 89-75 slog of a game. Well, maybe “slog” isn’t the right word—the game was played at a 94.1 estimated pace, after all, slow by today’s NBA standards but a breakneck pace by the standards (86 possessions per 48 minutes, due mainly to the 30-second shot clock) of the college game. Anyway, point …

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Breakfast Special: A Glorious Day Without Tanking

Hey you. Reader. Did you spend Sunday watching college basketball, trying to fool yourself into believing that it’s better than the pros and a more pure form of the sport and whatever other trash we dredge up before a team that I legit confused with Maryland-Eastern Shore but was actually Maryland-Baltimore County busted everyone’s bracket like for real we didn’t even get past Friday before every single entry in every single bracket tournament was, like that jackpot in the Powerball a couple of years ago that rolled up to $1.4 billion because everyone played when it was $900 million and …

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