NBA Breakfast Special: Always Bet On Black

Another day in the NBA books, and we seem to have learned two things. One, don’t ever bet against the Spurs, who remained one of only two undefeated teams in the entire league, beating the Heat in Miami to go to 4-0.

And two, Lonzo Ball may be the dollar-store knockoff version of Russell Westbrook, but he’s also got the potential to be Defensive Player of the Year someday.

But we begin in Miami:

Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home

LaMarcus Aldridge has been laying lumber on the league two points at a time in the absence of Kawhi Leonard.

That’s right, in the absence of the best defensive player on the planet, the glue that holds the Spurs’ starting lineup together, the surefire Hall of Famer, San Antonio is not just 4-0 but has beaten the four opponents by a combined 39 points.

This is not even their final form.

LMA has been MVP so far:

And how about Rudy Gay? I am beginning to think that you could put Ricky Davis in a time machine and Gregg Popovich would make him into a team player:

Meanwhile, this is just unfair.

San Antonio won 117-100.

I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller, I Wish I Was Big Baller

Oh, for the love of the gods, people are getting a little ridiculous…

Look, Russell Westbrook did it because he is absolutely insane…and at least in part because he stole rebounds from his teammates. Big O did it because the NBA used to play at about a 150 possession pace because it was essential to get your shot up before the defense got set or your possession would grind out. Lonzo ain’t that good.

But what Lonzo did do was contain John Wall, even as Zo himself played like hot garbage on offense, shooting 2-of-11.

The rest of the Lakers, on the other hand…

It’s getting a little Kentavious in here…

I’ve been saying for awhile that Julius Randle is too good for this team:

The son is determined to surpass his father:

The Lakers won 102-99 in overtime, beating John Wall (18 points on 7-of-22 shooting) and the Wizards.

Wow, Earl Watson Really Was The Problem?

Or was Eric Bledsoe?

TJ Warren had 27 points to lead a Suns team over Utah, getting them their second win in a row, pushing them to 2-3, making the Jazz look like what they are—a good defensive team that can’t score for beans—and just being the opposite of the team that made Lonzo Ball look like Magic Johnson last week.

And the nerds have made their presence known:

And then there’s this. Make basketball fun again, Phoenix…

LeBron James Is Just Like Shaq

Usually, when you compare a player to an all-time great, it’s a compliment, as the many comparisons of LeBron James to everyone from Magic Johnson to Michael Jordan to “compare him to LeBron James, he’s his own man” demonstrate.

But last night, he was like Shaq. Couldn’t make a free throw worth a damn.

The only thing clutch was Bron clutching his throat:

That’s right, the Brooklyn Nets beat Cleveland 112-107. Have a moment, Brooklyn:

Tom Thibodeau, Defensive Failure

Look, we need to talk about Karl-Anthony Towns, specifically the fact that he can’t play defense…

I mean, the entire Wolves team is pretty much trash on that end of the floor, and Detroit exploited them once again, dishing out a 122-101 beatdown. Minnesota’s now 2-3, and perhaps more dangerously, they look nothing at all like a playoff team even if you’re an eye-test guy. And it really does come down at the end to a center who can’t stop his opponent.

Andre Drummond had 15 and 15, while Tobias Harris exploded for 34 and Stanley Johnson looked like an All-Star and not the draft bust he actually is:

The Rockets Will Ruin Your Day

Man, it looked like Philly was going to pull the game out of the fire against Houston, but the Rockets just have too many weapons.

Although speaking of weapons, James Harden is like a cannon that devastates enemy walls and troops but every six shots, the cannon explodes, killing the artillery crew with shrapnel. Eight turnovers. New season, same great James Harden bitter taste.

Still, Harden and Eric Gordon combined for 56 of the Rockets’ 105 points in the 105-104 squeaker:

That, right there, with Harden getting the assist and Gordon ripping the hearts out of Wells Fargo Center’s assembled masses…sorry, Philly, you ain’t there yet.

Poking the Bear

Dallas is terrible. Again. An 0-4 start, anemic offense, pathetic defense…

…and then they go out and beat a team that has already knocked off the Warriors and Rockets so far this season? Basketball is a funny game, isn’t it?

Shooting 48.6 percent in a grinder of a game in which the Mavs attempted only 74 shots and the Grizzlies only 72, winning the turnover battle with 11 to Memphis’s 17, the 103-94 win (yes, 103 points on 74 shots, for extra-delicious efficiency), Dallas got off the floor. But man, that pace. It’s bloody terrifying, really.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Dwight Powell are the future:

Powell with the “get that outta here”:

And Smith showing the catch-and-shoot:

Dallas is 1-4. Memphis is 3-1. Crazy day, this.

Nuggets Looking Out For Number Two

Denver is 1-3, and their shooting was a steaming pile of Number Two last night against Charlotte. Will Barton was 4-of-13. Emmanuel Mudiay was 0-of-8 (but what else is new.) Wilson Chandler was 3-of-11. Jamal Murray, 7-of-20 (seriously, Nugs, trade for Eric Bledsoe, you want him on that wall.)

The team overall was 38-of-99, racking up 17 offensive rebounds as a purely statistical matter with all those missed shots.

Charlotte, meanwhile, made theirs, and shooting 38-of-80 from the field, 13-of-30 from long range, and 21-of-26 from the line, that’s how 110-93 laughers happen:

Dwight Howard had 19 rebounds. Nobody on the rest of the team had more than four. That’s…kind of a problem.

Bojan Bogdownovic

The Pacers employ two starters who are legitimately awful, no matter how good they were against the Timberwolves’ awful defense.

And in going 1-of-9 and 0-of-7 respectively, Domantas Sabonis (who didn’t even attempt a three, that was 11.1 percent on two-balls) and Bojan Bogdanovic (missed all five of his triples) displayed why neither should ever be allowed near the floor until it’s clear-the-bench time.

On the other hand, Victor Oladipo scored 35 against his old team while Paul George only scored 10 against his. This was the Melo and Russ show, as Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook scored 28 apiece and Westbrook threw in yet another triple-double with 10 rebounds and 16 assists while posting a plus-27 differential on the floor.

So screw it. Angry Pacers fan (except not really, I have zero expectations this year) needs to just show the highlights and naff off:

What does Burger King have to do with this?

BZZZZZT

Just…next game, please.

And Finally…

What, you thought I was going to forget Steph Gonna Steph and the Dubs getting above .500 for the first time this season at 3-2?

Golden State finished on a 10-0 run to close out the Raptors 117-112. And it took the stars to show why no lead is safe at any time in the game:

Steph 1, LeBron 0:

But the hero was ultimately Shaqtin’ a Fool:

Golden State is off and running. They’ll be 13-2 before you can blink.

And we’ll have all the highlights when it happens, along with those features I’ve been promising since forever (new day job. It’s kicking my hide.) Thanks for reading!