NBA Breakfast Special: Brad Stevens, Coach of the Year

Let us for a moment examine the Boston Celtics, a team that lost two of its best defensive players over the offseason, and let a couple of Pace and Space emeritus have their say:

The Spurs have had a Halloween hayride this week, first losing to Indiana and now getting smacked 108-94 by Boston.

LaMarcus Aldridge turned into a pumpkin, scoring 11 on 5-of-13 shooting, proving the value (!) of the two point shot. San Antonio shot 41.4 percent from the floor, flustered by the Celtics’ defense. Boston outrebounded the Spurs 54-40 or fight.

It didn’t matter that the Spurs shot 42.6 percent from beyond the arc. They still got smacked. The highlights are glorious for Boston, a team that’s been playing the fool to the Spurs since the 1997 draft lottery:

That’s five in a row after starting 0-2. They’ll be ready when Gordon Hayward comes back to make merry mayhem in the playoffs.

The Wrath of Kerr

The Warriors wondered how many points they needed to score against the Clippers to win. They then scored just shy of 30 more than that.

The 141-113 win, in which the Dubs committed only 12 turnovers after handing Detroit the ball 25 times in their loss on Sunday, featured a fair amount of Steph Gonna Steph, as Stephen Curry poured in 31 on 7-of-11 from three-point land.

The Clips got outrebounded 46-35, lost the assist battle 37-21, and let the Warriors shoot 58.4 percent from the field (52-of-89.)

The bar has been set for the rest of the league:

Golden State is 5-3. That’s a 51-win pace. I’ll give you odds if you want to bet under 52 on these guys.

A Sixer Says What?

Sometimes game alerts hit my phone and I do a double-take.

“Wait, Philly beat Houston?” was one of those moments. 115-107, the final, in Houston. Ye gods.

Ben Simmons was 10-of-15 from the field (and 4-of-9 from the line. Hack-a-Ben?) Joel Embiid shot 9-of-12. Philly shot 55 percent (44-of-80) as a team. And James Harden had seven turnovers because of course he did.

Speaking of Harden, can we stop pretending it’s an accomplishment when he shoots 8-of-21 from the field and dupes the refs into calling a bunch of fouls on his opponents? It’s embarrassing. Houston attempted 38 free throws to the Sixers’ 24. Didn’t matter when they still lost.

Did we (and by we I mean me) forget Ben Simmons was eligible for Rookie of the Year?

Can I change my prediction from Dollar Store Westbrook on the Lakers to the best Ben to hit Philly since Franklin?

When Bad Teams Attack

Nuggets-Knicks was never going to be a Finals preview, but Kristaps Porzingis was the worst nightmare of Denver’s defense, torching the Nugs for 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting.

And in your daily reminder that Emmanuel Mudiay sucks (yes, I’m piling on, so what?), Moody had 15 points on only 3-of-6 shooting, making 3-of-3 from long range and 6-of-6 from the line…and posted a minus-11 because he can’t guard a dead guy and the Nuggets’ bench damn near pulled this game out of the fire.

New York still won 116-110 behind that Latvian masterstroke:

Also, Kenneth Faried only played three minutes. What the hell, Denver? What happened to the Manimal?

Minnesota Timberwolves, Gods Of Defense

There’s something to be said for just being able to put the ball in the bucket so often that even though your defense sucks, you still get the job done.

Enter the 125-122 overtime win over the Miami Heat. Andrew Wiggins continues to prove that you can put up counting stats if you play enough minutes, scoring 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting in 40 minutes of play.

Meanwhile, Kelly Olynyk (!) lit up the Wolves for 23 points, and Bam Adebayo posted 13 points and 13 rebounds, showing the world just how wretched Karl-Anthony Towns is on defense.

But really, how about Wiggins and his ability to take off like a bat out of hell:

Man, Jeff Teague gets rid of the ball before you even know what hit you, huh?

Kemba Walker‘s Free Throw Spectacular!

Speaking of guys who dupe the refs, Walker pulled a Harden in Memphis, gritting and grinding his way past the previously 5-1 Grizzlies, as the Charlotte Hornets pulled out a 104-99 win on the road.

Walker scored 27 points, powered by going 12-of-13 from the line.

Charlotte shot 41.6 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from long range, the latter a bit deceptive since Memphis’s perimeter defense held the Hornets to only 17 shots from out there, good for only seven makes.

Memphis, meanwhile, just stunk out the joint offensively, shooting a dreadful 32-of-93 (34.4 percent) from the field. They wasted a great night taking care of the ball—only seven turnovers.

Sloppy ball eventually yields highlights, and Charlotte provided them:

The New Orleans Two Star Problem

There have been too many games like this. Anthony Davis will go nuts while DeMarcus Cousins struggles, or vice versa. The two never seem to be good at the same time.

To wit, there was a 115-99 loss to the Orlando Magic at Smoothie King Arena, in which Davis went off for 39 points, shooting 13-of-20 from the field and 13-of-15 from the line. Cousins went 5-of-14 for 12 points.

Meanwhile, Orlando whipped up on the Pellies’ poor perimeter defense, lighting it up for 16-of-34 from three-point land, part of an overall 50.6 percent shooting night.

It was a caring-and-sharing kind of night, in which five Magic players scored at least 17 and nobody had more than 20.

Hey, remember when Marreese Speights was a fan favorite in Oakland? He’s still one in Orlando:

Nikola Vucevic had a third quarter was one for the ages:

Go, Bear

Rudy Gobert is quietly assembling himself a season in Utah, as the Jazz have started 4-0 at home and 4-3 overall. Gobert leads the league in blocks, has a second-in-the-league 94.2 Defensive Rating, and has already racked up 0.6 Defensive Win Shares, tops in the Association.

Oh, and he’s got a .713 True Shooting Percentage. He’s kicking it old school out there, playing close to the rim and getting it done.

The Dallas Mavericks shot 12-of-24 from three-point land. They shot 22-of-52 (42.3 percent) on two-pointers. That is what rim protection buys you.

No wonder Utah won 104-89.

And Finally…

Your twice yearly TORPOR Game, as the Toronto Raptors went to Portland and smacked the Trail Blazers 99-85 behind Kyle Lowry pouring in 19 points and DeMar DeRozan adding 25 on 10-of-20 shooting.

Damian Lillard had 36 points himself, and CJ McCollum scored 16 on a c’est magnifique efficiency of…5-of-16 shooting. Whoops.

The difference here is that the rest of the Raptors played defense.

Such a fascinating contrast in the league this year. We’ve had shootouts and grindfests, and either defense is dead or nobody can shoot.

Don’t make up your mind on this, NBA. Variety is the spice of life. And we’ll keep bringing it to you every morning with breakfast, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!