NBA Breakfast Special: Marc Gasol Is A Coach-Killing Crybaby

If your team is 7-12, and your star player starts whining about the coach, just once I’d like to see a team trade the star player. After all, the Memphis Grizzlies need to blow up their roster and start over, not let one of the best young coaches in the league end up on some other team with an underachieving roster and a coach on the hot seat (mark my words, if Fizdale wants the job, Billy Donovan won’t be the coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas…if the Los Angeles Clippers don’t hire Fizdale first.)

Although if you really want to see why the Grizzlies are a train wreck, consider the following:

Then consider that Chris Wallace traded Joe Johnson to the Suns for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers, and that Wallace once traded for Vin Baker when he was GM of the Celtics.

Memphis has a general manager with a 17-year record of incompetence and utter, baffling stupidity, winning games only because he lucked into his bad decisions turning out in his favor, who somehow remains employed. Wallace is on the Elgin Baylor/Billy King Wall of NBA Shame, one of the few perennial members of Bill Simmons’ old “Atrocious GM Summit” gimmick who still has a job.

The league was supposed to be smarter than this.

Meanwhile, Marc Gasol gets the Dwight Howard Award for ruining a franchise by running a good coach out of town. At least Stan Van Gundy’s doing just fine in Detroit, which leads us to our first set of actual highlights today…

Down Goes Boston! Down Goes Boston!

Marcus Smart took 13 shots. The Celtics lost. The prosec…

…wait, what? He made eight of them, including 6-of-9 from three, and he’s shooting 71.4 percent from the field in his last two games?

Then how the hell did Detroit win this game 118-108?

Oh. Andre Drummond.

Mr. Drummond just gave a serious “what you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” to the statheads. His 26 points (on 10-of-12 shooting!), 22 rebounds, and laughing in the face of Hack-A-Dre (6-of-8 free throws!), along with six assists, made him the first player to get at least 25 points, 20 boards, and 5 assists in the same game on the visiting team in Boston since Wilt Chamberlain, in 1967:

50 years, the Celtics went without giving up numbers like those to an enemy player on their home floor. That’s longer than 20 teams have been in the league, and a 21st, the Bulls, played their first season.

Oh, and speaking of Detroit centers…ahem…

HERO OF SERBIA WAS A DNP-CD. FREE THE BOBAN.

Thank you.

So how did Detroit win if not lousy play by Marcus Smart?

They won the rebounding battle 40-36, the turnover battle 17-8, and the free throw shooting battle (19-of-23 for Detroit, 12-of-21 for Boston.) So even though the Celtics shot 51.9 percent from the field and a staggering 16-of-33 from the North Station commuter rail tracks, they still lost.

Oh, and Detroit got a Triple 20; besides Drummond, Tobias Harris had 31 and Reggie Jackson added 20. That will get you places.

Highlights from Andre:

And Tobias:

#LOLakers

Dear gods, Lonzo Ball is steaming hot trash, and he showed it once again in the Lakers’ 120-115 loss on their own floor against the home Clippers.

Ball was 1-of-7 from the field for three points, shot zero free throws because he is humanly incapable or mortally terrified of drawing contact (considering he can’t shoot a lick from the line or anywhere else, it’s hard to tell), added his typical five boards and seven assists because he is Flea Market Westbrook—as Pace and Space emeritus Zach d’Arbeloff points out, Ball’s not good enough for the Dollar Store designation, instead calling Lonzo “Tall Ricky Rubio” in a blatant insult to a guy who is a putrid shooter but not THAT bad.

But more to the point, Lonzo couldn’t score against Austin Rivers. That’s bad. That’s real bad. That is “how are you not in the G-League” bad.

Ball’s shooting so far: 30.8 percent from the field, 24.5 from long range, and 42.9 from the free throw line on 28 (!) free throw attempts total.

So even though Blake Griffin got injured again, and even though Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played out of his mind trying to win the game by himself, scoring 29 points on 12-of-26 from the field, and despite Jordan Clarkson once again saying with his play “for the love of all things good in this world, START ME, Lonzo sucks!” in scoring 17 on 8-of-12…

…well, the Lakers lost. They’re 8-12. And until they send Lonzo to the G-League, they’ll continue to struggle playing 4-on-5 with the worst starter in the league on their team.

Highlights, including 42 points from Lou Williams:

Lonzo Ball Points 3, Steve Kerr F—s to Give 0

You think Steve Kerr cares even the tiniest bit about the regular season anymore?

Because he rested Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, he went 12 deep on his bench in a close game, and the Warriors lost to the 6-14 Sacramento Kings at home 110-106.

Sure, this was still a winnable game for the Dubs, undone less by the absence of Steph and KD and more by the gods-awful shooting of Draymond Green (4-of-15) and Klay Thompson (7-of-20), but the weirdest part of that is that the Dubs still shot 50 percent as a team, the rest of the squad combining to shoot 29-of-45 (64.4 percent!)

Willie Cauley-Stein was 8-of-9 to get to 19 for the Kings, George Hill was 4-of-5 from long range on his way to 16, and once again Golden State lost the turnover battle (14-13) in a game they lost.

Nobody on Sacramento attempted more than 11 shots (Zach Randolph, 4-of-11 for 11 points); eight players attempted at least seven shots. And despite attempting only 17 three-pointers (making nine of them, a 52.9 percent clip), the Kings ran with a team that made 16-of-37.

Highlights? We’ve got those too, including Bogdan Bogdanovic (or “the other Bogdanovic” as he’s known to Pacers fans) with the dagger:

Let’s just distill this down to the fun part at the end:

PACERMANIA

Man, I love this Pacers team. Everyone in Pacer Nation loves this Pacers team.

And Bojan Bogdanovic, the One True And Most Holy Bogdanovic? He loves this Pacers team too, to the tune of giving them 22 points on 7-of-13 from the field, 2-of-4 from three, and 6-of-7 from the line.

But the big star of the show? Besides Lance Stephenson‘s bizarre ideas of “ball movement” involving Domantas Sabonis, I mean…

Victor Oladipo. Back from injury, Vic made his first 11 shots before finishing 11-of-12 for 26 points, six rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and four steals in the Pacers’ 121-109 smackdown of the Orlando Magic, including a rare-for-Indiana pulling away in the fourth quarter:

Oh, and Myles Turner? 18 points, four boards, two blocks, including this honey of a smothered chicken:

Man, this team is fun. And also 12-9, good for sixth in the East and just two games out of second place.

LeBron James Wants To Remind You He’s Still the Best

Can we start talking about Bron for MVP? Because after 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including 3-of-7 from three and 3-of-4 from the line, he has career highs in field goal and three-point percentage and the second-best season of his 15-year career from the free throw line. He’s averaging 28.5 points a game, fourth-highest of his career.

And advanced stats? He’s got his highest WS/48 (.258) in his career in Cleveland, and that includes his youth. His 9.9 Box Plus-Minus is his best since 2013, when he won his second ring in Miami. His 30.5 PER leads the NBA (yes, over James Harden.)

And he’s averaging 30.8 points a game in November despite playing on a G-League team and having to carry the brunt of the other team’s defense whenever he touches the ball.

And he did all that stuff mentioned at the top in the cause of a 113-91 demolition of the Philadelphia 76ers in which Cleveland’s bench had four guys over plus-20 and got 15 from Dwyane Wade, 14 from Jeff Green, and 12 from Channing Frye.

Highlights from the ageless King:

Michael Beasley Is A Thug And A Punk

Jusuf Nurkic and Michael Beasley got into a scuffle in the Trail Blazers’ 103-91 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden:

Beasley, who is trash and does not belong in the league, challenged Nurkic saying “c’mon, hit me”…

And Nurkic just stared him down like “who do you think you are, wee man? I’m not getting suspended over your punk bitch ass.”

Frank Ntilikina came to his teammate’s defense, shoved Nurkic…and just added to the Knicks’ woes as two technicals were dished out by the referees.

Portland played a disciplined game, with nine turnovers. The Knicks shot like garbage, shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 33.3 (on only 5-of-15) from three. Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. shot a combined 12-of-34 to get to 38 points between them.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard (32 points, 10-of-20 from the field, 11-of-11 from the line) carried the day on a night where C.J. McCollum (4-of-15, 12 points) couldn’t hit a mobster’s victim if he fell into the East River.

Highlights:

And the man of the match:

James And The Giant Stat Line

James Harden continues to be a statistical beast, determined to win the MVP no matter what it takes, and if he keeps cranking up his scoring average, he might just threaten to become the first man not named Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan to score 3,000 points in a season.

He had 37 to go with ten rebounds, eight assists, and only four turnovers in Houston’s 117-103 demolition of the Brooklyn Nets, shooting 13-of-20 from the field and 8-of-13 from long range in the process.

Oh, and if you don’t have Clint Capela on your Most Improved Player radar, you better recognize. Capela was 8-of-12 and added 20 points in only 28 minutes.

Houston took 50 (!) three-pointers, making 20 of them, and the NBA just makes no sense anymore.

Brooklyn took 39 threes. They made 10. That’s 25.6 percent, and that just shoots you out of a game.

Highlights from the Beard:

And Finally…

The Dallas Mavericks may have got the Total Team Effort, but the San Antonio Spurs got the win to the tune of 115-108, dropping the Mavs to 5-16 while elevating the Kawhi-less but still Pop-coached squad to 13-7, third in the West and a 53-win pace.

LaMarcus Aldridge may be a dinosaur, but he simply refuses to go extinct, scoring a season-high 33 on 13-of-19 shooting and 7-of-7 from the line without attempting a single three-pointer.

Someone get Aldridge in a time machine. His game would fit great in 1974.

Aldridge and Kyle Anderson both had ten rebounds, while Pau Gasol scored 25 on 9-of-14 shooting and 3-of-4 from Mexico.

Plus, Tony Parker is back, although his contribution (six points on 3-of-7 in 14 minutes) was necessarily limited. Look out below if this team gets healthy; they’re already pretty damn good.

Great team shooting (52.4 percent from the field and 41.7 from three) combined with making the all-important free throws (19-of-21, 90.5 percent, compared to 12-of-17 for 70.6 percent from Dallas) and winning the rebounding (43-40), assist (27-25), and turnover (11-10) battles.

So despite those seven players in double figures, Dallas couldn’t pull out the win.

Highlights from the museum relic who’s keeping this team going offensively:

And the Spaniard who doesn’t ruin the job security of his coach:

We’ve got the weekly Pacers report coming later tonight (look for that around 8 or 9, or catch it in the morning on the East Coast; commitments have me out of the home office for the day), so stay tuned and thanks for reading!