NBA Breakfast Special: Stephen Curry Is Broken

Stephen Curry just joined Eric Bledsoe in a very dubious NBA club. Specifically, guys whose defense is bad enough as to make Lonzo Ball look good.

The Golden State Warriors very nearly dropped their second straight game, barely beating the Los Angeles Lakers on the road in overtime 127-123, and Ball ended up with 15 points and 10 assists while shooting 5-of-12 from the field, 3-of-7 from San Pedro, and even 2-of-2 from the line.

And, of course, since the game went to overtime, there was all the statistical weirdness you could handle.

Golden State had the Triple 20 you’d expect; Curry had 28, Kevin Durant had 29, and Klay Thompson had 20.

Los Angeles had a Quadruple (!) 20; Brandon Ingram had 32, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 21, Julius Randle had 20, and Jordan Clarkson, continuing the theme of Lakers point guards shredding the defense, had 21.

Clarkson even added eight rebounds and six assists to remind the world that even when Lonzo plays well, Clarkson is by far the best point guard on the Los Angeles roster.

The Dubs ran out to a 30-20 lead after one, trailed at the half, tied it up after three, and couldn’t pull away, then the overtime was a scoring spree that ended 18-14 for the winners.

Oh, and NBA TV is catching wise to the Triple 20 concept:

Curry redeemed himself when it mattered:

Thank the gods for Kevin Durant:

Durant explains the “a win’s a win” that at least goes into the standings as one:

Thunder DOWN

You have to start to wonder sometimes if the Thunder aren’t actually better when Russell Westbrook has about a 40 Usage Rate; whatever may be said about that G-League team they put around him last year, for Russ, he was always on his game and in his rhythm.

Echoes of that could be found last night, as Russ scored 37 on 11-of-23 from the floor including an uncanny-for-him 7-of-10 from Disney World, but the Thunder still lost to the Orlando Magic 121-108.

Paul George had 22 on 7-of-17; Carmelo Anthony sparked the “is he washed up” chatter once again with a wretched 5-of-16 and 15 points right out of the NBA Dark Ages.

Meanwhile, Aaron Gordon went completely bonkers for 40 points and 15 rebounds on 13-of-23 and 6-of-12 beyond the arc; Arron Afflalo was plus-20 despite only shooting the ball twice (and missing both times), but defense and good unit play count for a lot.

Highlights from the man of the match:

James Harden Makes Pacers Fans Sad

Harden, in theory, played the role of volume scorer without much efficiency; he was 8-of-22 from the field, 4-of-12 from Sugar Land, and 9-of-9 from the line for 29 points.

In practice, expending all that energy on stopping the Rockets’ primary scoring threat just made it easier for the rest of the Rockets to get shots in a 118-97 drubbing of the Pacers Wednesday night; the non-Harden squad shot a combined 53.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from long range.

Oh, and Lance Stephenson was minus-17. Bad Lance!

It was just turtles all the way down. Ryan Anderson, 5-of-9 from three. Trevor Ariza, 4-of-5 and 5-of-7 overall for a whistle-clean 14 points. Clint Capela, 10-of-15 for 22 and 13 rebounds. And Chris Paul, 13 on 5-of-8 to go with six boards and seven dimes.

Houston is good, folks. Real good. Scary good.

This is amazing:

And so are the highlights:

All by 14+. Yikes.

The MIN-NO Would Be Lost

Man, I love team abbreviation puns.

How about a Total Team Effort for the Timberwolves? Andrew Wiggins led seven Minnesota players in double figures with 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The Wolves shot 58 percent overall. And New Orleans? 46.4 isn’t good enough, and 40 percent from three on 35 attempts also proved inadequate when they got mauled on the boards 44-28.

Anthony Davis had 17; so did DeMarcus Cousins, combining for 34 points on 14-of-28. They also combined for 15 rebounds; too bad the rest of the team only combined for 13.

And on the rare occasions Minnesota missed? A 33.3 offensive rebounding percentage (10 offensive boards for Minny, 20 defensive boards for the Big Easy) sealed the Pelicans’ fate.

Highlights:

Minnesota is now 13-9, cruising after a bit of a stumble a few games ago.

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, You Boys Have Yourselves A Time!

Lowry had 36 on 12-of-18. DeRozan had 30 on 14-of-22 without making a three-pointer (Thank God you’re here, Basketball Dinosaur Man!)

Those combined 66 points were the straw stirring the drink as the Raptors picked up a big 126-113 win over Charlotte in Toronto, going to 13-7 and staying in the mix in the East’s crowded top four.

This was a just-plain-weird game. Charlotte shot 30-of-35 from the line; Toronto was only 8-of-11.

But when you make 52 (!) field goals, including 14-of-32 (43.8 percent) from three and 53.1 percent overall? Who needs free throws?

Nobody on the Raptors had more than Serge Ibaka‘s eight rebounds, but they won that battle 39-36 overall. Fred VanVleet had nine assists to lead Toronto despite playing only 19 minutes.

Highlights:

Miami’s Bricklaying Adventure

The Heat were atrocious shooting the ball; 32-of-84 (38.1 percent) from the field and 10-of-38 from New Rochelle (26.1 percent), plus 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the free throw line, all while getting outrebounded 52-31 and watching the New York Knicks shoot 60.3 percent (44-of-73) as a team.

You can probably guess about how the score went. 115-86, and it was over by halftime when the Knicks took a 65-44 lead into the locker room.

The weirdest part? Only four Knicks scored in double figures. Enes Kanter led the way with 22 while shooting 7-of-9, adding 14 rebounds.

Porzingis, though…he injured his ankle after playing only three minutes. As great as it is when all 13 guys on your team score in a blowout win as you right the ship and go to 11-10, that injury is going to be a major thorn in New York’s side while the big Latvian heals.

No Heat player had more than five rebounds; this is what happens when Hassan Whiteside gets a night of rest.

Highlights from a big Knicks win:

New York is 10-4 at home…and 1-6 on the road. Something’s gotta give.

Philadelphia’s Triple 20 Beats Washington’s

In my article introducing the Triple 20 as a concept, I mentioned that the biggest correlation between the stat and winning seemed to be found in a team’s Big Three, or at least a team with two established stars and then a third guy having a big night, getting 20 points rather than some random collection of people getting to 20 while the stars struggled.

Well, Philly got 31 from Ben Simmons, 25 from Joel Embiid, and 24 from Dario Saric.

Washington got 21 from Bradley Beal, 22 from Kelly Oubre Jr., and 21 from Jodie Meeks.

The 76ers beat the Wizards 118-113. Score one for sensible application of a rule of thumb (same as you could say for Golden State against the Lakers, comparing the Curry/Thompson/Durant Triple 20 to that mishmash the Lakers put up.)

Oh, and Otto Porter shooting 3-of-14 for eight points and the Wizards shooting 40.4 percent overall couldn’t have helped, even if they did shoot 32-of-37 from the line.

Philadelphia attempted 64 (!!!) free throws. They shot them horribly, making only 41. Simmons was 15-of-29 from the line, while Embiid was 13-of-18.

The Sixers outrebounded the Wizards 64-35, including 21 (!) offensive rebounds.

Two Wizards fouled out (Beal and Oubre); three others had five fouls.

This game was…absolutely, no doubt, the weirdest game in the NBA this year.

Hack-A-Simmons? Please, please, PLEASE, just no. He hit over 50 percent. That’s counter-productive, stupid basketball.

DEE-TROIT BASKETBALL

The Pistons keep on keepin’ on. 51-of-89 from the field (57.3 percent.) 13-of-28 from long range (46.4.) Winning the rebound battle 44-37. A Triple 20 from Tobias Harris (20 on 8-of-14 shooting), Reggie Jackson (23, on 9-of-13), and Avery Bradley (20, 9-of-12.)

So that’s not only a Triple 20 but a combined 26-of-39 (66.7 percent!) from those three guys.

No wonder the Pistons beat the Phoenix Suns 131-107.

Devin Booker had 22 on 7-of-8 to lead the way for Phoenix, but this was just a Hot N’ Ready Blowout at Little Caesars Arena.

And HERO OF SERBIA played! Boban Marjanovic had four points in five minutes, going 1-of-2 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line along with an offensive rebound…and four fouls. Wait, four fouls?!

WHEN BAD TEAMS ATTACK

Brooklyn beat Dallas on the road 109-104, and just when it looked like the Mavs were starting to make a move out of the basement, they drop two in a row.

Trevor Booker had 16 on 8-of-13 shooting, DeMarre Carroll‘s 7-of-14 and 4-of-7 from long range powered a team-high 22, and the Nets won 52-44 on the boards including 14 offensive rebounds.

This game was closer than it needed to be thanks in part to wretched free throw shooting; Brooklyn was 14-of-25 (56 percent) from the line.

It’s an ugly game between bad teams. You wanted Game 7 of the Finals?

Highlights, with Carroll once again playing man of the match:

And Finally…

The J.B. Bickerstaff Era is not off to a flying start for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizz went to San Antonio and got Pop’d by the 14-7 Spurs, who lest we forget are doing all this without Kawhi Leonard, in a 104-95 face slap.

LaMarcus Aldridge was 17-of-24 from the field, 3-of-3 from the Riverwalk, and 4-of-4 from the line. That was good for 41 points, and it helped power a Spurs attack that put up 50.7 percent shooting and 40 percent from three.

Memphis hit half their triples (11-of-22) but it wasn’t enough to overcome terrible two-point shooting; the team was 35-of-77 (45.5 percent) overall.

And ultimately, it was the turnover battle that swung things; San Antonio won that battle 17-9.

Highlights from the King of 1974:

Whew…big Breakfast today. Just five games tonight, and the latest edition of Is He Any Good…taking on…well, it’s a surprise. Stay tuned! Should have that out for you folks by 7 Pacific tonight.