Sorting Out 2018 NBA West Playoffs Tiebreakers, Part 1

Welcome back to our efforts to sort out the giant NBA car crash that is the playoff race and all the potential tiebreakers. I’m trying to make this as complete as possible while also making it plausible. Sadly, when Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and the Trail Blazers lost to the Grizzlies on Wednesday, what was already a mess with seven teams all alive to go anywhere from fourth through tenth just became six teams within four games of each other from three through eight. The East at least had two distinct groups around a common linchpin—the Cavs-Sixers-Pacers 3-4-5 race and …

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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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Sorting Out 2018 NBA East Playoffs Tiebreakers

With just a couple of weeks left in the season, now is the time to start considering playoff tiebreaker scenarios, as many of the NBA’s playoff matchups will be determined based on just who finishes with what record. With both the East and West a complete mess below the obvious top two (Toronto and Boston in the East, Houston and Golden State in the West), it’s time to take a look at the most likely playoff tangles…and just how they’d be resolved. While a lot can happen in seven or eight games, these are the most likely messes and how …

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The 2018 Pacers: Pure Guts, Pure Soul, Pure Fun

It’s a Wednesday edition of Pacers Tuesday, because I wanted to see what happened with the return of Domantas Sabonis and the game at the Santa Cruz Warriors before deciding on an angle this week. And then Domas shot 3-of-3 from the field, scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished three assists in a 92-81 win. But that’s not what jumped out at me. What jumped out at me was the Pacers’ 92-81 win after trailing by 15 points in the second quarter. It’s the seventh time this season Indiana’s been down 15 or more in a game and …

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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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Carmelo Anthony 2018: Is He Any Good?

Carmelo Anthony used to be good. He used to put up spectacular numbers on some truly awful Knicks teams, and before that he developed a reputation as a guy who couldn’t get the job done in the playoffs because apparently he was expected to turn the Denver Nuggets into champions by himself and with famous playoff choker George Karl as his coach (this site is based in Seattle. Where were you on May 7, 1994?) When sitting down to write this, my first thought was “is Carmelo Anthony washed up?”, and I would look at all the evidence to arrive …

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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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