Can the Indiana Pacers Sneak Into the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals?

Even after a heartbreaking loss to the Celtics Monday night on a SEGABABA, the Indiana Pacers stand at 17-14, locked in a three-way tie for fifth in the East, and if they’d won that game against Boston, they’d be solidly in fourth. Not only do they have the record to play fifth-place ball, they’re also fifth in point differential; this team projects as a 45-win team on points and on record alike. They’re armed with the fourth-best conference record in case of tiebreakers, they’re 7-7 on the road, and they have the early favorite for Most Improved Player, a seemingly …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Klay Thompson’s Ultimate Kobe Bryant Tribute

Klay Thompson paid the ultimate tribute to Kobe Bryant, imitating Kobe’s iconic Game 7 in the 2010 Finals by going 6-for-24 in a game his team won. What better way to honor a man who had both of his jersey numbers—8 and 24—raised to the Staples Center rafters Monday night? Sure, Golden State won 114-112 in overtime, and sure, Kevin Durant clowned Lonzo Ball in making the game-winning dagger, and sure, the Warriors were hot garbage, shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 32.4 from long range and the Lakers couldn’t capitalize, but hey, you just can’t beat that Kobe …

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NBA Breakfast Special: LeBron Goes Full Dark Ages

Before we begin, a nod to my favorite tweet by an NBA social media account so far this season: FUS…RO DAH! The sound of unrelenting force. Which is what one meets when they attempt to enter the paint against the Dragan! Suns down by 3 at the end of 1. #SunsAtWolves pic.twitter.com/3PtpRIAacZ — Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 17, 2017 There is just so much to love about that. A Skyrim reference. Dragan Bender in a plastic mask. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ uniforms, which look like nothing so much as the FEV vats in Fallout 1. Sure, Minnesota won that game based …

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Statistical Tests: How Important is the Turnover Battle?

There are certain basketball platitudes out there like “you have to control the glass” or “the team that gets more assists wins the game.” But in both cases, they’re either obvious (the team that got more assists probably made more shots and therefore scored more points) or questionable (if you got a bunch of offensive rebounds, it might just be because you couldn’t shoot the ball that night, so you scored fewer points, and you lost.) With players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook setting records for turnovers even as they’ve put up MVP-level seasons, and with some teams just …

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NBA Breakfast Special: LeBronzo

Lonzo Ball got a chance to showcase his skills in front of someone who, if the rumors are true, will be his teammate next year. Against LeBron James, Ball had 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, dished 11 assists, and grabbed eight rebounds, but a near-triple-double was no match for an actual triple-double; LeBron had 25 points, 12 boards, and 12 dimes. Kyle Kuzma continues to stand as the Lakers’ best rookie; he had 20 points off the bench on 8-of-16. It was a curious game from long range for Cleveland. LeBron was 1-of-7; Jae Crowder was 1-of-6. The rest of …

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Lou Williams: Is He Any Good?

Lou Williams, who may just end up being the last prep-to-pro from the old era left at the rate he’s going, was drafted out of high school in 2005 and immediately banished to obscurity; he’s been a starter for only 95 of his 808 career NBA games. But the 31-year-old journeyman, playing for his fifth team in the past four years, is making an incredibly strong case for Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 20 points per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers. So this leads us to a simple question. Is Lou Williams a starter in …

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NBA Breakfast Special: The Sort-Of Triumphant Paul George

The Indiana Pacers remained tied for fourth in the East, but they did it losing to Paul George and the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder in one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see from star players in today’s NBA. PG13 had 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Russell Westbrook had a Dark Ages triple-double, one of the worst high-volume stat games of the year. Westbrook had 10 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists, but he shot 3-of-17 from the field. Carmelo Anthony was terrible, but we’re used to that from him by now; his 4-of-14 and 12 points was just par …

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NBA Breakfast Special: For Boban So Loved Us That He Gave Us 13 Minutes

To begin today, we point out that Boban Marjanovic has a 25.8 PER, which if he were qualified for the title in such things, would put him seventh in the entire league. HERO OF SERBIA had 14 points in 13 minutes on 4-of-6 shooting and 6-of-8 from the line, pulled down five rebounds, dished two assists, and did not turn the ball over even once. That 14 points was second-best on the Pistons, trailing only Langston Galloway‘s 18, as Detroit… …well, OK. They got their tails handed to them 103-84 by the Denver Nuggets, their freefall toward oblivion having gone …

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Victor Oladipo Belongs in the All-Star Game

With the Indiana Pacers sitting at 16-11 and fifth in the Eastern Conference fully a third into the NBA season, the idea that the team’s early 5-3 start was properly negated by the subsequent four-game losing streak has been pretty well established as rubbish, two winning streaks of four and five games speaking quite well to that as the team has won 11 of its last 15. And in the midst of all that, Victor Oladipo has emerged as a legitimate, no-bones-about-it All-Star. Of course, it helps that two of his would-be competitors at guard, John Wall and Isaiah Thomas, …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

The Boston Celtics rested Kyrie Irving, essentially punting the game against the Chicago Bulls on the road; for Chicago, they have as many wins in their last three games as in their first 23. As in, they’ve got three. Boston shot a horrifying 39.8 percent from the field and 10-of-40 from three. Curiously, they were 23-of-43 on two-point shots, good for 53.5 percent. Jayson Tatum was horrible (1-of-7 from the field, four points) in a rare off day for him. Chicago, meanwhile, won the turnover battle 15-8, shot 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and got 24 from Nikola …

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