Breakfast Special: James Harden Space Program

Happy New Year, folks, even if it’s not as happy as it could’ve been for eight NBA fanbases. Let’s get right to it: James Harden‘s Hamstring Goes Kerbal Anyone who’s played “Kerbal Space Program” knows how easy it is to have rockets blow up. And the Houston Rockets? Well, they sure looked like a Kerbal rocket for the last five games before the Lakers, a salve for any wound, came to town. It took double overtime. It took 40 points from Harden despite the Beard leaving the game with a strained hamstring. And it took a bizarre stat line where …

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Breakfast Special: The TNT Double Digit Comeback Spectacular

The Philadelphia 76ers blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, turning an 88-74 with 11:11 to go into a 93-88 deficit less than five minutes later. The weirdest part of that 19-point run? It wasn’t even the biggest comeback in the NBA Thursday…on national television. That’s right, because the Boston Celtics came back from 26 down in the second quarter to win a game in which the Houston Rockets did not trail in the first 47 minutes and 57 seconds of play. James Harden committed two offensive fouls on Houston’s final two possessions, and Al Horford had the wildest finish an individual …

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Bradley Beal: Is He Any Good?

Bradley Beal has emerged as a legitimate star for the Washington Wizards, putting up some huge games this year and keeping the team afloat when John Wall went down with an injury. His 51 points at Portland powered a Wizards win on Dec. 5, and he’s scored at least 20 points in 25 of his 35 games this season. Beal is a great volume scorer, putting up points on the board on a playoff team. But he’s also got some efficiency problems and can be downright Dark Ages at times. Which leads us to an important question: Is Bradley Beal …

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Breakfast Special: NBA Underdogs Put It On A T-Shirt

Five of the six worst teams in the NBA won games last night. Of those, four beat teams that either would make the playoffs if the season ended today or, in the fifth case, would’ve been had they beaten the bad team. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls continue to charge ahead, winners of eight of their last ten and, at 11-22, just one game back of the 11th-seeded Nets. And sure, the Bulls aren’t exactly threatening the playoff field—they’re 6.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Heat, who are nearly as close to first place (7.5 back of Boston) as they are …

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The Pace and Space Lexicon

Ever wonder what I’m talking about when I bring up certain concepts that are fairly unique to this site? Most of them are terms that have just evolved from an approach to the sport of basketball that tries to come up with names for certain statistical concepts or other things that have just sprung up over the course of writing about the NBA. You see these a lot in the Breakfast Special columns; when I’m doing game recaps, I’m trying to notice patterns for later statistical testing. Terms like Total Team Effort and Triple 20 came from there. The former …

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Breakfast Special: The Downside of NBA Christmas

Go ahead and find me a worse day for basketball than the day after Christmas. The NBA schedules no games on Christmas Eve to make sure that their marquee teams don’t have a back-to-back on the holidsy, and that also means that on December 26, those same teams, spared the need to play a SEGABABA, are all resting up and at home with their families. Which can only mean one thing…a Bad Team Bonanza that leaves all but the hardest core League Pass junkies playing video games instead. Seriously, I’m still playing 2K12 on a MyPlayer save I’ve had since …

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Breakfast Special: There’s No Win At Home For the Holidays

It was a bad Christmas to host a basketball game. Of the five games that made up the Christmas bonanza, three were won by the road team; only the Warriors and Thunder got the job done. We begin with the Rockets who, with only a single loss with Chris Paul in the lineup, dropped to 11-5 without him. They did this despite a Triple 20; 29 points from James Harden and 20 each from Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza. The Thunder, meanwhile, had a Triple 20 of their own, as Carmelo Anthony finally seems to be learning how to play …

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Why Are Great Rebounders On Bad Teams?

This may be a question that has an obvious answer. After all, if we ask “why are so many great rebounders on bad teams”, the knee-jerk answer is “because bad teams miss lots of shots, so there are more rebounds to be had.” Except that can’t be it…offensive rebounding percentage is at the lowest it’s been in history and it’s declining every year. The guys who lead the league are averaging a bunch of defensive rebounds. Let’s take a look at the league’s best rebounders, the teams they’re on, and try to draw a connection that ties them together. And …

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Breakfast Special: Sorry Poor People, Y’all Ain’t Got No Chance

Big hat tip to Charles Barkley: Charles Barkley’s thoughts on America’s new tax bill: pic.twitter.com/39P0yW91Dd — Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) December 22, 2017 Hey, we try not to get political around here, but when the comedy gods give you one like that, y’all gotta go with it. On to the highlights: Are You Actually Kidding, San Antonio Good: Six players in double figures and a basket shy of a Total Team Effort. Bad: None of those guys had more than 12 points, so the Spurs lost to the Jazz 100-89. LaMarcus Aldridge had 11 points on 11 shots, making just four. …

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J.R. Smith: Is He Any Good?

There’s a certain class of NBA player—Lance Stephenson, Robert Covington, Shane Battier—whose role as the “glue guy” is more important to the team’s winning ways than anything they actually do on the court. Sometimes those guys are good players in their own right; Covington is firmly in that fringe starter tier of guys who justify the minutes they’re given (14.5 PER, .113 WS/48, and 1.0 VORP, that last being on the edge of the second tier of NBA shooting guards we talked about yesterday.) Other times, those guys are more trouble than they’re worth, shooting teams out of games and …

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