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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NBA Breakfast Special: Joel Embiid, Papier-Maché Hero

Whoever said it’s always sunny in Philadelphia never saw a Philly sports team in their lives. On the same day that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear just as the football team clinched a playoff berth, Joel Embiid was a late scratch for the 76ers, who lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 131-124 for their fourth straight loss, sixth in their last eight, and who dropped from 11-7 and just a game out of second place to 13-13 and currently ninth in the playoff race. J.J. Redick was 8-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 from the …

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“Great Teams Gut Out Close Wins in the NBA”: WRONG!

The NBA is a league where point differential is the single strongest predictor across an 82-game season of success and failure. 30 points is worth a win (give or take, and adjusted for pace, but it’s right around 30.) Which is to say, for every plus-one in point differential over a season, it’s good for about 2.7 wins. Every major advanced stat that deals with wins (from playoff-odds projections to Estimated Wins Added/WAR) is based on this principle. Which, in turn, creates a simple maxim. If you want to win lots of games, you need to win by big margins, …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Like A Good Neighbor, Chris Paul Is There

The Utah Jazz have turned back into a pumpkin offensively, and questions must now be raised whether Rudy Gobert is doing more harm than good to the team since his presence tends to turn Utah’s offense into a clogged toilet. There are more questions than that, however. Donovan Mitchell has turned into the focal point and the primary scorer—and his team-high 26 points in Utah’s 112-101 loss to the Houston Rockets on national TV Thursday night certainly spoke to that development—but what is the rest of the offense doing? Ricky Rubio‘s not facilitating, and he’s not the kind of player …

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Eric Bledsoe: Is He Any Good?

As this goes to press, Lonzo Ball just had another Flea Market Westbrook game, going for 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, continuing to be a player who even on a good day is mediocre at best. But then, Ball had two of the best games of his career against Phoenix and Milwaukee. The common thread between those two matchups? Eric Bledsoe, traded from the Suns to the Bucks in the interim. Ball torched Phoenix for 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in only his second career game as a pro. He followed that up with his first …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Victor Oladipo’s Heimlich Maneuver

The Indiana Pacers did their level best to choke away the game against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, perhaps guilty of looking ahead to Cleveland on Friday and not focusing on the task at hand. Whatever the motivation, they trailed nearly the entire game, but the part they led? Try the last 31.1 seconds, rendering the previous 47 minutes, 28.9 seconds moot. Oladipo saved the night for Indiana: Victor Oladipo go-ahead game-winning 3. Pacers come all the way back again. pic.twitter.com/V9SkGBdHFq — Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) December 7, 2017 Indiana trailed by 16 at the half and 14 after three quarters. …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Bradley Beal Eats All the Voodoo Donuts

The Washington Wizards recovered nicely from the pure embarrassment of getting smacked by the Utah Jazz on Monday, and on a SEGABABA in Portland, Bradley Beal went for 51 points, nearly half the output of the 106-92 win over the Trail Blazers. Also, I don’t want to hear a word out of you Oregonians, because there is no UGH in donut. Even if it says so on the sign. You can put golden arches on a Jack in the Box, it’s still a Jack in the Box, and you can put three unnecessary letters in donut, it’s still dunkable for …

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The Indiana Pacers Are Golden State Lite

It is a maxim here at Pace and Space that “great teams win big and lose close.” Basic point differential theory dictates that a team that “guts out close wins” isn’t a good team, nor are they particularly better per se than a team that goes 72-10 but goes 5-3 in games decided by three points (IE one possession or less). After all, the 2016 Grizzlies went 8-3 in one-possession games. Were they “grittier” than the ’96 Bulls? Of course not! And part of that is the fact that Chicago was blown out exactly once in that greatest-of-all-time season, a …

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