NBA Breakfast Special: Black Friday Observations

Rather than do highlights on this Black Friday edition of the Breakfast Special, we’re going to instead take a look at the things in the NBA that make the least sense, the “something weird is going to happen before Christmas” predictions that you can take to the bank. Why? Because I’m as turkeyed out as the rest of you lot; I took yesterday off, and who really wants to see highlights of two-day-old games? Let’s begin with… The Oklahoma City Thunder, A Third-Place Team With an Eighth-Place Record Oklahoma City is 8-9 through 17 games, and that just makes no …

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Is This NBA Player Any Good?: Allen Crabbe

Ever since Vinnie Johnson, aka “The Microwave”, purified the art of the electric scorer off the bench, there have been guys like Allen Crabbe, who in Portland made a habit of being equal parts small-lineup forward and straight backup to the combination of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Now, in Brooklyn, he’s got a new role; he’s started as many games this season (nine) as he did in any season in Portland (2014-15, when he started nine of the 51 games in which he appeared.) In simplest terms, he’s become a starter of necessity thanks to the Nets having both …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Luke Walton’s Point Guard Dilemma

Another day, another Lakers win that happened in spite of rather than because of sensible point guard play. Lonzo Ball and his 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) shooting, 2-of-8 beyond the arc, and complete lack of free throw attempts got the Lakers only eight points in a game that they came back from the dead to win, grabbing a 103-94 win over the Chicago Bulls in a game they trailed 56-42 at halftime. And of those three makes, one of them was a dunk: This is like Lonzo Ball’s first dunk of his life. pic.twitter.com/TQBWEYPMG3 — Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) November 22, 2017 Coming …

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Bojan Bogdanovic Is Making The Leap

Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana’s Bosnian small forward, came to the Pacers after having spent the first three seasons of his career as one of the worst starters in the NBA. During his time with Brooklyn, a span of over 200 games and 5,000 minutes, Bogdanovic managed a negative-1.1 VORP, .056 Win Shares per 48 minutes, an 11.7 PER, and a general inability to guard any NBA starter-level forward in the league. He was terrible, and at some point you have to ask yourself if it’s the lousy team he was on or just that the man himself was part of the …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Kyrie Irving’s Pancake World

Flat earth jokes may get old, but breakfast puns are forever, especially when the subject, Kyrie Irving, goes for 47 points, keeping the Boston Celtics from losing for the first time in 16 games against one of the league’s worst teams. Yes, it took overtime to beat the Dallas Mavericks 110-102, but when Kyrie gets a super-efficient 16-of-22 shooting performance, throws in 5-of-7 beyond the arc, then cans 10-of-11 from the free throw line? Boston was not losing that game. Your Rookie of the Year Jayson Tatum went for 15 points on 6-of-11 and a plus-15 while grabbing nine rebounds; …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball’s Triple Double Problem

Lonzo Ball makes no sense at all. Not for nothing do we call him the dollar-store knockoff version of Russell Westbrook around here, because in many ways, Ball’s game is patterned after the Thunder’s far superior player. Same great nose for the rim, same eye for making the defense pay for overcommitting to him by finding an open teammate, same ability to soak up minutes and keep coming back for more. But on the other hand, even when Ball is good, his complete inability to shoot stares you in the face and won’t let you look away. Ball had 11 …

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Russell Westbrook vs. Magic Johnson: Who Was Better At Age 26?

Magic Johnson is the all-time leader in assists per game, having notched 11.2 per contest over a total of 13 seasons (counting an abortive comeback attempt in 1996.) He flirted with averaging a triple-double in the 1981-82 season, averaging 18.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 9.5 assists a game that year. Indeed, the popularization of the triple-double as a stat worth reporting in the basketball news was thanks largely to the need reporters had to find a way to properly glorify Magic’s versatility. Russell Westbrook will probably not be the all-time leader in anything by the time he retires except possibly …

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NBA Breakfast Special: James Harden’s Excellent Adventure

The Houston Rockets just put up a Total Team Effort in Chris Paul‘s return from injury, and it wasn’t Paul but rather James Harden who got all the headlines in a monster 142-116 win in Phoenix over the Suns. Harden had 48 points on 12-of-22 from the field, 6-of-11 from three, and a perfect 18-of-18 (!) from the line. The shocking display of efficiency was in part powered by CP3’s 10 assists, as Paul had a double-double with 11 points, but mostly it was powered by the Suns being hot garbage on defense. Harden himself added seven dimes and two …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Joel Embiid 46, Lonzo Ball 2

Man, the more Lonzo Ball stinks out the joint, the more the big steaming Number 2 on his uniform looks appropriate to his skill level. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid scored 46 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished 7 assists, and swatted 7 blocks, a savage beatdown of the Lakers on the same night that Ben Simmons came a rebound shy of a triple-double and Robert Covington celebrated his new contract extension with 12 points on a deliciously efficient 5-of-9 shooting and 2-of-3 from long range. Dollar Store Westbrook? Two points. It’s one thing to score your uniform number if you’re Kevin Durant …

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NBA Breakfast Special: The Kyrie Irving Show

The Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving got perhaps a bit more than they wanted in a fun back-and-forth game against the Brooklyn Nets on Military Appreciation Night at Barclays Center. Irving had 25 points to lead a balanced attack from Boston’s starters; no starter had fewer than Jaylen Brown‘s 14 points, and no starter took fewer than nine shots (Brown, plus Jayson Tatum, who had 19 points on 6-of-9 and has emerged as the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year.) Speaking of Kyrie, here’s a class act move for fans in attendance who served their country: On military appreciation …

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