Breakfast Special: Upset With the World

Upset mania was in full swing in the NBA Monday night, as the Phoenix Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks, the New Orleans Pelicans went on the road and smacked the Utah Jazz, and the San Antonio Spurs showed the Denver Nuggets that there will be no easy outs in the playoffs (which seems to always be the case in the West, doesn’t it?) And we’ll get to all of those games. But regular readers of Pace and Space know that I can’t resist an opportunity to crack open a bottle of Haterade, and you know what that means… #LOLakers The …

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Breakfast Special: The Rockets Round Into Form

James Harden had 42 points, Eric Gordon had 32, and the Houston Rockets absolutely mauled the Boston Celtics 115-104 in Boston Sunday. For the Celtics, it’s a continuing demonstration of just how far they’ve dropped off despite in theory being a deeper team than last season with their superstars back from injury. The paradox has the Celtics careening toward a fifth-place finish, and they only have five in the loss column on sixth-place Detroit. And while the Pistons are extremely unlikely to catch the Celtics in just 18 games, it’s not out of the question if they catch fire. Boston’s …

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Taj Gibson: Is He Any Good?

Defense is a thorny subject when it comes to player evaluation. On the one hand, you’ve got guys like Klay Thompson, who are excellent defenders by reputation but who get murdered in the advanced stats because they’re constantly put on the other team’s best player, and if they’re not quite the superstar defender their reputation makes them out to be, the problem compounds into a point where they have the same advanced stats as the guy who hides on the opponent’s fifth option and can’t even guard him. And on the other hand, you’ve got a guy like LeBron James, …

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Breakfast Special: James Harden Plays 2K Out There

Rationality fails in the face of James Harden‘s stat lines. Even though he’s got Chris Paul back and in theory doesn’t have to be the entire Houston Rockets’ offense by himself, in practice Harden needed 58 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, four steals, eight made three-pointers (on 18 tries, and 16-of-32 overall), and a whole lot of fans of the Miami Heat left scratching their heads like “how did this game get away?” The Rockets, down 12 after three quarters, outscored Miami 35-20 in the fourth to win 121-118. Houston was so depleted in this game that they used a …

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Breakfast Special: A Random Bucks-Kings Game Was the Best Thing

The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings got together, played a barn burner of an NBA game that ended 141-140 in overtime in favor of the league’s best team, featured a Sacramento comeback from 14 down with 6:14 to go in regulation, involved the Kings actually grabbing a 126-124 lead, and then a combination of an Eric Bledsoe layup at the end of regulation (and Bledsoe stealing the ball from De’Aaron Fox to ensure the Kings didn’t get off a final shot) and then Malcolm Brogdon icing the game with two critical free throws to put the Bucks up 4, ensuring …

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How Deep is the NBA At Each Position?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk on Twitter about the “top 10 or 15 point guards” in the league, and other superlatives that are so oddly specific that they start to veer into “great, you just designated a guy above average, what are we supposed to do, make him an All-Star?” After all, there are only 30 teams and therefore 30 starting point guards, and while some team’s backups may be better than other team’s starters, the fact remains that saying someone is the 15th-best point guard in the league is essentially saying “this guy is league-average for …

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Breakfast Special: Brad Stevens on the Hot Seat

It’s full on Panic Time in Boston, as the Celtics got destroyed on the road by the Toronto Raptors 118-95. The chemistry is breaking down between the Celtics players, Kyrie Irving looks miserable in a Boston uniform, the fans are starting to call for the head of coach Brad Stevens (yes, this is because fans in general tend to be idiots, but Brad Freaking Stevens? If you don’t want him, Pacers fans would ditch Nate McMillan for him in a heartbeat)…and oh by the way, the actual basketball team just got destroyed by a potential second-round playoff opponent. Zach Lowe …

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Looking Ahead to the Playoffs for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 18-10 in the absence of Victor Oladipo, including wins over Atlanta and Toronto in which Oladipo left the game with an injury. They are 22-11 without him, which would seem to suggest that, if not “just as good in his absence”, at the very least the Pacers are deep enough to have earned the fifth-best record in the NBA that they presently hold. The emergence of Myles Turner as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and Domantas Sabonis as an honest-to-gods Sixth Man of the Year choice certainly help, as has the addition of rent-a-guard …

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Breakfast Special: James Harden “Only” Scores 28

James Harden‘s streak of consecutive 30-point games came to an end in the Rockets’ 119-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Houston, and it did so in the most James Harden way possible, as the Beard shot 7-of-21 from the field, 0-of-10 from three, and 14-of-16 from the line. He also turned the ball over six times, just the most Harden game you can possibly dream up. Harden did, however, get some support from his teammates for a change, as Chris Paul poured in 20 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, Eric Gordon had 16 …

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You Don’t Need to Create Your Own Shot in the NBA Anymore

Back during the Dark Ages, someone decided that one of the greatest virtues of any scorer in the NBA was “he can create his own shot.” Meaning that a player can get the ball, isolate one-on-one against his defender, pull a series of jab steps, dribble crossovers, or whatever Harlem Globetrotters gimcrackery he learned on the playground, then get the defender out of position and hit what is inevitably a midrange jump shot. And in 2002, when every NBA team seemed to have a playbook that was dumbed down to the level of “give ball to best athlete, have best …

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