I Love The Indiana Pacers

Normally, in this Tuesday column space, I take a Very Serious Look™ at some element of Pacers basketball, like whether the team can play enough defense to hold a lead, whether Myles Turner will ever evolve into a strong rebounder, whether Bojan Bogdanovic is suddenly an elite wing shooter, and whether Victor Oladipo is better than Paul George (yes. The answer is yes. Victor Oladipo is a star and you better recognize. And the rise of Domantas Sabonis and the hot steaming garbage heap that is the Thunder’s season means Kevin Pritchard won the trade with Oklahoma City. Those who …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Marc Gasol Is A Coach-Killing Crybaby

If your team is 7-12, and your star player starts whining about the coach, just once I’d like to see a team trade the star player. After all, the Memphis Grizzlies need to blow up their roster and start over, not let one of the best young coaches in the league end up on some other team with an underachieving roster and a coach on the hot seat (mark my words, if Fizdale wants the job, Billy Donovan won’t be the coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas…if the Los Angeles Clippers don’t hire Fizdale first.) Although if you …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Memphis Grizzlies Start Collapse Early

The Memphis Grizzlies, rather than collapse down the stretch in March and April and limp into the playoffs as a sacrificial lamb to a much better team, have decided instead this year to have everything go to hell before the holiday shopping season’s even gotten started. Memphis lost at home to the Brooklyn Nets 98-88, giving the teams identical 7-12 records. Thing is, Memphis got there by losing eight in a row after starting 7-4; Brooklyn’s just always been lousy, as they’ve been ever since they mortgaged the future on an over-the-hill Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, which ought to …

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How Good NBA Teams Lose And Bad Teams Win

There are, at present, three NBA teams that are indisputably good in the sense that they win at least 75 percent of the time, the bar a team needs to clear to go 62-20 or better; the Boston Celtics (18-3), Houston Rockets (15-4), and Golden State Warriors (15-5). There are also three teams in the Association that are so utterly putrid that they are on pace to win 20 games or fewer over an 82-game season; the 3-14 Chicago Bulls, 4-16 Atlanta Hawks, and 5-15 Dallas Mavericks. But if the best teams always won and the worst teams always lost, …

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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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