Breakfast Special: No Fools in the Eastern Conference

The race between the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers for the 3, 4, and 5 seeds has been everything you want a playoff chase to be. Teams are going on winning streaks and gaining no ground because their opponents are keeping pace with them every step of the way. Two of the teams are teams on the rise, one coming out of nowhere, the other a realization of the possibilities of long periods of nonstop losing. Another is a team on the ropes, declining in fortune, kept alive only because its star is having one of the best …

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Damian Lillard: Is He Any Good?

Oh man, I can’t wait for Twitter to slam me for the headline. “Damian Lillard? He’s great! MVP candidate!” Settle down, Beavis. What we’re asking here is, as is normally the case when we’re talking MVP-candidate-level players, whether Lillard is truly worthy of that kind of consideration. If we were writing about, say, Evan Turner, we’d be asking if he was a waste of money and establishing he was good if he wasn’t. (He is.) As on the show from which this series’ premise shamelessly cribs, you have to remember what the “myth” is before it being busted or confirmed …

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Breakfast Special: Bogdanovic Vs. Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic put up one of the weirdest stat lines in NBA history in Indiana’s 106-103 win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night. Bogey had 25 points…and nothing else. Zero rebounds. Zero assists. Zero steals. Zero blocks. He had a turnover and a foul, but 25 points in isolation from any other basketball activities? That’s the sixth-highest point total in such a situation of all-time according to Basketball Reference; Allan Houston scored 37 points with no other counting stats in 2000, and Reggie Miller set the Pacers record for this statistical anomaly with 34 points and nothing else in 1999. …

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Sorting Out 2018 NBA West Playoffs Tiebreakers, Part 2

We’ve got one major set of playoff scenarios left in the Western Conference. Part 1 of the West covered the current 3 through 8 seeds, but we’re going to keep things simple in the second part. Why? Well, besides the fact that we covered just about every plausible scenario involving the Thunder, Pelicans, Spurs, Timberwolves, and Jazz in one go? If we add in the Clippers and/or Nuggets, all the who-beats-whom just basically reverts back to stuff we’ve already covered. So with that in mind, we’re going to restrict this to… WEST 7 Through 10 (Minnesota, Utah, LA Clippers, and …

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Sorting Out 2018 NBA West Playoffs Tiebreakers, Part 1

Welcome back to our efforts to sort out the giant NBA car crash that is the playoff race and all the potential tiebreakers. I’m trying to make this as complete as possible while also making it plausible. Sadly, when Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and the Trail Blazers lost to the Grizzlies on Wednesday, what was already a mess with seven teams all alive to go anywhere from fourth through tenth just became six teams within four games of each other from three through eight. The East at least had two distinct groups around a common linchpin—the Cavs-Sixers-Pacers 3-4-5 race and …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Who Is Made of Glass

Lonzo Ball is injured again, this time sustaining a left knee contusion in the Lakers’ 103-93 win over the Mavericks at home. Ball was his usual can’t-shoot-a-lick self in his 24 minutes, scoring eight points while shooting 3-of-7 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, and 1-of-2 from the line…then again, all those percentages (42.9/33.3/50) were actually improvements on his horrid season totals. Ball says he’s not likely to miss much time, but with the Lakers’ playoff hopes deader than disco at 33-41 (they were officially mathematically eliminated when they lost to the Pistons Monday night), they might as well just …

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Sorting Out 2018 NBA East Playoffs Tiebreakers

With just a couple of weeks left in the season, now is the time to start considering playoff tiebreaker scenarios, as many of the NBA’s playoff matchups will be determined based on just who finishes with what record. With both the East and West a complete mess below the obvious top two (Toronto and Boston in the East, Houston and Golden State in the West), it’s time to take a look at the most likely playoff tangles…and just how they’d be resolved. While a lot can happen in seven or eight games, these are the most likely messes and how …

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The 2018 Pacers: Pure Guts, Pure Soul, Pure Fun

It’s a Wednesday edition of Pacers Tuesday, because I wanted to see what happened with the return of Domantas Sabonis and the game at the Santa Cruz Warriors before deciding on an angle this week. And then Domas shot 3-of-3 from the field, scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished three assists in a 92-81 win. But that’s not what jumped out at me. What jumped out at me was the Pacers’ 92-81 win after trailing by 15 points in the second quarter. It’s the seventh time this season Indiana’s been down 15 or more in a game and …

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Breakfast Special: O Dub Nation, Where Art Thou?

Consider the following… Sometimes you just have to find a way to win. #Pacers comeback win at Golden State their 7th when trailing by 15+ points. And that doesn’t include Sunday win vs. Heat when @Pacers trailed by 14 in 1H. — Chris Denari (@ChrisDenari) March 28, 2018 Seven 15-point comebacks. For a team that played like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz last year. Indiana beat the Santa Cruz Warriors 92-81 in a game where Quinn Cook‘s midrange jumper with 5:01 left in the second quarter made the score 44-29. It was an ugly game; the Pacers shot …

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Breakfast Special: The Triumphant Return of Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz returned to competition Monday, scoring ten points and recording eight assists off the bench for the 76ers as they beat the Denver Nuggets 123-104. For Philly, the fun began in the third quarter; they wiped out an eight-point halftime deficit with a 34-15 twelve-minute run of basketball that proved the margin of victory as they won the fourth quarter 38-30 as well. Ben Simmons, who would get a lot more triple-doubles if he could shoot a lick, scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Meanwhile, Denver couldn’t grab a rebound (they lost …

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