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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NBA Breakfast Special: Greek Freakout In Boston

Giannis Antetokounmpo may as well be the Breakfast Special MVP for all the highlights he’s put on this show, and that was on display in a 111-100 losing effort for the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston Monday night. The Greek Freak had 40 points on 14-of-24 from the field, adding nine rebounds, but the Bucks got otherwise outplayed by Kyrie Irving‘s 32 points and Jayson Tatum‘s continuing “hey, what about me” Rookie of the Year campaign. OK, so rookies aren’t subject to quite the same pressure to be on good teams as, say, the MVP, but go ahead and tell me …

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NBA Breakfast Special: James Harden Clowns Lonzo Ball

For the Houston Rockets, showing Lonzo Ball what a real NBA star looks like was always going to be on the menu. For James Harden to play the best defense anyone has yet played on Flea Market Westbrook all season? Wait…did Mike D’Antoni really just get Harden to buy in so completely that now he’s emerging as a legit NBA defender, in gross contravention of his reputation? Was that just a thing that happened? Ball was 0-of-4 from the field. His only two points came on his sole trip to the free throw line. And Harden, with Ball trying to …

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NBA Statistical Test: Can Team Basketball Be Measured?

There are two prevailing schools of thought among NBA commentators in today’s game. One holds that “you can’t win without a superstar”, pointing at guys like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant as guys who put (admittedly very good) supporting casts on their shoulders and lifted them to championships. The other holds that “team basketball” is king and points to teams like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs with a side order of teams like the 2004 Pistons and 2008 Celtics, less star-driven by one guy and more driven by a top-to-bottom team concept that wins with …

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NBA Breakfast Special: LeBron James Vs. The World

LeBron James is still savage after all these years… .@KingJames is out here trying to end careers… 😳 pic.twitter.com/dqWGXpaT8I — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 1, 2017 And as if that weren’t enough, he’s doing Dikembe’s finger wave in front of Hawks fans in Atlanta… .@KingJames gives Atlanta the finger-wave after another HUGE block! ☝️ pic.twitter.com/DDqzLZVg9D — NBA TV (@NBATV) December 1, 2017 Bron had 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, Kevin Love added 25 points and 16 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, behind a 40-29 rebounding advantage and 18 three-pointers made in 39 tries (46.2 percent!), beat Atlanta 121-114 to …

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Dennis Schroder: Is He Any Good?

The Atlanta Hawks are genuinely terrible. After getting the royal smackdown from King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’re now 4-17. The roster is a combination of castoffs, injuries, and injured castoffs, coach Mike Budenholzer is out there like “what, you gave me a G-League team, did you want playoffs?”, and the question of whether the players are any good almost seems a wasted question since, well, they’re 4-17. But the question must be asked, if only because it becomes a referendum on the guys Atlanta tried to keep in their great roster purge and subsequent tank job. So we’ll …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Stephen Curry Is Broken

Stephen Curry just joined Eric Bledsoe in a very dubious NBA club. Specifically, guys whose defense is bad enough as to make Lonzo Ball look good. The Golden State Warriors very nearly dropped their second straight game, barely beating the Los Angeles Lakers on the road in overtime 127-123, and Ball ended up with 15 points and 10 assists while shooting 5-of-12 from the field, 3-of-7 from San Pedro, and even 2-of-2 from the line. And, of course, since the game went to overtime, there was all the statistical weirdness you could handle. Golden State had the Triple 20 you’d …

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NBA Breakfast Special: De’Aaron Fox, I Am Disappoint

Oh, De’Aaron Fox. My namesake. My adopted NBA son. Where, oh where did you go wrong? I mean, I was all ready to buy your jersey. The name. My lucky number. It was going to be so very, very glorious. But 2-of-10 against the Milwaukee Bucks in a 112-87 humiliation after that win over the Warriors just the other night? A horrifying .403/.308/.711 slash line that is more Ricky Rubio than Stephen Curry? I mean, that’s still a mile and a half better than the dog crap .309/.245/.429 Lonzo Ball‘s putting up, and anything that makes the Lakers look stupid, …

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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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