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Breakfast Special: For the West Is Wild And No Team Shall Die Softly

The Jazz, Spurs, Thunder, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Nuggets, and Clippers are locked in Mortal Kombat…er, mortal combat…for five spots in the playoffs available to the seven of them, even if the net result of all this is one team getting smacked by the Rockets and another by the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference just saw its five seed more or less locked in thanks to all this West madness, which brings us to our top story… A Rivalry As Old As the ABA The Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets met for the first time …

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The G-League Will Kill NCAA Basketball

Darius Bazley turned a lot of heads when he decided to decommit from the Syracuse Orange to instead declare for the NBA G-League draft. He won’t be drafted by an NBA team; he has to wait a year before that happens, and whichever G-League team picks him will have him as a rental for one year. Just because, for example, he ends up on the Mad Ants does not mean he’ll be picked by the Pacers when the time comes. There are plenty of good reasons why this is the right move for Bazley. For one thing, he’ll be freed …

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The Indiana Pacers have a depth problem

Ever since Glenn Robinson III returned from injury after the All-Star Game, he’s been used sparingly by coach Nate McMillan. He played just two minutes against the Clippers, and his minutes have been steadily declining as McMillan has shortened the bench down the stretch. Robinson hasn’t exactly justified the minutes he has played on the floor. His paltry 9.2 PER and horrifying 37.9/26.3 FG/3PT shooting splits have effectively negated him as a factor in Indiana’s bench offense. Indiana only goes about eight or nine deep (depending on which version of Lance Stephenson shows up that night). Cory Joseph, Trevor Booker, …

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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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