Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s MRI to Decide NBA Finals

Heading into Game 5, a strong undercurrent of “the team that wins this game is going to win the championship” permeated the atmosphere and lent heavyweight power to every dribble, every shot, every minute of the game. The Warriors won the ballgame 104-99, taking a 3-2 lead in the series and keeping alive a wild run where all five games have been decided by no more than four points nor fewer than six. Which, well, series over, crown the Dubs champs as the first three-peat since the 2000-02 Lakers, right? Wrong. Because Kevin Durant went down in the fourth quarter …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks Got In 5 On It

The Milwaukee Bucks are, in the plainest and simplest point of fact, a better basketball team than the Boston Celtics. Milwaukee’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the legitimate for-real honest-to-gods MVP in the whole league. Boston’s stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, are “the worst parts of Allen Iverson‘s game” and “half the Domantas Sabonis for twice the price” respectively. And there’s something oddly satisfying (if you’re a Celtics hater) in watching the culmination of Danny Ainge‘s years of wheeling, dealing, scheming, and roster building at the expense of the Nets and Sixers turn out to be Boston advancing just one …

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Breakfast Special: NBA Up! All Night

The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers played 68 minutes of basketball in Game 3, and when Portland won 140-137 on a late three-pointer in the fourth overtime by Rodney Hood, you had to get the feeling that the Nuggets’ fate—Portland in six—was sealed. This is doubly true when you consider that Nikola Jokic played 65 minutes—the second-most in a playoff game and third-most overall, and the longest time logged in a playoff contest since 1953 (Bob Cousy, 66 minutes against Syracuse)—while scoring 33 points, hauling down 18 rebounds, dishing 14 assists…and seeing his team lose. Enes Kanter‘s sore shoulder …

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Breakfast Special: Referees 115, Rockets 109

Jonathan Coulton famously sang that the first of May is the beginning of the season of having sex outdoors, but on April 30, the only screwing going on was happening inside Oracle Arena and involved Scott Foster going to the window, to the walls on the Houston Rockets. James Harden had 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting and shot 8-of-9 from the free throw line, but he also had four fouls, never quite looked completely in rhythm, and ended up carrying a minus-9 accumulated in the first quarter all the way through his 34 minutes of action in the game as …

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Breakfast Special: Refs 1, James Harden 0

The NBA didn’t need another refereeing controversy, but when a seemingly pulled-out-of-a-hat set of calls involving Klay Thompson‘s defense on James Harden cast doubt on the validity of a 104-100 Warriors win, that’s exactly what the NBA got. Let’s start with a highlight… THAT IS A FOUL. IM DONE. pic.twitter.com/K7oxB0A6zt — UniquESports+ Featured (@SportsProvlder) April 28, 2019 …and then leave it to Twitter to correctly point out that if this is a foul, it’s an offensive foul on Harden, not a defensive foul on Draymond Green: Lmao you’re right actually. A foul on James Harden for jumping straight up but …

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Breakfast Special: Fire Nate McMillan!

On this Earth Day, let’s give some props to the Indiana Pacers, who recycled the same second-half narrative and got four uses out of it, collapsing reliably in either the third or fourth quarter of all four games with the Boston Celtics. Sunday’s sweep-completing 110-106 loss at least stayed close, but after Tyreke Evans made a shot to put Indiana up 82-80 with 7:33 to go, the collapse began, a 17-5 Boston run over the next five minutes effectively ending the Pacers’ season. It was a 10-point game with just under 30 seconds to go, and despite three triples from …

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Breakfast Special: It’s What We Broadly Expected

The NBA playoffs are fundamentally a problem of mathematical certainty given a large enough sample size. When you combine 82 games of regular-season basketball with best-of-seven series, and especially in the first round stir in teams with a high likelihood of a talent disparity due either to the simple fact that there’s a big difference between contender and mid-first-round draft pick team or due to that circumstance being forced by injury… …well, nobody should be surprised that Toronto and Boston both won on the road Friday. The Indiana Pacers, who finished the season 16-19 after Victor Oladipo went out, are …

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Breakfast Special: #FearTheDeer Hearts And Gentle People

I am, via a couple of national-media follows, plugged into Pistons Twitter in a way that is matched by few other NBA teams—it’s pretty much the Mavs, Suns, and Pace and Space Emeritus Zach d’Arbeloff’s particular brand of Weird Celtics Twitter (speaking of, follow @embracesmarf)—and as such I got to see a fanbase demoralized by the pure power of Milwaukee Bucks basketball and Dwane Casey’s coaching their own team. I have about one hundred and one questions for Dwane Casey. — Duncan Smith (@DuncanSmithNBA) April 18, 2019 The Bucks won 120-99, bringing the total margin on the first two games …

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Breakfast Special: Home Court Advantage For Real This Time

Saturday’s games featured a bunch of road upsets, three of them to be exact, and that got the attention of the home teams in Sunday’s games, who came out seeking to avoid the fate that happened the day before. With the reminder to pay attention firmly in hand, not only did the home teams all hold serve, but two of them won the kinds of blowouts that you usually expect from playoff teams playing their starters against the likes of the Suns and Knicks. But first… Ugly with a Capital UGG-LEE. The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers played a playoff …

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Was Paul Pierce Really Better Than Dwyane Wade?

Paul Pierce caused quite a stir when he claimed on national television that he had a better career than Dwyane Wade. The reaction on social media was divided, with Celtics fans of course agreeing with Pierce and the NBA Twitter barbershop generally coming down on the side of D-Wade. Plenty of folks advanced the theory that Pierce is still bitter about his legacy since he didn’t get the Kobe Bryant/Dirk Nowitzki/”One Last Dance” lovefest that other stars got. And the statheads pointed out that the race is tighter than you realize. Your intrepid columnist is all set to wade into …

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