Breakfast Special: Views from the 617

The Toronto Raptors took a trip to Boston to face their potential second-round opponent in the playoffs (if the season ended Tuesday, it would’ve been 1-5; as it stands now, the Bucks are ahead on percentage points) in the person of the Celtics. And “the 6ix” landed short of the mark in the 617 as the Celtics won an up-and-down game 117-108. Sure, this was Kyrie Irving‘s spotlight, as he rose to the occasion in treating the contest like a playoff game. Irving had 27 points and 18 assists on 11-of-19 shooting as the Celtics shot 50 percent from the …

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Breakfast Special: Kyle Kuzma Goes Beast Mode

Kyle Kuzma, after shooting an atrocious 4-of-20 in his last outing, bounced back in spectacular fashion at Staples Center, scoring 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting in just three quarters of action as the Los Angeles Lakers clobbered the Detroit Pistons 113-100. For Detroit, they helpfully provided an atrocious shooting night of their own (44.8/31.8/57.1), got to the line only 14 times all game (making eight, against 13-of-18 for the Lakers), and played horrific defense overall, allowing the Lakers to shoot 56.1 percent overall. Someone clearly turned up Kuzma’s “recover from slump” slider in the video game of life. Lonzo Ball …

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Breakfast Special: Santas and Grinches

Gods bless NBA Christmas. We got five matchups, and all five were worth watching in their own way. But the big story, the one everyone’s talking about? That’s the one that came from Oakland. LeBron James suffered a groin injury in the third quarter. His Lakers team was up 14. Questions abounded whether they could hold the lead. The Warriors went on a run to cut it to two faster than you can blink. But the Lakers led by as many as 31 in the fourth quarter and won 127-101. Dear gods, this Lakers team might not actually be hot …

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The Greatest Defensive Teams in NBA History

In a basketball era where scoring is completely off the charts and the NBA seems to break its league-wide record for Offensive Rating with each passing season and with every made three-pointer, in a world gone mad where even centers like Brook Lopez are making eight triples in a game, and in a league where defense would, it seems, be a thing of the past, there are still great teams having great defensive seasons. After all, if the average team scores 110.1 points per game (as the NBA is league-wide this year, with a 109.7 Offensive Rating because pace is …

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Breakfast Special: Garbage Day

When the closest game in the NBA on any given night is 22 points, you know you weren’t exactly treated to the best competition the game has to offer. But what did you expect when two games involved a playoff team against a tank crew and the third involved one of the most feast-or-famine teams in the league? Boston beat the Knicks 128-100 in a snoozefest opener, Utah beat Houston 118-91 in the nightcap, and over on League Pass Portland pantsed the Suns 108-86 in a game that was over in the first quarter—Portland led 34-9 after one and cruised …

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Gordon Hayward: Is He Any Good?

Gordon Hayward returned from a lost season to the Celtics’ lineup, and rather than sparking a new golden age for the team, Hayward has instead struggled mightily as Boston has limped to a disappointing 11-10 start, their point differential so far this season projecting them as a lackluster 48-win team despite the second-best defense in the league. Then again, the man at the center of this entire discussion is a guy who used to toil for a team that can’t crack 50 wins despite being one of the league’s best defensive teams. But the Jazz play in the West. Except …

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Breakfast Special: Melo, Thunder Beat Rockets

Carmelo Anthony had a great game for the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night. His 1-of-11, two-point, minus-22 performance was the next best thing to the Thunder planting a mole on the Houston Rockets to throw the game so he could give his real team the big win. Accordingly, the Thunder, who don’t have Russell Westbrook until he recovers from his ankle sprain, won 98-80 in an ugly game on national television. Houston shot just ten free throws, making seven of them, and even though they made 50 percent of their two point shots (20-of-40), they were a wretched 26.2 percent …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks Fall in Eastern Conference Finals Preview

The NBA raised so many questions Thursday night. Between the Celtics handing the Bucks their first loss of the season in the cause of going to 6-2, the Trail Blazers leaving a lot of people wondering if they’re a dark horse in the West after their nationally-televised win over New Orleans, and Sacramento doing what good teams do and thumping a bad team on the road, the NBA sure seems bent on raising more questions than it answers these days. But we begin with… The Lamb of Greekazoid Back during the old days, when titans like Michael Jordan and Kobe …

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Breakfast Special: The Education of Lonzo Ball

Are we seeing LeBron James singlehandedly turn Lonzo Ball into a quality NBA player? Because in Lonzo’s past two starts since Rajon Rondo got suspended, he’s 10-of-19 from the field, 3-of-8 from long range, and even though he’s still one of the worst in the league at willing his way to the line, that’s not terribly surprising for any second-year guard (and he has hit four of his five free throw attempts this season.) Throw out the Portland game (in which Lonzo went 2-of-7) and he’s averaging 13 points a game on 52.6 percent shooting and 43.5 percent from three-point …

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Breakfast Special: Risin’ Up to the Challenge of a Rival

Look, for all those of you who think the Sixers are a serious challenger for the Eastern Conference title this season, what part of “Celtics in 5 if they meet in the playoffs” don’t you understand? Joel Embiid on the "rivalry" between the Celtics and Sixers: "This is not a rivalry. I don't know our record against them, but it's pretty bad. They always kick our ass." — Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) October 17, 2018 Boston just played 48 good minutes of basketball…well, OK, they played 48 minutes of ugly-as-hell basketball and finally flipped the switch in the fourth quarter such …

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