Breakfast Special: A Weird, Wonderful Rockets-Raptors Game

In the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy, “consider the following.” The Houston Rockets defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-95, James Harden had 35 points, and Clint Capela grabbed 15 rebounds while Chris Paul had 10 assists, all despite the starting lineup shooting the ball poorly from the field. The bench shot the ball much better, put up big plus/minus numbers, and helped the Rockets to the win. All fairly ordinary stuff, right? Well, that doesn’t adequately tell the tale of a game that at points featured each of the following scores: 25-21 Houston (11:24, 2nd quarter), 49-27 Houston (5:00, …

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The Indiana Pacers Are Starting a Small-Market Movement

The conventional wisdom in the NBA in 2019 is that you need to assemble a Big Three of superstars who then tear up the rest of the league and through top-heavy domination plow through the playoffs and win the title. The modern version of this started in Boston in 2008, traced a path through LeBron James and the Miami Heat between 2010 and 2014, and reached an apex with the Golden State Warriors, who have become such a destination for stars that they go six deep with talent that is now or at one point has been All-Star caliber. Their …

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Breakfast Special: Brad Stevens on the Hot Seat

It’s full on Panic Time in Boston, as the Celtics got destroyed on the road by the Toronto Raptors 118-95. The chemistry is breaking down between the Celtics players, Kyrie Irving looks miserable in a Boston uniform, the fans are starting to call for the head of coach Brad Stevens (yes, this is because fans in general tend to be idiots, but Brad Freaking Stevens? If you don’t want him, Pacers fans would ditch Nate McMillan for him in a heartbeat)…and oh by the way, the actual basketball team just got destroyed by a potential second-round playoff opponent. Zach Lowe …

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Looking Ahead to the Playoffs for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 18-10 in the absence of Victor Oladipo, including wins over Atlanta and Toronto in which Oladipo left the game with an injury. They are 22-11 without him, which would seem to suggest that, if not “just as good in his absence”, at the very least the Pacers are deep enough to have earned the fifth-best record in the NBA that they presently hold. The emergence of Myles Turner as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and Domantas Sabonis as an honest-to-gods Sixth Man of the Year choice certainly help, as has the addition of rent-a-guard …

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Breakfast Special: Even the Spurs Can’t Lose to Memphis

The San Antonio Spurs bandwagon has been sliding around out of control like a Seattle driver in last Saturday’s snow traffic ever since the team left for the Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs, before they beat Memphis 108-107 in the House That 24-Second Violations Built, had lost four in a row. But when the Grizzlies are running out the likes of Avery Bradley to start at guard (even though Bradley did have 33 points), Mike Conley is a DNP-CD, and Marc Gasol is in Toronto, even the Spurs, crashing back to earth as their antiquated style of basketball and your …

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Breakfast Special: Is Basketball OK?

Before we get to the NBA highlights this morning, a moment to call out the single worst Super Bowl ad from a branding perspective in the history of spending millions of dollars on 30 seconds of air time. Pepsi ran an ad in which a customer at a diner orders a Coke, the waitress says “is Pepsi OK?”, and then Steve Carell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon spend 30 seconds ranting about how Pepsi is “better than OK.” Which…you just showed a customer in a restaurant ordering a Coke. You just showed a restaurant practically apologizing for serving your product. …

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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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