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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Image via Bob Evans Restaurants

Breakfast Special: Go West, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia 76ers have pushed back into third place in the Eastern Conference, and during the toughest stretch of their schedule, they have a chance to consolidate the position and make a real run at hosting a second-round Game 1 if they can close the gap with the Bucks and Raptors (more on them later). Beating the Warriors 113-104 on national television, including beating the Warriors in the third quarter 42-26, will go a long way toward that goal. Joel Embiid went bonkers on the big stage, scoring 26 points (admittedly on a horrendous 8-of-24 shooting) and hauling in 20 …

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Breakfast Special: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The saying goes that “when it rains, it pours”, and one piece of bad news has a nasty habit of spiraling into a cavalcade of horrors, all hope for the future seeming to evaporate in one blow. And if you thought Nate McMillan‘s offense in Indiana was bad before, getting thumped 107-89 in Washington ought to show you just how much any sign of life in that ill-designed Dark Ages system was purely the doing of Victor Oladipo. Without Vic, the Pacers have looked utterly lost trying to score the basketball, and even though the defense isn’t a complete disaster …

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Breakfast Special: Philadelphia 76ers 121, Brandon Ingram 36

Brandon Ingram had himself a time in the Lakers’ 121-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night. He went off for 36 points on 16-of-20 shooting, which is great. But what’s not so great is the minus-14 plus/minus he put up, part of an overall flat outing from the Lakers’ starters in which all five saw the team outscored by double digits during their minutes. Plus, if you take away Ingram’s shooting, the Lakers are left at 27-of-71 (38 percent), which is just straight-up lousy. Meanwhile, Corey Brewer is getting a 10-day lesson in why he should stay retired or …

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Breakfast Special: P Is For Powerless

Some days, you watch basketball and wonder if perhaps your time wouldn’t be better taken up by just changing hobbies. Like becoming a grizzly bear wrangler. Or an “experience collector” in North Korean labor camps. OK, so life isn’t THAT bad for Pacers fans, not when if you really want to experience the frozen wastes of Jotunheim in this mortal life, you need only step outside in Indianapolis this morning. But without Victor Oladipo, and with Myles Turner still not quite wholly sure how to be the focal point of an offense while maintaining his defensive intensity, and with Tyreke …

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Breakfast Special: Thunder Up!

Jeff Van Gundy once went after the obsession basketball fans have with triple-doubles, saying that just because you get 10 of three different categories doesn’t mean you had a better game than the guy who scored 30 but only got five rebounds and five assists. Case in point, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who got a triple-double out of Russell Westbrook (13 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) but in a cause where Westbrook had a terrible night shooting (5-of-20) and overall did not play particularly well. No, the reason Oklahoma City pulled off the 118-112 win at home over the Milwaukee …

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Breakfast Special: A Super-Size Russell Westbrook Stat Line

Two conflicting thoughts strike the NBA observer when looking over the box score from the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 122-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night. The first is “wow, Russell Westbrook had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists, the guy’s amazing.” The second is “True, but is it even news anymore when Westbrook gets a triple-double?” In 2016-17, Westbrook averaged a triple-double, won MVP, and drew comparisons to Oscar Robertson. In 2017-18, Westbrook averaged a triple-double, and everyone wondered out loud if OKC was Paul George‘s team now and if being a volume counting-stat chaser wasn’t a …

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Breakfast Special: Oladi-NOOOO!

I…think I’m going to be sick. Pacers Twitter went from “we’re going to finish the job and thump Toronto this time” to “oh God the season is over, blow up the team, trade Boomer, start tanking” in as much time as it took Victor Oladipo to crumple to the court with a “serious knee injury”—Oladipo will have an MRI Thursday (and Pace and Space will have a feature about it, I’m not writing a word about the future of the team until we know exactly what’s going on.) Indiana saw a lead steadily erode in the second half but got …

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Breakfast Special: 16 Threes Does Not a Barrage Make, Toronto

The Toronto Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings 120-105 in a dollar-store game where the Raps didn’t have Kawhi Leonard and the Kings didn’t have De’Aaron Fox. Toronto also crowed that they had a “3-point barrage tonight.” They hit 16-of-40. 3-pt barrage tonight @TangerineHoops Game Highlights 📹: https://t.co/gT67vmyo9e pic.twitter.com/UpChVnzNUZ — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 23, 2019 Now, is it really a “barrage” if you hit two more triples as a team than Klay Thompson hit in a game by himself earlier this year? Come back when you make 20 in a game and we’ll talk about a barrage. This was a …

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Breakfast Special: Do Not Poke the Bear

On Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers went into Oakland and beat the snot out of the Golden State Warriors, weathering a furious third-quarter charge before pulling away and winning by 26. On Martin Luther King Day, the Warriors got even. Golden State beat the Lakers 130-111, scoring 36 second-quarter and 45 third-quarter points to open up a lead that got as high as 36 points (109-73) before Scrub Club finished out the fourth quarter and gave some of the lead back. The Lakers don’t look like contenders with LeBron James. Without LeBron? They poked the bear, and the bear …

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