Jeremy Lamb: Is He Any Good?

Jeremy Lamb has begun to evolve into not just Kemba Walker‘s safety valve in Charlotte’s offense that forces the defense to respect him but into a bona fide second or third option in Charlotte’s overall game plan. His scoring on a counting-stat basis is at a career-high level, and he’s taking a lot more shots to tie or take the lead in the close games Charlotte always seems to lose, one reason that the Hornets, with their +0.2 point differential, nonetheless carry a losing 27-29 record into the All-Star break, the third year in a row they’re posting a positive …

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Breakfast Special: The Quest for 3,000 Points

In the entire history of NBA basketball, only two men have scored 3,000 points in a season. One is Wilt Chamberlain (who scored a ludicrous and unbreakable 4,029 points in 1961-62 and topped the 3,000 mark three years in a row from 1961 to ’63). The other is Michael Jordan (3,041 points, 1986-87.) And while it is vanishingly unlikely that James Harden will get there (you’d have to average 36.6 points a game and play all 82), he might get as close as anyone has since Kobe Bryant scored 2,832 points in 2005-06, seventh all-time and the most by anyone …

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Breakfast Special: Wait, Are the Spurs Back?

The San Antonio Spurs have come charging back from the dead during the back half of December, and they capped off 2018 with an impressive 120-111 home win over the Celtics that included a monster 46-point third quarter, where the 16-point swing in the scoreboard proved too much for a Boston squad that had to that point played solid defense. It was 23-17 for the visitors after the first quarter, after all. Davis Bertans was 5-of-8 from three, Bryn Forbes was 3-of-7, and Patty Mills was 3-of-6, and while the Spurs’ stars—DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge—continue to be All-Stars only …

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Breakfast Special: O Canada, Our Warrior-Crushing Land

No Kawhi Leonard? No problem! The Toronto Raptors were good before, they engaged in some serious addition-by-subtraction shipping the three-pointer-averse DeMar DeRozan out of town, and they they went out and demonstrated that team-first supremacy in Oakland Wednesday night as they beat the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on national television. If you’re going to wreck the Dubs, holding Stephen Curry to 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting—and watch as this becomes a theme later, since “take away the star” got another team a big win that we’ll get to in a minute—is a fine way to do it. Once again, Serge …

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Breakfast Special: Bucks 2, Raptors 0

Twice this season, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors have met in a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. And twice this season, the Bucks have emerged victorious. Sunday, they even did it on the road, winning 104-99 in Canada in a surprisingly defensive matchup between two powerhouse offenses. Then again, even though the Bucks and Raptors are 2nd and 4th respectively in Offensive Rating, they’re also 4th and 7th on defense, and yes, that’s Milwaukee in the better position in each case even as they trail the Raptors by 2.5 games in the East standings. The Bucks shot 41.4 …

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Kemba Walker Is One of the Worst Clutch Players of All-Time

Kemba Walker is one of the most enigmatic stars in the sport of basketball. His Hornets have outscored their opponents in each of the past three seasons, but their record in those years, respectively, are 36-46, 36-46, and 10-10. For the two full seasons, they underperformed their win expectation by six each of those two years, and this year, a team that should be on pace for 53 wins is instead on pace for 41. That, assuming Charlotte would be 13-7 if they held serve with their record this year, is 15 wins below expectation across a mammoth sample size …

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Breakfast Special: B-Sides And Rarities

The Charlotte Hornets actually gutted out a close win for a change. Furthermore, they managed to get down 14 and still claw their way back. Besides, holding Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 20 points and 11 rebounds is an accomplishment worth celebrating. The real surprise here? Mike Budenholzer’s ultra-efficient inside-out game didn’t generate the easy two-point chances that are normally its hallmark (Milwaukee, at 59 percent, leads the entire NBA in two-point percentage), and that’s how 110-107 wins happen; the Bucks shot just 21-of-44 (47.7 percent) on the deuces. Kemba Walker had a weird 21 points in this one. He shot …

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Are the Charlotte Hornets the Best Bad Team in the NBA?

There are two interrelated maxims in basketball that tend to determine whether or not teams win games over the course of an 82-game season. One is “great teams win big and lose close.” If a team’s regularly getting blown out, chances are good that they suck. But if it seems the only way to beat them is to win by one or two possessions and survive their best player missing a potential game-tying or game-winning shot at the buzzer as fans go wild that “we knocked off the mighty (whoever)”? Well, that “whoever” sounds an awful lot like the Golden …

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Breakfast Special: Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For McCollum

Oh, thank the gods the midterm election season is over. That’s one less distraction on Twitter when I have a deadline on this column. (Initiative 1631 went down in Washington. 1634 passed. And Dino Rossi is a slime mold masquerading as a human being. That’s all the politics you’re ever getting from me in this space. Move the Orlando Magic to Seattle. Now then. On with the show.) CJ McCollum had 40 points on 17-of-26 shooting and 5-of-10 from deep, Evan Turner (!) had 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, and the Bucks got absolutely nothing out of …

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Breakfast Special: Houston, You Have A Problem

The ghost of Carmelo Anthony‘s career has cast a specter of evil over the Rockets’ locker room after an exorcism in Oklahoma City went horribly wrong. Indeed, both franchises are haunted now. The Rockets got spanked at home, 104-85, by a Portland Trail Blazers team that was on a road SEGABABA after having disposed of the Pacers Monday night. Which means either the 5-2 Blazers are for real…or the 1-5 Rockets are really that bad. Damian Lillard (8-of-10) and CJ McCollum (7-of-13) combined for 41 points, Jusuf Nurkic added 22 on 7-of-10, and Portland made just two fewer (10-8) three-pointers …

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