Breakfast Special: The Increasingly Implausible Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are 17-18 after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-103 in Dallas Sunday. The win brought the Mavs to 15-3 at home. They are 2-15 on the road. The team is absurd and nothing makes sense in this world and also you have to wonder just what the hell happened to Russell Westbrook, who shot 4-of-22 from the field and 0-of-8 from three and put up one of the ugliest performances in a professional basketball game in recent memory. Even Paul George‘s explosion for 36 points on 12-of-24 (and 3-of-11 from three…whoops) couldn’t save the Thunder. Dallas played …

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Breakfast Special: Welcome Home, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, take me home, to the court where I belong, West Chicago, United Center, welcome home, Derrick Rose. Now that you’ve got that earworm kicking around your brain, it was a fantastic homecoming for Rose and the Timberwolves, who smashed the Bulls 119-94 to keep the never-ending curious case of the Western Conference lottery teams going. Minnesota’s now won two in a row, moved their point differential to even and their record to 16-18, bounced off the 14 spot (although New Orleans, at 15-20, risks sinking into the inky abyss of a team that’s actually going to fail to …

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Breakfast Special: The James Harden Efficiency Experience

James Harden had one of the weirdest stat lines you’ll see, even by his standards, in Houston’s 101-99 loss at the Miami Heat on Thursday night. The Rockets’ alleged MVP (LeBron James got robbed. I will not be convinced otherwise.) scored 35 points on 7-of-23 shooting and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. This is not the weird part. The weird part is that he was 6-of-14 from three-point land…and 1-of-9 from two. One of my recurring diss tracks on the Brooklyn Nets is “what happens when you play Rockets-style basketball with guys who can’t shoot?” Well, the Rockets are …

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Breakfast Special: When We Bring to the World Disorder

The Dallas Mavericks would make the playoffs if the season ended today. And while you may be asking yourself how a team so wretched last year could be so good this year, consider one simple stat. Per point differential, the Mavs, who went 24-58 last season, played more like a 33-win team. Then they added Luka Doncic, who’s positioned himself as a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. They are now on pace to go 45-37 by record and 47-35 by point differential. So Doncic adding 12 wins in theory and 23 in practice as a combination of statistical regression …

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Breakfast Special: Precious ROY in Dallas

Luka Doncic has seized the conversation for Rookie of the Year, as not only are his Dallas Mavericks 10-9 and in eighth place in the Western Conference after the Mavs thumped the Rockets in Houston by a 128-108 count, but by point differential Dallas is the fifth-best team in the West. Houston, meanwhile, has lost four in a row to drop to 9-11, all the way down in 14th, with only the wretched Suns below them. Early in the season, you can talk about small sample sizes and early outliers and all that…but we’re a quarter of the way through …

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Breakfast Special: Dwane Casey’s Two Scoops of Revenge

The dumbest thing the Toronto Raptors did in an otherwise stellar offseason was fire Dwane Casey after a 59-23 regular season. And the smartest thing the Detroit Pistons did was show Stan Van Gundy the door in order to get Casey back on an NBA sideline without missing a single gameday. So as good as the Raptors are—and at 12-2, they are very good—Wednesday night belonged to Casey’s Pistons, who won 106-104 on some late-game heroics from Reggie Bullock: Your game-winner, courtesy of @ReggieBullock35! #PistonsNow pic.twitter.com/0Bk49404Kn — Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 15, 2018 Just watch the pure exuberance on Blake …

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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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Are the 2018-19 Dallas Mavericks Good?

The Dallas Mavericks bottomed out as a franchise in 2017-18, dropping all the way to 24-58 after a fairly consistent run of being at least decent for pretty much the entirety of Mark Cuban’s tenure owning the team. But that’s what happens when your franchise-defining player finally gets washed up, and Dirk Nowitzki is washed up. Dallas won 33 games in 2016-17. They won 24 last year. They’re supposed to win 34.5 or better this year. Is that crazy talk? Or will the likes of Luka Doncic and second-year Dennis Smith Jr. be enough to drag the Mavs back to …

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Breakfast Special: The Lakers Make Danny Ainge Look Smart

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings Tuesday in a battle of two of the worst teams in the Western Conference, and by extension among the worst in the entire NBA. Previously, I’d referred to the LOLakers as “they can’t even tank right”, but it was brought to my attention that “hey, genius, the Lakers don’t own their pick in 2018.” And that’s true; if the pick is No. 1 overall or 6th or later, the Sixers get it; if it falls between 2 and 5, the Celtics get it. The whole thing is the result of the Steve …

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How Good NBA Teams Lose And Bad Teams Win

There are, at present, three NBA teams that are indisputably good in the sense that they win at least 75 percent of the time, the bar a team needs to clear to go 62-20 or better; the Boston Celtics (18-3), Houston Rockets (15-4), and Golden State Warriors (15-5). There are also three teams in the Association that are so utterly putrid that they are on pace to win 20 games or fewer over an 82-game season; the 3-14 Chicago Bulls, 4-16 Atlanta Hawks, and 5-15 Dallas Mavericks. But if the best teams always won and the worst teams always lost, …

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