Breakfast Special: Three Warriors and a G-League Team

How many more games are the Golden State Warriors going to have where they get 20-plus from three guys but the rest of the team combined wouldn’t even be the second-leading scorer? They can’t keep winning those with a paper-thin bench, can they? Golden State beat Houston 106-104 Wednesday night on national TV behind 30 points from Klay Thompson, 27 points from DeMarcus Cousins, 25 points from the rest of the team, and 24 points from Stephen Curry. One Steph three more and the field wouldn’t have even cracked the top three. What are they even doing out there offensively? …

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You Don’t Need to Create Your Own Shot in the NBA Anymore

Back during the Dark Ages, someone decided that one of the greatest virtues of any scorer in the NBA was “he can create his own shot.” Meaning that a player can get the ball, isolate one-on-one against his defender, pull a series of jab steps, dribble crossovers, or whatever Harlem Globetrotters gimcrackery he learned on the playground, then get the defender out of position and hit what is inevitably a midrange jump shot. And in 2002, when every NBA team seemed to have a playbook that was dumbed down to the level of “give ball to best athlete, have best …

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Breakfast Special: Rocket Strangulation

James Harden got yet another 30-point game as the NBA came back from the All-Star break, but LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers stole the show, beating the Houston Rockets 111-105, erasing a 19-point Houston lead, and just generally showing off the same Rockets weakness that Golden State exploited in last year’s Western Conference Finals. Namely, when Houston is downright determined to miss three-pointers, no man or god can stop them. The Rockets shot 29.1 percent from long range (12-of-41), LeBron posted 29 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Ingram added 27 (on an efficient 8-of-16 from the field and …

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Breakfast Special: Ben Simmons Does the Unthinkable

Ben Simmons went 0-of-1 from the three-point arc in Sunday’s 143-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, as his Philadelphia 76ers finally saw their cowardly lion of a guard shoot a three in the run of play. Sure, he missed, but the shot rimmed out, looking at least as good as any horror show of a three-pointer that Russell Westbrook‘s attempted this season. Simmons had a terrible game—he hit just 3-of-13 overall for eight points, seven assists, and just three rebounds—but we may be seeing the beginnings of Simmons actually turning into a post-1979 NBA perimeter player. Take away Simmons’ …

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Breakfast Special: Milwaukee’s Unstoppable Attack

Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 17-of-21, the Milwaukee Bucks scored 50 points in the first quarter, and the Bucks went on to beat the Washington Wizards 148-129. In an NBA landscape where there have been a few too many lower-scoring games in recent weeks (thanks, Memphis and Indiana, who seem to be at the center of most of them), that 277-point combined outburst is the modern basketball we all know and love, a world where you can race out to nearly 150 points and still have to keep one eye on the scoreboard because your opponents might pop a few threes and …

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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: 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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We Can’t Talk About NBA Defense. That’s a Problem.

There was an offhand remark in a recent Zach Lowe column on ESPN that pointed out Klay Thompson‘s positive attributes as a wing defender, and Thompson enjoys a reputation as one of the premier stoppers in the league whenever he’s got a man in front of him. Anyone who watches Warriors games can see it. But on the other hand, Thompson’s advanced defensive metrics range from “mediocre” to “utterly putrid, like among the worst in the league” when you look him up on Basketball Reference, his 112 Defensive Rating, minus-2.2 Defensive Box Plus-Minus, and that stat’s subsequent drag on his …

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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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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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