Breakfast Special: Milwaukee’s Best

Spring is here, suffering is here, life is Skittles and life is beer, and the Los Angeles Lakers got poisoned in the park like pigeons by the Milwaukee Bucks, 115-101. It was the first time since 1982 that the Bucks swept the season series from the Lakers twice in a row, and those ’81 and ’82 Lakers teams had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Last year, a not-yet-there Milwaukee team managed to grab both wins from the practically-G-League Lakers, and this year, the first game at Staples Center featured a Bucks road win. The home rematch…well, the Bucks didn’t have …

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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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Breakfast Special: The Rockets Round Into Form

James Harden had 42 points, Eric Gordon had 32, and the Houston Rockets absolutely mauled the Boston Celtics 115-104 in Boston Sunday. For the Celtics, it’s a continuing demonstration of just how far they’ve dropped off despite in theory being a deeper team than last season with their superstars back from injury. The paradox has the Celtics careening toward a fifth-place finish, and they only have five in the loss column on sixth-place Detroit. And while the Pistons are extremely unlikely to catch the Celtics in just 18 games, it’s not out of the question if they catch fire. Boston’s …

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Breakfast Special: James Harden Plays 2K Out There

Rationality fails in the face of James Harden‘s stat lines. Even though he’s got Chris Paul back and in theory doesn’t have to be the entire Houston Rockets’ offense by himself, in practice Harden needed 58 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, four steals, eight made three-pointers (on 18 tries, and 16-of-32 overall), and a whole lot of fans of the Miami Heat left scratching their heads like “how did this game get away?” The Rockets, down 12 after three quarters, outscored Miami 35-20 in the fourth to win 121-118. Houston was so depleted in this game that they used a …

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Breakfast Special: James Harden “Only” Scores 28

James Harden‘s streak of consecutive 30-point games came to an end in the Rockets’ 119-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Houston, and it did so in the most James Harden way possible, as the Beard shot 7-of-21 from the field, 0-of-10 from three, and 14-of-16 from the line. He also turned the ball over six times, just the most Harden game you can possibly dream up. Harden did, however, get some support from his teammates for a change, as Chris Paul poured in 20 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, Eric Gordon had 16 …

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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: Of Greek Freaks And Beards

Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to get short-shrifted in the MVP conversation. Pundits go back and forth about Stephen Curry and LeBron James and James Harden (more on the Beard in a minute), but Milwaukee’s the team with the gaudy record (39-13, best in the league, and on pace for 61 wins), the massive point differential (+10, what you’d expect out of a 68-win team), and the best athlete in the whole league, good ol’ Greekazoid. Antetokounmpo had 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished nine assists, and powered the Bucks to a 113-94 smackdown of the Nets in Brooklyn …

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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: 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: 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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