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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Breakfast Special: James Harden, LVP

Allow me a moment of gleeful bias in an otherwise objective statistical and visual roundup of NBA action. Because James Harden shot 1-of-17 from three-point land, making one more three-pointer than Ben Simmons did yesterday, as the Rockets lost to the Magic 116-109. But here is why Harden is fundamentally absurd. He had 38 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, shot 11-of-32 from the field overall, and made 15-of-16 from the line, and every nitwit who’s willing to ignore his blatant manipulation of the referees and horrible shooting when they’re not giving him the calls (and the turnovers; he’s averaging …

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Breakfast Special: Denver’s Impending Second-Round Exit

The Houston Rockets continue to round into form as the second half of the season looms, and their 125-113 win over the Nuggets Monday night was exactly the sort of performance we’re likely to see repeated if the Nugs are the 1 or the 2 and Houston’s between 3 and 5 and they somehow manage to meet in the second round of the playoffs. The Nuggets remind the viewer of nothing so much as those Seattle teams in the 1990s that were heavy on regular-season highlights and, except for one run in 1996 when they put it together in the …

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Breakfast Special: DeMar Ate Kawhi’s Breakfast

San Antonio was up 45-19 before Toronto even got their pants on for this one, and that was a minute into the second quarter. And while the Raptors outscored the Spurs the rest of the way and lost by “just” 18, 125-107, the point was made: Gregg Popovich is not here for your criticism of his stars and their two-point shooting. DeMar DeRozan got his first career triple-double against his old team, scoring 21 points on 7-of-15 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line. He added 14 rebounds and dished 11 assists to make it official. Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, …

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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: Too Many F—ing Lakers Fans

I love De’Aaron Fox and wish he were on the Pacers. Or, if I can’t have that, let’s see the Namesake traded to the Clippers or HERO OF SERBIA Boban Marjanovic traded to the Kings so my favorite non-Pacers can be on the same team. Fox went for just 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting against the criminally underrated defensive ability of Lonzo Ball (which is more than Ball could say for himself when Fox ate his lunch in college, but y’all in the NBA now, son) but dished 12 assists and grabbed nine rebounds like “who’s the triple-double machine now?” …

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Breakfast Special: Santas and Grinches

Gods bless NBA Christmas. We got five matchups, and all five were worth watching in their own way. But the big story, the one everyone’s talking about? That’s the one that came from Oakland. LeBron James suffered a groin injury in the third quarter. His Lakers team was up 14. Questions abounded whether they could hold the lead. The Warriors went on a run to cut it to two faster than you can blink. But the Lakers led by as many as 31 in the fourth quarter and won 127-101. Dear gods, this Lakers team might not actually be hot …

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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: 26-of-55 From Three. OK, That’s the NBA Now.

The Houston Rockets had been moving away from the three-point shot a little too much in recent games, as teams defending the perimeter took away their ball movement and their ability to find the good looks from out there that are the team’s bread and butter. Well, you know how you remedy that? You catch the Washington Freaking Wizards on a SEGABABA after they lost to the Hawks the previous night and pound them like cheap steak, exposing their awful defense and hitting an NBA-record 26 three-pointers (on 55 attempts!) in a 136-118 beatdown. My gods, it was a thing …

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