Statistical Tests: How Important is the Turnover Battle?

There are certain basketball platitudes out there like “you have to control the glass” or “the team that gets more assists wins the game.” But in both cases, they’re either obvious (the team that got more assists probably made more shots and therefore scored more points) or questionable (if you got a bunch of offensive rebounds, it might just be because you couldn’t shoot the ball that night, so you scored fewer points, and you lost.) With players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook setting records for turnovers even as they’ve put up MVP-level seasons, and with some teams just …

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NBA Breakfast Special: LeBronzo

Lonzo Ball got a chance to showcase his skills in front of someone who, if the rumors are true, will be his teammate next year. Against LeBron James, Ball had 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, dished 11 assists, and grabbed eight rebounds, but a near-triple-double was no match for an actual triple-double; LeBron had 25 points, 12 boards, and 12 dimes. Kyle Kuzma continues to stand as the Lakers’ best rookie; he had 20 points off the bench on 8-of-16. It was a curious game from long range for Cleveland. LeBron was 1-of-7; Jae Crowder was 1-of-6. The rest of …

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NBA Breakfast Special: The Sort-Of Triumphant Paul George

The Indiana Pacers remained tied for fourth in the East, but they did it losing to Paul George and the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder in one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see from star players in today’s NBA. PG13 had 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Russell Westbrook had a Dark Ages triple-double, one of the worst high-volume stat games of the year. Westbrook had 10 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists, but he shot 3-of-17 from the field. Carmelo Anthony was terrible, but we’re used to that from him by now; his 4-of-14 and 12 points was just par …

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NBA Breakfast Special: For Boban So Loved Us That He Gave Us 13 Minutes

To begin today, we point out that Boban Marjanovic has a 25.8 PER, which if he were qualified for the title in such things, would put him seventh in the entire league. HERO OF SERBIA had 14 points in 13 minutes on 4-of-6 shooting and 6-of-8 from the line, pulled down five rebounds, dished two assists, and did not turn the ball over even once. That 14 points was second-best on the Pistons, trailing only Langston Galloway‘s 18, as Detroit… …well, OK. They got their tails handed to them 103-84 by the Denver Nuggets, their freefall toward oblivion having gone …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

The Boston Celtics rested Kyrie Irving, essentially punting the game against the Chicago Bulls on the road; for Chicago, they have as many wins in their last three games as in their first 23. As in, they’ve got three. Boston shot a horrifying 39.8 percent from the field and 10-of-40 from three. Curiously, they were 23-of-43 on two-point shots, good for 53.5 percent. Jayson Tatum was horrible (1-of-7 from the field, four points) in a rare off day for him. Chicago, meanwhile, won the turnover battle 15-8, shot 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and got 24 from Nikola …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Victor Oladipo’s Heimlich Maneuver

The Indiana Pacers did their level best to choke away the game against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, perhaps guilty of looking ahead to Cleveland on Friday and not focusing on the task at hand. Whatever the motivation, they trailed nearly the entire game, but the part they led? Try the last 31.1 seconds, rendering the previous 47 minutes, 28.9 seconds moot. Oladipo saved the night for Indiana: Victor Oladipo go-ahead game-winning 3. Pacers come all the way back again. pic.twitter.com/V9SkGBdHFq — Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) December 7, 2017 Indiana trailed by 16 at the half and 14 after three quarters. …

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NBA Breakfast Special: Greek Freakout In Boston

Giannis Antetokounmpo may as well be the Breakfast Special MVP for all the highlights he’s put on this show, and that was on display in a 111-100 losing effort for the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston Monday night. The Greek Freak had 40 points on 14-of-24 from the field, adding nine rebounds, but the Bucks got otherwise outplayed by Kyrie Irving‘s 32 points and Jayson Tatum‘s continuing “hey, what about me” Rookie of the Year campaign. OK, so rookies aren’t subject to quite the same pressure to be on good teams as, say, the MVP, but go ahead and tell me …

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NBA Breakfast Special: James Harden Clowns Lonzo Ball

For the Houston Rockets, showing Lonzo Ball what a real NBA star looks like was always going to be on the menu. For James Harden to play the best defense anyone has yet played on Flea Market Westbrook all season? Wait…did Mike D’Antoni really just get Harden to buy in so completely that now he’s emerging as a legit NBA defender, in gross contravention of his reputation? Was that just a thing that happened? Ball was 0-of-4 from the field. His only two points came on his sole trip to the free throw line. And Harden, with Ball trying to …

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NBA Statistical Test: Can Team Basketball Be Measured?

There are two prevailing schools of thought among NBA commentators in today’s game. One holds that “you can’t win without a superstar”, pointing at guys like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant as guys who put (admittedly very good) supporting casts on their shoulders and lifted them to championships. The other holds that “team basketball” is king and points to teams like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs with a side order of teams like the 2004 Pistons and 2008 Celtics, less star-driven by one guy and more driven by a top-to-bottom team concept that wins with …

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NBA Breakfast Special: LeBron James Vs. The World

LeBron James is still savage after all these years… .@KingJames is out here trying to end careers… 😳 pic.twitter.com/dqWGXpaT8I — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 1, 2017 And as if that weren’t enough, he’s doing Dikembe’s finger wave in front of Hawks fans in Atlanta… .@KingJames gives Atlanta the finger-wave after another HUGE block! ☝️ pic.twitter.com/DDqzLZVg9D — NBA TV (@NBATV) December 1, 2017 Bron had 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, Kevin Love added 25 points and 16 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, behind a 40-29 rebounding advantage and 18 three-pointers made in 39 tries (46.2 percent!), beat Atlanta 121-114 to …

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