The Indiana Pacers Are Starting a Small-Market Movement

The conventional wisdom in the NBA in 2019 is that you need to assemble a Big Three of superstars who then tear up the rest of the league and through top-heavy domination plow through the playoffs and win the title. The modern version of this started in Boston in 2008, traced a path through LeBron James and the Miami Heat between 2010 and 2014, and reached an apex with the Golden State Warriors, who have become such a destination for stars that they go six deep with talent that is now or at one point has been All-Star caliber. Their …

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Breakfast Special: Upset With the World

Upset mania was in full swing in the NBA Monday night, as the Phoenix Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks, the New Orleans Pelicans went on the road and smacked the Utah Jazz, and the San Antonio Spurs showed the Denver Nuggets that there will be no easy outs in the playoffs (which seems to always be the case in the West, doesn’t it?) And we’ll get to all of those games. But regular readers of Pace and Space know that I can’t resist an opportunity to crack open a bottle of Haterade, and you know what that means… #LOLakers The …

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Breakfast Special: Indiana Pacers, Destroyers of Worlds

Last Thursday, when the Pacers got embarrassed on national television against the Philadelphia 76ers, Pacers Twitter acted like the sky is falling and the team is garbage. Trade Victor Oladipo, they said. Trade Myles Turner, they said. Trade Boomer the mascot, they said. After beating the Mavericks and Hornets by a combined 36 points and holding both teams under 100, are the Pacers going back to the Finals again like they were in the eyes of those same fans before the Philly game? The Sunday game, which Indiana won 120-95, was a condemnation of the Hornets as a viable playoff …

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Montrezl Harrell: Is He Any Good?

The Los Angeles Clippers were left for dead after finishing last season 42-40, their collection of castoffs, nobodies, and HERO OF SERBIA not considered to be enough to compete in a loaded Western Conference. But there the Clips are, at 21-16, sixth in the West and hanging in a top eight that is starting to create some separation between itself and the teams from ninth (Sacramento, at 19-19 2.5 games back of the Clips for sixth and two back of the Lakers for eighth) place on down. Part of this has been because what one observer would call a lack …

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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: Score 50. Lose. Repeat.

Three times this season, a player has gone for 50 or better in a game his team lost. Kemba Walker had 60 in a loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 17. James Harden scored 54 on Monday and came up short against the Wizards. And now Kevin Durant has a 51-point game in a loss on his record, as the Warriors lost 131-128 in overtime in a potential Finals preview at Toronto. Bright side? Durant only had one turnover; Walker had nine and Harden had 11 in their losses. For the winners, Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting, Pascal …

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Breakfast Special: When Bad Teams Go Good

Riddle me this, Batman. When an NBA team becomes my ultimate idee fixe, how many times are they going to have to bear out my points about them before it literally drives me insane? Because I think I’m actually barking mad, and I have the Atlanta Hawks to blame. The Hawks beat Charlotte by one point, 124-123, snapping a 10-game losing streak, and I am leading my freaking column with it because the 9-10 Hornets have a +4.5 point differential, the kind of figure that should have them on pace for 53 wins. I don’t believe in stuff like “learning …

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Breakfast Special: Dray, Durant, Dubs Destroyed

Well, if the Golden State Warriors were hoping for anything resembling relief with Draymond Green back in the lineup for a big national-TV game against the Houston Rockets Thursday night, the giant turd they left out on the court at Toyota Center would seem to suggest that the squad’s got bigger problems. Dray was 0-of-5 from the field, had no points, five rebounds, five assists, and five turnovers, whatever he contributed defensively got swamped under a minus-10 that was second-worst (behind only Kevin Durant) among the starters, and Golden State lost to Houston 107-86. Durant had a team-high 20 points, …

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Breakfast Special: La Rouge for LeVert

Caris LeVert deserved better than this. The Nets’ up-and-coming star, who has been on fire this season as Brooklyn has improved—they’d make the playoffs if the season ended today, at 6-8—fell victim to a gruesome season-ending injury in the Nets’ 120-113 loss to Minnesota. As if that weren’t bad enough, it was right before halftime of a game where LeVert was possibly on his way to a triple-double; he had 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Now normally this is where I’d show what I’m talking about, but… Do not watch the Caris LeVert injury.Go out of your way …

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Breakfast Special: Golden State Has a Three-Point Problem

The Warriors have a legitimate issue out beyond the three-point arc. Namely, nobody on the team besides Stephen Curry is hitting them with any regularity anymore. Steph is 46-of-89 (51.7 percent!) beyond the arc, draining threes with beautiful and reckless abandon, playing like he wants to hit 500 of them just to future-proof the single-season record (he’s on pace to hit 539, but that would be if he played all 82 games, which we all know he won’t.) The rest of the team? 34-of-121 (28.1 percent.) But on the other hand, the Warriors continue to chug along close to the …

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