The Lakers Without LeBron, By the Numbers

The Los Angeles Lakers are a train wreck, and despite adding LeBron James during the offseason, the team is going to end up barely better than the 35-47 record they posted in 2017-18. With five games left, the Lakers are 35-42, eliminated from the playoffs, and they’ve sat King James for the rest of the year. The even crazier part? This team wasn’t even very good with LeBron in the lineup. In 55 games, LeBron’s Lakers were 28-27. They’re 7-15 without him, a 26-56 82-game pace, nine games worse than last year’s record, and with him, their projected 42-40 mark …

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Breakfast Special: Lance, Make ‘Em Dance

The NBA featured one game with direct playoff implications, one potential Finals preview, and eight games that ultimately meant just about nothing in the grand scheme of how things shake out three weeks from now—even though one of them was a legit thriller that we’ll get to in the third featured spot, so stick around for that. The thing about all this frivolity is it leaves room for the ultimate frivolous player, Lance Stephenson of the Los Angeles Lakers, a walking ball of highlights and cognitive fan dissonance. And that was all an elaborate setup for Lance shaking Jeff Green …

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LeBron’s Legacy by the Numbers

The legacy of LeBron James is bookended by NBA history, trying to be better than the greats of the past while setting a standard that will withstand the challenge of the greats of the future. The legacy of LeBron is also bookended alphabetically, by the letter K on one end—Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Karl Malone—and by the letter M on the other, in the person of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Kareem, Karl, and Kobe are the three guys left in the way of LeBron setting the career record for scoring. Magic is the gold standard for versatility, his …

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Breakfast Special: A Thunderous Collapse in Indianapolis

Ave Sabonis, we who are about to highlight film salute you. As the Ides of March dawn, the Indiana Pacers, far from being four games into an 11-game losing streak like your reverse-jinxing columnist predicted Tuesday, have now won two big games at home to get to 44-25, retain their hold on third place in the Eastern Conference, and give their fans…optimism (?!) heading into a monstrous Western swing on the road. Russell Westbrook got his triple-double, of course, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing 11 assists. Paul George, in his old building against his old team (such …

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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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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Is He Any Good?

A fine argument could be made that the Los Angeles Lakers have the mother of all roster problems after superstar/unofficial GM LeBron James effectively tried to trade the entire roster plus their wives, children, and household pets to the New Orleans Pelicans in the ongoing dumpster fire that is the Anthony Davis fiasco. At perhaps greater issue is what this means in terms of a bunch of guys the Lakers are inevitably going to have to move if they’re to have any hope of maintaining even the faintest semblance of team chemistry. It may be deader than disco now, to …

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The NBA Has a Drama Problem

by Zach d’Arbeloff On January 28th, Anthony Davis informed the New Orleans Pelicans that he would not sign his Designated Veteran Player Extension – also known as the supermax – and his agent, Rich Paul from Klutch Sports, officially informed the team that Davis “wanted to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.” This marked the biggest fish to land in the trade market since Kevin Garnett in 2007, and arguably, in terms of player value due to Davis’ age, the biggest player to hit the trade market since …

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Breakfast Special: LA Finally Beats Boston at Something

The city of Boston has, in recent months, gone to town on the sports teams from the city of Los Angeles. Thursday night on TNT, LA got one back: A regular-season basketball game between a team whose star player tried and failed to trade away all of his teammates and another team that sometimes looks like a Finals contender and sometimes looks like the Knicks. Come to think of it, the Celtics lost to the Knicks at home earlier this season. And this time, Boston lost to LA 129-128 on a buzzer-beater from former Celtic Rajon Rondo: RONDO. GAME. pic.twitter.com/AjG34xhn2u …

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Image via Bob Evans Restaurants

Breakfast Special: Go West, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia 76ers have pushed back into third place in the Eastern Conference, and during the toughest stretch of their schedule, they have a chance to consolidate the position and make a real run at hosting a second-round Game 1 if they can close the gap with the Bucks and Raptors (more on them later). Beating the Warriors 113-104 on national television, including beating the Warriors in the third quarter 42-26, will go a long way toward that goal. Joel Embiid went bonkers on the big stage, scoring 26 points (admittedly on a horrendous 8-of-24 shooting) and hauling in 20 …

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Breakfast Special: Philadelphia 76ers 121, Brandon Ingram 36

Brandon Ingram had himself a time in the Lakers’ 121-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night. He went off for 36 points on 16-of-20 shooting, which is great. But what’s not so great is the minus-14 plus/minus he put up, part of an overall flat outing from the Lakers’ starters in which all five saw the team outscored by double digits during their minutes. Plus, if you take away Ingram’s shooting, the Lakers are left at 27-of-71 (38 percent), which is just straight-up lousy. Meanwhile, Corey Brewer is getting a 10-day lesson in why he should stay retired or …

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