Breakfast Special: A Super-Size Russell Westbrook Stat Line

Two conflicting thoughts strike the NBA observer when looking over the box score from the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 122-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night. The first is “wow, Russell Westbrook had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists, the guy’s amazing.” The second is “True, but is it even news anymore when Westbrook gets a triple-double?” In 2016-17, Westbrook averaged a triple-double, won MVP, and drew comparisons to Oscar Robertson. In 2017-18, Westbrook averaged a triple-double, and everyone wondered out loud if OKC was Paul George‘s team now and if being a volume counting-stat chaser wasn’t a …

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Breakfast Special: 16 Threes Does Not a Barrage Make, Toronto

The Toronto Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings 120-105 in a dollar-store game where the Raps didn’t have Kawhi Leonard and the Kings didn’t have De’Aaron Fox. Toronto also crowed that they had a “3-point barrage tonight.” They hit 16-of-40. 3-pt barrage tonight @TangerineHoops Game Highlights 📹: https://t.co/gT67vmyo9e pic.twitter.com/UpChVnzNUZ — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 23, 2019 Now, is it really a “barrage” if you hit two more triples as a team than Klay Thompson hit in a game by himself earlier this year? Come back when you make 20 in a game and we’ll talk about a barrage. This was a …

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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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Breakfast Special: O Myles Turner, Where Art Thou

The Indiana Pacers went 7-4 in the absence of Victor Oladipo earlier this season, 8-4 if you count the Hawks game where Vic came in, had a cup of coffee, and left. The Pacers are 0-2 without Myles Turner, who sat out Sunday with a sore right shoulder as the Pacers lost 121-105 to the Toronto Raptors, who in the process became the first team with 30 wins as they ran their record to 30-12. The Raptors improved to 8-2 without Kawhi Leonard. Things that make you go “hmmm…”, since Toronto has a .688 winning percentage (56-26 per 82 games) …

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Breakfast Special: Welcome Home, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, take me home, to the court where I belong, West Chicago, United Center, welcome home, Derrick Rose. Now that you’ve got that earworm kicking around your brain, it was a fantastic homecoming for Rose and the Timberwolves, who smashed the Bulls 119-94 to keep the never-ending curious case of the Western Conference lottery teams going. Minnesota’s now won two in a row, moved their point differential to even and their record to 16-18, bounced off the 14 spot (although New Orleans, at 15-20, risks sinking into the inky abyss of a team that’s actually going to fail to …

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Breakfast Special: A Night of Festivus Miracles

Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, even Andrew Wiggins…if you stayed up late enough on the East Coast to watch the late games in the NBA on Festivus, you got treated to Feats of Strength and, if you follow fans of the losing teams (or Doncic’s own team) on Twitter, you got Airing of Grievances big-time. There were 11 games in the Association as everyone gets Christmas Eve off before the annual Hoopsmas extravaganza on Tuesday, and like Santa in his sleigh, here come the presents of highlights from all 11: Steph Gonna MVP Warriors, with Curry: 18-5 (64-18 full-season pace) Warriors, …

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Breakfast Special: Western Conference Ascendant

Three times in the NBA Monday night, a Western Conference team faced off against an Eastern Conference team. Three times, the Western Conference team won—and none of the games were remotely close, as even the lowly Suns won by 18. But we’ll get there one at a time. It’s just worth pointing out—again—just how much of a Dumpster fire the East truly is. But let’s start in a bit of an unlikely spot, as the weirdest trend in the NBA this season continues nearly halfway through the regular season’s slate of games: Minnesota, Because Of Course They Did The Timberwolves …

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Karl-Anthony Towns: Is He Any Good?

Karl-Anthony Towns made his first All-Star Game in the third year in the league in 2017-18, but his Minnesota Timberwolves barely made the playoffs, and this year the Wolves stand at 13-15, 13th in the Western Conference standings. And granted, he’s playing alongside Andrew Wiggins, one of the worst players in the league, and the one competent star he had alongside him, Jimmy Butler, got traded to Philadelphia for a bag of peanuts. OK, so maybe Robert Covington and Dario Saric are pretty good quality peanuts, but they’re not Jimmy Butler. But Minnesota’s been down this road before. A team …

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Breakfast Special: Every Game A Finals Preview

The Toronto Raptors, every time they play a Western Conference team, get “potential Finals preview” added to it. Such is the nature of a Western Conference where it seems like every team except the Suns has looked like a title contender at least once this season. This time, it was the West-leading Denver Nuggets who came to Toronto…and became just the third team all season to beat the Raptors in Canada. Denver won 106-103 behind a huge triple-double from Nikola Jokic; he had 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 15 assists. Jamal Murray had 21 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists, …

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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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