Are the 2018-19 New Orleans Pelicans Good?

The New Orleans Pelicans took a horrifically mismatched roster and turned it into a playoff team in 2017-18. Anthony Davis is what he is—a bona fide superstar who can drag a team to the playoffs by himself. But Rajon Rondo‘s selfish assists and the tendency of the New Orleans offense to turn into a clogged toilet whenever Davis had to share the floor with DeMarcus Cousins conspired to make the team worse than it should have been until Boogie’s injury unlocked their potential. New Orleans was 27-21 in games Boogie played. They were 21-13 without him. That latter is a …

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Breakfast Special: Rondo Alla Draymond Verdi

On Star Wars Day, balance was restored to the Force in the NBA Western Conference semifinals. In New Orleans, “the losing team in a five-game series wins Game 3” was in full effect as the Pelicans beat the Golden State Warriors 119-100. And in Utah, the Houston Rockets just up and decided to remind the Jazz that winning one game on the road does not automatically mean you then go on to win the series in six. Don’t believe me? Ask us Pacers fans. We begin in the Big Easy, where Rajon Rondo and Draymond Green got a little chippy …

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Breakfast Special: The Phantom of the Process Lives Inside Miami’s Mind

Well, it was fun speculating about Miami in 6, but with Joel Embiid back, the 76ers restored balance to the playoff Force, erased their horrid Game 2 home loss by seizing back home court advantage, and won 128-108, their second blowout victory in three games and a heck of a pointer toward the idea that this might be Sixers in five. The Sixers shot 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) from long range, drew enough fouls to shoot 37 free throws (making 28, a 75.7 percent clip), and won the rebound (41-35) and turnover (15-10) battles. In other words, they were Rockets East. …

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Breakfast Specials: Two Truths and a Portland Lie

Consider the Western Conference. Below the Rockets and Warriors, who were beyond shadow of doubt the best two teams in the group, and above the Clippers, who were clearly tenth-best and had five wretched teams below them in the tankosphere, there were seven teams who were separated by three games in the standings, including five teams that had just a single game between them; fourth went 48-34, eighth went 47-35. Now consider that one of those teams, the Pelicans, had a major change of identity midway through the season when DeMarcus Cousins went down, took time to adjust, and emerged …

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2018 NBA Playoff Tiebreak Scenarios: Last Day of the Season!

Wednesday night, the NBA tips off a slate of games to close out the regular season. The playoffs are finally upon us. And the standings, especially in the Western Conference? They’re still a hot mess, with every slot from 3 through 9 up for grabs. Only the Rockets and Warriors are locked into their seed; everyone else is fighting for position. Meanwhile, things are a bit quieter in the East, where the Raptors (1), Celtics (2), and Pacers (5) are locked into their seeds, while Philly and Cleveland are fighting for 3 and 4 and the Wizards, Heat, and Bucks …

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Sorting Out 2018 NBA West Playoffs Tiebreakers, Part 1

Welcome back to our efforts to sort out the giant NBA car crash that is the playoff race and all the potential tiebreakers. I’m trying to make this as complete as possible while also making it plausible. Sadly, when Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and the Trail Blazers lost to the Grizzlies on Wednesday, what was already a mess with seven teams all alive to go anywhere from fourth through tenth just became six teams within four games of each other from three through eight. The East at least had two distinct groups around a common linchpin—the Cavs-Sixers-Pacers 3-4-5 race and …

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Breakfast Special: A Glorious Day Without Tanking

Hey you. Reader. Did you spend Sunday watching college basketball, trying to fool yourself into believing that it’s better than the pros and a more pure form of the sport and whatever other trash we dredge up before a team that I legit confused with Maryland-Eastern Shore but was actually Maryland-Baltimore County busted everyone’s bracket like for real we didn’t even get past Friday before every single entry in every single bracket tournament was, like that jackpot in the Powerball a couple of years ago that rolled up to $1.4 billion because everyone played when it was $900 million and …

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Breakfast Special: Never the Clippers’ Day

The Los Angeles Clippers have been the whipping boy of the 8 seed in the Western Conference. Fighting for their playoff lives, just when they get a chance to consolidate a position and move forward, they run face-first into Anthony Davis and his 41 points in the Pelicans’ 121-116 win at Staples Center. The Pelicans, left for dead after DeMarcus Cousins got hurt, have now won nine in a row to go to 37-26, just one game back of Portland (!) for the 3 seed out west. Davis went 17-of-31 from the field in this one, while Jrue Holiday scored …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Ace Sixth Man

Ladies and gentlemen, Lonzo Ball—yes, THAT Lonzo Ball—had a perfect shooting night. OK, so he did it off the bench and only attempted four shots and two free throws, but 4-4 FG/3-3 3PT/2-2 FT is still 13 points. Plus, the Lakers beat the tanking Hawks 123-104 in Atlanta, sending Hawks fans into paroxysms of joy as they entrench their position at “We’re Number 30! We’re Number 30!” Since Dallas beat the Pacers (we’ll get to that in the Lightning Round, as it is unworthy of feature consideration), today was a good day for #TrueToAtlanta. The Lakers ran ten guys out …

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Breakfast Special: Boogie Cousins 44, Jason Kidd 0

C’mon, DeMarcus Cousins. There ought to be an NBA rule; if I can’t do something with a player in NBA 2K18, he’s got no business doing it in real life. And 44 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 assists? No way. That is a 2K impossibility. Let’s just stop to consider that nobody had done a 40/20/10 in my lifetime… DeMarcus Cousins tallied 44 PTS, 24 REBS & 10 ASTS in the @PelicansNBA win tonight. The last player in @NBAHistory to put up at least 40 PTS/20 REBS/10 ASTS in a game was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on 2/26/1972 (44 PTS, 20 REBS, …

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