Breakfast Special: The Long, Dark Night Begins

Indiana Pacers fans have been dreading this moment ever since Victor Oladipo got hurt. A stretch of 11 games in which Indiana plays 10 playoff teams, eight of them on the road, and gets only the woeful Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to break up the potential 11-game losing streak started on national television… …and the Bucks came out in the third quarter, turned a game that was close at the half into a runaway, and won 117-98. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added 12 rebounds. The Bucks hit half of their shots and 40 percent …

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How Do Fringe NBA Teams Make the Playoffs?

It’s a maxim in the NBA that your typical 8 seed gets into the playoffs by taking care of business against bad teams and then winning just enough against other teams in their neighborhood to get a little separation when the wins are counted after 82 games. And sure, because it’s a long season, there will be some surprising wins in there, beating Houston or Golden State on the road, and there will be some cringeworthy losses, dropping a game to a tanking team at home, but for the most part, you get to that 42-win range (East) or 48-win …

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Breakfast Special: A Random Bucks-Kings Game Was the Best Thing

The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings got together, played a barn burner of an NBA game that ended 141-140 in overtime in favor of the league’s best team, featured a Sacramento comeback from 14 down with 6:14 to go in regulation, involved the Kings actually grabbing a 126-124 lead, and then a combination of an Eric Bledsoe layup at the end of regulation (and Bledsoe stealing the ball from De’Aaron Fox to ensure the Kings didn’t get off a final shot) and then Malcolm Brogdon icing the game with two critical free throws to put the Bucks up 4, ensuring …

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Jusuf Nurkic: Is He Any Good?

The Portland Trail Blazers rely heavily on their backcourt offensively, using Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to take most of the shots and do most of the scoring. But at the same time, they’ve got a big Bosnian in the middle of the paint defensively protecting the rim and in the low block offensively to create a focus to keep the defense from simply ranging out on Portland’s shooters and short-circuiting their offense. The big Bosnian, Jusuf Nurkic, is the subject of this week’s examination of his skillset, and on a Blazers team with aspirations toward genuine contention in the …

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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: The Increasingly Implausible Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are 17-18 after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-103 in Dallas Sunday. The win brought the Mavs to 15-3 at home. They are 2-15 on the road. The team is absurd and nothing makes sense in this world and also you have to wonder just what the hell happened to Russell Westbrook, who shot 4-of-22 from the field and 0-of-8 from three and put up one of the ugliest performances in a professional basketball game in recent memory. Even Paul George‘s explosion for 36 points on 12-of-24 (and 3-of-11 from three…whoops) couldn’t save the Thunder. Dallas played …

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Breakfast Special: Too Many F—ing Lakers Fans

I love De’Aaron Fox and wish he were on the Pacers. Or, if I can’t have that, let’s see the Namesake traded to the Clippers or HERO OF SERBIA Boban Marjanovic traded to the Kings so my favorite non-Pacers can be on the same team. Fox went for just 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting against the criminally underrated defensive ability of Lonzo Ball (which is more than Ball could say for himself when Fox ate his lunch in college, but y’all in the NBA now, son) but dished 12 assists and grabbed nine rebounds like “who’s the triple-double machine now?” …

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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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Breakfast Special: Garbage Day

When the closest game in the NBA on any given night is 22 points, you know you weren’t exactly treated to the best competition the game has to offer. But what did you expect when two games involved a playoff team against a tank crew and the third involved one of the most feast-or-famine teams in the league? Boston beat the Knicks 128-100 in a snoozefest opener, Utah beat Houston 118-91 in the nightcap, and over on League Pass Portland pantsed the Suns 108-86 in a game that was over in the first quarter—Portland led 34-9 after one and cruised …

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