Breakfast Special: Another Portland Four-Game Exit

The Portland Trail Blazers have been swept out of another NBA playoff series, although this time you have to give them credit for facing their demise in the Western Conference Finals rather than the first or second round. And speaking of sweeps, how about Rodney Hood getting swept out of the playoffs three times in three years on three different teams, all at the hands of the Golden State Warriors? Bonus points to Portland for blowing double-digit leads in all four games, including three in a row where they led by at least 15 and still lost. Golden State made …

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Breakfast Special: Damian Lillard on a Milk Carton

Damian Lillard‘s production has fallen off a cliff ever since he tried to choke away the second round of the playoffs for the Portland Trail Blazers more or less by himself in Game 7 of the Denver Nuggets series. He was 3-of-17 in that game, and in the first three games of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, he has shot 4-of-12, 6-of-16, and 5-of-18, a grand total of 15-of-46 (32.6 percent.) At least he was plus-8 in the Nuggets game, as CJ McCollum bailed him out. In this series, Lillard is a combined minus-42 even as …

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Breakfast Special: Ig-Whoa-Dala

Andre Iguodala just pulled off the most clutch defensive play in the NBA playoffs since…I dunno, 2016 and “The Block”? Sure, Iguodala’s game-sealing steal from Damian Lillard to seal the Golden State Warriors’ 114-111 win over the Portland Trail Blazers and put them up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals didn’t have nearly the stakes of LeBron James‘ classic defensive play in Game 7 of a Finals that was the greatest moment in Cleveland sports history, but it still made the difference between a series that isn’t expected to be competitive going chalk and “could the Blazers win this thing” …

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Breakfast Special: Curry Sibling “Rivalry”

When I was a kid, to call what my brother and I had “sibling rivalry” was to give it more credit than it deserved. It was more like he was the Pittsburgh Steelers and I was the Cleveland Browns. He was a high-achiever. I was the kid with the grades like the bra cup sizes on “Baywatch” and the drug problem. Which brings us to the following: 12-of-23 from the field, 9-of-15 from three, 36 points for Stephen Curry, 1-of-7 from the field, 1-of-4 from three, three points for Seth Curry. The Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers …

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Breakfast Special: Kawhi Leonard’s Driveway Heroics

Every kid who has ever picked up a basketball has, in the driveway, counted down “3! 2! 1!” then launched a shot that beats the buzzer, leading the kid to yell “And the Celtics win the championship!” or whatever other team the kid’s growing up rooting for. But until Sunday, there had never been an actual Game 7 walk-off buzzer-beater to close out a series in NBA history. The only time it ever happened in a winner-take-all game—Michael Jordan‘s “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo in the first round in 1989—that was Game 5 of a best-of-five series. Every other example …

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Breakfast Special: Let There Be Game 7

After a complete garbage first round that was as chalk as the White Cliffs of Dover, we’ve got ourselves the thrills and chills of Game 7 imminent in Toronto and Denver. The Philadelphia 76ers got an insane MVP-level performance from Joel Embiid on their way to a 112-101 win, and the matched set of 11-point victories got completed by the Portland Trail Blazers in a 119-108 win over Denver in the nightcap. We begin in Philadelphia. Drawing an Embiid on the Enemy Here’s your insane stat of the night. Embiid had 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, pulled down 12 rebounds, …

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Breakfast Special: Smash TV

Do you like closely-contested, intense playoff basketball that comes down to the wire and gives a thrilling finish? Well, tough. We’re fresh out. Can I interest you in a pair of one-sided beatdowns normally reserved for regular-season games against lottery teams instead? Nothing puts out the flames of an underdog in a seven-game series like losing Game 5, and the Raptors and Nuggets now get a chance to close out on the road before coming home where they’ll be heavily favored in Game 7 if that’s the way this whole show turns out. We begin in Toronto. DEFENSE! DEFENSE! To …

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Breakfast Special: In Which Order Is Restored

Nothing shatters an in-six narrative quite like an underdog, up 2-1 and with a chance to lose Game 5 on the road before coming home and closing out their opponents, failing to do the one thing an underdog needs to do in order to win a playoff series. That’s right; the Sixers and Blazers couldn’t win a Game 4 at home. Toronto Raptors fans went from “crap, we’re going to lose on our home floor in Game 5 without Pascal Siakam” to “Conference Finals, here we come!” in as much time as it took Siakam to get some Mr. Miyagi …

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Breakfast Special: NBA Up! All Night

The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers played 68 minutes of basketball in Game 3, and when Portland won 140-137 on a late three-pointer in the fourth overtime by Rodney Hood, you had to get the feeling that the Nuggets’ fate—Portland in six—was sealed. This is doubly true when you consider that Nikola Jokic played 65 minutes—the second-most in a playoff game and third-most overall, and the longest time logged in a playoff contest since 1953 (Bob Cousy, 66 minutes against Syracuse)—while scoring 33 points, hauling down 18 rebounds, dishing 14 assists…and seeing his team lose. Enes Kanter‘s sore shoulder …

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Breakfast Special: Portland’s Rocky Mountain High

The series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game, and by that metric, Game 2 just marked the start of the Blazers-Nuggets series. Portland won 97-90 in an ugly ballgame that was as close as it was only because the Blazers couldn’t grab a defensive rebound to save their lives. Denver shot 34.7 percent (34-of-98) from the field but grabbed 23 offensive rebounds against 40 Portland defensive rebounds (36.5 percent of the total in a league where the average is closer to 22 or 23 percent). Even with that, and even with just nine turnovers, Denver lost anyway, …

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