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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Breakfast Special: Damian Lillard’s 37-Foot Layup

Besides Stephen Curry, is there anyone else in the NBA who can effortlessly swish a shot from way beyond the three-point arc like it’s a layup the way Damian Lillard does it? Lillard hit one of his signature shots from the logo to give the Portland Trail Blazers a series-clinching 118-115 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 in Portland Tuesday night. Paul George called it a “bad shot.” Do they have scouting reports in Oklahoma? Paul George continued: "See when a great shooter takes a pull up three that's a bad shot right there. But when a …

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Breakfast Special: Fire Nate McMillan!

On this Earth Day, let’s give some props to the Indiana Pacers, who recycled the same second-half narrative and got four uses out of it, collapsing reliably in either the third or fourth quarter of all four games with the Boston Celtics. Sunday’s sweep-completing 110-106 loss at least stayed close, but after Tyreke Evans made a shot to put Indiana up 82-80 with 7:33 to go, the collapse began, a 17-5 Boston run over the next five minutes effectively ending the Pacers’ season. It was a 10-point game with just under 30 seconds to go, and despite three triples from …

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Breakfast Special: To Anger A Raptor

There is a classic saying in the right-tool-for-the-job genre that goes “shooting a bear with a .22 will only make it angry.” And taking advantage of a you-saw-it-coming Kyle Lowry playoff disaster in a Game 1 and only winning by three points? That’s shooting a bear—or a dinosaur—with a .22. The Raptors won Game 2 111-82 behind 22 points and a plus-30 from Lowry, who shot 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) and showed the world a thing or two about writing him off after one game. But it was Kawhi Leonard who woke up the echoes of his own past in scoring …

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Breakfast Special: Home Court Advantage For Real This Time

Saturday’s games featured a bunch of road upsets, three of them to be exact, and that got the attention of the home teams in Sunday’s games, who came out seeking to avoid the fate that happened the day before. With the reminder to pay attention firmly in hand, not only did the home teams all hold serve, but two of them won the kinds of blowouts that you usually expect from playoff teams playing their starters against the likes of the Suns and Knicks. But first… Ugly with a Capital UGG-LEE. The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers played a playoff …

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Breakfast Special: 182 Fishing Trips Start Today

Last night was a chance to say goodbye to NBA yesterdays before looking ahead to the playoffs and two months of NBA tomorrows. Dirk Nowitzki played his last game with his career ending as it always seemed to go when he played—getting outclassed by the San Antonio Spurs. Dwyane Wade notched a triple-double with LeBron James and Chris Bosh in attendance, reminding Miami that they haven’t won a stinkin’ thing since 2014. An era of NBA basketball is over. Some on Twitter are wondering where we go from here. Regular readers of Pace and Space already know the answer to …

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Breakfast Special: Blazin’ the Nets in Portland

There were only four NBA games on Monday night, so of course one of them had to go 10 extra minutes to make up for it. The Portland Trail Blazers held home court, clinched a playoff berth, and made the race between 6 and 9 in the East a little more interesting by dropping the Brooklyn Nets 148-144. Damian Lillard was wildly inefficient in this one, scoring 32 points but requiring 31 shots to do it, while D’Angelo Russell wasn’t much better for Brooklyn with 39 points on 16-of-34. All the same, even by the standards of double ovetime, this …

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