Breakfast Special: The Worst Game 7 I’ve Ever Seen

The first round of the NBA playoffs was so top-to-bottom terrible that in the process it made a fine argument for just reducing the number of teams in the playoffs from 16 to 8 and proceeding directly to the conference semifinals. Heck, I’m a Pacers fan and even I would be perfectly OK with those eight teams being conference-agnostic—Milwaukee-Utah, Toronto-Philadelphia, Golden State-Portland, and Denver-Houston would’ve been your four first-round matchups in that case. The four top East seeds went 16-2. The Blazers and Rockets won their series in 5, the Warriors needed 6 only because they seemed so hell bent …

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Breakfast Special: Spurs-Nuggets: Endgame Coming Soon

Before this series, I predicted Nuggets in 7 with the home team winning every game. And…well…half right still counts for something? Because after some utter weirdness in the first four games of this series, Denver won Game 5… …and San Antonio held serve decisively at home, 120-103, to force the series back to the Mile High City for a decisive Game 7 this weekend. The score through 6 games? Denver 646, San Antonio 637. But this ain’t soccer, and nobody cares about aggregate score. The Spurs simply lived by the sword in Game 6. LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points on …

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Breakfast Special: Kevin Durant’s Better As A Heel

Kevin Durant may be a thin-skinned, easily-riled mercenary with all the moral courage of a toddler threatened with having his screen time taken away, but there aren’t many better players in the league when they’re in full-on Eff You Mode. Durant had 12 points in the first quarter, finished with 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting including 11-of-13 on his two-point shots, posted a game-best plus-32, and led the Golden State Warriors back to control of their first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers with a 132-105 win. Some games merit deep dives and deeper analysis. Durant and Stephen Curry (21 …

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Breakfast Special: Nice Knowin’ Ya, Brett Brown

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award for seeing the Sixers through the deepest dark of the Process and into the playoffs. But the question needs asked: Is Brown going to be tarred with the brush of a “rebuilding coach”, the guy you hire when you’re going to do a franchise teardown and then let go when the team is good to bring in a guy who’s more a veteran-leadership playoff coach in the mold of guys like Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Phil Jackson? Not that there’s anything wrong with turnaround guys; for every …

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Breakfast Special: Players Only Make Broadcasts Worse

There is a classic formula in sports broadcasting that has worked for at least my entire lifetime (since 1977.) If you credit Monday Night Football with codifying the modern sports broadcast format and mainstreaming the three-man booth in 1970, it’s been nearly 50 years. You have a play-by-play announcer, usually someone with a background in traditional journalism and broadcasting, a torch that has been passed, depending on the sport, between the likes of Chick Hearn and Keith Jackson and Mike Breen. You have a color man, a former player or coach, giving expert analysis (indeed, the term “color commentator” is …

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Breakfast Special: Meet the New West, Same as the Old West

Last year, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets faced off in “the real Finals” as the two top seeds in the Western Conference doing battle for the right to stomp Cleveland in the all-over-but-the-shouting championship series, the most anticlimactic gold medal game since the US beat Finland after polishing off the Soviet Union in the Miracle On Ice Game at the 1980 Winter Olympics. This year, the Denver Nuggets entered Sunday in first place, leading the Warriors by half a game and forcing a would-be Golden State vs. Houston rematch into the second round of the playoffs as the …

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Breakfast Special: How the West Was Won

Don’t look now, but the Western Conference has a first-place tie again, all while the battle at the bottom of the bracket has intensified to the point where every possible combination between the Warriors, Nuggets, and Rockets at one end and…well, everyone else at the other end…is in play for the first round of the playoffs. Along the same lines, the eighth-place Clippers, at 41-30, are on pace for a 47 or 48 win season. If Sacramento wins out, they’ll go 47-35. It’s all over but the seeding, and speaking of that… A Playoff Game 3 in the Regular Season …

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Breakfast Special: Competitive Games Are For Suckers

The NBA put on seven games for the entertainment of the viewing public Tuesday night. Only two of them were anyone’s idea of competitive in the fourth quarter, and a third finished with the tightest final score margin (five) but the team that won was up 14 with little enough time left in the game that it would’ve been bonkers had they not put the game on ice (give it up for Darren Collison, and we’ll get to the Pacers-Knicks game shortly.) The rest of them were either double-digit blowouts or a Spurs-Mavs game where every time Dallas looked like …

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Breakfast Special: The Pacers Stink on National TV

Smart Pacers fans knew to watch anything besides ABC yesterday, as smart Pacers fans saw the 106-89 beatdown—featuring 30 second-half points and some of the worst shooting the team’s put up all year—coming down Broad Street in Philadelphia with its doors open. Take a returning Joel Embiid, on the road, on national TV, and that’s a perfect storm for the 76ers to dominate, and so (at least after halftime) they dominated, all while Pacers fans resigned ourselves to wishing we had the dulcet tones of Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner on Fox Sports Indiana/League Pass to soothe our souls instead …

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Breakfast Special: Achtung Panzer!

The New York Knicks just played the most important game of their season, a showdown in Phoenix with the future of the franchise at stake. And the Knicks gloriously lost the game 107-96, getting out on the dance floor to do the Prokhorovka Shuffle and pull a game and a half ahead of the Suns for last place in the NBA; the Knicks are 13-52 against the Suns’ 15-51. Great work, New York. Devin Booker, a guy who exists in a weird vacuum where he puts up All-Star scoring numbers and does absolutely nothing beyond that to help his team …

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