Breakfast Special: Heat In Six

Another playoff series started for real on Monday, as the Miami Heat solved the Embiid-less Sixers and dealt them their first loss since the Pacers beat Philadelphia on March 13, a span of 17 straight wins. They did this by partying like it was 2006, with Dwyane Wade scoring 28 points off the bench, making his first seven shots before finishing 11-of-16, and doing all of the above in just 26 minutes. Meanwhile, James Johnson threw an efficiency party of his own, scoring his 18 points on 7-of-7 from the field including a pair of three-pointers; his only miss was …

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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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Breakfast Special: The Raptors Put the East On Notice

The Toronto Raptors marched into Air Canada Centre with a two-game lead on the Boston Celtics and with pole position in the Eastern Conference potentially hanging in the balance; the winner would almost certainly get the tiebreaker in the Atlantic Division and therefore in the race for the top seed. The Raptors left Air Canada Centre celebrating a 96-78 complete beatdown of the Celtics, a 3-1 season series victory assured, the magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed cut to one (and with an exhausted Indiana team coming to town on a SEGABABA Friday night and with Orlando, Detroit, …

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Breakfast Special: Bogdanovic Vs. Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic put up one of the weirdest stat lines in NBA history in Indiana’s 106-103 win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night. Bogey had 25 points…and nothing else. Zero rebounds. Zero assists. Zero steals. Zero blocks. He had a turnover and a foul, but 25 points in isolation from any other basketball activities? That’s the sixth-highest point total in such a situation of all-time according to Basketball Reference; Allan Houston scored 37 points with no other counting stats in 2000, and Reggie Miller set the Pacers record for this statistical anomaly with 34 points and nothing else in 1999. …

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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: In Which Gregg Popovich Owns Steve Kerr Again

The San Antonio Spurs, left for dead just last week, have turned things around in a big way, and their fourth straight win just came at the expense of the Golden State Warriors. Even crazier, the Spurs held Golden State to just 75 points in a downright collegiate 89-75 slog of a game. Well, maybe “slog” isn’t the right word—the game was played at a 94.1 estimated pace, after all, slow by today’s NBA standards but a breakneck pace by the standards (86 possessions per 48 minutes, due mainly to the 30-second shot clock) of the college game. Anyway, point …

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“Great Teams Gut Out Close Wins in the NBA”: WRONG!

The NBA is a league where point differential is the single strongest predictor across an 82-game season of success and failure. 30 points is worth a win (give or take, and adjusted for pace, but it’s right around 30.) Which is to say, for every plus-one in point differential over a season, it’s good for about 2.7 wins. Every major advanced stat that deals with wins (from playoff-odds projections to Estimated Wins Added/WAR) is based on this principle. Which, in turn, creates a simple maxim. If you want to win lots of games, you need to win by big margins, …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: San Antonio Spurs

by Fox Doucette Are the San Antonio Spurs any good? Of course they are. They’re the Spurs. Next question. “OK, wiseguy,” you may say at this point, “are the Spurs good enough to hold their ground in an increasingly top-heavy Western Conference and make a run at the Finals?” Well, of course they are. They’re the Spurs. Let’s take a closer look. Stats via Basketball Reference, over/unders via Sports Insights. 2016-17 Record: 61-21 2018 Over-Under: 54.5. The Spurs You Know And Love Tony Parker’s still rehabbing from offseason surgery but will be back around the All-Star Game if projections hold. …

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