Breakfast Special: Super Greek Super Freak

Before taking an 86-76 lead early in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers were 33-1 when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game. And after the Bucks outscored them 30-11 the rest of the way, the Pacers are 33-2 when leading by at least 10 points at any point in the game. (big hat tip to Pat Boylan of the Pacers’ radio broadcast team for dropping that stat on Twitter this week.) Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points, 19 rebounds, 11 assists, and one massively extended metaphorical middle finger at Thaddeus Young, …

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Breakfast Special: Paul George is Kevin Durant 2.0

How is it possible for a guy to average a triple-double for the third straight season—as Russell Westbrook has been doing—and somehow be thought of by near-universal consensus as the second-best player on his own team? The answer, as even a cursory glance at an Oklahoma City Thunder game will tell you, is “because Paul George is making a heck of an MVP case.” PG13 had 47 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, upstaging Westbrook’s record-setting 10th consecutive triple-double (21 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists) in the Thunder’s 120-111 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night. Westbrook shot 5-of-19 …

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Breakfast Special: Lakers Softer Than Chris Denari’s Water

Pacers fans have for the past 13 years been blessed with the best play-by-play man you’ve probably never heard of, and Chris Denari did his 1,000th broadcast for Fox Sports Indiana (and for those of you in the national audience who don’t get the joke in the headline, Denari is spokesman for a water-softener company in the Hoosier State, a source of affectionate catchphrases from the Pacers faithful.) The team rose to the occasion, giving Denari and his partner Quinn Buckner plenty to talk about as they turned a Kinetico riot hose on the Lakers and sprayed them down to …

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Breakfast Special: Is Basketball OK?

Before we get to the NBA highlights this morning, a moment to call out the single worst Super Bowl ad from a branding perspective in the history of spending millions of dollars on 30 seconds of air time. Pepsi ran an ad in which a customer at a diner orders a Coke, the waitress says “is Pepsi OK?”, and then Steve Carell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon spend 30 seconds ranting about how Pepsi is “better than OK.” Which…you just showed a customer in a restaurant ordering a Coke. You just showed a restaurant practically apologizing for serving your product. …

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Breakfast Special: 16 Threes Does Not a Barrage Make, Toronto

The Toronto Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings 120-105 in a dollar-store game where the Raps didn’t have Kawhi Leonard and the Kings didn’t have De’Aaron Fox. Toronto also crowed that they had a “3-point barrage tonight.” They hit 16-of-40. 3-pt barrage tonight @TangerineHoops Game Highlights 📹: https://t.co/gT67vmyo9e pic.twitter.com/UpChVnzNUZ — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 23, 2019 Now, is it really a “barrage” if you hit two more triples as a team than Klay Thompson hit in a game by himself earlier this year? Come back when you make 20 in a game and we’ll talk about a barrage. This was a …

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Breakfast Special: OKC’s Westbrook Problem

Are we sure Russell Westbrook is actually good? The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a game by double digits…in overtime, but still. The Los Angeles Lakers, minus LeBron James, out-fought OKC in Oklahoma City and beat them 138-128 in a game that was tied at 122 at the end of regulation. And Westbrook was a big reason why the Thunder lost, nearly notching a triple-double (26 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds) and shooting 5-of-12 from three. So why was he so awful? He shot 2-of-18 on two-pointers (!) and finished 7-of-30 (23.3 percent) from the field, shooting his team out of …

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Breakfast Special: James Harden, LVP

Allow me a moment of gleeful bias in an otherwise objective statistical and visual roundup of NBA action. Because James Harden shot 1-of-17 from three-point land, making one more three-pointer than Ben Simmons did yesterday, as the Rockets lost to the Magic 116-109. But here is why Harden is fundamentally absurd. He had 38 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, shot 11-of-32 from the field overall, and made 15-of-16 from the line, and every nitwit who’s willing to ignore his blatant manipulation of the referees and horrible shooting when they’re not giving him the calls (and the turnovers; he’s averaging …

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Breakfast Special: O Myles Turner, Where Art Thou

The Indiana Pacers went 7-4 in the absence of Victor Oladipo earlier this season, 8-4 if you count the Hawks game where Vic came in, had a cup of coffee, and left. The Pacers are 0-2 without Myles Turner, who sat out Sunday with a sore right shoulder as the Pacers lost 121-105 to the Toronto Raptors, who in the process became the first team with 30 wins as they ran their record to 30-12. The Raptors improved to 8-2 without Kawhi Leonard. Things that make you go “hmmm…”, since Toronto has a .688 winning percentage (56-26 per 82 games) …

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Breakfast Special: 3 is More Than 2, 2 is More Than 0

2019 might go down in history as The Year of the Three-Point Backlash, and the Toronto Raptors demonstrated the way forward with a guy who, of course, was coached up from a rookie by Gregg Popovich, the dean of the New Old School in San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard had 45 points on 16-of-22 shooting, but it’s how he did it that makes this a subject deserving of a deeper dive into Pop’s new NBA reality. If you count by twos, you’d say “that’s 32 points”, and you’d be right. But Kawhi also shot 13-of-17 as he was able to fight …

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Breakfast Special: O Canada, Our Warrior-Crushing Land

No Kawhi Leonard? No problem! The Toronto Raptors were good before, they engaged in some serious addition-by-subtraction shipping the three-pointer-averse DeMar DeRozan out of town, and they they went out and demonstrated that team-first supremacy in Oakland Wednesday night as they beat the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on national television. If you’re going to wreck the Dubs, holding Stephen Curry to 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting—and watch as this becomes a theme later, since “take away the star” got another team a big win that we’ll get to in a minute—is a fine way to do it. Once again, Serge …

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