Breakfast Special: It’s What We Broadly Expected

The NBA playoffs are fundamentally a problem of mathematical certainty given a large enough sample size. When you combine 82 games of regular-season basketball with best-of-seven series, and especially in the first round stir in teams with a high likelihood of a talent disparity due either to the simple fact that there’s a big difference between contender and mid-first-round draft pick team or due to that circumstance being forced by injury… …well, nobody should be surprised that Toronto and Boston both won on the road Friday. The Indiana Pacers, who finished the season 16-19 after Victor Oladipo went out, are …

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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: Angry Sabonis Is Best Sabonis

Journalistic integrity and standards are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I really wanted today’s headline to be “Breakfast Special: Great Job, Motherf—er” to give proper credit to Domantas Sabonis after his first-rate outburst at the referees following his sixth foul in the Indiana Pacers’ 111-102 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night. On the other hand, Pace and Space is a content partner with Basketball Reference and I’m pretty sure their editorial staff would be less than pleased by one of their content partners providing them with a headline—even a censored one—featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite word. So …

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Breakfast Special: A Thunderous Collapse in Indianapolis

Ave Sabonis, we who are about to highlight film salute you. As the Ides of March dawn, the Indiana Pacers, far from being four games into an 11-game losing streak like your reverse-jinxing columnist predicted Tuesday, have now won two big games at home to get to 44-25, retain their hold on third place in the Eastern Conference, and give their fans…optimism (?!) heading into a monstrous Western swing on the road. Russell Westbrook got his triple-double, of course, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing 11 assists. Paul George, in his old building against his old team (such …

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Breakfast Special: A Serge In On-Court Violence

Serge Ibaka built an NBA reputation on swatting shots away from the rim. But in the Toronto Raptors’ 126-101 humiliation at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, Ibaka decided instead to swat—and by swat I mean clobber—an opponent instead. Marquese Chriss ended up on the receiving end of Ibaka’s rage, and Everybody Hates Chriss: Ibaka and Chriss out here throwing punches 😳 pic.twitter.com/NwRhL6Apw4 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2019 That’s going to be worth a suspension. Possibly a lengthy one. Nice move for the playoff stretch drive, Serge. This was a beast of a game for Cleveland, …

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Breakfast Special: Brad Stevens on the Hot Seat

It’s full on Panic Time in Boston, as the Celtics got destroyed on the road by the Toronto Raptors 118-95. The chemistry is breaking down between the Celtics players, Kyrie Irving looks miserable in a Boston uniform, the fans are starting to call for the head of coach Brad Stevens (yes, this is because fans in general tend to be idiots, but Brad Freaking Stevens? If you don’t want him, Pacers fans would ditch Nate McMillan for him in a heartbeat)…and oh by the way, the actual basketball team just got destroyed by a potential second-round playoff opponent. Zach Lowe …

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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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