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 was a fast-paced game, with the Blazers getting up 121 field goal attempts and the Nets shooting the ball 103 times.

The biggest difference? Portland had three turnovers. THREE. In 58 minutes. Brooklyn had 16.

Put simply, this was a game the Nets win nine times out of 10 statistically…but the 10th time, the Blazers played out of their minds.

Seth Curry had a chance to win the game in regulation at the free throw line down 120-119; he missed one of the free throws and his choke sent it into OT.

The Blazers needed a stop to close the game out in the first overtime up 132-130; Russell penetrated the defense for a driving layup to tie the game and grant the Nets five extra minutes.

But despite the best efforts of the Blazers to lose, the basketball gods simply did not allow them to fail, and Portland was up by as many as seven in the second extra frame, leaving the result ultimately in no doubt.

When Lillard canned the free throws to ice the game, that was that.

Still, the Blazers can’t celebrate too hard, not with Jusuf Nurkic injured during the game with a severe leg injury—they may have just won a battle and lost a war.

Lillard is man of the match:

The Devin Booker Experience

Devin Booker: 59 points, 19-of-34 shooting, and…four rebounds, four assists, and six turnovers. Sigh.

The rest of the Suns: 33 points, 12-of-42 shooting, and a massive 125-92 loss to the Jazz in Utah.

Meanwhile, on Utah’s side of the ball, Rudy Gobert had 27 points on 9-of-11 shooting both from the field and from the line, the Jazz shot 55.8 percent overall, Utah won the rebounding (43-36) and turnover (21-14) battles, and really, except for Booker, this had all the makings of one of those games you play in 2K where you beat the computer by 60.

The Jazz celebrated a team effort while holding every Phoenix Sun not named Devin Booker to a game that wouldn’t pass muster in the G-League. What a wild contrast between excellence and trash.

Pure Magic

The Orlando Magic are hell bent for leather on making a playoff run, and they improved to 36-38 with a 119-98 mauling of the Philadelphia 76ers at home.

HERO OF SERBIA is back from injury in style, as Boban Marjanovic had six points and six rebounds in nine minutes for the Sixers, but that wasn’t enough to drag the team to a win.

Nikola Vucevic had 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting, Evan Fournier added 24 points of his own, the Magic shot 51.7 percent as a team, and while the Sixers probably aren’t giving up the 3 seed—they lead the Pacers by two games, and Indiana doesn’t exactly have a cakewalk the rest of the way—the Sixers look vulnerable on the road, where they’re just 18-18 on the season.

That’s five in a row for the Magic, who won the game as a team:

And Finally…

Oklahoma City looks like they’re in free fall, dropping all the way to eighth after a loss to Memphis on the road, 115-103.

Russell Westbrook shot the Thunder out of the game, scoring 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting, while all five Memphis starters hit at least half of their shots.

Bruno Caboclo (!) led the team with 24 points, while Justin Holiday‘s 17 marked the “worst” scoring night for the starters. Five guys playing as one, you gotta love it.

The bench, on the other hand…Memphis reserves shot just 5-of-24, a key reason why they won by 12 and not by 20 or 30.

And in a sentence I never thought I’d write, Bruno Caboclo is your man of the match:

Did you miss the piece about LeBron’s legacy that went live this morning? Or maybe you want to stick around for Pacers Tuesday, it’s gonna be pretty good too.

Lots to read and enjoy, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!