Despite 61, LeBron not Player of the Week

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How do you score 61 points in a game and not get named NBA Player of the Week? Well, if you’re LeBron James, you total 58 points in the three ensuing games, all losses. James and the Miami Heat had one of their worst three-game stretches of the season, minimizing the impact of his 61-point explosion a week ago and giving Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors to Carmelo Anthony, whose New York Knicks had a rare good week. Anthony averaged  29.0

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Bernucca: Among the Elite, Thunder the Team to Beat

Ibaka

A look at the overall NBA standings shows four teams at the top – Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami – separated by one game in the loss column. In fact, they were dead even until three of them lost Sunday.  Just a notch below them are three more teams – Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland – separated by two games in the loss column. They also would have been dead even had the Blazers held

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Rookie Rankings, Week 18: An Otto Porter Sighting

Washington Wizards

The best thing about top overall pick Anthony Bennett’s tremendously disappointing rookie season is that it has provided cover for some tremendously disappointing seasons by other rookies. Namely, Otto Porter. Porter was taken third in the 2013 draft by the Washington Wizards and has been worse than Bennett. Much worse. Bennett is averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting just 35 percent from the floor. Pedestrian numbers, for sure, and unacceptable for a top pick who is expected to contribute right away. But

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Bernucca: NBA Buyout Season’s Winners and Losers

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I’m kinda high on what the Charlotte Bobcats did with Ben Gordon. The Bobcats waived Gordon on Sunday, preventing him from appearing in the postseason should he sign with another team. While they may have alienated his agent – not a trifle thing in the business world of the NBA – two things should be pointed out. 1. When teams waive or buy out players at this time of the season, they are essentially establishing a price they are willing to pay

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Rookie Rankings, Week 17: Can the Best Rookie Come From the Worst Team?

We asked this question in our last edition of the Rookie Rankings: Can a player from a 65-loss team win Rookie of the Year? The answer: One already has. In the 1999-2000 season, the Chicago Bulls were continuing their rebuilding following the second retirement of Michael Jordan and went 17-65. One of their few bright spots was a young power forward named Elton Brand, who averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds and shared Rookie of the Year honors with Houston’s Steve Francis. But

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Bernucca: Feeling the Heat, Pacers Had To Make a Move

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All season, the Indiana Pacers have maintained that homecourt advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their chemistry will give them a great chance to dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat. Are both slipping away? In the last two weeks, Indiana’s grip on the East’s best record has loosened considerably. And the Pacers’  big move at Thursday’s trading deadline, acquiring Evan Turner, illustrated that their belief in chemistry may have been overstated. [Read more…]

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Bernucca: Who Is On Your Team’s Mount Rushmore?

rushmore

This past week, NBA TV released excerpts of an extended interview with LeBron James (airing in its entirety Monday night) in which Steve Smith asked “The King” to name his Mount Rushmore of basketball. James offered a quartet of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. But it’s really an unfair question, because in addition to those four players, there are at least three more – centers Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell – who are in the

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Larry Sanders’ Awful Season Continues With Surgery, Out 6 Weeks

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When the Milwaukee Bucks signed Larry Sanders to a four-year, $44 million contract extension last summer, it looked like a pretty good move. Sanders showed throughout the 2012-13 season that he could be a highly impactful defensive player. He was just 24 years old (now 25), and the money was in line with other defense-first centers such as Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee. And nothing has gone right since. [Read more…]

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