Western Conference Playoff Preview Snapshots

Western Conference

This is what we have been waiting for since Halloween. The strength of the Western Conference was as good as advertised and has provided a first round of playoffs that should have NBA fans salivating. The best series appears to be the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the San Antonio Spurs, whom you could argue were two of the league’s three best teams coming down the stretch. And approximately two weeks from now, one of those teams will be headed to its offseason,

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Sprung: Bulls’ championship hopes hinge on Rose, again

Derrick Rose Bulls sleeves

It’s difficult enough to try to integrate an injured star player at any point during an NBA season. It’s even tougher to ease back a star during the season’s stretch run and adjust during the playoffs. This is the challenge the Chicago Bulls face once again in bringing point guard Derrick Rose back into the fold. Four games into a comeback from his most recent knee injury, the Bulls are very pleased with Rose’s progress and optimistic that they are coming together just in

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Brooklyn Nets lose control of their playoff hopes

Joe Johnson face Game 2

BROOKLYN – A string of poor play may cost the Brooklyn Nets a playoff spot in the pathetic Eastern Conference. Their inability over the last several games – and throughout the season as a whole – to consistently beat winning teams could end up being the back-breaker for this ballclub. Despite being without Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter and ran away with a 113-86 laugher that cost Brooklyn the eighth spot in the East,

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Sprung: Arrests didn’t faze Hawks in win over Nets

Hawks-Brooklyn

BROOKLYN — Not so long ago, what defined a tumultuous day for the Atlanta Hawks would have had something to do with ownership. Or management. Not a perp walk. So for the Hawks to do what they did Wednesday night — a gutsy road win over a probable playoff team — speaks to their fortitude as a team, a darned good team. Just hours after reserves Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were released from police custody – the pair was arrested outside a

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Sprung: Roy Hibbert says acting is harder than playing basketball

roy-hibbert-kind-of-surprised

Indiana’s playoff hopes looked especially dim after a 15-30 start, but a stretch of inspired play in February and March had the team at 30-34 on March 12 after a seven-game winning streak. Paul George was set to come back and it looked like the Pacers were going to be the team no one wanted to draw in the first round. Since then, Indiana has lost eight of 10 including Monday’s crucial 111-106 setback in Brooklyn against the Nets. The Pacers

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Sprung: Sorry, Knicks, But Marc Gasol Sounds Like He’s Staying

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol did not sound like a player who is leaving the Memphis Grizzlies for the New York Knicks – or any other team, for that matter – when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. Gasol’s history in the city of Memphis and what he has spent a large portion of his life building with the Grizzlies will almost certainly prove too much to leave behind this offseason. The Grizzlies clinched the playoffs for the fifth straight season and

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Sprung: Spurs are living and dying with/without Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Where would the San Antonio Spurs be this season without Kawhi Leonard? To answer my own question, probably out of the playoff picture. In a Western Conference where the 8th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans are seven games over .500, the Spurs are 33-16 with Leonard and just 9-9 without him. Leonard leads the team in scoring, defensive rating and minutes per game. There’s an immense difference in Leonard’s stats in Spurs wins and losses, to the point where an off night can torpedo

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Gregg Popovich blasts Spurs’ performance after loss to Knicks

popovich1

The San Antonio Spurs lost to the New York Knicks 104-100 in overtime on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not happy with his team’s performance. In a short yet purposeful postgame statement to the media, Popovich bashed the way the Spurs played and complimented the way the Knicks played to earn just their 14th win of the season. “We didn’t respect the game, we didn’t respect our opponent,” Popovich said. “It was a pathetic performance. And I

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