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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Eastern Conference Playoff Preview Snapshots

NBA-Eastern-Conference

Everyone knows that the Eastern Conference is nowhere near as good as the Western Conference.  But that doesn’t mean that the first round of the East playoffs won’t be compelling. As everyone knows, all you need is one road team to win to make a series interesting. Can the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks rediscover their rhythm? Did the Boston Celtics build confidence with two late-season wins over Cleveland? Is Chicago’s Derrick Rose returning to form or just an accident waiting to happen again? Do

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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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Bernucca: My annual NBA award picks

Coach of the Year

I write this column every year two days before the regular season ends, and I usually get right to the point. But this year I am going to start a little differently. So let me get one item off my chest and out of the way: Michele Roberts is way off base. The new executive director of the NBA Players Association tried to reinvent the wheel this week when it was reported that she is instituting the Players Choice Awards, which will

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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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DuBose: After Harden’s Triumphant Return to OKC, Rockets Grateful for Trades That Weren’t

Morey

Each time the Rockets play the Thunder, four names immediately come to mind: Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, Steven Adams and Mitch McGary. With all draft picks now liquidated, those players make up the return Oklahoma City received for James Harden in October 2012. Martin left the Thunder in free agency after one season off the bench, and the others all score fewer than eight points per game. That’s it. Lamb, who was supposedly the trade’s crown jewel as the No. 12 pick in 2012, isn’t

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Bernucca: Leonard Giving the Spurs a Big Bang

Kawhi Leonard

What do James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have in common? They’re all legitimate MVP candidates, of course. But what else does that Awesome Foursome have in common? In a potential playoff series against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, they can all expect to see an individual matchup with Kawhi Leonard. In case you’ve been transfixed by March Madness, the Spurs are looking like a championship contender. Again. If you want some perspective, my son Andrew was born

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