Mark Heisler’s Postseason Award Choices

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Heisler_125Now for the annual post-season awards no one else has, by whatever means necessary.

Kill this page if you’re looking for the Blue Plate Special featured everywhere else with Michael Carter-Williams as Rookie of the Year, Gregg Popovich as best coach, DeMar DeRozan as Most Improved, Joakim Noah as Defensive Player of the Year, etc.

All are deserving… but it’s not as if the other candidates are chopped liver, as it seems these days when everyone compares picks over the internet and— Moooooo! –joins the herd.

All of these categories are close. In all of them, voters can use whatever criteria they choose.

In other words, it’s a meaningless popularity contest. How much good did the second of LeBron James’ back-to-back MVPs in 2010 do him after he flamed out in the postseason while playing hurt, then left Cleveland for Miami?

Scotto: Brooklyn Nets are Legit Contenders After Sweeping LeBron — UPDATED

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LeBron James trophyNo team has done what the Nets have done. And going into the playoffs, what they’ve done should not be dismissed.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets became the first team ever to post a 4-0 season series sweep over LeBron James since he entered the league more than a decade ago.

After being crowned by the Nets, James took out his frustration on TNT’s Craig Sager during a postgame interview when asked if Brooklyn was Miami’s biggest challenge in the East.

“Get out of here, Craig,” James replied. “Next question.”

While James avoided the question, there’s no denying it – Brooklyn has a legitimate chance to win the East now.

May: Frank Vogel is Glad He Is Not a New Jersey Devil

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aprilfoolsBack on April Fools Day, Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser, the hosts of ESPN’s popular ‘Pardon The Interruption,’ opened the show with a segment speculating that Larry Bird was about to come down and replace Frank Vogel as the head coach of the reeling Indiana Pacers.

They talked about how the team was sliding and that something needed to be done. Bird, who had coached the Pacers before – albeit more than a decade ago – had been critical of the team, saying it needed to be tougher.

Then, after tantalizing its viewers with this possible coup d’etat, Wilbon and Kornheiser announced that it was all an April Fools Day joke.

Hmmmm.

Here’s the thing about April Fools Day ruses: They only work if there’s a degree of believability to them. Had Wilbon and Kornheiser announced that Larry Brown was coming back to coach the Pacers, and leaving SMU, well . . . OK, that’s probably not a good example. But you get the drift. The reason the joke worked was because it was credible.

Nothing has changed in the last nine days to make it any less credible; the Pacers are 2-2 heading into Friday night’s biggie in Miami.

Nowitzki, Conley, Dragic, Stoudemire key for NBA Teams Chasing Final Playoff Spots

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With one week left in the NBA regular season, the pressure is on for two Eastern Conference teams and four Western Conference teams fighting for the final playoff spots. Millions will intently watch what transpires over the next seven days as teams face must-win games, and the effort and intensity pick up.

Each of these half-dozen teams have a player who will greatly impact the fate of their clubs the rest of the way.

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Schayes: Losing the Big One; What Kentucky Will Remember

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John Calipari said Duke was "flopping all over the place."Every player with a long career has experienced amazing triumphs and agonizing defeats. What is remarkable is that if you ask most athletes about those events years later, most will admit that the losses stay with them and are more impactful than the wins.

After this year’s NCAA Championship game, Kentucky coach John Calipari could only talk about the missed opportunities. His team missed free throws, turned the ball over or missed shots at crucial times. He rarely mentioned the tremendous play of his opponent, only that his team gave the championship away.

For every Christian Laettner buzzer beater, Immaculate Reception, or other heart-stopping crazy finish, there is a losing team who’s history was changed.

And every fan knows the experience of watching a game slip away play by play. Each missed shot, turnover, or ball that slips through a players hands creates death by slow torture. For it is never the Hail Mary or buzzer beater that is the reason one team wins or loses. It is merely the last thing that people remember.