Bernucca: Have Pacers Lost Belief in Themselves?

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Believe it or not, there’s someone out there who doesn’t think the Indiana Pacers are coming apart at the seams. Lance Stephenson

“Everybody goes through this,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said last week after San Antonio manhandled Indiana, 103-77, on the Pacers’ home court. “I’m not worried about them. They’ll still make it to the Eastern Conference finals and they’ll still play Miami.”

Parker is somewhat right. From time to time, every championship contender has a stretch during a season where they look ordinary. Addled. Even awful at times.

Last month, the Miami Heat lost three in a row and seven of 11, including a home contest to Denver and a visit to New Orleans after which Chris Bosh plainly said, “We suck.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed back Russell Westbrook as they came out of the All-Star break and immediately lost three straight and five of eight, including a home loss to Cleveland and a road setback to the L.A. Lakers. The Houston Rockets were a pedestrian 8-8 in December, losing at home and on the road to Sacramento, at Utah and being blasted at Oklahoma City and Indiana.

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Schayes: Raising NBA Age Limit to 20 is a Bad Idea – And Somebody Should Say So

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badideaThere is a curious thing happening right now. As the search for the replacement Executive Director for Billy Hunter at the NBA players’ union drags into its second year with no end in sight, there is a tremendous void not being filled.

The league and Commissioner Adam Silver, being bright and experienced, have decided to take this opportunity and fill it themselves.

The missing element is the voice of the players. And their silence is deafening.

As the NBPA office continues to shrink through attrition, there is little business getting done. With the Collective Bargaining Agreement open for renegotiation in just a couple of  years, the league has decided to start now by shaping public opinion around some of the non-revenue issues that were never completed from the last collective bargaining negotiations.




At the top of their talking points agenda is raising the age limit from 19 to 20. 

Haywood: No Hall of Fame, But Many Blessings

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SpencerI found out on Wednesday that I didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame, so I won’t be going to Dallas for the Final Four.

And I am saddened that I’m not going to be there in person to watch the games with the Hall of Fame and marched out at halftime.

You know, I’ve been down this road before. But I was really assured in my heart and soul that it wasn’t going to repeat. I was on my way. I was thinking positively. My whole world is a world of positive thinking. So when I got the call, I just had to go lay down for a little bit. And my wife and kids were devastated again. They were all packed up and ready to roll to Dallas.

But it was always in the back of my mind, what if it didn’t happen … again?

Sometimes people can break under these circumstances, but I’ve learned that the most important thing is staying healthy. And in time, on God’s time, it will come. And I’ve decided that it is what it is.

This is my first time really discussing this, but I had prostate cancer last year. Cancer. Wow. Now that will make you realize the importance of life, family, friends, goals.

Scotto: Knicks’ Season, Futures of Melo, Woodson On the Line — UPDATED

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knicksNEW YORK — For Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, making the playoffs is all that matters.

The same can be said for coach Mike Woodson.

However, after a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Knicks find themselves one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot — and two games behind in the loss column — with only five remaining games.

Anthony’s desire to reach the postseason is understandable. Since entering the NBA as part of the heralded draft class of 2003, he has never missed the playoffs. Not even the Big Three in Miami can say that.

If Anthony reaches the postseason again, he’ll have to do it with a strained right shoulder that “gave out” against the Wizards.

“Throughout the course of the game there was no strength on the passes, causing turnovers and things like that,” Anthony said. “But hopefully I’ll be alright.”

NYK_Woodson_MikeFor Woodson, however, making the playoffs means much more. His job is on the line.

“No playoffs, no Woody,” one league source told SheridanHoops.

“Without question he’s fired (if they miss the playoffs),” one Eastern Conference scout also told SheridanHoops.

Sprung: Jeremy Lin won’t cut it for Rockets with Patrick Beverley out

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JeremyLinSH1Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are the big-name players, but the Houston Rockets would not be a top-four team in the Western Conference without Patrick Beverley.

Houston is 36-16 when Patrick Beverley starts, but they will miss him for at least two weeks (and likely for the duration of the regular season) with a torn meniscus. His replacement is one Jeremy Lin.

You remember him, right?

Even if Beverley doesn’t have the best offensive and defensive numbers, it doesn’t seem likely that Lin has the skill set to adequately replace what Beverley does for this team.

“Obviously we’re going to miss Pat’s defensive intensity and passion and the energy he brings every single possession,” Parsons told SheridanHoops.