Sprung: Kyle Lowry is the Early Eastern Conference MVP

Kyle Lowry

The Eastern Conference’s leader in Win Shares signed a highly publicized free agent contract this past offseason with the East’s best team. That player is not LeBron James but Kyle Lowry, the undisputed leader of the Toronto Raptors. And it is Toronto – not Cleveland – which has the East’s best record at 18-6. Lowry and the Raptors are 5-3 without All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who injured his groin the day after Thanksgiving in a loss to Dallas. SheridanHoops went one-on-one with Raptors

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Bernucca: Hawks are Best Team No One Has Seen

Hawks Korver Carroll Horford Millsap Teague

The hottest team in the Eastern Conference doesn’t have a three-headed monster like the Cleveland Cavaliers. It doesn’t have a scrutinized superstar returning from injury like the Chicago Bulls or a rapper sitting courtside at every home game like the Toronto Raptors. Heck, it doesn’t even have a national TV appearance, even though it plays in TNT’s backyard. But the Atlanta Hawks have won nine of their last 10 games, flying well under the radar toward the top of the conference. The Hawks

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Eurohoops Update: 5 Americans in Euroleague who can make the NBA jump next season

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In recent years, there has been an increase of U.S. ex-pats returning from stints in Europe to realize their goal of returning to the NBA and making an impact. Some, such as P.J. Tucker, Chris Copeland, Gerald Green and Danny Green, have even been able to make big impacts on their teams after honing their craft in Europe. With only one week left in the Euroleague regular season before the Top 16 round begins, here is a look at some of

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Hubbard: Magic, like Michael, has a competition problem

Magic Johnson

A few years ago, Magic Johnson came to Dallas for a charity event that included playing a game of H-O-R-S-E at Roger Staubach’s house. Staubach, a notorious competitor, has a basketball court in his backyard where the basic rule is: Roger wins. There were several former Cowboys there along with slam dunk legend Spud Webb and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. Magic made the final in the competition and was playing a woman, who I believe was a former college player. She

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Raptors Adjusting Well, Analytically, to Life without DeRozan

DeMarDeRozanSH1

Beasts of the East we can call them. And no, unlike what was projected in the preseason, we are not talking about the Bulls or Cavaliers. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) have been one of the more interesting teams to follow this season. Their place atop the Eastern Conference standings and the sixth-best record in the NBA is made all the more impressive by the fact that in a league where the best teams usually have at least one superstar, generally a multi-time All-Star, this

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Heisler: Doc Rules Clippers … but Lakers Still Rule L.A.

Rivers-Clippers

LOS ANGELES — Doc Rivers has seen challenges before, as when he went 102-144 in his first three seasons in Boston, before Danny Ainge got him Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to go with Paul Pierce. The rest became Celtics history, leading to their 2008 title and the one they came so close to in 2010 when they led the Lakers by 13 in the second half of Game 7. Not that the Celtics had been forgotten before that… as much as

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Artest’s Stint in China May Come to a Premature End

metta

Metta World Peace, Ron Artest, Panda Friend. Whatever the name is on his medical form and the roster chart, the diagnosis is still the same: ‘Recurrence of knee injury – recovery time: three-to-five weeks.’ In the NBA, this would mean a spell on the sidelines. But in the Chinese Basketball Association, it is often the end of the season for an overseas player. This is the ruthless nature of life in the CBA, particularly for the league’s American imports. They’re brought in

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Sheridan: Aside from Kirilenko, What Trades Can Nets Actually Make?

deron-williams_nets

We have our first trade speculation frenzy of the 2014-15 NBA season courtesy of Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who is using his bully pulpit at the Worldwide Leader to throw a little something against the wall, saying the Brooklyn Nets have made it known around the league that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez are available via trades. But as Stein reports, nothing is imminent. And we should further remind you that players who signed contracts over the summer are

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