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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Sprung: MVP Candidates Pros and Cons, By the Numbers

Westbrook-AllStar

This season’s MVP race is shaping up to be the best one in quite some time. The perceived top five candidates this season – James Harden, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook – represent the top five in PER, three of the top five in win shares and lead the NBA in nearly two dozen major statistical categories. We’re pretty well covered with MVP rankings on this site with Sheridan’s regular updates, and other staffers have chimed in

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Sprung: Patience, Patented Defense Has Pacers in Playoff Picture

PacersPlane

Indiana’s win in New York on Saturday night epitomized the current trajectory of the team’s season. It was a slow and ugly start, but the team persevered through strong defense and playoff-tested experience. The team’s slow and ugly start began actually began nearly eight months earlier, on a sultry Friday July evening in Las Vegas with Paul George’s horrendously gruesome leg injury. The bad luck and misery continued when rotation stalwarts David West, George Hill and C.J. Watson missed the beginning of the season with

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Sprung: Post-Garnett Nets succeeding with small ball

Prokhorov

BROOKLYN — A lot has changed since Brooklyn last wore its home whites on Feb. 6. The Nets have played better basketball in their fight for an Eastern Conference playoff spot with the help of smaller, younger lineups, going a very respectable 3-5 on a vicious eight-game Western Conference road trip that ended with a big win in Dallas on Saturday night. “I’m excited to be home, but I’m also excited that we’ve played better, been more competitive,” said Nets head

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Sprung: “Big Three” for Cavs Might Be Trio of Former Knicks

Mozgov

The irony was more than evident Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Cleveland Cavaliers were a disappointing 19-15 when they acquired guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the Knicks, who were embarrassed by the Cavs on Sunday and have the league’s worst record. Additionally, Cleveland acquired former Knicks center Timofey Mozgov from Denver later that week. Since trading for Smith and Shumpert, Cleveland is a robust 17-7, has won 17 of 19 and is now a legitimate threat to represent the

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Chris Bosh: Heat “in a 30-game sprint” towards playoff spot

Chris Bosh

It’s been five years since Chris Bosh found himself in a truly competitive race for a playoff spot. The 2009-2010 season, his last as Toronto’s franchise player and his last before having LeBron James as a teammate, saw his team finish 40-42 and a game behind Chicago for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. In his first year without James since that ’09-’10 season, Bosh and his teammates will now compete in a tight playoff race for the first time in half

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Isaiah Thomas Addresses Goran Dragic Trade Rumors

dragic

With Thursday’s NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, one of the bigger names who’s rumored to be dealt is Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic. Despite Phoenix clinging to a half-game lead over Oklahoma City for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Suns reportedly may want to deal Dragic, who’s an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Lakers, Rockets and other teams have been trying to persuade the Suns to deal Dragic, according to an ESPN.com report

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Mo Williams trade gives Hornets much-needed PG stopgap

Mo Williams

The Charlotte Hornets got much-needed point guard depth on Tuesday in their quest for an Eastern Conference playoff spot by acquiring veteran Mo Williams from Minnesota in exchange for shooting guard Gary Neal and a 2019 2nd round pick. Charlotte can now start Williams at the point with Kemba Walker still out after undergoing knee surgery, and avoid using the much-maligned Lance Stephenson at the position. “Mo Williams is a proven NBA player who gives us additional versatility and depth in the backcourt, both

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