Heat-Bobcats Playoff Preview: Five Key Factors

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oppositesWell, this series brings together two polar opposites.

On the one hand we have the Miami Heat going for their three-peat, striving to get as close to perfection as possible before they move on to the second round. On the other hand we have the “just happy to be here” Bobcats, who have never won a playoff series in their existence and aren’t about to start now.

The Bobcats are listed at 250-1 to win the championship, the same odds as the sad sack Atlanta Hawks.

We all know that Charlotte will be lucky to win even a single game, don’t we?

Chris Bernucca’s Postseason Award Choices

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Image.AdamSilverTransparency is a two-way street.

For years, NBA media members – echoing the sentiments of its passionate fan base – wanted more transparency from Commissioner David Stern and his executive staff. Whether it was a lottery drawing, a suspension in the playoffs or a referee scandal, folks felt like they were entitled to an explanation. And they were.

Stern grudgingly came around. He arranged for the media to meet with referees prior to the season about rules changes. He allowed the media into the lottery drawing. He okayed press releases that admitted, Yes, we blew that call.

Since replacing Stern as commissioner less than three months ago, Adam Silver has taken the NBA’s transparency up a notch. He declared that there will be an open dialogue about officiating and is walking the walk by making internal memos available to the media.

But Silver is getting something back, too. At All-Star Weekend this year, the media presented the notion of transparency with regard to how its members vote on postseason awards, and the commissioner bought in. 

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Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, April 9 Edition: This Pick is Easy; Coach of Year is not

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magnifyingglassMy ballot will be e-mailed to NBA headquarters late at night one week from today, and I will then publish all of my picks for postseason awards — as is my standard practice.

But not every one of the 126 voters makes his/her selections public. At least that is the way it has been in the past.

But this year, transparency rules. The Pro Basketball Writers Association and the NBA media relations office have come to an agreement under which all of the voters’ picks in every single category will be made public. Too bad this didn’t happen a year ago, when we would have learned who had the gumption to vote for Jordan Crawford as Sixth Man of the Year. (The NBA even checked with the voter to see if he meant to select Jamal Crawford, and the voter responded ‘no.’ He actually felt the lesser Crawford was deserving).

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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Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, April 2 Edition: A Rivalry is Finally Born Tonight?

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sameoldLet’s see … the sky was gray this morning … again. The temperature was in the 30s … again. The forecast calls for more chilly weather … again. Kevin Durant is going to be No. 1 on this list … again.

What is going to make today different?

These are the things you ponder while getting the kids ready for school — plus the thought of what the heck was the local school board thinking when they decided that school would begin at 7:30 a.m? Don’t they know about West Coast games? Don’t they know about snooze buttons?

Well, the fact of the matter is that this could be a very, very different Wednesday. You know why?

Because the Knicks and the Nets have been playing together in the NBA since 1976, and despite their geographic proximity to one another, they have never had a strong rivalry over those 38 years because both teams were never good at the same time.

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