Eastern Conference Playoff Preview Snapshots

NBA-Eastern-Conference

Everyone knows that the Eastern Conference is nowhere near as good as the Western Conference.  But that doesn’t mean that the first round of the East playoffs won’t be compelling. As everyone knows, all you need is one road team to win to make a series interesting. Can the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks rediscover their rhythm? Did the Boston Celtics build confidence with two late-season wins over Cleveland? Is Chicago’s Derrick Rose returning to form or just an accident waiting to happen again? Do

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SH Blog: West, East playoff races bring winner-take-all drama to final day

Anthony Davis

The NBA regular season ends tomorrow, and as of now — even with most teams having played 81 of their 82 games — not a single first-round matchup is locked in. It’s an incredibly rare situation that promises to bring loads of drama both Tuesday night and especially Wednesday night, as the 2014-15 slate comes to a close. In the West, the complex playoff picture was reasonably summed up in one tweet on Tuesday morning from San Antonio’s star guard Manu Ginobili: So,

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Sprung: Roy Hibbert says acting is harder than playing basketball

roy-hibbert-kind-of-surprised

Indiana’s playoff hopes looked especially dim after a 15-30 start, but a stretch of inspired play in February and March had the team at 30-34 on March 12 after a seven-game winning streak. Paul George was set to come back and it looked like the Pacers were going to be the team no one wanted to draw in the first round. Since then, Indiana has lost eight of 10 including Monday’s crucial 111-106 setback in Brooklyn against the Nets. The Pacers

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Bernucca: Scoreboard Watching, Lottery Style

NBALottery-ping pong

Teams in the NBA playoff races aren’t the only ones watching scoreboards this time of year. Take the Philadelphia 76ers, for example. The Sixers lost their first 17 games, were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race nearly a month ago and almost certainly will lose 60-plus games for the second straight season. But GM Sam Hinkie and the rest of the Sixers’ front office are tracking the results of other games almost as closely as their own. That’s because Philadelphia could have

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Rookie Rankings, Week 18: Elfrid Payton is Rondo With Training Wheels

Orlando Magic Amway hallway

Rajon Rondo is now in his ninth NBA season. He has led the league in steals once and in assists twice. He is second among active players in triple-doubles. He has made the All-Defensive Team twice and the All-Defensive Second Team twice more. He is a four-time All-Star. And he has a championship ring from 2008 with the Boston Celtics. And he still can’t shoot. That’s the biggest gripe with Rondo, other than the fact that he can be more than a

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Bernucca: Mythbuster Brad Stevens No Longer a “College Coach”

Brad stevens Celtics

With the NCAA Tourament upon us, it seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone that there is a canyon between coaching in college and coaching in the NBA. There is more than a generation of evidence which clearly illustrates that any NBA team hiring a head coach directly from college is making a huge mistake. P.J. Carlesimo. Tim Floyd. Leonard Hamilton. Lon Kruger. Mike Montgomery. Jerry Tarkanian. Rick Pitino, who failed twice. Even John Calipari, who is

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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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Bernucca: Handicapping the Leastern Conference Turtle Race

hill

We don’t blame you if you haven’t been paying attention to the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The West obviously has been far more interesting. While Golden State looks secure in the top spot, the next six teams are all playing better than .600 basketball and separated by just seven losses. And Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Phoenix – all vying for the eighth and final spot – are within two games of each other. The East? Well, the top

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