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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Sprung: Bulls’ championship hopes hinge on Rose, again

Derrick Rose Bulls sleeves

It’s difficult enough to try to integrate an injured star player at any point during an NBA season. It’s even tougher to ease back a star during the season’s stretch run and adjust during the playoffs. This is the challenge the Chicago Bulls face once again in bringing point guard Derrick Rose back into the fold. Four games into a comeback from his most recent knee injury, the Bulls are very pleased with Rose’s progress and optimistic that they are coming together just in

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Brooklyn Nets lose control of their playoff hopes

Joe Johnson face Game 2

BROOKLYN – A string of poor play may cost the Brooklyn Nets a playoff spot in the pathetic Eastern Conference. Their inability over the last several games – and throughout the season as a whole – to consistently beat winning teams could end up being the back-breaker for this ballclub. Despite being without Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter and ran away with a 113-86 laugher that cost Brooklyn the eighth spot in the East,

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Sprung: Arrests didn’t faze Hawks in win over Nets

Hawks-Brooklyn

BROOKLYN — Not so long ago, what defined a tumultuous day for the Atlanta Hawks would have had something to do with ownership. Or management. Not a perp walk. So for the Hawks to do what they did Wednesday night — a gutsy road win over a probable playoff team — speaks to their fortitude as a team, a darned good team. Just hours after reserves Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were released from police custody – the pair was arrested outside a

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SH Blog: Lopez wins second straight Player of The Week; Gerald Green questions his future in Phoenix

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Brook Lopez is now the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for a second consecutive week — something that no other player has done all season long. Lopez led the Nets to a 3-1 week from March 30 through April 5 behind team-leading averages of 20.8 points (sixth in the East), 10.3 rebounds (fourth in the East) and 2.0 blocks (tied for fifth). He shot better than 50% in all four of Brooklyn’s contests, and ranked seventh in the East for

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Sprung: Roy Hibbert says acting is harder than playing basketball

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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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SH Blog: Dwight Howard in, Pat Beverley out for Rockets; Derrick Rose expects to be cleared for contact soon

Dwight Howard interview

Just as one key starter returns to the Houston Rockets after two-plus months away, another could soon be facing an injury of comparable intensity. Dwight Howard returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday for the first time since January 23. It’s just the 33rd game played this season for Howard, who has dealt with ongoing right knee problems since first suffering a bone bruise in training camp. Unfortunately for the Rockets, Howard’s return coincides with a new injury to starting point guard Pat

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