Bernucca: Clippers Captain is Back, But the Ship Ran Just Fine Without CP3

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ChrisPaulSH1Chris Paul returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

We don’t want to be party-poopers, but it probably should be pointed out that the Clippers were better without him.

This does not mean that GM Gary Sacks should start exploring trade possibilities for a top-five player. And it doesn’t mean that coach Doc Rivers should go with the hot hand at point guard at the end of games.

But it does mean that if the Clippers want to win a championship this season – which is entirely within the realm of possibility – Paul has to reacclimate himself with his teammates more than they do to him.

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Bernucca: Grading the Trades That Have Already Been Made

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Andrew_Bynum_CavsSince training camp opened, there have been five significant trades involving 10 teams, 19 players and seven draft picks.

The big winners have been a team that got rid of the highest scorer among the traded players and a team that acquired a player who has yet to play. The big loser has been a team that swears by analytics.

Another way to look at it is like this: The biggest trades thus far have been the ones that haven’t been made – Omer Asik for Thaddeus Young, Carmelo Anthony for Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol for just about anybody.

And with six weeks until the trading deadline, there will be plenty more trades that are and aren’t made.

But we can’t grade those. So we graded the ones that have been made.

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SH Blog: Memphis and Boston pull off Bayless-Lee trade; Gasol/Bynum talks stall; CP3 out six weeks

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Bynum/Gasol

As an action packed weekend of basketball comes to a close, here’s the good, bad and the ugly of what took place.

Sprung: What does Brad Stevens bring to rebuilding Celtics?

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200px-Brad_Stevens_on_Butler_sidelineBROOKLYN– Brad Stevens is new to the NBA, and the Boston Celtics have had to grow familiar with his brand of coaching over the course of training camp and the preseason.

With just about two weeks before the start of the season – and a new era for the franchise – the Celtics seem pleased with the progress the team is making under Stevens’ early stewardship.

If general manager Danny Ainge’s plan for the franchise is for the rookie coach to grow along with his young team, it seems to be working at this juncture despite Tuesday night’s 82-80 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s going to take a lot of patience this season with the Celtics, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett now members of the Nets and Rajon Rondo (who was unavailable to the media Tuesday) still injured.

Bernucca: Future murky for Lakers, biggest underachievers in NBA history

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Dwight HowardBefore Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers handed out white towels to fans at the Staples Center.

Apparently, someone in the marketing department didn’t understand symbolism. By halftime, those towels had become flags of surrender for the Lakers, the biggest underachieving team in the history of the NBA.

Dwight Howard offered his own symbolism, figuratively throwing in the towel midway through the third quarter. Unwilling to grit his teeth and bang and bump his way through all of another telling, embarrassing loss, he got himself ejected, starting his offseason of uncertainty with an hour’s headstart on his teammates.

Dwight Howard, human surrender flag. Yeah, there’s the sort of toughness you want to build a franchise around.

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