Bernucca: For Some Teams, Playoffs Have Already Started

Stan Van Gundy with hands

On Saturday night, while most basketball fans were watching the Final Four, the NBA playoffs got under way. Not officially, of course. That doesn’t happen until April 16. But for the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and other teams fighting for the bottom of the brackets, the postseason already has started. Detroit’s 94-90 victory at Chicago on Saturday wasn’t quite a Game Seven. The Pistons aren’t quite home free just yet, and the Bulls aren’t quite dead. But it sure looked an awful

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Bernucca: This Week Will Reveal if Bulls Have Quit

Bulls jersey sleeves

There is an NBA team that started this season with a roster that included an MVP winner from this decade; a recent Defensive Player of the Year; the runner-up in the most recent Rookie of the Year voting; and two All-Stars, including one deemed the league’s Most Improved Player. The roster also included some highly promising youngsters and a handful of savvy, playoff-tested veterans. The team seemed to be a lock for the postseason, having made the playoffs every year but

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Bernucca: Erratic Thunder Could Use Mohammed’s Calming Presence

Thunder

In the brave new world of basketball analytics, trends and modules, a simpler stat surfaced this week that was utterly inexplicable. Two teams have lost 10 games this season in which they led after three quarters. One is the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers, who have no one on their roster who knows how to win a game. The other is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have two of the supposed best closers in the game in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. [Read more…]

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Bernucca: If Anthony Davis Was a Top-Five Player, Wouldn’t the Pelicans Be Better?

Anthony Davis

Can we now stop pretending that Anthony Davis is the second coming of Wilt Chamberlain? Can we now stop with the hyperbolic declarations that Davis is going to own the NBA in two years or that Davis is going to make the New Orleans Pelicans a perennial title contender? Can we now stop calling Davis a top-five player? Top-five players elevate teams by themselves. Top-five players assure their teams of 50 wins and playoff berths, regardless of circumstances. Top-five players don’t say, “We

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Bernucca: Is NBA Experiencing Parity, or Mediocrity?

Warriors

Is the NBA inching toward parity? Or slowly sinking into mediocrity? Those may seem like strange questions during a season in which the Golden State Warriors have imposed their dominance over the rest of the league in unprecedented fashion. Yes, at 22-0 the Warriors have obliterated the best start in NBA history and have looked downright unbeatable while the clock was ticking during a vast majority of those 22 games. In that sense, they present a very strong argument against the notion

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Rookie Rankings, Week 14: McGary Gives Thunder a Bolt of Energy

Thunder jersey sleeves

Mitch McGary was unexpectedly thrown into the spotlight this week. He’s going to be there a while. The burly rookie forward of the Oklahoma City Thunder had spent most of his first NBA season recovering from injuries while toiling in the D-League. Prior to Sunday, he had played just eight minutes over two games this season while averaging 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in eight games for the Blue, Oklahoma City’s affiliate. But on Sunday, the Thunder were hosting the Los Angeles

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Bernucca: The Hawks Are Real and They Are Spectacular

Hawks

Why do doubts remain about the Atlanta Hawks? The Hawks are 40-8. They have lost twice since Thanksgiving. They have beaten Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, the LA Clippers, Cleveland again, Portland, the Clippers again, Memphis, Washington, Toronto, Chicago again, Oklahoma City and Portland again. The Hawks just completed the best undefeated month in NBA history, going 17-0 in January. They have won 19 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals. They have won 12 straight road games. What seems to be the

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Artest’s Stint in China May Come to a Premature End

metta

Metta World Peace, Ron Artest, Panda Friend. Whatever the name is on his medical form and the roster chart, the diagnosis is still the same: ‘Recurrence of knee injury – recovery time: three-to-five weeks.’ In the NBA, this would mean a spell on the sidelines. But in the Chinese Basketball Association, it is often the end of the season for an overseas player. This is the ruthless nature of life in the CBA, particularly for the league’s American imports. They’re brought in

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