Sheridan’s Postseason Awards Ballot: Durant is MVP, Thibodeau is Coach of the Year

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voterIn a break with tradition, I am casting my NBA awards ballot after the 81st game, not the 82nd. It’s a rarity, but this season I will not hem and haw and sleep on it until the afternoon after the final day of the season. You’re welcome.

I have been an official NBA postseason awards voter for nearly a decade, and it would have been longer if not for a rule at the Associated Press, where I worked from 1987-2005, forbidding beat from voting for postseason awards (It is OK for them to declare the national champion in college football, but it is not OK for them to vote in other sports. Does that make sense?).

It is a privilege that I do not take lightly.

SH Blog: Kidd says he won’t miss Lawrence, Kobe not ruled out for Sunday

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STORY OF THE DAY:

KiddWhen Jason Kidd demoted Lawrence Frank from the assistant coach position, it was assumed that there was a rift between them. While that’s all but true, it appears there was tension between the two the moment Frank agreed to join the team. Tim Bontemps and Fred Kerber of New York Post detailed what went wrong from the jump:

One league source told The Post the Kidd-Lawrence union began on rocky footing. After Kidd’s very public courtship of Frank, when the former head coach called to accept the job, he began laying out plans for the team. Frank suggested film sessions immediately.

“I think Jason was like, ‘Whoa, slow down,’ ” the source said. “He had other things to do on summer weekends.”

Multiple reports said Frank took issue with the fact he — as the most experienced assistant on the staff and the only one with NBA head coaching experience — wasn’t tapped to coach the Nets in the opening two games of the season while Kidd served a two-game suspension for pleading guilty to driving while impaired during the summer of 2012.

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Preseason Playoff Picture: Eastern Conference

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Kyrie Irving 2Who is crashing the playoff party in the East this season?

Conventional wisdom says the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and – barring a disaster – will secure the top five spots.

At the other end of the conference, you can probably toss out the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers, who could pool their rosters to come up with the 15 best players and still not make the playoffs.

That leaves three spots for the remaining seven teams. Last season, those spots went to the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. Some would argue that each of those teams took backward steps in the offseason and could wind up in the lottery.

The postseason door could be open for teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, who clearly upgraded their rosters this summer in an effort to play in May. But have they done enough?

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Evening News: LeBron will wear headband in Game 7; Raptors bring back Casey; Sloan rejoins Jazz

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Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As the Finals continue, we’ll keep you updated every evening. What’s happening today?

Here’s the latest from around the league:

The Evening News: Cavs and Brown agree; Raptors likely to keep Colangelo; McMillan front-runner in Detroit

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Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As the playoffs are now officially under way, we’ll keep you updated every evening. What’s happening today?

Here’s the latest news from around the league: