Tweet of the Day: Greg Anthony Promoting Powerful Video

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Empathy - \ˈem-pə-thē\ - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

It is empathy that enables us to be emotionally moved to tears at the story of family that suffers loss or joy after hearing of someone else’s triumphant success. Empathy tugs at the proverbial heartstrings and helps us to feel for others.

Some people are more empathetic than others. Being one of them, might explain my disposition towards heartwarming or emotional stories for the Tweet of the Day.

Monday had another one, as NBA TV analyst Greg Anthony shared a gem from the Portland Trail Blazers.

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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Preseason Playoff Picture: Western Conference

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Dirk NowitzkiIn a teleconference last week, we asked NBA analysts Chris Webber and Greg Anthony to pick a Western Conference team which missed the playoffs last season but will make the playoffs this season.

“Dallas, mainly because of Dirk Nowitzki,” Webber said. “He’ll be back healthy. What he does, with spacing, getting guys involved … We take his game for granted.”

“I would go with the Pelicans,” Anthony said. “I think that’s a team that could make sizeable leaps and surprise a lot of people.”

Both those teams are certainly among the half-dozen in the hunt for what appears to be two postseason spots up for grabs in the West. Those spots belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, who also remain in the running despite taking some backward steps in the offseason.

Without getting into seeding specifics, the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets look like mortal locks to be playing in May.

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SH Blog: Current and former NBA players around the league react to Avery Johnson firing

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The job security of an NBA coach can be quite fragile when things go badly.

Fair or not, the coach is always the first to blame when a team does not perform up to what is expected of them. We’ve seen this with former Lakers coach Mike Brown, who was the first to lose his job this season after just five games.

On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson would be the second coach to be relieved of his duties this season, as Chris Sheridan predicted earlier in the morning.

Johnson, who wasn’t concerned over his job security when asked about it just a week ago, was certainly surprised by the decision. Here are his thoughts, from Roderick Boone of Newsday:

“This is a really disappointing day for me and my family,” Johnson said at a news conference at the PNY Center. ” . . . This is a difficult time. It’s something that I didn’t necessarily see coming, especially after a pretty good November. Then, obviously we lost a few games in December and you never think that when you are a .500 team, then you’re going into two more home games that something like this would happen.

“But this is ownership’s decision. This is what we sign up for. This is part of our business fair or unfair. It doesn’t matter. But again, it’s time for a new voice and the team will have a new voice and hopefully they will get back on track.”

Johnson wasn’t the only one surprised of his firing, as plenty of current and former NBA players chimed in on the matter:

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Tweet of the Night: Greg Anthony

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It's too early to cast my vote for #MVP but if the @ continue to play this way @ will be at the top of that discussion
@GregAnthony50
Greg Anthony

Has Carmelo Anthony played well enough this season to be atop the MVP ranks, as Greg Anthony believes?

The forward has certainly done his part on the offensive end, averaging 26.8 points – third best in the league behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. After a monster 45-point performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, that average will move past Durant for second best in the league with an average of 27.7 points.

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