Bernucca: Is LeBron Better than Jordan? Read This Before Answering

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Remember that streak of games hot-shooting LeBron James put together last February?LeBron James

Well, he’s doing it again. Much earlier in the season. And for a longer stretch.

And if he keeps it up, it will become historic. Because since the ABA-NBA merger, no wing player or point guard has scored this much while shooting this well. Not Dr. J. Not even Michael Jordan.

Yes, really.

Through the first month of the season, James is third in the league in scoring at 26.2 points per game and second in field-goal percentage at .598.

“I’m in a very, very comfortable position right now with my game,” James said.

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Sprung: New York Knicks lack effort, energy, toughness at home

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NEW YORK- One of the last things you want to hear from an NBA team is acknowledging a lack of effort, but that’s exactly what you got from the New York Knickerbockers on Saturday night.

It came from the coach. It came from the players. The malodorous negativity wafted through the Knicks’ locker room after a 110-90 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. It was New York’s fifth straight loss at home as the Knicks fell to 3-6 overall.

Carmelo Anthony Shot“We’re not getting it done from an effort standpoint,” Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s like we’re not even trying right now.”

(Related: Carmelo Anthony’s Present Frustration and Questionable Future in New York)

Almost worse than not even trying, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson questioned the toughness of this, his, Knicks team. ”I just though they played harder than we played,” he said. “You’re not going to beat anybody playing soft the way we did.”

Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll agreed with Woodson. “I think tonight we took the fight to them,” he told Sheridan Hoops. “We didn’t let them get into what they wanted, didn’t let Carmelo get a lot of isolations. It was a team effort and the biggest thing going on the road is that you gotta take the fight to the team.”

It seems like the fight is being taken to the Knicks every time they step on the Garden floor. No team has more home losses right now than the Knicks’ five. That includes the bottom-feeding Jazz and Kings, who each have four.

“It is frustrating,” Anthony said after scoring 23 points on 8-for-21 shooting and reprising his role as VoluMelo. “It is a messed up nasty feeling. I am at a loss for words right now.”

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Five Things To Watch: Atlanta Hawks

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ferryThere may be nothing that frightens the average NBA more than the idea of mediocrity. It is the notion that there is nowhere to go for an unidentified period of time — no improvement, no cap flexibility, no enticing trade assets — and nothing to watch but the gradual and steady decline of a core constituted for competitive basketball but not championships.

It’s why coaches and GMs are fired, because if there is anything that ticks off a fan base more than losing 50-plus games, it is a lack of direction or upward trend. As fans, we hate the staleness that accompanies a slowly deteriorating roster that peaks much too low for satisfaction.

The disgust for mediocrity is why teams tank late in the season; it is why the best players on the worst teams get hit with an injury bug come late March and drop like flies; it is why teams voluntarily build pathetic rosters to enhance future draft position.

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Mitnick: Top 16 Summer League Breakout Players

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summerleagueAfter going through an 82-game NBA season, many young NBA players are like caged lions ready to bust out when given the chance. I have just spent the better part of two weeks witnessing it first-hand, watching 15 games in Orlando and more than two dozen so far in Vegas, baby, where the games continue through July 22.

The NBA summer leagues are a great opportunity for unproven players to show NBA coaches and decision makers that they deserve a chance in the big show. Last season, Klay Thompson turned a fantastic summer league showing into a 35 minutes per game role for the Golden State Warriors.

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Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week 21

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MagicEarly next week, Rookies of the Month for March will be handed out. It is possible that Anthony Davis could end Damian Lillard’s stranglehold on the Western Conference honor, while the East will be a toss-up between Moe Harkless and Jonas Valanciunas.

Davis, Harkless and Valanciunas have yet to win the award. But as we approach the season’s final month, it is the time where many previously unheralded rookies make a name for themselves.

Last year, Atlanta’s Ivan Johnson broke through in the East as Kyrie Irving spent most of April on the sidelines. Ditto Denver’s Kenneth Faried after Ricky Rubio and Isaiah Thomas shared the first three West awards.

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