Bernucca: Spurs Aren’t Streaking, They’re Gliding

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lebron-wade1There have been some fair comparisons drawn between the current 17-game winning streak of the San Antonio Spurs and the remarkable 27-game run put together a year ago by the Miami Heat.

Both teams expect to compete for the NBA championship. Both teams found their rhythm at the most opportune time of the season. Both teams stormed to the league’s best record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

There are obvious differences as well. For one, San Antonio still needs 10 straight wins – a run reached by only three other teams this season – to merely match Miami’s streak. Even if they win out, the Spurs will still come up one short of the Heat and have to resume the chase next season.

But here’s the biggest difference. The Heat were somewhat consumed by their streak. The Spurs are not consumed by theirs.

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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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SH Blog: Pistons fire Cheeks; Stotts hasn’t talked extension yet

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Jennings CheeksHave you ever read something so intensely negative about someone that, regardless of how credible it is, you have a hard time dissociating it from your perception of that person?

I’m not talking George Zimmerman or Woody Allen here, of course. More of a rumor, possibly not even based in fact, that just sticks around in the back of your mind forever.

Rookie Rankings, Week 14: Take a Seat, Kid

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Another lottery pick has lost his starting spot.KCP Detroit Pistons

First it was Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, who began the season as a starter and has shifted back and forth from the bench to the starting lineup as teammates have become healthy or injured. To Oladipo’s credit, it has not had a serious impact on his performance.

Then it was Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, who began the season as a reserve, was elevated to starter as coach Mike Malone became disenchanted with Marcus Thornton, and has played his way back to the bench.

This week, it was Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was moved into the starting lineup when Chauncey Billups got hurt and remained there for some time because coach Maurice Cheeks likes (a) his length and defensive demeanor and (b) bringing Rodney Stuckey off the bench.

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SH Blog: Leonard has fracture in right hand, Woodson confronted Chandler about questioning his defensive tactics

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In case you haven’t noticed, Dwyane Wade has been missing an awful lot of games this season for someone who reportedly has no injuries.

The Miami Heat’s training staff have Wade on a strict schedule in terms of when he should play – he has missed 12 games on the season – to preserve and prepare his body for the playoffs. The problem with this is that the team is just 7-5 when he is out of the lineup, and it’s a growing concern when you consider the championship aspirations of this team. The guard has missed three consecutive games for the first time this season, and LeBron James finally discussed how missing his partner hurts the Heat in their process of becoming a great team this season, from Michael Wallace of ESPN:

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