VIDEO: Spurs Winning Streak Boggles the Mind; but Thunder are Favored Tonight

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We already published one column this week analyzing the Spurs’ winning streak and how they aren’t cruising, they are gliding. Since then, they have had a pair of quality victories over the Indiana Pacers and the Golden State Warriors, winning by large margins each time.

With the streak at 19 heading into Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, we should expect another blowout, right? After all, only two games during the streak have been decided by 8 points or less, and San Antonio’s average margin of victory is 17 points during the 19-game win streak.

But you know what? The Thunder are 3-0 against the Spurs this season, and the oddsmakers have made them 3 1/2 point favorites over San Antonio for tonight’s tilt in OKC.

That just about tells you who the experts believe is the biggest threat to the Spurs, but we also should not discount the Clippers, whose 17-2 mark over the past month has been overlooked due to the Spurs run of success.

Which team — the Thunder or Clippers — is a bigger threat to keep the Spurs from a repeat trip to the NBA Finals.

My answer — along with a preview of the weekend’s best game — comes in this CineSport interview with Brian Clark.




SH Blog: Big-3 to hold end of season meeting; Hibbert says Pacers don’t deserve 1-seed;

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lebron-wade1The playoffs may be just right around the corner, but when talking about the bigger picture when it comes to the landscape of the NBA, it all starts with the Miami Heat.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have the ability to opt-out of the last year of their contracts with the Heat on June 30th, thus potentially making them free agents at the end of the season.   

Roy Hibbert Receives NBA Officiating Memo, Plans To Be “On Point”

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Mike Bantom, the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Referee Operations, is cracking down on a very specific point of contention.

The issue at hand? Verticality.

Secondary defenders are permitted to challenge an oncoming offensive player so long as they stay “vertical.” However, according to a memorandum sent to all owners, general managers, coaches and officials over the weekend, there has been a noticeable increase of players bending, if not breaking, the rule.

We have noticed that defenders have been turning sideways when jumping to defend
an oncoming offensive player on drives to the basket. This is illegal and referees are
being instructed to call this a blocking foul.”

The memo contained links to videos showcasing examples of rule violators, including Spencer Hawes, Jonas Valanciunas, Greg Monroe and Jared Sullinger. It also contained one linked example of a slight turn which is deemed legal, as illustrated by Alexis Ajinca.

In addition to those addressed in the memo, Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was also a recipient.

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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PODCAST: What Will Intimidate the Pacers in the Playoffs?

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The Miami Heat do not intimidate the Indiana Pacers. That much was very, very clear in their matchup Wednesday night.

But you know what intimidates the Pacers? The moment.

We saw it last year in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals when they looked like deer in the headlights. And we saw it again Wednesday night when George Hill went to the line with 1.8 seconds left and a chance to put Indiana ahead by 3 – and promptly missed both free throws.

My biggest question regarding the Pacers is whether they have the moxie and confidence to get the job done in a winner-take-all game.

And we already know that the Heat possess those characteristics.

More on that subject, plus a spirited defense of the Philadelphia 76ers, in this interview on 1070-TheFan with Michael O’Grady and Joe Staysniak on “The Grady & Big Joe Show” in Indianapolis.

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