SH Blog: Phil Jackson meets with Lamar Odom; Kyrie Irving says he doesn’t deserve the media barrage

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ShabazzNapierIt’s only been a week since I last wrote here at Sheridan Hoops, but it feels like a lot longer. Finishing a degree and switching countries will do that.

Earlier today, UConn knocked off Florida to advance to the national championship game. Their coach, Kevin Ollie, is drawing lots of buzz as a potential NBA coach (he was the first guy Bobby Gonzalez mentioned as the next Brad Stevens), and their star point guard, Shabazz Napier, is looking like a future NBA player. But let’s not forget the ultimate cautionary tale of overvaluing success in the tournament: former LSU player Tyrus Thomas. Napier is an entirely different player, of course, but this tournament could go down in history as synonymous with his name, just like the 2006 edition was with Thomas (and George Mason’s Jai Lewis, but he was never an NBA prospect).

Napier is a great player: he’s a smart, heady point guard who basically runs an NBA offense already (thanks again, Kevin Ollie), and he could be an NBA rotation player. But if he jumps into the lottery, somebody’s probably paying too much attention to tournament games.

Now let’s get to the NBA’s latest news:

Five Biggest Impact Players in West Playoff Race

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There are less than a dozen games left in the NBA regular season, and the most dramatic race still going on is a five-team scrum in the Western Conference for three playoff spots. Those five clubs – the Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, Jazz and Mavericks – are separated by five games in the standings.

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Fantasy Spin: 26 Wins & Counting For Heat, With Magic Up Next

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None of the previous 25 was any easier than Miami’s 26th consecutive win. LeBron James (32 PTS, 10 AST, 8 REB, 3 STL, 3 BLK) played 34 minutes — way more than expected or even necessary — and Chris Bosh (15 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) was the only other regular to get involved, as Dwyane Wade was given the night off to rest a tender knee.

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The Bernucca List – Edition 41

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Reader Brian C. is back in a big way.

Brian C. had been an active participant in The Bernucca List earlier this season, providing the correct answer for two lists. But we hadn’t heard from him in a while.

Meanwhile, fellow readers such as Ody P. narrowed the gap on season leader Brian Rivel, who has nailed the correct answer to three lists.

But Brian C. is back in the picture as he was the first with the correct answer to last week’s list, which was “active players making at least $10 million this season who never have been All-Stars.”

The season toteboard is now all even at the top as Brian Rivel and Brian C. have three wins apiece. Perhaps Brian Rivel will resurface for this week’s list, which is after the jump.

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Kyrie Irving out a month with finger fracture

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Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving will miss a month recovering from a hairline fracture in his left index finger.

The said Irving had an MRI and CT scan Monday at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health that revealed the non-displaced fracture. Irving will not have surgery but rather will be treated with taping and a splint.

Irving is expected to miss four weeks. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks, when his status will be updated.