Eastern Conference Playoff Preview Snapshots

NBA-Eastern-Conference

Everyone knows that the Eastern Conference is nowhere near as good as the Western Conference.  But that doesn’t mean that the first round of the East playoffs won’t be compelling. As everyone knows, all you need is one road team to win to make a series interesting. Can the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks rediscover their rhythm? Did the Boston Celtics build confidence with two late-season wins over Cleveland? Is Chicago’s Derrick Rose returning to form or just an accident waiting to happen again? Do

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Brooklyn Nets lose control of their playoff hopes

Joe Johnson face Game 2

BROOKLYN – A string of poor play may cost the Brooklyn Nets a playoff spot in the pathetic Eastern Conference. Their inability over the last several games – and throughout the season as a whole – to consistently beat winning teams could end up being the back-breaker for this ballclub. Despite being without Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter and ran away with a 113-86 laugher that cost Brooklyn the eighth spot in the East,

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Bernucca: My annual NBA award picks

Coach of the Year

I write this column every year two days before the regular season ends, and I usually get right to the point. But this year I am going to start a little differently. So let me get one item off my chest and out of the way: Michele Roberts is way off base. The new executive director of the NBA Players Association tried to reinvent the wheel this week when it was reported that she is instituting the Players Choice Awards, which will

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Jimmy Butler returns to the NBA

New Jordan Stern

Jimmy Butler shaved his head and wore No. 45 in his return with the Bulls last week. (We think). Last time we were all together in this space, I announced that Jimmy Butler was dead. That was evidently erroneous and inaccurate reporting. I apologize for that. I was just trying to honor a veteran. I know now that Jimmy is not dead. In fact, he only missed 11 games for the Chicago Bulls, then returned triumphantly last week against the

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Scotto: Milwaukee Can’t Buck Losing Trend

Michael Carter Williams Bucks

BROOKLYN – The slogan for the Milwaukee Bucks is “Own the Future,” which is fitting because they certainly haven’t owned the present. Milwaukee is now 4-12 overall since trading for Michael Carter-Williams, including five straight losses. Keep in mind, the Bucks were at the peak of their season at 31-23 overall and coming off a four-game winning streak one day after the trade deadline. On Friday night, the Bucks fell below the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 27 (15-16)

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Life without Jimmy Butler

Hassan Whiteside

James H. Butler III 1989-2015 Hello everyone. Please take your seats. I’d like to start this column off with a moment of silence for our friend, Jimmy Butler. (Silence). Thank you. Ahem…god, this is tough…ahem. Ahem. Sorry. What can you say about a guy like Jimmy Butler? Jimmy was more than just a basketball player to most of us. He was maybe the most improved basketball player of the 2014-15 NBA season. His life was short, indeed, but in such a short time, he touched so many others. Colossians 1:17

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Scotto: Brandon Knight Dishes on Free Agency and the Suns

Brandon Knight

BROOKLYN – Suns general manager Ryan McDonough eagerly awaited Brandon Knight in the hallway with a wide smile and a high five after he delivered the dagger to help Phoenix beat the Brooklyn Nets 108-100 Friday night at Barclays Center. Knight snatched a defensive rebound with 40 seconds to go in overtime, slowly dribbled up the court and initiated a pick-and-roll with Brandan Wright and six seconds left on the shot clock. Knight got by Jarrett Jack, then used a crossover

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Can Injured Jimmy Butler Still Win?

Jimmy Butler

Devastating. That’s how most basketball fans would describe this past week, particularly ones in the Lake Michigan area. First came the news that former MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls was hurt again, the victim of a torn meniscus in his right knee. And now, All-Stra teammate and Most Improved Player candidate Jimmy Butler is out 3-6 weeks after hyperextending his left elbow. Bulls fans, and the NBA in general, have taken one giant, James Harden-sized kick to the man region.

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