Gambling on the Eastern Conference: Long odds on everyone not named Pacers or Heat

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jameswade

Brain-twister for you today, folks.

Go back to the start of the 2005-06 regular season, and try to name a superstar player who has represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Your answer cannot include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen.

It’s OK. Keep thinking … 

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Sprung: Now Woodson is on the hook for Knicks’ mess

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WoodsonThroughout the mess of the New York Knicks’ season thus far, one person who has remained essentially blameless is coach Mike Woodson.

The Knicks – now 7-17 and 13th in the Leastern Conference – have fallen victim to poor roster construction, injuries, selfish play and bad luck, none of which could be pinned on Woodson.

Not anymore. Monday’s 102-101 home loss to Washington gets dropped squarely in Woodson’s lap. And the next thing dropped in his lap may be a pink slip.

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SH Blog: Prigioni suffers hairline fracture in toe, Kaman has second thoughts about choosing Lakers

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Tyson ChandlerJust when you think the New York Knicks are getting heathy, they lose another critical piece from the roster.

It was reported on Monday that center Tyson Chandler may be on track to play this week for the first time since suffering a fractured leg on Nov. 5 against the Charlotte Bobcats. Marc Berman of New York Post has details:

Tyson Chandler is one good practice away from making his long-awaited comeback Wednesday in Milwaukee.

“I’ll do a five-on-five scrimmage [Tuesday] and if it goes well, I’ll play,’’ Chandler told The Post before Monday’s Garden match against Washington.

Chandler’s imminent return can’t come at a better time as defensive big man Kenyon Martin is laid up with an abdominal strain. The Knicks haven’t provided a timetable on Martin, but Mike Woodson, when pressed, said “one to two weeks is in the neighborhood, but that could change.’’

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Scotto: Time to Panic for Knicks?

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JR SmithComing into this season, I had the New York Knicks taking a step backward in my Sheridan Hoops preview column. But not this far back.

New York is tied for the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference with a 3-8 mark and J.R. Smith, arguably the team’s second best player, is in crisis mode.

“They say it’s too early to panic,” Smith said after Wednesday’s hard-fought overtime loss to Indiana, the team’s sixth straight home setback. “Me personally, I panic. I don’t like this. I don’t want to play 3-8 basketball. I don’t want to play 50-50 basketball. If we’re going to be a championship caliber team and call ourselves that, we’ve got to play like that. We can’t be any other way.”

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Eisenberg: Projecting Dennis Schröder’s Translation to the NBA with Analytics

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In Elton Brand’s 14 NBA seasons, the two-time All Star has played alongside some of the league’s most respected point guards. From Sam Cassell to pre-injury Shaun Livingston to Andre Miller to Jrue Holiday, Brand has grown accustomed to excellence from his floor generals.

So when Brand signed with Atlanta over the summer and was told to check out the highlight reel for his new teammate, a 19-year-old who had been nicknamed “Baby Rondo,” he was understandably skeptical of the moniker.

“People were like, ‘This kid’s just like a young (Rajon) Rondo,’” Brand said. “And I was like, ‘Come on, guys. You can’t compare him to Rondo just because they both have long arms.’”

However, after two weeks of practicing with the now-20-year-old Dennis Schröder , Brand has been won over:

“I was wrong,” Brand admitted. “I can definitely see where those comparisons come from now. It’s uncanny.”

Ask around the Hawks’ locker room and the consensus is clear: Schröder is not your typical 20-year-old. 

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