VIDEO: What Defines the San Antonio Spurs? Getting Swept by Thunder? Last Year’s Finals?

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Life can be tricky. Sometimes, you are judged by your successes. Other times, you are judged by your failures.

Which brings us to the San Antonio Spurs, who are sitting at 60 victories with a little over a week left in the 2013-14 regular season, practically assured of having homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

But when you play word association with the Spurs, what comes to mind first: Their 19-game winning streak that ended last week, or their 0-4 record this season vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder?

And if you look at them through an even broader prism, what exactly defines them?

Bernucca: You Can Have the NCAA Tournament

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sportsWICHITAstate_t640I don’t like the NCAA Tournament.

I don’t like that college basketball’s regular season provides little postseason incentive. I don’t like that the coach is a bigger personality than the players. I don’t like that the games are played on neutral courts. I don’t like that one bad game or bad call or bad break can end a team’s season. I don’t like that “close” becomes a synonym for “well-played.” And I don’t like that poor play determines the outcome much more often than great play.

Most of all, I don’t like how I’m supposed to just accept that it’s fantastic and wonderful and beautiful, when it’s actually substandard basketball in a flawed format that tells me less and less every year about the game I love, which is the NBA.

I’m not trolling here. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve truly felt this way for a while. Part of it is admittedly a lingering distaste developed over more than a decade of working on a sports news desk and spending countless hours having to plan, preview, write, edit, update and package all of the words and numbers associated with the NCAA Tournament.

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Tweet of the Night: Wesley Matthews excited to see Portland getting back to winning ways

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Wesley MatthewsThe Portland Trail Blazers have been struggling quite a bit since the calendar flipped to March. Prior to Friday’s contest against the Washington Wizards, the Blazers had won just four of their previous 10 games.

It doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world to go 4-6, but that’s the kind of inconsistent performance that can drop you quickly when you’re trying to keep up with some of the powerhouses of the Western Conference. After going through a tough stretch in which they lost four straight games on the road against other playoff-bound teams in the West, they have found themselves 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Rockets for the fourth seed and are now fighting to keep the Golden State Warriors – who are just 1 1/2 games back – from overtaking the fifth seed.

Rookie Rankings, Week 20: Who Will Impact the Playoff Push?

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While Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke chase Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year, a handful of anticother rookies are helping their teams chase postseason berths and higher seeds.

The Eastern Conference has three teams in the playoff chase whose finish will be somewhat impacted by the play of their rookies. The Western Conference has five teams in the hunt with rookies playing a prominent role.

The team relying most on rookies is undoubtedly the Atlanta Hawks, who have two rookies in their rotation as they try to hold off the New York Knicks for the final playoff berth in the East.

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Tweet of the Day: Carmelo Releases New Shoe, Fuels Rumors

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melo

New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, who has a shoe deal with Jordan brand sneakers and apparel, unveiled a new colorway to his latest signature shoe.

The new colorway brought on a lot of Twitter speculation among fans as to where Anthony, who is expected to opt out of his current contract with New York, may land in the offseason.