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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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.

Bernucca: Among the Elite, Thunder the Team to Beat

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Kawhi Leonard A look at the overall NBA standings shows four teams at the top – Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami – separated by one game in the loss column. In fact, they were dead even until three of them lost Sunday. 

Just a notch below them are three more teams – Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland – separated by two games in the loss column. They also would have been dead even had the Blazers held on Sunday against the Rockets.

Let’s call these teams the Magnificent Seven, because your NBA champion is somewhere among them. Dismiss any of them at your own peril; these are the only teams who, at the season’s three-quarter pole, have won at least two-third of their games.

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Bernucca: Feeling the Heat, Pacers Had To Make a Move

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Lance StephensonAll season, the Indiana Pacers have maintained that homecourt advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their chemistry will give them a great chance to dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

Are both slipping away?

In the last two weeks, Indiana’s grip on the East’s best record has loosened considerably. And the Pacers’  big move at Thursday’s trading deadline, acquiring Evan Turner, illustrated that their belief in chemistry may have been overstated.

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