Sprung: Bulls’ championship hopes hinge on Rose, again

Derrick Rose Bulls sleeves

It’s difficult enough to try to integrate an injured star player at any point during an NBA season. It’s even tougher to ease back a star during the season’s stretch run and adjust during the playoffs. This is the challenge the Chicago Bulls face once again in bringing point guard Derrick Rose back into the fold. Four games into a comeback from his most recent knee injury, the Bulls are very pleased with Rose’s progress and optimistic that they are coming together just in

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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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Heisler: Trade deadline widens gap between best, worst teams

dragic

Why is the trade deadline different from all other nights of the year? It’s not. The West just got tougher. In the East, where there’s no life-or-death importance attached to getting better, the top teams sat this one out while the bad teams—your Knicks and 76ers—dumped, shut down or otherwise disposed of their best players in order to tank more definitively.

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James Harden’s surprising defensive improvement makes him MVP contender

James Harden

When you’re already a proven NBA superstar, improvement usually comes in subtle ways. For Houston Rockets star James Harden, his ascent into the MVP conversation (it’s essentially a two-man race at this point between he and Stephen Curry, unless Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans make the playoffs) has come from a slight improvement across and board and an understanding that league MVPs are, and always will be, two-way players. The Rockets have had to rely on Harden this year more than

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Sprung: Blazers on the rise through improved defense, continuity

AldridgeLillardSH1

The three best records in the NBA belong to the Warriors, Grizzlies and Blazers. What do all three Western Conference teams have in common? Continuity. Besides for some minor tweaks, (Shaun Livingston, Vince Carter, Steve Blake and Chris Kaman) Golden State, Memphis and Portland retained their core players and have been extremely successful over the first quarter of the regular season. For Portland, now at 16-4 after Sunday’s win over New York, this is the third season the LaMarcus Aldridge-Damian Lillard-Nicolas Batum-Wes

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Jarrett Jack: Getting Schooled in a Good Way

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Jarrett Jack is 31 years old and is in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, his seventh team in 10 years. Most players would feel lucky playing for half as many seasons, but very few think about what they’re going to do with their lives once their NBA career is over. Jack’s parents made sure their son thought about his post-playing career right after he decided to leave Georgia Tech following his junior season to enter the NBA draft. “It’s something I

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Denver Nuggets struggling without star power

Faried First Game

Of the eight teams that reached the Western Conference playoffs last season, six of them had at least one player among the NBA’s top-20 in win shares. The two playoff teams that did not have a player among the top 20 were Memphis, with stars Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, and San Antonio, who boasts the famed star quartet of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. Obtaining, maintaining and sustaining a roster with All-Star level talent

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Photo of the Day: NBA, Teams and Players Celebrate Drazen Petrovic

Petro Feature

If you remember watching Drazen Petrovic play the game of basketball, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have those memories. A native of Croatia, Petrovic played college ball at the University of Zagreb in Yugoslavia. He was drafted in the third round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. Petro, as he was called my most, became a fan-favorite wherever he played. For the Blazers, and later in New Jersey when he was traded to the

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