Sprung: What Has Gone Right and Wrong for Eastern Conference Contenders

NBA-Eastern-Conference

For the first time in roughly two decades, the Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference from top to bottom. Nine East teams are at .500 or better – nearly twice as many teams as last season, when sixth-seeded Milwaukee finished 41-41. And the East actually has a winning record against the West this season at 100-98 What changed so quickly from last season, when articles were written about how there was the greatest disparity in conference strength in recent memory? “I

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Five Things To Watch: Washington Wizards

John Wall Bradley Beal Wizards

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Washington Wizards are entering their second consecutive season with high expectations. Following another exit in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Wizards believe that they are capable of competing against any team in the NBA. With a superstar point guard, a rising star at shooting guard and a veteran supporting cast, the Wizards have all the makings of a team that will compete for a top seed in the East. Believe it or

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Bernucca: Scoreboard Watching, Lottery Style

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Teams in the NBA playoff races aren’t the only ones watching scoreboards this time of year. Take the Philadelphia 76ers, for example. The Sixers lost their first 17 games, were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race nearly a month ago and almost certainly will lose 60-plus games for the second straight season. But GM Sam Hinkie and the rest of the Sixers’ front office are tracking the results of other games almost as closely as their own. That’s because Philadelphia could have

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Bernucca: Suns’ Epilogue on Dragic is Self-Serving Spin

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There was a lot of shade in the Valley of the Sun this week. It all started with Goran Dragic, who is far from blameless in this mess. But because the Phoenix Suns sent Dragic packing in a trade, president Lon Babby and GM Ryan McDonough got to write the epilogue and spin it in intelligence-insulting fashion. Dragic is an unrestricted free agent this summer. At 28, it’s his first and last chance at a max contract. And while the idea of

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Bernucca: “Soft” Wizards Staggering Toward All-Star Break

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After the Washington Wizards ended a season-high five-game losing streak Saturday with a 37-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Marcin Gortat wasn’t quite ready to declare that their earth was back on its axis. “At the end of the day, it was Brooklyn, so we can’t get really excited,” he said. There’s nothing like perspective. And Gortat is right: One win against a plodding, tired team is nothing to get excited about. What the Wizards should be is concerned. Prior to the win

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Sprung: The Truth on Pierce: Passive Aggressive Leadership

Pierce-Wizards

When Paul Pierce signed with the Washington Wizards on July 11, it seemed like Washington downgraded from Trevor Ariza, who departed to Houston. Two months into the season, it’s time for a fresh look. In our own free agency tracker, there were not kind words for the aging Pierce. “And while this may seem like a fine consolation prize for Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman, anybody in Boston or Brooklyn who has been watching Pierce closely for the past two years

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Bernucca: Thunder’s Big Problem is Jackson, Not Westbrook or Durant

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There were two pieces of bad news coming out of Loud City this weekend. And there was a disproportionate reaction to the wrong one. There was far too much hand-wringing to the news that Russell Westbrook will be joining fellow Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his broken right hand. The Thunder are going to survive November without Durant and Westbrook. They have 14 games between now and Dec. 1, the projected earliest return for

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