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

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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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Five Things To Watch: Washington Wizards

Nene

It’s been a long, long time since the Washington Wizards were expected to be a top team in the Eastern Conference. But after defeating the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs for their first postseason series win in nine years, the Wizards are entering a season with high expectations. How high? Well, there is some talk that after last season’s 44-38 mark, the Wizards could win 50 games – which they haven’t done since the 1978-79 season. Here

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Washington Wizards enter East’s upper echelon with depth and continuity

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A year can make an enormous difference in the perception of an NBA team. Last summer, the Washington Wizards had the same backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal but they were faced with immense pressure of having to make the playoffs to save the jobs of head coach Randy Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld. Before the season began, Grunfeld made what many perceived as a panicky move and sent its first round pick to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, who was

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Bernucca: Among the Elite, Thunder the Team to Beat

Ibaka

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

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