Bernucca: Skiles Working His Defensive Magic in Orlando

Magic pregame huddle

As an NBA coach, Scott Skiles has always had a definitive modus operandi. In his three previous jobs, Skiles has dramatically improved his team’s defense, in some cases taking it from near the bottom of the league to near the top. That improvement helps the team become an absolute pain in the neck to play and make a quantum leap from the lottery to the playoffs. Then at some point, Skiles and his hypercompetitive nature become a bit overbearing for some players,

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Five Things To Watch: Miami Heat

Heat jersey sleeves

At Presidents’ Weekend last season, the Miami Heat were in the running to make the playoffs in their first season following LeBron James’ departure. Chris Bosh told SheridanHoops after the All-Star Game that he was excited for Miami’s playoff push. Then came the shocking news that Bosh would miss the rest of the season with blood clots on his lungs. Without him, the Heat missed the postseason for the first time since 2008, the year before Erik Spoelstra took over as

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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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Five Things To Watch: Orlando Magic

Magic Rob Hennigan Mario Hezonja

It has been three seasons since the Orlando Magic have had to change their franchise’s future and goals by trading Dwight Howard. Three seasons since GM Rob Hennigan was installed and broke everything down, sold off everything that was not bolted down and committed to a long rebuilding process centered on the draft and sustainability. And so here the Magic sit, three years after that fateful decision. And with what? The Magic professed that 2015 would be the season the team showed

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Five Things To Watch: Charlotte Hornets

Al Jefferson

For the Charlotte Hornets, it has been a summer filled with excitement after yet another disappointing season of missing the playoffs. After the Hornets held some hope for the future by making the playoffs in the 2013-2014 season, last year was plagued by injuries to Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson and the team finished 33-49, 10 fewer wins than the previous season. A year ago, there was plenty of excitement and hope surrounding the signing of Lance Stephenson, but that plan didn’t work

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Five Things to Watch: Atlanta Hawks

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

For almost a decade, the Atlanta Hawks remained stuck in a purgatory of NBA mediocrity. Too good to select prospects in the early draft lottery and not good enough to compete deep into the playoffs, there was no obvious escape route. Although the team had the longest postseason streak in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta’s futile playoff track record overshadowed its strong core of dynamic starters and capable reserves. Then a late summer scandal came in 2014, which eventually led to the sale

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

paulwall

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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Victor Oladipo Has Facial Fracture, Out Indefinitely

Victor Oladipo, Gal Mekel

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely after suffering a facial fracture in practice Thursday.  The Magic announced Friday that Oladipo took an inadvertent elbow to the face during a practice drill. The second-year guard will undergo a surgical procedure Saturday. There is no timetable for his return. Oladipo already was nursing a sprained MCL suffered in preseason that had prevented him from playing in any exhibition games. He returned to practice Monday, and the Magic were hoping that Oladipo could

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