BROOKLYN — A lot has changed since Brooklyn last wore its home whites on Feb. 6. The Nets have played better basketball in their fight for an Eastern Conference playoff spot with the help of smaller, younger lineups, going a very respectable 3-5 on a vicious eight-game Western Conference road trip that ended with a big win in Dallas on Saturday night. “I’m excited to be home, but I’m also excited that we’ve played better, been more competitive,” said Nets head
We don’t blame you if you haven’t been paying attention to the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The West obviously has been far more interesting. While Golden State looks secure in the top spot, the next six teams are all playing better than .600 basketball and separated by just seven losses. And Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Phoenix – all vying for the eighth and final spot – are within two games of each other. The East? Well, the top
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.
Everything you need to know about Andrew Wiggins became evident about a week ago. The league-worst Minnesota Timberwolves were hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were riding a winning streak. LeBron James, the NBA’s best player, was making his lone visit to the frozen tundra. And the game marked the return to Minnesota of Kevin Love, who was unable to lift the Timberwolves out of mediocrity before forcing a trade last summer. Love was dealt to Cleveland, and Wiggins – the top overall
Congratulations if you pre-qualified for the $500,000 NBA Slam Dunk, with a top prize of $100,000 to be awarded tonight. You can still enter at DraftKings for a $100 buy-in until the maximum of 5,555 teams is reached. Second place earns $40,000, third is worth $20,000 and all 1,100 cash payouts are guaranteed.
Happy New Year! The first two NBA games of 2015 will have trouble matching the excitement and drama of the 2014 finale. Russell Westbrook was ejected before the half for two technicals, so Kevin Durant took over.
Ten more NBA games are on tap for Wednesday night, with the most interesting in Houston. Not 100% sure it’s a great play in daily fantasy, as both the Grizzlies and Rockets are excellent defensively, but with Dwight Howard (knee), Patrick Beverley (hamstring), Terrence Jones (leg) and Isaiah Canaan (ankle) all unavailable, I’m leaning heavily to Memphis.
Congratulations to “rdog” on winning $100,000 last night at DraftKings with an impressive 348 points. “TwoGun” finished second and third (earning $60,000) and hit the leaderboard with several more lineups. 3,475 cash prizes were paid among the 11,741 entries, a huge overlay for everyone who entered. Chris Bosh was owned on just 5.6% of teams and produced 56.25 points; I regret using DeMarcus Cousins instead.