Scotto: Brooklyn Nets are Legit Contenders After Sweeping LeBron — UPDATED

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LeBron James trophyNo team has done what the Nets have done. And going into the playoffs, what they’ve done should not be dismissed.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets became the first team ever to post a 4-0 season series sweep over LeBron James since he entered the league more than a decade ago.

After being crowned by the Nets, James took out his frustration on TNT’s Craig Sager during a postgame interview when asked if Brooklyn was Miami’s biggest challenge in the East.

“Get out of here, Craig,” James replied. “Next question.”

While James avoided the question, there’s no denying it – Brooklyn has a legitimate chance to win the East now.

Tweet of the Day: Evan Fournier Takes Shaqtin’ Joke in Stride

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It’s not easy being openly clowned in a very public forum.

However, such is the life for NBA athletes who fail in magnificent ways, as they fall prey to Shaqtin’ A Fool, a top-5 video showcase of weekly NBA bloopers compiled by the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT with commentary provided by Shaquille O’Neal himself.

O’Neal is known for his sense of humor and is frequently given to clowning and/or pranking others—all in good fun, mind you.

He and the producers at Inside the NBA put a number on Denver Nuggets shooting guard Evan Fournier, who turned the ball over by throwing an errant inbounds pass to no one in the left corner. This unforced error occurred in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks while only down by four.

Not the best time to get your Shaqtin’ A Fool highlight.

Sprung: A Statistical Look Inside The 2014 Sweet 16

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ncaaAs it often does, the NCAA Tournament provided a wild first weekend.

Mercer saved Warren Buffett $1 billion, Dayton won the state of Ohio and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years, Stanford sent Andrew Wiggins and Kansas packing, and the young Kentucky Wildcats ended Wichita State’s dream season.

So out of the 32 second and third-round games won by the 16 teams still in contention for the national championship, what statistical trends and insights can we gain from looking back at what the successful teams did to reach this point?

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Bernucca: Among the Elite, Thunder the Team to Beat

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Kawhi Leonard 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 on Sunday against the Rockets.

Let’s call these teams the Magnificent Seven, because your NBA champion is somewhere among them. Dismiss any of them at your own peril; these are the only teams who, at the season’s three-quarter pole, have won at least two-third of their games.

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Tweet of the Day: New NBA-Themed Commercials Abound

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Many of today’s NBA athletes have endorsements with major corporations that often require them to be featured in a television commercial. A lot of them have their predecessors to thank for having broadened the reach of the NBA’s global marketing arm. Greats like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were prominently featured in high profile marketing campaigns during their playing careers.

Recently, with such bold personalities like four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, the door for retired NBA athletes to continue marketing major products has remained open. The ‘Big Diesel’ has continued appearing in prominent ads for products like Icy Hot and Buick.

With the recent retirement of Allen Iverson’s jersey now in the rearview, Reebok has brought both Shaq, Shawn Kemp (otherwise known as the Reign Man) and The Answer back into the fold to help promote the latest edition to The Retro Shop, the Kamikazi.