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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Buyout Bonanzas: Granger, Gordon, Fredette Could Help Playoff Teams

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danny grangerDoes anyone want Danny Granger?

How about Jimmer Fredette?

This is the last week for contenders to shore up their playoff  rosters with NBA players for a run they hope will last into June.

Teams have until March 1 to sign players eligible for the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers already made a big splash on that front by signing Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who had the final two years of his contract bought out by Orlando.

It’s a good fit. The Clippers desperately needed a backup big who warrants defensive attention, and Davis helped current Clippers coach Doc Rivers win one championship and almost a second in Boston.

But the big name that could be on the free agent market over the next few days is Granger.

SH Blog: Young calls out teammates for lack of backup, Bulls want Stephenson as consolation prize

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It didn’t necessarily have any marquee names, but a three-team trade that sent Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Golden State Warriors was the talk around the league on Wednesday (before Nick Young threw some punches). See below for some insight and analysis on the who and the why:

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Tweet of the Day: Bill Simmons Weighs in on 3-Team Trade

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NBA on ESPN analyst and Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons maintains many titles:  writer, fan, Los Angeles Clippers season ticket holder, husband, dad, among a few others.

Among the many hats that he wears, he is an avid Boston Celtics fan.

If you’ve followed his blogs or read his book, you know that he has been a big Celtics fan since he was a child—when his father would take him to the old Boston Garden. While still maintaining his Boston NBA roots, since he’s moved to LA he has become a Clippers supporter.

His father, however, still maintains both his residence in the northeast and his status as a Celtics season ticket holder. This led to an interesting dialogue that Simmons shared via Twitter—along with his own analysis—regarding Wednesday afternoon’s three-team trade in the NBA.

Three-Team Trade Analysis: Warriors Win Big; Celtics Will Stink Even More

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DukakisMemo to Brad Stevens: You are the new Michael Dukakis in Massachusetts.

For those too young to remember, a short history lesson: Before he got trampled in the 1988 U.S. presidential election, the former governor of Massachusetts tried to toughen up his softie image by doing a photo op with Army troops, riding on an Abrams M1 tank.

The whole thing was so ludicrous, so obviously staged, that Dukakis riding a tank became a euphemism for anything that seemed so completely out of touch with reality that it bordered on the absurd. It was the epitome of a p.r. move that backfired.

Which brings us to today’s three-team trade sending Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State, Joel Anthony and a future possible first-round pick (it will turn into two second rounders if Philadelphia fails to make the playoffs this season and next) to Boston, and Toney Douglas to the Heat, who will shave about $10 million off their operating costs.