Bernucca: Scoreboard Watching, Lottery Style

NBALottery-ping pong

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: Gimme Shelter: Fallout from Durant injury will reach Near and Far

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The last 12 months represent by far the least amount of basketball Kevin Durant has played in his eight-year NBA career. In a sadly ironic twist, it also represents a time when he has had more intrigue swirling around him than ever before. In the last year, Durant has won NBA MVP and given a moving acceptance speech; quit as the new face of Team USA; created a bidding war between apparel companies in the mid nine figures; become the beacon of

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Bernucca: Mythbuster Brad Stevens No Longer a “College Coach”

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With the NCAA Tourament upon us, it seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone that there is a canyon between coaching in college and coaching in the NBA. There is more than a generation of evidence which clearly illustrates that any NBA team hiring a head coach directly from college is making a huge mistake. P.J. Carlesimo. Tim Floyd. Leonard Hamilton. Lon Kruger. Mike Montgomery. Jerry Tarkanian. Rick Pitino, who failed twice. Even John Calipari, who is

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Bernucca: Westbrook is Awesome, But Not Hardenesque in MVP Race

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Let’s get something out of the way here. Russell Westbrook is awesome. Westbrook is one of the game’s top five players, and I’ve felt that way for a couple of years. He may not be a better conventional point guard than Chris Paul or Tony Parker or Stephen Curry. But if any of those guys even dream about being a better player than Westbrook, they better wake up and get back to reality. I also love watching Westbrook play. I cannot recall

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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: For me, The Best All-Star Game Ever

MSG inside pregame3

All-Star Weekend didn’t start out too well for my son, Andrew. On Friday morning, he had an argument with his first serious girlfriend a day before his first serious Valentine’s Day. With that hanging over his head, he had to go to work, where his primary job is to kick mallrats out of the store. And it was the last work day before the All-Star Game and we still hadn’t heard from someone who had said that maybe, just maybe, he

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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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Bernucca: The Hawks Are Real and They Are Spectacular

Hawks core for 2014

Why do doubts remain about the Atlanta Hawks? The Hawks are 40-8. They have lost twice since Thanksgiving. They have beaten Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, the LA Clippers, Cleveland again, Portland, the Clippers again, Memphis, Washington, Toronto, Chicago again, Oklahoma City and Portland again. The Hawks just completed the best undefeated month in NBA history, going 17-0 in January. They have won 19 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals. They have won 12 straight road games. What seems to be the

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