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

1 Comment

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: Dirk Nowitzki Grateful For Encouragement

Leave a comment

Tuesday night Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki moved past Oscar Robertson on the NBA career scoring list with an 19-foot jump shot at the start of the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz en route to a 95-83 victory.

Nowitizki scored 21 points, moving him to 10th among the all-time scorers’ list with 26,714 points thus far in his career.

Many players took time to congratulate Dirk on his career accomplishment last night.

One player who didn’t get the chance to congratulate him Tuesday night was Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, who was busy in a losing effort to the Brooklyn Nets.

Pages: 1 2

Sixth Man Rankings: The Knicks’ current win streak should be taken with skepticism

Leave a comment

knicksThe Knicks have won five straight games and now sit just 3.5 games from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The fans of Gotham are finally excited about the Knicks for the first time this season. The Bucks come to New York on Saturday, and if the Knicks can pull out an expected victory, they’ll close the gap between them and the Hawks even further.

Right now, ESPN.com has the Knicks’ playoff odds at 15%. With the Knicks having five very winnable games over their next six, I’d spot their chances at about 33% today.

Moreover, on a larger level, with Phil Jackson reportedly close to signing on with the team this week, there’s a sense of relief among the fans that the team may finally have a realistic plan in place to build a roster for the future.

Unfortunately for Knicks fans, the temporary excitement in the Knicks’ hot streak is slightly misguided. As analytic-guru and writer Dean Oliver calculated in his book Basketball on Paper, winning streaks of five or six games are actually quite common in the NBA — even for underachieving teams.

The Knicks are currently 26-40, good for a winning percentage of .394.

As Oliver discovered after extensive research of historical NBA seasons, teams with winning percentages of .400 or better have a 55% chance of winning five games in a row over an 82 game schedule.

Even if the Knicks defeat Milwaukee on Saturday (not a given, considering they dropped their last matchup to Milwaukee in February), a six-game win streak for a mediocre team is still quite common in today’s NBA. According to Oliver, a .400 team has a 27% chance of winning six games in a row over the course of a season. Just last month, the Cavaliers won six games in a row and proceeded to lose seven of their next nine. Winning a string of games is not indicative of a team turning their season around.

Furthermore, out of the teams New York has beaten recently on this little streak, only the Timberwolves own a winning record (32-31). This win streak is more a reflection of the poor competition the Knicks have faced rather than the Knicks having magically figured things out. Head coach Mike Woodson still doesn’t seem to grasp who can (and can’t) play well together:

On a more positive note for Knicks fans, one thing they can be happy about is J.R. Smith’s sudden positive turnaround. Over the Knicks’ five game streak, Smith has averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds. As his production’s increased, his efficiency has improved as well. He’s shooting 43% from deep over the streak and hasn’t committed a turnover in four of the team’s five wins.

Considering he has been averaging just 13.3 points and shooting under 40% from the entire field for the season, the Knicks must be relieved to see their longterm investment starting to look adequate again.

On to the rankings…

Pages: 1 2

Bernucca: NBA Buyout Season’s Winners and Losers

5 Comments

I’m kinda high on what the Charlotte Bobcats did with Ben Gordon.220px-Gordon7_20091204

The Bobcats waived Gordon on Sunday, preventing him from appearing in the postseason should he sign with another team. While they may have alienated his agent – not a trifle thing in the business world of the NBA – two things should be pointed out.

1. When teams waive or buy out players at this time of the season, they are essentially establishing a price they are willing to pay to that player to not play for them.

2. In this case, the Bobcats made it impossible for Gordon to come back to haunt them in the playoffs.

Pages: 1 2

Schayes: In the NBA, Sometimes You Can Go Home Again

Leave a comment

Last week, stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett played a road game. But not just any road game. Pierce Garnett

It was perhaps the most significant road game of their careers.

The future Hall of Famers returned for the first time to basketball-bonkers Boston, the city where they won hearts and championships. The former Celtics were given a warm welcome that included video tributes and had an emotional evening.

In this era of free agency, many players have a similar experience. They move from a place where they have been a fixture and get to return to their previous home for the first time.

Pages: 1 2