Bulls-Wizards Playoff Preview: Five Key Factors

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Joakim NoahThe Wizards made us really, really upset on the final night of the regular season by moving up from sixth place to fifth place, denying us a rematch of last year’s Bulls-Nets series that went seven games and was won by Joakim Noah in his old home borough.

Well, I guess it wasn’t the Wizards’ fault. All the Nets needed to do to lock up that matchup (and avoid the Heat in the second round) was beat Cleveland. Instead, they lost by 29.

Hmmm. When you think about it, that might have been the signature moment of this Tankapalooza season.

PODCAST: Better to Finish 2nd than 1st in Eastern Conference?

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Would you sacrifice the possibility of hosting a Game 7 at home in the Eastern Conference finals if it meant a smoother path toward getting to those Eastern Conference finals?

That is a question the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat have to be asking themselves with seven days left in the regular season.

Tweet of the Night: Marcin Gortat recaps his terrible night of losing and getting his car tire destroyed

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It’s always a bad night when you lose a game in the NBA.

Naturally, Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards wasn’t feeling too good after losing 98-85 to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. The center could do little to stop Al Jefferson, who scored 26 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field, and the Bobcats reached within 2 1/2 games of overtaking the Wizards for the sixth seed in the East to avoid a dreaded first-round matchup against the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. Gortat’s night would get worse, however, as he found himself stuck on the road after the game due to a destroyed tire:

Rookie Rankings, Week 18: An Otto Porter Sighting

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The best thing about top overall pick Anthony Bennett’s tremendously disappointing rookie season is that it OttoPorterhas provided cover for some tremendously disappointing seasons by other rookies.

Namely, Otto Porter.

Porter was taken third in the 2013 draft by the Washington Wizards and has been worse than Bennett. Much worse.

Bennett is averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting just 35 percent from the floor. Pedestrian numbers, for sure, and unacceptable for a top pick who is expected to contribute right away.

But Bennett looks like Wilt Chamberlain compared to Porter, who is averaging 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 30 percent. Through February, he had 37 points in 215 minutes.

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Bernucca: NBA Buyout Season’s Winners and Losers

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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.

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