Bernucca: Rockets Have Been Sputtering Since Liftoff


Talk is cheap. Just ask the slumping Houston Rockets, whose locker room is starting to resemble a presidential candidates’ debate. “We’ve been talking,” slumping superstar James Harden said. “We’ve been doing too much talking.” “We’ve had a lot of heart-to-hearts,” coach Kevin McHale said. “As a matter of fact, we talk too much. Talking doesn’t win basketball games.” Last season, the Rockets surprised more than a few folks by crashing the Western Conference finals, a spot thought to be reserved for the San


Five Things To Watch: Denver Nuggets

Jusuf Nurkic Nuggets

 Just over two years ago, the Denver Nuggets appeared to be riding high. Flourishing after the trade of superstar Carmelo Anthony, they had posted an NBA franchise-record 57 wins, had both the Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year and were headed into the Western Conference playoffs as the third seed with a glistening 38-3 home record. It is remarkable how quickly things change in the NBA. The Nuggets were upset in the first round by the Golden State Warriors,


Five Things To Watch: Los Angeles Lakers


As the Los Angeles Lakers slowly and painfully transition away from the Kobe Bryant era, the franchise actually did the right thing in bottoming out last season. The Lakers went a franchise-worst 21-61 last season under first-year coach Byron Scott, losing 29 games by double digits. Forward Julius Randle was lost for the season with a foot injury in the opener, and everything went pretty much downhill from there. Los Angeles had the second-worst defensive rating and scoring defense while finishing 24th


Five Things To Watch: Los Angeles Clippers


Two points in time define the last several months for the Los Angeles Clippers. The first came in May, when the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals before falling to Houston. With DeAndre Jordan becoming an unrestricted free agent and Chris Paul pushing 30, there were worries that the proverbial window of opportunity for this team was beginning to close. That nearly proved to be the case over the July 4th weekend, when Jordan verbally agreed to


Five Things To Watch: Golden State Warriors


Every four decades, the basketball galaxy is in alignment for the Golden State Warriors. And on cue, last season was one of those moments as the Warriors won their first NBA championship since the days of Rick Barry 40 years ago. Last season’s Warriors were a talented group, particularly deep and immune to significant health problems, which they managed to avoid. In a breakthrough season, Stephen Curry achieved NBA Most Valuable Player status. Even their postseason matchups seemed to be hand-picked. And they did all of this with a rookie coach, no less. Now comes


Five Things To Watch: Utah Jazz


This may become one of the most entertaining seasons in Utah Jazz history. The prospect of Quin Snyder coaching a talented young core led by growing stars Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert has elicited quiet whispers about making the playoffs. Will the Jazz’s supporting cast lift them up or let them down? What is GM Dennis Lindsey doing, and will his risks pay off in the long term? Basketball enthusiasts should watch the Jazz this season just to see how


Five Things To Watch: Phoenix Suns

Brandon Knight Eric Bledsoe

The Phoenix Suns are a fascinating bunch to watch, in the way fans watch a demolition derby for the promise of imminent destruction. Coach Jeff Hornacek, entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, has to right the ship without the benefit of a rising star to buoy hopes for the future. That Hornacek was able to cobble together an 87-77 record the last two years without a single All-Star is a testament to his coaching ability. But he lost