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The NBA playoffs begin in 44 days. And while most expect a Cavaliers-Warriors rubber match in the NBA Finals, teams consider their seasons a success or failure based on a lot more than whether they win the title. Making the playoffs would be a great step forward for a team like the Denver Nuggets, while anything short of a conference finals appearance is a letdown for a team like the mighty Spurs.
Lance Thomas had a season-high 21 points for the Knicks. They began the day four games back of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but also were behind Miami, Milwaukee and Charlotte.
Since acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from a trade with the Kings, the Pelicans are 0-4 in games where both Cousins and teammate Anthony Davis play. Not quite cause for concern yet, but you’d think the Pelicans would have secured at least one win at this point.
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Take LeBron James for instance, who was a surefire, can’t-miss No. 1 overall pick. On talent alone LeBron could have been a perennial All-Star, but he became a relentless worker (on both his game and his body) and dedicated himself 100 percent to becoming better than great — now he’s on his way to being the greatest of all time, even better than people could imagine.
It’s great that Fultz has the confidence to say things like that, but let’s just hope he understands the kind of work that’s going to need to go into it.
Trades and injuries have changed the landscape of the NBA in a way that’s challenging for traditional statistical projections to capture. To try to measure the current talent of all 30 teams, I put together projections using the multiyear, predictive version of ESPN’s real plus-minus (RPM) and my best estimate at what rotations will look like going forward.
The Cavaliers are a pretty safe bet for this. They lead the Celtics by three games overall and four in the loss column, even after Wednesday night’s loss at TD Garden. Their magic number for the No. 1 seed is 20, and they still hold a 2-1 lead in the tiebreaker with one more game to play against Boston. The Celtics would need to cheap nba jerseys do the following in their final 21 games to surpass the Cavs: Catch them in wins, beat the Cavs one last time, then topple them in the conference standings.
Oklahoma City made a late push, trimming the Suns’ lead to four on Alex Abrines’ 3s, but the Suns made free throws to put it away. The Thunder lost both games of a back-to-back that ended in Phoenix after winning the previous four.
The 83-year-old McCoy was honored at halftime. He’s in his 45th season calling Suns games. Eight of 14 other Suns Ring of Honor inductees were present, including Charles Barkley, who offered brief remarks and introduced McCoy’s son.