The Hawks know all too well: For the second straight year, Game 82 mattered a lot

For the second straight playoff season, the Atlanta Hawks are finding out how miserable an experience it is to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. David Blatt’s defense last year, Tyronn Lue’s offense this year – it doesn’t matter. An elite Kyle Korver last year, a mediocre version this year – it hasn’t made a dime’s worth […]

In defeat, Austin Rivers wins more than a moment can measure

When Austin Rivers came to the Los Angeles Clippers, it was impossible to ignore — whether founded or not — the idea that coach and general manager Doc Rivers was trying to advance his son’s career. The inclination to think that favoritism was at the root of Doc’s decision was understandable. Moreover, Doc certainly does […]

A Trail of wise decisions led the Blazers past the Clippers

The Portland Trail Blazers did not have a better roster than the Los Angeles Clippers — not if the injured duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is part of the equation. The Clippers might be the most luckless organization in the NBA, but in many intersections of luck and effort, a pinch of wisdom […]

The Trail Blazers embrace their rite of playoff passage in Los Angeles

Sports always carry a richly psychological component, but for the Portland Trail Blazers, the between-the-ears reality of high-stakes competition was never more profound than on Wednesday night. In Game 5 of the Western Conference first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Trail Blazers figured to win. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were out. J.J. […]

For DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers who can play, a crucible arrives

In a very real sense, the Los Angeles Clippers and DeAndre Jordan are playing with less pressure in the final games of their Western Conference first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. No Chris Paul. No Blake Griffin. The Clippers are no longer an NBA title contender after very briefly seeing a sliver of daylight […]

The domino effect of Chris Paul’s injury is staggering

For Chris Paul, the morning of Tuesday, April 26, 2016, must feel like “The Morning After.” For most observers of the league — as fans and chroniclers — the same feeling exists. For a few teams, however, this Tuesday morning doesn’t bring with it the scent of carnage or rubble, but opportunity. So much of […]

Triumph, disaster or patience: expectations for all 16 NBA playoff teams

A word about expectations is merited before the playoffs begin. A word within a word: Let’s divide expectations into two parts… at least in some instances. Fans and pundits will have their own expectations, while teams will internally carry their separate sets of standards. Naturally, everyone wants to win it all, but only one team […]

5 inconvenient truths about the 2016 NBA Playoffs

Inconvenient truths abound in sports for so many reasons. In the 2015-2016 NBA season — which is about to reach its crescendo — we have witnessed the emergence of several highly complicated realities which demand a recalibrated assessment of the postseason. The way we saw the NBA in late October is not the way we […]

5 first round playoff matchups you’ll want to happen

In case you haven’t noticed … which makes stumbling upon the blog all the more random for you… the NBA season ends in a few weeks. Teams are down to their final 7-10 games. The playoffs will be great because they’re always great, but a host of matchups could add to the intrigue. So if […]

Was this past week the most vintage Houston Rocket week of the season?

No one in and around the NBA is surprised whenever the Houston Rockets display a pronounced Jekyll-and-Hyde volatility. Yet, even by the Rockets’ trolling and teasing standards, this past week — a seven-day stretch which started last Friday in Boston — might have been their most typically bipolar week of the season. Wednesday night, the […]