Blue Flower

''When we selected this group for induction, we immediately knew that this would be, maybe, one of the great classes of all-time,'' said Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the Hall of Fame's Board of Governors. ''I mean, the people going in, the three headliners in Kobe and Garnett and Tim Duncan ... that says it all.''

The Joker gets my vote for MVP as he's kept this Denver Nuggets team afloat. When you look at everything he had to deal with, including losing Jamal Murray (torn ACL) and Will Barton (hamstring) for the season in April. Also, multiple Nuggets players sat out for extended stretches due to the COVID-19 protocols. Still, Jokic managed to keep Denver in playoff contention and earned home-court advantage in the first round. When you look at his numbers, you'd think it was a guard putting up those stats. Of all the players in my top five, he had to work with less to get his team to this point. Indiana Pacers

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Dallas (40-29) is tied with Portland for fifth place after a 133-104 loss at Memphis on Tuesday night that ended a four-game winning streak. If the playoffs started now, the Mavericks would be the No. 6 seed -- the final guaranteed playoff spot.Sacramento Kings

LaMelo Ball had a rockier road to being the clear rookie of the year favorite. Ball was the big leader as March started, then injured his wrist and it looked like someone like Anthony Edwards would catch him while he sat out. But Ball returned to the Charlotte Hornets and has resumed being great. He is the -750 favorite to win the award. Ball's opening odds were +400. Atlanta Hawks

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Knicks 102, Spurs 98 – Alec Burks returned from a three-game absence with a knee injury and went Burks-zerk with a season-high 30 points, 10 rebounds and five 3-pointers off the bench on 11-of-20 shooting. Julius Randle just missed a triple-double with 25 points, nine boards and nine assists, and RJ Barrett added 24 points, nine boards, five dimes, a steal and five 3-pointers in a win that kept the Knicks tied with the Heat and just a ½ game behind the Hawks as the battle for 4-5-6 in the East continues. The battle for home-court between these three is a fun race to watch. Derrick Rose was out in order to rest his sore left ankle.

The teams with the seventh- and eighth-best records in each conference will play a single game with the winner securing the No. 7 seed for the playoffs, which begin next weekend. The winner of the Lakers-Warriors game will advance to play the second-seeded Phoenix Suns, which in itself will be a riveting showdown regardless of the Suns' opponent.

The Lakers will throw everything they have at Curry. They'll force the rest of the Warriors to beat them. This is where Green and Wiggins must step up, just as they have all month long.Charlotte Hornets
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