Meet the contenders for the NBA title

Kevin Durant

A look at the teams in the mix for the NBA title as we approach the annual All-Star break, which takes place next weekend in Orlando.

There are really only two teams in the Eastern Conference with a legit chance of winning the tile … as of today:

Front-runners

You can hate the Heat all you want, but you can’t argue the fact that they’re probably the best team in the NBA, and that’s with injuries too. They just swept a back-to-back-to-back on the road by 15-plus points each. Ho hum.
 
The Thunder have to be the favorite out of the West, and with guys like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, it’s easy to see why. Those two are great, but it’s the supporting cast — James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kendrick Perkins — that will put them over the top.
 
If it’s Bulls vs. Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, nobody will be surprised. Chicago is solid across the board, have the best record in the East, and now play 12 out of the next 16 at home. They’ll need a healthy Derrick Rose though.

After a rocky start to the season, the defending champ Mavericks look to be back on track. It’s just a matter of time before the Lamar Odom trade starts paying huge dividends. And don’t forget Dirk Nowitzki either — one of the all-time great scoring power forwards.

Puncher’s chance

The Sixers were thought to be decent, but this good? It’s true. The second unit, or “The Night Shift” of Thadeus Young, Louis Williams, and Evan Turner has separated the Sixers from the pretenders. They are extremely deep, and it will show in the postseason.
 
You would be crazy to write off the Lakers. They’ve got maybe the best frontcourt in the NBA with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and Kobe Bryant is somehow still at the top of his game. Trading for a point guard could be the missing piece.
 
“Lob City” has lived up to the hype so far, and if the Clippers can stay healthy, athleticism alone is enough to shoot them to the Western Conference finals. With Chris Paul and two beasts in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they can win any given night.
 
There are many questions ahead, for the Knicks, but mainly, “Can Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony coexist?” The answer better be yes, because they lucked out with Lin. He won’t keep up this pace, but he’s the point guard they desperately needed and he saved Mike D’Antoni’s job. Add on Amar’e Stoudemire, and the Knicks could make serious noise.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.