NBA Movers and Shakers
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From the Jim Hurley Network Staff - Contributing Sportsbook Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Hope that you've marked your calendars: This year Wednesday, April 15th isn't just "Tax Day" but it also so happens to be the final night of this 2014-15 NBA regular season and there's a whole lot to be settled between now and then ... so let's check out some newsmakers:


Okay, so not everyone has been playing at a "peak performance" when attempting to track down the final three playoff berths in this conference as only the Brooklyn Nets (36-41) have shown any real life in recent games as six different teams battle for the #6, 7 and 8 seeds. The Nets entered last night's home game against Atlanta having won eight of their last 10 games overall and how about the fact that Lionel Hollins' crew - which couldn't buy a home win for much of this current campaign - had posted five straight wins while heading into that tilt.

No doubt that C Brook Lopez - the object of Hollins' ire for much of the first part of this season - has been a superstar in recent weeks as he just wrapped up a second consecutive Eastern Conference Player of the Week award and did you realize that Lopez has scored 30-or-more points in six of his last 11 games?

Throw into the mix the re-birth of PG Deron Williams who is averaging close to 23 ppg in his last four outings and the Nets remain on track to snag a post-season berth but remember Brooklyn's hardly "in the clear" with just a 1.5-game lead over ninth-place Miami at press time.


So, what is home court really gonna mean for those teams that clinch the #1-thru-#4 seeds in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs?

Well, gotta admit everybody will be shocked if Golden State (35-2 while heading into tonight's game against visiting Portland) loses any first-round playoff home games to either New Orleans or Oklahoma City but we're particularly interested in the other battles as San Antonio and aforementioned Portland both entered Wednesday's action as the next-best home teams at 31-8 apiece and so no wonder both are putting the full-court press on getting into the top four.

The Spurs - the five-time champs who have won eight in a row and nine of their last 10 games while heading into the home game against Houston last night - have cranked up the power with F Kawhi Leonard apparently back on track after scoring 26 points in Tuesday's 113-88 win at 6-point underdog Oklahoma City. If Leonard - who drained all four of his three-ball shots against the Thunder - stays on this recent tear then you could actually see San Antonio charge up to the #2 seed behind the G-State Warriors and who thought that was possible just a couple of weeks ago?

In other NBA News & Notes ...

As we stated a couple of weeks back, all this MVP talk has been fun but why no serious mention of New Orleans F Anthony Davis who is scorching-hot? In Tuesday's electric 103-100 Pelicans' home win versus 4.5-point fav Golden State, Davis poured in 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds as the Pels squeezed (temporarily, at least) into that eighth and final playoff berth in the West. Davis - who scored 23 of his points after intermission in that tilt - also blocked four shots and snagged a pair of steals and note the former Kentucky one-and-done champ now has scored 19-or-mre points in 10 straight games.

Finally, we flip back to the Eastern Conference and check in on the Chicago Bulls who entered last night's game in Orlando having lost two of their last three games after a nifty 5-1 SU (straight-up) streak that featured F Nikola Mirotic's three games of 24-or-more points - all the talk in Chitown centers around the return of PG Derrick Rose who has played in just 46 regular-season games this year but it's Mirotic and Pau Gasol that have held this Bulls' bunch together in recent weeks. Right now Chicago's in third place in the Eastern Conference with everyone in the league (and we mean ESPN and ABC, of course) keeping fingers crossed we get a Cleveland Cavaliers versus Chicago Bulls second-round showdown in this year's playoffs.

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