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Armstrong: Five thoughts on Durant, Stern and more

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Jack Armstrong
1/29/2014 1:22:51 PM
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FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS

1. KEVIN DURANT VS. LEBRON JAMES: Lots of attention for Wednesday's game matching up the two best players in the world. As I said last week, KD gets my slight edge as the MVP this year but you can't go wrong with either guy. Above and beyond the wonderful skills and smarts that both guys possess the thing I respect about both is their sheer passion and love for the game and their respect for the fact that you've got to pay the price and continue to improve yourself every season as a player. Both continue to grow/blossom as players, adding new elements to their skill set each year. The old line about input equalling output is so true in the case of these two men. Strong work ethic and dedication to their craft. Enjoy watching.

2. INDIANA PACERS: Caught some of their game last night at the Lakers and they've got a wonderful defence but the thing that has really impressed me with the return of Danny Granger is the unselfishness and value of team play offensively. Everyone is involved and the ball finds the right guy at the right spot. Six players were in double figures last night and Luis Scola had eight points. They can shut down your offence big-time and the versatility and balance of their offence is a nice luxury to have.

3. ANTHONY DAVIS (Hornets): Folks, he's breaking out. This man can truly play. On Tuesday night he gets 30 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks vs. the Cavs. Injuries have been the only thing that have derailed his progress in his first two seasons. If this guy played in a major market you'd be hearing about him every day with his upside. He's a nifty passer as well with really nice ball skills and good understanding of team play. If he stays healthy, he's going to emerge in the next few seasons as one of the best big men in the game for a long time.

4. BRADLEY BEAL & JOHN WALL (Wizards): Caught some of their game on Tuesday against the Warriors (stayed up late watching a bunch of West Coast hoops) and when these two young guards play together and are healthy they are special. Against the explosive back court of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson they more than held their own with 35 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and four steals. The Wizards are an intriguing team in the East and having a veteran like Trevor Ariza having a nice season on the perimeter for them they can produce points pretty consistently. Against a pretty good defensive team that also puts great offensive pressure on you, this was a good road win for the Wiz. Guard play wins lots of games and they've got it.

5. DAVID STERN: Bottom line, every player, coach, executive, owner, broadcaster, and support staff member of each NBA team and all the members of the NBA media as well as countless loyal basketball fans around the world should raise a glass and toast the career and legacy of this commissioner. He was the best ever in NBA history and arguably the best ever in professional sports. Not the most warm and fuzzy guy on earth but the man delivered the goods for everyone. The game, attention on the sport and the coverage it creates and gets are overwhelmingly better than they've ever been. You need a man with vision, leadership skills and a thick skin to get the job done and he got the job done in an impressive way. Cheers! We're all better for the legacy he leaves behind.

David Stern (Photo: Steve Freeman/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Steve Freeman/NBAE/Getty Images)
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Game 3: Raptors at Nets (TSN)

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Western Conference

(1) SA 1, (8) DAL 1 (4) HOU 0, (5) POR 2
(2) OKC 1, (7) MEM 1 (3) LAC 1, (4) GS 1


Eastern Conference

(1) IND 1, (8) ATL 1 (4) CHI 0, (5) WSH 2
(2) MIA 2, (7) CHA 0 (3) TOR 1, (6) BKN 1


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