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Fact or Fiction

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We're officially in the stretch run here of the 2013-14 NBA season, and there are teams jockeying for position in both conferences. To sort through what's fact and what's fiction of what we have seen in the last week in the Association, we're going to go over six pressing topics and make our decisions as to whether they're the truth or just some made up unreality.
 
FACT
 
20+ Point spreads are justified against the 76ers: That's right. The Sixers were 20-point dogs against the Spurs last week, and yes, they didn't cover that spread. They've lost 26 games in a row going into the weekend, though there is a chance to stop that streak against the lowly Pistons at home on Saturday. Unfortunately, we probably aren't going to see that 20+ number again this year, but if we did, it would surely be justified. Philly is being outscored by over 16 points per game on the season in games it has lost.
 
Indiana has to get Andrew Bynum back healthy for the playoffs to beat the Heat: Indiana did win two out of three games in this series in the regular season, but the Heat probably should have ended up winning the last of those games last week. Remember that Chris Bosh only played 26 minutes due to foul trouble and shot just 3-of-11 from the field. Bynum didn't play for the Pacers, and perhaps if he was out there, that would have been a real difference maker. We still just don't see how the Pacers are going to be able to beat this Miami team four times in seven games if Bynum doesn't play.
 
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The decision to put JR Smith back in the starting lineup was a good one for the Knicks: Not that it really matters to Mike Woodson, who knows he is going to be ushered out the door at the end of the season regardless. Still, New York has a good chance to get into the playoffs, especially if Smith keeps shooting the ball as well as he has been. He put up 29 against the Kings earlier this week, and we have to think that he is going to stay in the starting lineup as a result, especially with Iman Shumpert struggling so badly.
 
FICTION
 
San Antonio is the best team in the NBA: It's easy to say that a team on a 15-game winning streak and perhaps the only team that will win much more than 60 games this year is the best team in the league, but we just don't see it. The Spurs are deep, and they do have the veteran talent to do damage, but let's be realistic here – They would be dogs to both Miami and Indiana in the NBA Finals in all likelihood, and the road to get there is going to be littered with a bunch of excellent teams, too. The Spurs might be hot, but they’re going to come up short once again.
 
The Bobcats are destined to keep covering games: With eight covers in their last 10 games, the Bobcats are certainly hot. However, we take a close look at who they have beaten of late and scratch our heads. Save for the Nets and the Blazers, there really isn't a good team on this list. Then again, the next four are all against teams that aren't going to make the playoffs in the lousy East. Still, we think once Charlotte runs into some of the best teams in the league again come playoff time, we're going to see a lot of results like the one we saw against Houston earlier this week when the Rockets won by 11 on Tobacco Road.
 
The Pelicans are doormats in the West: Heck no, they aren't! Anthony Davis has five straight double-doubles to his credit, and the team has won and covered four straight against the Clippers, Nets, Heat, and Hawks. New Orleans isn't a playoff team by any stretch of the imagination, but in the East, we have a feeling that this would be the fourth or fifth best team in the conference. Keep a really close eye on this club down the stretch. New Orleans has San Antonio, Portland, Phoenix, Houston twice, and Oklahoma City twice still left on the docket. Don't be shocked if it beats some of those teams in relishing its spoiler role, ultimately causing chaos when it comes to playoff positioning in the West.

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Tuesday's Tip Sheet
Sportsbook: Tuesday's Top Playoff Action
News: 1st Round Series Odds
News: Playoffs - Betting Results
Bucks avoid elimination, beat Bulls 94-88
Nets beat Hawks to tie series at 2-2
Warriors trying to stay sharp while waiting
Clips-Spurs provide rare bit of intrigue
Cavs move on, maybe without Love
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