Marc J. Spears

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Marc Spears covers the NBA for Yahoo! Sports. He previously has written for the Boston Globe and Denver Post.

  • NBA Power Rankings: Kevin Durant nears Michael Jordan, but Spurs still on top

    San Antonio1. San Antonio Spurs (57-16; last week's ranking: 1): The Spurs' franchise-record-tying 17-game win streak will be tested in upcoming games against Indiana, Golden State and Oklahoma City.


    Oklahoma City2. Oklahoma City Thunder (54-19; last week's ranking: 3): Kevin Durant has scored at least 25 points in 38 straight games and is two games shy of tying Michael Jordan's 17-year-old record.


    Los Angeles3. Los Angeles Clippers (52-22; last week's ranking: 2): Coach Doc Rivers has a reputation of being cautious with injuries to his stars. Expect the same with Blake Griffin, who had back spasms.


    Miami4. Miami Heat (50-22; last week's ranking: 7): Miami hosts a potential second-round playoff opponent in the Raptors on Monday. Miami has a 14-game win streak over Toronto, including 3-0 this season.


    Houston5. Houston Rockets (49-23; last week's ranking: 4): Houston is 13-8 this season when Jeremy Lin starts at point guard. Point guard Patrick Beverley is out indefinitely because of a knee injury.


    Indiana6. Indiana Pacers (52-22;

    Read More »from NBA Power Rankings: Kevin Durant nears Michael Jordan, but Spurs still on top
  • NBA Power Rankings: Heat looking for traction

    San Antonio1. San Antonio Spurs (53-16; last week's ranking: 1): When asked if he'd honor his contract through next season, Tim Duncan said he's taking it "game by game."


    Los Angeles2. Los Angeles Clippers (49-21; last week's ranking: 2): The Clippers are hopeful J.J. Redick, who is averaging 15.7 points and has been out since Jan. 3 with a back injury, could return soon.


    Oklahoma City3. Oklahoma City Thunder (51-18; last week's ranking: 4): After an injury scare, Russell Westbrook is expected to play against Denver on Monday or Dallas on Tuesday.


    Houston4. Houston Rockets (47-22; last week's ranking: 5): After losing three straight games with All-Star center Dwight Howard, Houston has won three straight while he rested a sore left ankle.


    Indiana5. Indiana Pacers (51-19; last week's ranking: 3): The East's top-seeded Pacers play three other elite teams in their conference this week in Chicago, Miami and Washington.


    Golden State6. Golden State Warriors (44-27; last week's ranking: 6): The Warriors have a five-day break before playing

    Read More »from NBA Power Rankings: Heat looking for traction
  • Andre Miller says Nuggets portrayed him as 'bad guy'

    Andre Miller returns to Denver on Sunday for the first time since the Nuggets traded him to the Washington Wizards. And it's clear he's still a little bothered by how he left the Mile High City.

    "I was made out to be the bad guy, the villain because I was the one complaining about minutes," Miller told Yahoo Sports. "That wasn't the issue at all."

    When the Nuggets ended Miller's streak of playing in 239 consecutive games – with the first "Did Not Play-Coach's Decision" of his career – on Jan. 1, Miller screamed at first-year coach Brian Shaw. Miller also had a tirade in the locker room after the game, sources said. The Nuggets suspended him for two games without pay after the incident before excusing him from team activities with pay until the trade.

    "They gave me an opportunity to represent Denver," Miller said. "I tried to do that the right way, but I was looked at as the bad guy, a disgruntled player. [The Nuggets said] I was complaining about minutes and that was never the issue.

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  • Wizards signing Drew Gooden for remainder of season

    The Washington Wizards will sign forward Drew Gooden to a contract through the end of their season, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Gooden has averaged 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in eight games for the Wizards this season. The Wizards had to decide whether to sign him through the rest of the season or waive him after he completed two 10-day contracts. Gooden has been key in helping fill the void for starting power forward Nene, who is still out with a sprained left medial collateral ligament.

    Gooden helped his cause by averaging 13.3 points and 3.6 rebounds the past three games. The 11-year NBA veteran has played with nine teams in his career, averaging 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.

    Gooden, 32, averaged career-lows of 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds with the Milwaukee Bucks last season before the franchise used the amnesty clause on the final two years and $13.3 million remaining on his contract.

  • NBA Power Rankings: Don't look now, but here come the Clippers

    San Antonio1. San Antonio Spurs (50-16; last week's ranking: 1): In addition to winning 10 straight games overall, San Antonio has won five straight on the road. The Spurs visit the Lakers on Wednesday.


    Los Angeles2. Los Angeles Clippers (47-20; last week's ranking: 3): The Clippers have won 11 straight and are suddenly making a run at one of the West's top two playoff seeds.


    Indiana3. Indiana Pacers (49-17; last week's ranking: 5): Indiana has won three straight games after its recent skid. Andrew Bynum is averaging 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his first two games.


    Oklahoma City4. Oklahoma City Thunder (48-18; last week's ranking: 4): Kevin Durant is now 14 games shy of tying Michael Jordan's streak of 40 straight games with at least 25 points set during the 1986-87 season.


    Houston5. Houston Rockets (44-22; last week's ranking: 2): The Rockets are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, which quickly cooled their threat of advancing to one of West's top two spots.


    Golden State6. Golden State Warriors (42-26; last week's ranking:

    Read More »from NBA Power Rankings: Don't look now, but here come the Clippers
  • What would you do with $1 billion? Four NBA stars have their own plans

    The NCAA tournament field is set, and Yahoo's Tourney Pick 'Em has teamed with Quicken Loans for the first Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Chris Paul, Paul George, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony are participating in the Celebrity Bracket Challenge and are submitting their own picks where users can join their individual bracket pools. Paul, George, Bosh and Anthony talked recently with Yahoo Sports about their strategy for NCAA tourney pools and how they would spend $1 billion.

    If you won the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with a perfect bracket, what would you do with the money?

    Paul George: "Of course I'm retiring. I'm going to try to own the Pacers and run [Pacers president] Larry [Bird] up out of his spot. Yeah man, I'm retiring for sure. That's a lot of money to sit on. Of course, I'm going to invest it right and make sure my money works for me, but I'm definitely leaving the game at that point and resting up early."

    Chris Paul: "Me and my wife actually have joked about it,

    Read More »from What would you do with $1 billion? Four NBA stars have their own plans
  • Knicks to announce Phil Jackson joining front office

    The New York Knicks will officially announce on Tuesday that Phil Jackson has accepted a top executive role in their front office, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

    The Knicks announced Friday that they will "make a major announcement" with team executives at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday. The statement didn't mention Jackson, but a source said Jackson has decided to join the Knicks.

    Jackson was taken in the second round of the 1967 NBA draft by the Knicks and played for the organization from 1967-78, winning titles with them in '70 and '73. Jackson won 11 NBA championships as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, but never held an executive role with either team.

    The Knicks announced on Sept. 26 that former executive Steve Mills had rejoined the organization as president and general manager, replacing Glen Grunwald. Mills' role and that of some other current Knicks' front-office employees could change with Jackson's arrival.

    In addition, the Knicks could part ways with coach Mike

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  • Lakers convince Kobe Bryant to sit out remainder of season

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wanted to continue his attempt to play again season, but was convinced by the team it would be better for his health if he not return, league source told Yahoo Sports.

    Bleacher Report first reported Bryant will not return this season because the fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee has been slow to heal. The Lakers said Bryant was examined by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo on Wednesday.

    "With Kobe's injury still not healed, the amount of time he’d need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we’ve simply run out of time for him to return," Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti said in a statement released by the team. "However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and we look forward to him being 100 percent for the start of next season."

    Bryant has not played since Dec. 17. If the Lakers (22-42) still had hopes of reaching the Western Conference playoffs, Bryant

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  • Suns' Goran Dragic hammering toward unexpected playoff berth, dream home

    Goran Dragic drives past Golden State's Stephen Curry. (AP)

    With a sledgehammer or shovel routinely in hand, Goran Dragic worked with a construction crew to build a home in his native Slovenia. No, this wasn't his job prior to making it big in the NBA – rather a hands-on approach proudly taken by the Phoenix Suns guard.

    But as eager as Dragic is to open the door of his first home for the first time, he'd rather that moment be pushed back because of an admittedly surprising playoff berth.

    "The house will still be there," Dragic said. "The playoffs, you never know. It's a privilege to play in the playoffs, always."

    Goran Dragic and coach Jeff Hornacek have helped spark a surprising campaign. (AP)Dragic says he grew up in a middle-class family that lived in a modest studio apartment in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. His parents slept in one bed while he and his brother, Zoran, slept on a bunk bed not far away.

    Dragic said the tight quarters made his family very close-knit. His new home will be a five-minute drive from where he grew up.

    Dragic became very fascinated with architecture and interior design as a teen as he

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  • NBA Power Rankings: New team takes over No. 1

    San Antonio1. San Antonio Spurs (46-16; last week's ranking: 5): The Spurs jump back to No. 1 with six straight wins and nine in their past 10 games. San Antonio also now owns the NBA's top record.


    Houston2. Houston Rockets (44-19; last week's ranking: 4): Houston has won five straight games with a big test at Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Houston is only two games behind the Thunder.


    Los Angeles3. Los Angeles Clippers (44-20; last week's ranking: 6): The Clippers have won a season-high seven straight games. Los Angeles has scored more than 100 points in 20 straight games.


    Oklahoma City4. Oklahoma City Thunder (46-17; last week's ranking: 3): The Thunder fell to second in the West with their surprising loss to the Lakers on Sunday. Oklahoma City has split its past 10 games.


    Indiana5. Indiana Pacers (46-17; last week's ranking: 1): Indiana has lost a season-high four straight. Help is on the way: The Pacers face Boston, Philadelphia (twice), Detroit and New York next.


    Miami6. Miami Heat (43-17; last week's ranking: 2): The Heat have

    Read More »from NBA Power Rankings: New team takes over No. 1

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