The Atlantic Division race could be the most exciting in the NBA, with the Sixers clinging to a half-game lead over the Celtics and the Knicks sitting just three games back. The winner gets, at worst, the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference — though for practical purposes, it could be the fifth seed, as winning percentage, not seeding, determines home-court advantage in the postseason. If the playoffs started today, the Sixers would go on the road for Game 1 against the fifth-seeded Hawks, who have a better record. Here's the latest from the NBA's northeastern corner:
- New Celtics center Ryan Hollins has always looked up to Kevin Garnett, and they bonded during the lockout, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com. Their relationship might explain why the Celtics chose Hollins to shore up their front line this week.
- Phil Jackson looms as a coaching candidate for the Knicks and other teams, but girlfriend Jeanie Buss says no teams have been in contact with Jackson, David Singer of Los Angeles' 710 ESPN Radio tweets. (Hat tip to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com)
- In The New York Times, William C. Rhoden takes a look at how involvement in a scandal at the University of Kentucky set Raptors coach Dwane Casey on a path away from college and toward the NBA. In an appreciation, Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun wonders whether Casey might be the greatest coach in the team's 17-season history. That's a stretch for a guy who's 16-33 in less than one full season.