SH Blog: Bogut has fractured rib and is out indefinitely, Irving very disappointed with how season is ending for Cavs

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BogutWith only one game left to go on the season, the Golden State Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120 on Monday to win 50 games for the first time since the 1993-94 season, when they finished with a 50-32 record. With the victory, the Warriors assured themselves of a first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s an amazing accomplishment for a franchise that has struggled for so long, and it shows a clear sign of progress since new ownership took over the team a few seasons ago. Unfortunately, the feeling of satisfaction and hope heading into the postseason came with a big asterisk: they had learned just earlier in the day that center Andrew Bogut – the team’s most important player on defense – may be out for the remainder of the season with a fractured rib, from Tim Kawakami of Mercury News

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Grizzlies are In; Suns are Out; Six Playoff Matchups TBD

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sunset in phoenixWell, the Phoenix Suns gave us an interesting season. And for that, we thank them as we bid them adieu and wish them good luck in the draft lottery. Their chances of winning are slim: They get five ping-pong balls out of 1,000. Good luck with that.

Not much of a consolation prize, eh?

The Western Conference playoff race came to a close of sorts Monday night when the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Suns 97-91 in a thrilling game that featured 15 lead changes in the fourth quarter. It was the fourth straight victory for the Grizzlies, who were my preseason pick to make it to the NBA Finals, along with the Indiana Pacers. Good luck with that, too, eh?




The Grizzlies, however, are NOT locked into the eighth spot. They can avoid the San Antonio Spurs, who swept them in the regular season, if they defeat the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night in one of several games that will have playoff seeding implications.

As of now, the only first-round matchups that are set in stone are Indiana-Atlanta in the East, and Houston-Portland in the West.

SH Blog: Knicks waiting for 2015; Cavs want to keep Spencer Hawes

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Jeff Hornacek SunsMonday night. 10 p.m. Eastern. Memphis Grizzlies. Phoenix Suns. Only one of them can make the playoffs. The Grizzlies will be coming off a game the previous night against the Lakers. If they win that game, they’re a game up on the Suns. If they lose, the two teams are tied. Phoenix has to be praying the Lakers get the win, because they’ve lost all three games against the Grizzlies this season, and they need to claim the eighth spot outright.

If Memphis wins tomorrow night and again Monday, they’re in. If they lose both, they need to beat Dallas on Wednesday. So it has to be said that while the clock hasn’t struck midnight on the Cinderella Suns, it’s 11:58.

Regardless, they’ve won 47 games with a lineup full of players only the most diehard fan could have named at the beginning of the season. In an era where NBA coaches are more expendable than ever, Jeff Hornacek is proving that the right guy can make a huge difference.

Now let’s get to the latest from around the NBA:

SH Blog: Carlisle says Nowitzki is one of 12 greatest of all-time, Cavs expected to offer Irving $80 million this summer

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Dirk-Nowitzki-Dallas-Mavericks-NBA-9-485x728Dirk Nowitzki recently moved past Oscar Robertson to take the 10th spot for all-time scoring in the NBA.

Think about that for a second. 10th all-time! It puts him ahead of legends like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Jerry West, and the list goes on and on. It’s a surprisingly impressive feat, and it helped put into perspective just how great of a player the power forward has been to reach such a milestone.

So with his career somewhat starting to wind down at the age of 35 (about to turn 36 in a couple of months), is it finally time to start wondering where exactly he belongs when you talk about his standing in the history of the game? Is he in the conversation in terms of being a Top 10 Player of All-Time?  Top 20? According to his coach Rick Carlisle, Nowitzki is already in the Top 12, from Marc Stein of ESPN

SH Blog: David Lee defends his case as a good player for Warriors, Bogut seemingly has higher praise for Green than Lee

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DavidLee1SHThere has been plenty of drama surrounding the state of the Golden State Warriors for the past month or so, mostly involving the front office and the coaching staff.

Will there be some new drama when their injured starting power forward makes his return at some point this season? Tim Kawakami of Mercury News has long been an advocate of the idea of not over-utilizing David Lee, and his recent article suggests that the defensive-minded Draymond Green may need more playing time – even if it means at the expense of Lee. Most that watch the Warriors on a regular basis would probably agree with that notion – yours truly included –  but Mark Jackson has never accepted the idea of bringing Lee off the bench or playing him anything less than 35 minutes in most games.

At the same time, Green has been such a phenomenal player (although you’d never know it from looking at his stats alone) for the team, and it has come to recent attention that he actually fits in quite nicely with the starting unit. There have been no holes on the defensive end, and Green’s ability to set bruising screens (yes, they are more effective than Lee’s screens) against the opposition has really helped open things up for the offense. Green can also guard multiple positions, space the floor better than Lee,  and is also more of a willing passer (at least partly due to his own ineptitude in getting his own shots) and a really good one at that, so it appears to be within reason to wonder what really happens when Lee returns.