NBA Playoff Schedule: First Round

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Here is the playoff schedule for the eight first-round series of the 2014 NBA playoffs:

SH Blog: Klay Thompson calls out Blake Griffin’s style of play, Gary Payton says Curry and Westbrook are shooting guards

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KlayThompsonSH1It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors have a strong dislike for each other. It has been that way since last season when the Warriors became a relevant team in the Western Conference, and it continued into this season when Blake Griffin called the Warriors cowards. The two teams won’t even share a chapel together.

That’s true hate.

What no one could have seen coming, though, is Klay Thompson joining in on the fun, so to speak. During a radio interview, the sharp-shooter called out Griffin for his “out of control” style of play, transcribed by Arash Markazi of ESPN LA:

On Wednesday, Warriors guard Klay Thompson called Clippers forward Blake Griffin out for flopping and playing “kind of out of control sometimes.”

“He is a good guy off the court but he probably just … I mean … plays pretty physical and flops a little bit,” Thompson told The Wheelhouse on 95.7 The Game radio in San Francisco.

“He flairs his arm around so you know you might catch a random elbow or something that doesn’t you know rub off too well on guys,” Thompson said. “He’s kind of like a bull in a china shop, kind of out of control sometimes. And then you do just see him flop sometimes like how can a guy that big and strong flop that much.

“I can see how that gets under people’s skin and be frustrating to play against.”

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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: