Curry, Hollinger, Bledsoe and more around the league react to accomplishments and failures as season winds down

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Marc GasolAfter a season-long battle to see who would end up with the eighth and final seed of the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies proved to be the winner of the coveted position – relatively speaking – on Monday after beating the Phoenix Suns 97-91.

Unlike teams in the East, where some barely over .500 or even under it made it into the playoffs, the Suns will go home early despite an impressive 47-34 record – good enough to be the fifth best team in the East. They overcame many odds to get to this point, but none bigger than a whopping 40 games missed from Eric Bledsoe. In all likelihood, another team would be on the outside looking in had the speedy guard not been out for so long. The same can arguably be said of the Grizzlies, who had to play without their defensive anchor Marc Gasol for 23 games.

At least Memphis is healthy going into the playoffs, which is a luxury that the Golden State Warriors, who clinched the sixth seed after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, suddenly don’t have after learning of Andrew Bogut’s devastating rib injury.

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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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. 

Nowitzki, Conley, Dragic, Stoudemire key for NBA Teams Chasing Final Playoff Spots

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With one week left in the NBA regular season, the pressure is on for two Eastern Conference teams and four Western Conference teams fighting for the final playoff spots. Millions will intently watch what transpires over the next seven days as teams face must-win games, and the effort and intensity pick up.

Each of these half-dozen teams have a player who will greatly impact the fate of their clubs the rest of the way.

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SH Blog: Parsons says he would boo Howard if he was still a fan, Woodson says Knicks still have a shot

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Dwight-HowardThe clip above is what the Orlando Magic decided to show in the second quarter of the game against the Houston Rockets when Dwight Howard came to town on Wednesday. It was a short tribute video for all the marvelous years Howard gave to the franchise.

The question is, why in the world would the Magic do this?

Were they really looking to honor and thank Howard for his time with the team? If that was truly what they had in mind, that’s certainly a silly way of showing their appreciation, as the crowd showered the arena with boos through the entire video.

The Magic know that fans in Orlando are going to boo the hell out of Howard until the day he retires. Showing a tribute clip and having the crowd booing it all night is a great way to mock what he did for them (not thank him), and Howard certainly isn’t going to shed any tears over it with the crowd reacting that way. Perhaps the result was the actual intent, in which case, bravo.

Here is a cleaner version of what the tribute video looked like:

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