Warriors, Clippers Exciting Game 1 Reactions

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klay

The NBA Playoffs have started.

The first game of the day on Saturday saw the Toronto Raptors give the Brooklyn Nets a 1-0 lead in the series between the 3- and 6- seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors committed 17 turnovers in a seven-point 94-87 loss. It was a physical contest, marred by 42 total fouls.

However, if you thought the officials let loose with the whistles in the first game, you may have missed the second game.

Game 2 of the day featured the Golden State Warriors in Staples Center to face the 3-seed Los Angeles Clippers—two teams that don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. The officials were all over the place, with four players having three or more fouls in the first half. Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala were both limited to 19 and 20 minutes respectively, both fouling out in the fourth quarter.

There were 51 total fouls called in the Western Conference showdown that saw Golden State walk away with a 109-105 victory. For as many calls that were made, there was plenty of physical play—much of which could have merited another blown whistle.

A prime example of a non-call, Chris Paul’s sixth and final turnover, which enabled Harrison Barnes to, in turn, get fouled and make 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the Warriors’ lead to three. Paul was clearly fouled by Draymond Green as he rounded the elbow, the resulting contact caused him to lose control of the ball as it went out of bounds.

Over the course of the final 13 seconds, Golden State missed 3-of-4 free throw attempts, Los Angeles just couldn’t capitalize. It was a compelling and exciting game to watch.

Many in and around the league were watching as well.

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Raptors-Nets Playoff Preview: Five Key Factors

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lowryThe twists and turns for the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors over the course of the regular season could almost rival those of the red and purple weddings on a certain Game show based in Westeros.

Brooklyn had championship aspirations ever since it acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on draft night, but ended the 2013 calendar year at 10-21, with All-Star center Brook Lopez out for the season, and searching for answers under rookie head coach Jason Kidd. While Pierce and Garnett were important in getting the Nets into the postseason, Kidd’s insertion of another offseason signing, Shaun Livingston, into the starting five is what really propelled the team on both ends.

Toronto’s aspirations were thousands of miles from lofty. Head coach Dwane Casey readily admitted throughout the season that the Raptors did not expect to reach the postseason. They offloaded Rudy Gay in a deal that most thought would get the team closer to Canadian prodigy Andrew Wiggins, not the postseason. But surprisingly, everything was coming up Raptors.

Kyle Lowry pushed past the dogged trade rumors and had a tremendous regular season. DeMar DeRozan finally developed into an All-Star scorer and lived up to his lucrative contract. Jonas Valanciunas continued his improvement. Native son Drake became a team brand ambassador, and the team took home the Atlantic Division title and the third seed in the East.

So that’s how the Nets and Raptors, and not the Knicks or Celtics, became the two Atlantic teams to reach the postseason. And now they face one another in what could be the most tightly contested series in the conference. Here are five factors you should look out for over the course of the next two weeks.

Tweet of the Day: Kobe Bryant Among Many NBA Players Reflecting On Season’s End

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Wednesday is the final night in the NBA regular season.

It brings with it a lot of fun and excitement, as all 30 teams are in action. It also features quite of a few games of great import, seeing as there are more than a few teams jockeying for position in the playoffs.

More than anything, for a lot of NBA athletes, it brings a moment of reflection:  An entire year of hard work is coming to a close. For some, the reflection is less inviting:  An entire season has seemingly gone to waste.

Don’t believe me on the latter? Check out Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant’s response to this season.

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PODCAST: Michael Scotto on Brooklyn’s Playoff Chances and Fixing the Knicks

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The Brooklyn Nets are legitimate contenders to dethrone the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference – whether or not LeBron James wants to admit it – as I outlined in my latest column.

As for New York, the futures of Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson will be impacted heavily if the Knicks fail to reach the playoffs – a likely scenario.

With the Nets seemingly entrenched as the fifth seed and the Knicks on the brink of mathematical elimination, I joined WFAN Sports Radio 660 AM and host Demetri Adrahtas. We discussed Brooklyn’s playoffs chances and the team’s x-factors along with a blueprint for Phil Jackson to fix the Knicks and what to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Here’s the podcast in its entirety:

More Basketball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Sheridan Hoops Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Michael Scotto is a Sheridan Hoops NBA columnist. You can follow him on Twitter

Scotto: Brooklyn Nets are Legit Contenders After Sweeping LeBron — UPDATED

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LeBron James trophyNo team has done what the Nets have done. And going into the playoffs, what they’ve done should not be dismissed.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets became the first team ever to post a 4-0 season series sweep over LeBron James since he entered the league more than a decade ago.

After being crowned by the Nets, James took out his frustration on TNT’s Craig Sager during a postgame interview when asked if Brooklyn was Miami’s biggest challenge in the East.

“Get out of here, Craig,” James replied. “Next question.”

While James avoided the question, there’s no denying it – Brooklyn has a legitimate chance to win the East now.