Warriors-Clippers Playoff Preview: Five Key Factors

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hehatemeIn terms of competitiveness and venom, nothing comes close to matching what this series should bring.

These teams simply do not like one another, and their rivalry has been building over the course of two seasons in which the hatred between the teams has only grown with each encounter. If you had to pick one series and one series only to watch every minute of, this would be the winner among those who like their hoops with some histrionics.

If you had to pick a series Most Likely to Include a Brawl, this is where you would make your wager.

Memo to East Coast fans: Buy coffee. Buy Red Bull. Heck, buy straight caffeine pills if that is what it takes. The scheduling gods have done you a favor by putting two of the first four games in afternoon time slots. If they can pull some more of that magic for the as-of-yet unscheduled Games 5, 6 and 7, we can all count ourselves as lucky.

SH Blog: Pacers and Heat collide for top seed; Warriors say championship or bust; Carmelo has dead shoulder

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lebron-james-hibbert-foulThe Miami Heat will host the Indiana Pacers Friday night in a game that will likely determine who finishes the regular season with the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

It has been a long, strenuous, and often confusing journey for these two teams, but it will all come full circle tonight in Miami. 

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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Twitter reacts to Stephen Curry’s game-winner against Dallas Mavericks

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Andre Iguodala Steve Blake Stephen Curry

With the season winding down and holding just a 1 1/2 game lead over the trailing Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors could ill-afford to lose Tuesday’s game on the road at the American Airlines Center.

After an inexplicable loss against the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Warriors knew another loss – particularly to the Mavericks – would put them in a neck and neck battle for the remainder of the season with three other teams just to make it back to the playoffs. Golden State came out blazing and shot 55 percent or better from the field for much of the game despite having to play without David Lee and Andrew Bogut, but Dallas was ready for the challenge. Dirk Nowitzki, for the most part, had his way with 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field – including six-of-eight from the 3-point line –  to go with 11 rebounds and three assists. Monta Ellis was also highly effective against his former team with 27 points and six assists. The Warriors countered with a number of weapons: Klay Thompson had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, Andre Iguodala had 16 points on seven-of-nine shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists, Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock with 20 points and eight rebounds, Jordan Crawford had 19 points on an impressive seven-of-10 shooting, and Draymond Green did a bit of everything with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

In the end, though, Curry would have the final say, as he launched a shot over Jose Calderon with virtually no time left on the clock in overtime. 

SH Blog: Aldridge rushing return; Kobe calls out Shaq; Bosh says Big 3 will return to Miami; Westbrook uncertain of playoffs minute restriction

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AldridgeLillardSH1As teams continue to jockey for position in the Western Conference — and fight for 50 wins just to get in — one of the early season darlings continues to sink.

That would be the Portland Trailblazers. Once the talk of the NBA, the Blazers have hit a rough patch at the worst possible time, losing nine of their last 13 games and are now just a half game ahead of the Golden State Warriors for the 6th spot in the West. 

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