Blazers-Rockets Playoff Preview: Five Key Factors

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CarlesimoI was listening to P.J. Carlesimo on the radio yesterday morning (how many of y’all remember that he guided the Brooklyn Nets last season?), and he made a good point. Almost never is there an upset in a 4 vs. 5 series. The teams are usually too evenly matched.

In this case,  we have two teams that finished with identical 54-28 records.

Houston gets the home court by virtue of winning the season series 3-1. And if they get past the Blazers, they move into the second round against the San Antonio Spurs (baring a major upset by Dallas) knowing they had the Spurs’ number this season, sweeping them 4-0.

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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Chris Bernucca’s Postseason Award Choices

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Image.AdamSilverTransparency is a two-way street.

For years, NBA media members – echoing the sentiments of its passionate fan base – wanted more transparency from Commissioner David Stern and his executive staff. Whether it was a lottery drawing, a suspension in the playoffs or a referee scandal, folks felt like they were entitled to an explanation. And they were.

Stern grudgingly came around. He arranged for the media to meet with referees prior to the season about rules changes. He allowed the media into the lottery drawing. He okayed press releases that admitted, Yes, we blew that call.

Since replacing Stern as commissioner less than three months ago, Adam Silver has taken the NBA’s transparency up a notch. He declared that there will be an open dialogue about officiating and is walking the walk by making internal memos available to the media.

But Silver is getting something back, too. At All-Star Weekend this year, the media presented the notion of transparency with regard to how its members vote on postseason awards, and the commissioner bought in. 

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Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, April 9 Edition: This Pick is Easy; Coach of Year is not

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magnifyingglassMy ballot will be e-mailed to NBA headquarters late at night one week from today, and I will then publish all of my picks for postseason awards — as is my standard practice.

But not every one of the 126 voters makes his/her selections public. At least that is the way it has been in the past.

But this year, transparency rules. The Pro Basketball Writers Association and the NBA media relations office have come to an agreement under which all of the voters’ picks in every single category will be made public. Too bad this didn’t happen a year ago, when we would have learned who had the gumption to vote for Jordan Crawford as Sixth Man of the Year. (The NBA even checked with the voter to see if he meant to select Jamal Crawford, and the voter responded ‘no.’ He actually felt the lesser Crawford was deserving).

Sprung: Jeremy Lin won’t cut it for Rockets with Patrick Beverley out

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JeremyLinSH1Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are the big-name players, but the Houston Rockets would not be a top-four team in the Western Conference without Patrick Beverley.

Houston is 36-16 when Patrick Beverley starts, but they will miss him for at least two weeks (and likely for the duration of the regular season) with a torn meniscus. His replacement is one Jeremy Lin.

You remember him, right?

Even if Beverley doesn’t have the best offensive and defensive numbers, it doesn’t seem likely that Lin has the skill set to adequately replace what Beverley does for this team.

“Obviously we’re going to miss Pat’s defensive intensity and passion and the energy he brings every single possession,” Parsons told SheridanHoops.