Warriors, Clippers Exciting Game 1 Reactions

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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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May: The Future of Four Floundering Flagship Franchises

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We are about to witness what may be a first in the long history of the NBA. For the first time, four of the JacksonKnicksleague’s flagship franchises could well be out of the playoffs.

OK, the Knicks aren’t technically out of the race in the Hindenburg Conference, but they have a lot of ground to make up on Atlanta – four games in the loss column with 13 to play. The Celtics, Lakers and 76ers all are making plans for the 2014 draft lottery and the riches it may (or may not) provide.

Twenty years ago, the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers all missed the postseason, but the Pat Riley-coached Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Houston Rockets. That remains the best Knicks’ playoff run since the 1973 championship season (moreso than their surprising appearance in the 1999 Finals, where they were decided underdogs to the Spurs and lost in five.)

But at no time since 1949, when the Lakers entered the NBA in Minneapolis, and the 76ers came in as the Syracuse Nationals, have all four of these marquee teams been on the outside looking in when the playoffs arrived. (The Celtics and Knicks started in 1946.)

SH Blog: Pistons fire Cheeks; Stotts hasn’t talked extension yet

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Jennings CheeksHave you ever read something so intensely negative about someone that, regardless of how credible it is, you have a hard time dissociating it from your perception of that person?

I’m not talking George Zimmerman or Woody Allen here, of course. More of a rumor, possibly not even based in fact, that just sticks around in the back of your mind forever.

Rookie Rankings, Week 11: Sizing Up the Sophs

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With the midway point of the regular season approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to give the rookies a Anthony Bennettbreak and rank the sophomores for two reasons.

1. It is a nice change of pace and gives the reader something new.

2. This rookie class is god-awful and we are running out of ways to describe how bad it is.

At the end of the season, NBA coaches are asked to vote for five players for an All-Rookie Team. We defy anyone who has watched this season to go five-deep into the rookie pool.

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Tweet of the Night: Rockets May Have Asik Deal In Place

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Omer AsikLast week news broke that the Houston Rockets were planning to trade center Omer Asik by December 19th. Tonight, ESPN’s Marc Stein provided an update, suggesting that the Rockets already have a deal in place, but may hold out until the 19th to see if anybody can top it.