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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Scotto: The Knicks’ $129 Million Question: Will Carmelo Anthony Stay?

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Carmelo Anthony“I want to be a free agent,” Carmelo Anthony told the New York Observer prior to the season.

By publicly saying so, Anthony’s impending free agency became a constant and colossal distraction as large as the Empire State Building and simultaneously induced a chain reaction of numerous rumors during the season.

J.R. Smith playfully alluded to the constant media speculation when asked if he would talk to Anthony about his future this summer.

“I’m not going to talk to him at all,” Smith said Tuesday. “He’s got to talk to you all every day about it.”

“Yeah, it’s the talk, it’s the topic any and everywhere I go, on the court, off the court,” Anthony said during his exit interview on Thursday. “Guys want to know what you’re going to do. Guys have their opinions, whether it’s to come play with them or do something else.”

Ironically, the same free agency speculation and drama that once consumed Denver – and ultimately forced the Nuggets to trade Anthony to the Knicks – has resurfaced in New York.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Magic Johnson, Kevin Love, Others Remember Jackie Robinson

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Jackie Robinson, most recently immortalized in last year’s baseball film, 42, is a sports icon—in large part due to the significant contribution he made to all sports in being the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball during racial segregation (prior to the Civil Rights Movement).

Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers 67 years ago on this very day, April 15, 1947.

10 years ago, in 2004, Major League Baseball decided to commemorate Robinson’s legacy by beginning a tradition, known as Jackie Robinson Day, in which all uniformed players and managers wear the number 42 to honor his legacy.

Despite Success, Price of 2014 Clippers Playoff Tickets Below 2013 Lakers

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When it comes to professional basketball in Los Angeles, the Lakers have dominated the conversation. The Clippers have always been the little brother compared to the Lakers, but this season the Clippers are in the playoffs without the Lakers joining them for the first time since both teams have played in LA. The last time the Clippers franchise was in the playoffs in a season in which the Lakers weren’t was the 1975-76 season when the Clippers were still the Buffalo Braves. Even though the Clippers have surpassed the Lakers in the standings, they can’t make the jump in ticket prices.

LA Clippers playoff tickets at Staples Center are averaging $229.75 on the secondary market, according to TiqIQ. Even as one of the higher averages in the playoffs this year, that price is still 39 percent lower than the average price of Lakers tickets last year when they struggled to the seventh seed. The Lakers were swept by the Spurs in that series and were without Kobe Bryant.

The price for Clippers playoff tickets has increased from last season, though. last year they had an average price of $185.51, but were directly competing with Lakers sales. Last year the Lakers averaged $378.57 a ticket, which would be second only to the Toronto Raptors this year. The Raptors are a three seed, back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, are in a big market and have the highest playoff premium above the regular season average than any other team in the playoffs.

History is likely in play for why the Lakers continue to cast a shadow over the Clippers. The Lakers have won 16 championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics all-time, have been a perennial playoff team every season, and always seem to be led by one of the biggest names in the sport. Even last season, when they barely made the playoffs, the Lakers had name value in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

On the other hand, the Clippers have had a tortured history on par with some of the worst franchises in sports. They have only recently been able to turn things around with the drafting of Blake Griffin and the trade for star point guard Chris Paul. But that hasn’t been enough to reverse the fortunes of the two franchises.

The Clippers have a legitimate chance of winning a title this year as the third seed in the West, and sport the second-best point differential in the league. They will face an exciting Golden State Warriors in the first round, a team that almost found a way to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals last postseason. The Clippers finally have the spotlight to themselves and could use a successful playoff run as the next step to escaping the Lakers’ shadow.

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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