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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Rookie Rankings, Week 22: Not the Worst Draft Ever. Not Yet, Anyway

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Anthony BennettThere’s been some talk lately that the 2013 draft could be the worst in NBA history.

We could wait more than a year before jumping into the adjoining worlds of shortsightedness and hyperbole, couldn’t we?

Yes, this was a bad draft. We’ve said it ourselves several times. For the first time since 2001, the top pick is going to average less than five points per game. For the first time since 1988, the Rookie of the Year is probably going to be a double-digit selection.

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Rookie Rankings, Week 21: Gorgui Dieng’s Late-Season Surge

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Gorgui DiengWe have reached the point of the season where teams that are out of the playoff race start giving more playing time to their younger players to see what they may have.

One of those teams is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who may have something in rookie big man Gorgui Dieng.

New Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders spent the offseason loading his roster with veterans such as Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf in hope of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. While Minnesota (35-35) already has surpassed last season’s win total, break-even ball doesn’t get it done in the Western Conference.

While the veterans got most of the minutes, Dieng and fellow rookie Shabazz Muhammad – both acquired in a draff day swap that sent Trey Burke to Utah – mostly sat and watched. Through the first 64 games, Dieng accumulated 22 DNPs as Turiaf backed up Nikola Pekovic in the middle.

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Bernucca: Who Is On Your Team’s Mount Rushmore?

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rushmoreThis past week, NBA TV released excerpts of an extended interview with LeBron James (airing in its entirety Monday night) in which Steve Smith asked “The King” to name his Mount Rushmore of basketball.

James offered a quartet of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. But it’s really an unfair question, because in addition to those four players, there are at least three more – centers Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell – who are in the “best ever” conversation. And that group doesn’t include active players who eventually will join the conversation as well, like Kobe Bryant and James himself.

A better exercise might be establishing a Mount Rushmore for each team.

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SH Blog: Bynum market is slow; Aldridge wants to extend in Portland

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noncallAt what point does public acknowledgement of mistakes stop being enough?

It drew a lot of attention when Paul George was fouled on the final shot in a huge Indiana-Miami game and it wasn’t called. The latest one, featuring Monta Ellis grabbing both of Austin Rivers’ arms, was far more egregious, and the NBA has admitted it was the wrong call.