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: 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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Curry, Hollinger, Bledsoe and more around the league react to accomplishments and failures as season winds down

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Marc GasolAfter a season-long battle to see who would end up with the eighth and final seed of the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies proved to be the winner of the coveted position – relatively speaking – on Monday after beating the Phoenix Suns 97-91.

Unlike teams in the East, where some barely over .500 or even under it made it into the playoffs, the Suns will go home early despite an impressive 47-34 record – good enough to be the fifth best team in the East. They overcame many odds to get to this point, but none bigger than a whopping 40 games missed from Eric Bledsoe. In all likelihood, another team would be on the outside looking in had the speedy guard not been out for so long. The same can arguably be said of the Grizzlies, who had to play without their defensive anchor Marc Gasol for 23 games.

At least Memphis is healthy going into the playoffs, which is a luxury that the Golden State Warriors, who clinched the sixth seed after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, suddenly don’t have after learning of Andrew Bogut’s devastating rib injury.

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).