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Full NBA Play-Off Schedule - Round One - 2014

That's it folks! The regular NBA season is a wrap, and now we have the play-offs to look forward too!

After a few tight games last night, this is what the final standings were in each conference:

EASTERN CONFERENCE 

  1. Indiana Pacers
  2. Miami Heat
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Washington Wizards
  6. Brooklyn Nets
  7. Charlotte Bobcats
  8. Atlanta Hawks
  9. New York Knicks
  10. Cleveland Cavaliers
  11. Detroit Pistons
  12. Boston Celtics
  13. Orlando Magic
  14. Philadelphia 76ers
  15. Milwaukee Bucks

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. LA Clippers
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Portland Trail Blazers
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
  8. Dallas Mavericks
  9. Phoenix Suns
  10. Minnesota Timberwolves
  11. Denver Nuggets
  12. New Orleans Pelicans
  13. Sacramento Kings
  14. LA Lakers
  15. Utah Jazz

There are going to be some awesome match-ups in the first round of the play-offs as a result. The Warriors and the Clippers have had a hot rivalry all season, so seeing them match up is going to be well worth a watch.

Portland vs Houston is also another nice match-up, that's pretty hard to call. Both teams have had a pretty solid season, but the real test for them is whether they can hold together well in the off-season.

Since Memphis beat Dallas last night, Dallas finished the 8th seed in the West, so they are up against the Spurs, which is a seriously tough match-up in the first round.

Miami ended up matched against the Bobcats, which is going to be interesting. A lot of people know that Miami can breeze through the series, but there are a few Charlotte fans out there hoping for a massive upset.

With play-offs games starting on the 19th April, here's the full game schedule for the first round:

EASTERN CONFERENCE - FIRST ROUND

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks 

  1. Sat. April 19, Atlanta at Indiana 

  2. Tue. April 22, Atlanta at Indiana

  3. Thu. April 24, Indiana at Atlanta

  4. Sat. April 26, Indiana at Atlanta

  5. Mon. April 28, Atlanta at Indiana 

  6. Thu. May 1, Indiana at Atlanta 
  7. Sat. May 3, Atlanta at Indiana

(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats 

  1. Sun. April 20, Charlotte at Miami 

  2. Wed. April 23, Charlotte at Miami 
  3. Sat. April 26, Miami at Charlotte 

  4. Mon. April 28, Miami at Charlotte 
  5. Wed. April 30, Charlotte at Miami

  6. Fri. May 2, Miami at Charlotte

  7. Sun. May 4, Charlotte at Miami

(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets 

  1. Sat. April 19, Brooklyn at Toronto 

  2. Tue. April 22, Brooklyn at Toronto 
  3. Fri. April 25, Toronto at Brooklyn 
  4. Sun. April 27, Toronto at Brooklyn 

  5. Wed. April 30, Brooklyn at Toronto 

  6. Fri. May 2, Toronto at Brooklyn 

  7. Sun. May 4, Brooklyn at Toronto

(4) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Washington Wizards

  1. Sun. April 20, Washington at Chicago

  2. Tue. April 22, Washington at Chicago 

  3. Fri. April 25, Chicago at Washington 

  4. Sun. April 27, Chicago at Washington 

  5. Tue. April 29, Washington at Chicago

  6. Thu. May 1, Chicago at Washington 

  7. Sat. May 3, Washington at Chicago

WESTERN CONFERENCE - FIRST ROUND

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Dallas Mavericks

  1. Sun. April 20, Dallas at San Antonio 

  2. Wed. April 23, Dallas at San Antonio

  3. Sat. April 26, San Antonio at Dallas

  4. Mon. April 28, San Antonio at Dallas 

  5. Wed. April 30, Dallas at San Antonio 

  6. Fri. May 2, San Antonio at Dallas 

  7. Sun. May 4, Dallas at San Antonio

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Sat. April 19, Memphis at Oklahoma City
  2. Mon. April 21, Memphis at Oklahoma City 

  3. Thu. April 24, Oklahoma City at Memphis 

  4. Sat. April 26, Oklahoma City at Memphis 

  5. Tue. April 29, Memphis at Oklahoma City 

  6. Thu. May 1, Oklahoma City at Memphis

  7. Sat. May 3, Memphis at Oklahoma City

(3) L.A. Clippers vs. (6) Golden State Warriors

  1. Sat. April 19, Golden State at L.A. Clippers 

  2. Mon. April 21, Golden State at L.A. Clippers 

  3. Thu. April 24, L.A. Clippers at Golden State 

  4. Sun. April 27, L.A. Clippers at Golden State 

  5. Tue. April 29, Golden State at L.A. Clippers

  6. Thu. May 1, L.A. Clippers at Golden State 

  7. Sat. May 3, Golden State at L.A. Clippers

(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers

  1.  Sun. April 20, Portland at Houston 

  2. Wed. April 23, Portland at Houston 

  3. Fri. April 25, Houston at Portland 

  4. Sun. April 27, Houston at Portland 

  5. Wed. April 30, Portland at Houston 

  6. Fri. May 2, Houston at Portland

  7. Sun. May 4, Portland at Houston

Miami Heat Lose Top Seed in the Eastern Conference After Losing to Wizards

The Miami Heat lost to the Washington Wizards last night, meaning that they have dropped to the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh sat out of the game in Washington, where a 93-114 loss meant that the Indiana Pacers would secure the top spot in the Eastern Conference and get the number 1 seed.

You might have thought that the Heat would be bothered about that, but they didn't seem like it. Dwayne Wade, who did play after missing a lot of time recently with an injury, said; ''There would be no disappointment… When the playoffs start, we have a new season and we will be looking forward to it.''

The seeding now means that the Indiana Pacers will definitely play the Atlanta Hawks (who are the 8th seed) in the first round of the play-offs, while the Heat will play either the Charlotte Bobcats or the Washington Wizards, depending on who ends up in that 7th position.

It's become a little bit of a routine for James to miss the final regular games of the season. He missed the final game in 2011, and sat out the last two games in both 2012 and 2013. The Heat again made the decision that it's more important to give him time to rest than it is to throw everything they have at the last few games before the play-offs.

The Wizards played a good game, shooting 59% from the field and making 14 3-pointers. Trevor Ariza led all scorers with 25 points, while Marcin Gortat added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Washington really dominated the second quarter of the game, knocking down 15 of their 16 field goal attempts and outscoring the Heat by 43 - 22.With one game left to play, the Wizards have the chance to move up to 5th spot, or drop to 7th, so they're still grinding and putting in the work.

Michael Beasley led the Heat with 18 points, while Shane Battier was moved up to the starting lineup by went 0-5 in the 15 minutes that he was on the court. Wade played 18:27 minutes and had 9 points and 3 assists.

The Heat play their final game of the regular season tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Wizards play the Celtics up in Boston.

Grizzlies Clinch Final Play-Off Spot After Beating Suns

The final play-off spot in the Western Conference came down to a single game last night, between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Phoenix Suns.

The Memphis Grizzlies edged the win at 97-91, clinching the play-off spot and ensuring that the Suns are staying home in the post-season.

The Grizzlies have swept the Suns 4-0 this season, and Zach Randolph was the man who stepped up to the plate in this crucial game, scoring a season-high 32 points and grabbing 9 rebounds to ensure his teams success.

Mike Miller upped his game last night, scoring 21 points after averaging just 6.9 for the season. Marc Gasol added 18 points and 8 rebounds and Mike Conley had 14 points and 7 assists for Memphis.

The Suns were led by Markieff Morris, who had 21 points. Channing Frye, Miles Plumlee, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe all scored in double figures, but that wasn't enough to carry the Suns through to a surprise play-off position.

At the start of the season, the Suns were considered to be one of the worst looking teams, but Suns coach, Jeff Hornacek summed up what they have done this season; "A bunch of guys who weren't expected to do much got together and played as a team...We may not have had superstars...But these guys competed. That's the biggest takeaway."

In last night's game, there were 15 lead changes in a thrilling 4th quarter, with the Phoenix leading 91-90 with 1:27 left to play. Memphis then went on to score the final 7 points of the quarter to secure the win.

The Grizzlies will play the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow, and the winner out of the two will take the 7th spot, while the loser will hold the last spot going into the play-offs and have to play the top-seed Spurs in the first round.

If the Suns win their last game, against Sacramento tomorrow, they will become only the 4th ever team to miss the play-offs, having won 48+ games in the regular season. The other teams to miss out were the Suns in 1970-71 (on 48 wins) and then 1971-72 (on 49 wins), and Golden State in 2007-08 (on 48 wins).

Watch last night's game highlights.

Lance Stephenson Gets NBA-Leading 5th Triple-Double of the Season

The Indiana Pacers are looking to top the regular season off on a high note, and that started with a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

The 102-97 victory means that either the Pacers just need to win their final game in Orlando on Wednesday, or they need the Miami Heat to lose in either of its final two games, to take the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers have been on a downturn of late, with in-fighting and finger-pointing translating to a string of bad on-court performances, but last night they looked like they were ready to face the post-season.

Lance Stephenson dropped an NBA-leading 5th triple-double of the season, with 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Pacers move one game ahead of Miami in the Eastern Conference.

David West led the team in scoring with 21 points, with Paul George adding 20 points and 12 rebounds, and C.J. Watson coming off the bench to also score 20. Ian Mahinmi and Luis Scola came of the bench to score 11 and 10 respectively, meaning that Indiana had 3 bench players in double figures for the first time since 3rd February.

Speaking after the game, Indiana head coach, Frank Vogel summed up who things looked by saying; "I think we're on the way back to being us again."

Oklahoma were led by Kevin Durant's 38 points, followed by Russell Westbrook with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

Despite the Pacers leading in the 4th quarter, the Thunder went on a 17-6 run to tie the game at 89 a piece with 2:45 remaining on the game clock. Stephenson and George hit big 3-pointers for Indiana in those last couple of minutes to push them just far enough ahead to be able to hold of the Thunder, and take a crucial win.

While Durant hit a couple of 3-pointers in the 4th quarter, he was 2-11 for the game, and his scoring partner, Westbrook, was just 3-10 from beyond the arc for the game.

Westbrook also had a bit of a stupid moment during the game, that had people shaking their heads and wondering what he was thinking.

After the whistle had blown for a timeout, Westbrook ran and blocked Paul George's casual shot attempt, and then he tried to block George Hill's meaningless 3-point shot, and fell flat on his backside. After missing 35 games this season thanks to various injuries, you would think Westbrook would try to reign it in a bit with the play-offs just round the corner. Take a look:

 

The Pacers play their final game in Orlando on Wednesday, while OKC will play New Orleans tonight, and the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

 

Lance Stephenson Pictured Above (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Corey Brewer Has 51 Point Game for Minnesota

If you were asked to name players who would get a 50+ point game this season, I'm betting that Corey Brewer would not have been on that list. Yet, last night, Brewer scored 51 points, as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Houston Rockets 112-110.

What's more, Brewer racked up 6 steals, meaning that he joins a very short list of players - Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry - who have ever had a game with 50+ points and 6+ steals. Yep, we are still taking about Corey Brewer.

Brewer shot a fairly efficient 19-30, and his 51 points is the most scored by any Timberwolves player, in a regular season game, in franchise history.

Minnesota would usually look to players like Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic for much of their scoring, but all three didn't play in the game. Luckily Brewer stepped things up.

Take a look at Brewers run:

Rookie Gergui Dieng also made a significant contribution to the game, to carry the Timberwolves through. Dieng had 12 points and 20 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive, allowing the TWolves to grab some important second chance points.

Dieng also hit the last 2 field goals of the game, including the game winner for Minnesota, with just 4.6 seconds left on the clock.

The Rockets played into the Timberwolves hands early on. Their lack of effort on the defensive end meant that Minnesota could pull away to an early 15 point lead. Houston picked things up at the start of the second, going on a 20-6 run to bring things back.

James Harden had 33 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds for the Rockets, and Chandler Parsons added 27 points and 7 assists. With Dwight Howard out, Omer Asik was picking up some of the slack on rebounds too, grabbing 15 to go with 9 points.

Houston had 22 turnovers which led to 28 Minnesota points.

In terms of the upcoming play-offs, the result doesn't change too much. Minnesota were already out of the running, sitting down in 10th position in the Western Conference, but as teams like Denver have shown in recent games, just because they're out of the race, doesn't mean they're going to lie down.

The Rockets are definitely in the play-offs, and right now they're sat around the middle of the seeding. They have 1 less loss than the Portland Trail Blazers who sit behind them in 5th place, and who they'll almost certainly be matched up against. If they can stay just ahead of Portland then they'll get home court advantage in the first round.

NBA Logos Redesigned in a Pokemon Theme

If you're a big fan of the NBA, and you were the right age in the 1990's, then you might appreciate this. A fan has gone and redesigned the NBA logos, along a Pokemon theme. 

We like a bit of NBA fan art if it's done right, and while we're no expert on Pokemon, some of these logos look pretty cool. 

You can see the full set of logos on Imgur, but here are our favourites.

Seatle Onyx

Golden State Wartortles

Orlando Magikarp

Toronto Embers

Cleveland Gravaliers

Philadelphia 9 Tails

Portland Self Destruct

Cerulean Cloysters

San Antonio Sprouts

New Orleans Pidgeys

Minnesota Hyperfangs

Gengar Lakers

Memphis Primeapes

Brooklyn Rest

 

Iguodala With Sick Crossover as Warriors Lose to Nuggets | Mozgov Goes for NBA Season-High 29 Rebounds

The Denver Nuggets might be well out of the play-off spots as the regular NBA season winds down, but they're definitely not taking things easy in their last few games.

Last night, the Nuggets took a 100 - 99 win over the Golden State Warriors, thanks to great performances from Kenneth Faried and Timofey Mozgov.

Mozgov scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed a career-high 29 rebounds - the most by any player in the NBA this season. That is also only the second time this century that an NBA player has come out with at least 23 points and 29 rebounds in a game. Kevin Love did it with 31 points and 31 rebounds in 2010.

Mozgov dominated over the smaller Warriors side, going 10-13 on 2-point field goals, earning himself a full 24 minutes playing time in the second half.

Faried had 18 points and 17 rebounds, and hit the game-winning shot with just 0.5 seconds left on the game clock, after the Nuggets fought back from a 20 point deficit.

It wasn't a great night for the Warriors on a number of fronts - of course losing the game after having a 20 point lead on the Nuggets, but the loss also meant that they failed to solidify their play-off spot in the Western Conference.

There's no doubt that the Warriors are going to be in the play-offs, but as things get desperate towards the end of the season, teams prefer a little bit of certainty.

After the game, Warriors star Steph Curry said; "There are a lot of reasons why this is a terrible feeling in the locker room...I don't know if I'd call it a setback, but it's definitely not how we envisioned the night going."

One unmistakeable highlight for the Warriors though was when Andre Iguodala crossed over Quincy Miller, sending him to the hardwood in spectacular fashion. Check it out:

The Warriors will have another chance against the Nuggets, when they play them again next Wednesday. In the meantime, they can still clinch their play-off spot in games against the LA Lakers on Friday, Portland on Sunday and Minnesota next Monday.

The Nuggets can continue their run to the end of the season against Utah on tomorrow and the Clippers next Tuesday.

2014 NBA Global Games Pre-Season Schedule Announced

The NBA have announced their Global Games 2014 schedule, which includes five pre-season games in four countries.

The Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs will be jetting off to play a series of games abroad, with the aim of reaching out to the current international NBA fan-base, and in the hope of building up the popularity of the NBA overseas.

The games will be held in Brazil, China, Germany and Turkey, and will be accompanied by a range of off-court activities, including NBA Cares community programmes and interactive fan events around each city.

The full events schedule looks like this:

  • 8th October - Berlin, Germany, San Antonio Spurs vs Alba Berlin
  • 11th October - Instanbul, Turkey, San Antonio Spurs vs Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul
  • 11th October - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat
  • 12th October - Shanghai, China - Brooklyn Nets vs Sacramento Kings
  • 15th October - Beijing, China - Brooklyn Nets vs Sacramento Kings

The San Antonio Spurs will be the only team travelling to Europe this year, where they will play against two Euroleague teams as part of their pre-season schedule.

New NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, had this to say about the NBA's Global Games program. "As the passion for the game continues to grow globally we are focused on finding unique and meaningful ways to connect with fans worldwide, and the NBA Global Games are part of those efforts...Basketball brings people together across cultural and geographic lines, and these games are a great opportunity for our fans to experience the excitement of the NBA first-hand."

Further international games are to be announced for regular season games later in the year. 

Mason Plumlee Blocks LeBron's Dunk to Stop Heat Game Winner

The Brooklyn Nets haven't necessarily had a great season overall, but you can't take anything away from them when it comes to their regular season series against the Miami Heat.

The Nets have done what everyone else has failed to do over the past couple of seasons, and that's sweep Miami in the regular season series.  Brooklyn's 88 - 87 win last night was the nail in the series coffin at 4-0.

Brooklyn were up by as many as 13 points in the first half of the game, but with just 4:14 left on the game clock in the 4th, Miami had pulled things back, and taken a 3-point lead.

Things remained close and on the final play of the game, Nets rookie, Mason Plumlee, blocked a LeBron James dunk. Brooklyn rebounded the ball and the final 2 seconds of play expired, giving the Nets that 1 point win.

Plumlee made a few critical plays down the stretch, but none more so than that one. Take a look at the video:

The Nets were shooting 52.9% from the field, and 39.1% from beyond the arc. Joe Johnson led Brooklyn in scoring with 19 points, while Marcus Thornton added 16 points and 6 rebounds.

James had a game-high 29 points for the Heat, while Chris Bosh (12 points) and Norris Cole (10 points) were the only other 2 Heat players to get into double figures.

The Heat were looking for a foul to be called in those final seconds, but the only whistle was the one calling time on the game, and the series.

"They're a good team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said to Yahoo! Sports after the game. "They're one of the hotter teams since All-Star break. Every single one of these games, however you want to slice it, however you get to that point, there are plays to be made in the fourth quarter. And for whatever reason, they've made more plays."

Up next for the two teams, the Heat will play in Memphis tonight, before facing their main rivals, the Indiana Pacers, in Miami on Saturday. That game should be one to watch as the two teams jostle at the very top of the Eastern Conference.

The Nets play the Magic in Orlando tonight, before playing them in Brooklyn on Sunday. They've got the Atlanta Hawks wedged in-between that at the Barclays Center on Friday.

Lakers Match Worst Ever Record for a Season After Losing to Clippers

The LA Clippers have had a ball in their match-ups with the LA Lakers this season. They beat them by 36 in January, then by 48 points in March, to hand the Lakers their worst loss in franchise history.

Now the Lakers have been dealt a loss at the hands of the Clippers that means they have matched the worst ever franchise record. The Clippers' 120-97 win last night took the Lakers to 25-52 on the season, the last time that they had such a bad record, was in the 1974-75 season, when they went 30-52.

With the Oklahoma City Thunder losing to the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers win means that they were able to inch closer to that coveted second spot in the Western Conference.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had 23 points a piece, and DeAndre Jordan had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Clippers out-rebounded the Lakers 52 - 38. Paul was playing like they play-offs were already here, shooting 8-10 from the field, and 4-4 from beyond the arc.

Jordan Hill led the Lakers in scoring with 22 points, followed by Jodie Meeks with 17 points and Kendall Marshall with a double-double of 10 points and 11 assists. The Lakers are struggling with injuries again. They started the game with 9 healthy players and were down to 8 by half-time, before dropping down to 7 by the end.

The Clippers still have a lot of work to do if they want to catch Oklahoma, and they can start by welcoming them to the Staples Centre on Wednesday. The Clippers are 3 games down in the loss column, with only 4 regular season games left to play.

If things stay as they are now in the play-off race, then we can look forward to a nice rivalry between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, who are currently 6th.

In the meantime, check out the highlights from last night's Lob City takeover.

Picture: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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