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NBA Playoffs: OKC Thunder Collapse After 3-1 Series Lead As The Warriors Win Game 7 To Advance To NBA Finals

Defending Champion Warriors defeat the OKC Thunder in Game 7 setting up a NBA Finals rematch vs LeBron’s Cleveland Cavs:

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Via NY Times:

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors entered the N.B.A. playoffs having spent months chasing basketball magic. As they overwhelmed a conga line of opponents, the Warriors went about the uncharitable business of obliterating records, each new number more impressive than the last.

Yet the Warriors have remained aware that all their feats would be meaningless without an opportunity to vie for another championship, their victories consigned to the dustbin of near renown, their records reduced to footnotes of almost greatness. They have always wanted the whole package: the wins, the records and the trophy.

Golden State sustained the dream on Monday by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 96-88, in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena. The Warriors, the defending champions, are bound for the N.B.A. finals, where they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second straight year. Game 1 is here on Thursday.

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2014 NBA Playoffs Officially Set; 1st Round (Best of 7) Series Match-Ups

CBS ‘Eye On Basketball’ takes a closer look at the 1st round playoff match-ups as the NBA Playoffs begin this weekend: 

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Western Conference:

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

Analysis: Just for old time’s sake, we’re getting a good old-fashioned Tim Duncan-Dirk Nowitzki duel in the playoffs. The Spurs are 4-2 in playoff series against the Mavericks in the Dirk-Duncan era with the Spurs winning the most recent series in 2010. We’re getting two of the best perimeter attack teams in the NBA, who execute with incredible precision.

The biggest key to this series will end up being how the Mavericks’ big men play. Dallas has trouble on the boards and they’re a pretty bad defensive unit in most creations they have with their lineups. Can anybody step up to right the interior ship for Dallas or will Duncan and Tiago Splitter have their way inside and in the series?

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

Analysis: After the Grizzlies announced their presence with authority on the playoff scene in 2011, they were outlasted by the Thunder in the second round of the playoffs in a pretty epic series. Last season, we got a rematch but this one was sans Russell Westbrook, which allowed the Grizzlies to take advantage of focusing on Kevin Durant defensively and making the rest of the team beat them.

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The NBA’s New CBA and Its Effect On Free Agency and The Salary Cap

CBS Sports Ken Berger with a look at next month’s NBA free agency as it relates to the new NBA economic model:

MIAMI — In the aftermath of a compelling NBA Finals, a championship coronation for LeBron James and his Miami Superteam, the question is — as always — what now?

That question ripples through the NBA, from the biggest of big markets to the smallest of small, especially now, as the league ventures into new salary cap and player movement guidelines that resulted from the 149-day lockout that almost canceled the season.

How do the Heat add to their championship roster? How do the Thunder keep their core together and still have flexibility to make the improvements necessary to get back to the Finals? How does the rest of the league catch them, and more interestingly, which model prevails? The clear-space-and-load-up-on-stars model? Or the patient, snail’s-pace, build-from-within approach?

These questions take on even broader significance in the coming days as executives, agents and players prepare for the first full-fledged free agency period since the new collective bargaining agreement reset the NBA’s economic and competitive model. Read the rest of this entry