C: Rufus on Fire. Ben Swanson on the somewhat surprising, somewhat poetic playoff push in Charlotte: "As the Bobcats metaphorically die, making their farewell tour before being resurrected as the Hornets this summer, they are determined to leave us on a high note."
PG: The Point Forward. Rob Mahoney on why the Memphis Grizzlies are more respected and feared than the Portland Trail Blazers, despite the fact that the Blazers are … y'know … actually in the playoffs.
6th: All Ball. Lang Whitaker tells what it's like to be an assistant coach on a D-League team. He gleaned this information by spending two days as an assistant coach on a D-League team.
7th: The New York Times. Speaking of the D-League, Scott Cacciola brings us to South Dakota, where the Sioux Falls Skyforce are nearing the end of the first season in which their basketball operations have been controlled by the Miami Heat: "It is a grand experiment in the Great Plains, and an unconventional marriage."
8th: Eye on Basketball. Matt Moore takes a look at how the teams that have played in the NBA finals over the past 10 years finished the regular season in hopes of figuring out whether/how much "peaking at the right time" really matters, and if the Indiana Pacers' ongoing implosion removes them from the list of serious title contenders. (Over at Hickory High, Jacob Frankel suggests not getting too exercised at the post-All-Star swoon, given how prior free-fallers have fared come the start of the postseason.)
9th: The Classical. Steve McPherson on the experience of taking himself out of the minutiae of the NBA game and everything that surrounds it to see it all, however briefly, through his daughter's eyes.
10th: The Triangle. Chris Ryan takes a crack at parsing the intra-Cleveland sports squabble surrounding Kyrie Irving, Josh Gordon and Dion Waiters, and settles on a sobering takeaway for all the teams hoping to hit the lottery in this summer's draft: "These guys can only do so much. Asking a teenager to transform your franchise is a risk."
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