Good morning. Let's basketball.
A MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET: Memphis won a rager against Phoenix to clinch the final playoff spot available. (At that link you will find evidence of one of the most excellent Zach Randolph fast breaks in recorded history.) So we have our 16 teams for the postseason, which begins Saturday.
But the seedings aren't at all settled. Two more nights of action will suss all of that out. Here are the seeds that are locked in:
EAST: Pacers (1), Heat (2), Hawks (8).
WEST: Spurs (1), Rockets (4), Blazers (5), Warriors (6).
The Bulls and Raptors are fighting for No. 3 in the East. The Nets need a win to guarantee No. 5. If the Wizards don't steal that No. 5 seed, they need a win to hold off the Bobcats for No. 6. Out West, the Thunder need to beat the Pistons to claim No. 2, otherwise a Clippers win would hand it to L.A. The Grizzlies and Mavericks will play for the No. 7 seed on Wednesday.
So no, we won't have our pairings until Wednesday night at roughly 1 a.m. Eastern.
NBA 3.0: Sactown Royalty landed Kings owner Vivek Ranadive on its podcast. Must-listen.
ANDREW NO!-GUT: The Warriors' Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with fractured ribs. Based on the way Golden State is talking, he's not playing in the postseason. That's horrible news!
THE HOOK: How Kevin Durant took the MVP from LeBron.
WHEN CEDRIC MOODIE MET MJ: A brilliant piece by Sam Riches on what it was like to dunk on Jordan during a pick-up game.
ROLLER COASTER: Joe Dumars is done in Detroit. James Herbert looks at the ups and downs of his tenure.
NEVERENDING WINTER: It is snowing again in Chicago. Joakim Noah is not pleased.
MEANWHILE, IN THE DUB: Full coverage of the WNBA Draft from Swish Appeal.
ILLARD: Adidas has locked up Damian Lillard long-term. Given that Nike is based in Oregon, this is a little weird! Adidas reportedly had to make an unreal offer to keep the Blazer.
OH BETSY: Giant Betsy Ross grinds on a security guard, gives him a shoulder massage, creeps everyone the hell out. Scariest mascot in the NBA, or scariest mascot in any sport?
ODE TO BARGNANI: This is a couple months old, but new to me and it has Kelly Clarkson and there is no expiration date on Kelly Clarkson, so: the story of Andrea Bargnani and the Toronto Raptors set to "Since U Been Gone."Enjoy.
Happy Tuesday. See you next time.