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Playoff preview: Western Conference

April 19, 2014 | 06:12 AM ET Update

After the NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes for 20 games because of a positive test for a banned substance, the players union's acting director called the banishment "a true injustice." The banned substance -- Tamoxifen -- was part of an athletic supplement that Calathes had been using, sources said. "This discipline is a true injustice," NBPA acting executive director Ron Klempner told Yahoo Sports late Friday night. Yahoo! Sports

"Our collectively bargained program failed this player and this case will certainly be recalled when we return to the bargaining table," Klempner told Yahoo Sports. "In the meantime, we'll file an appeal and allow the process to run its course." NBA lab results found no traces of synthetic testosterone or performance-enhancing drugs, and as one source told Yahoo Sports, "There was no intent, nor advantage gained here." Tamoxifen is also on the Major League Baseball and International Olympic Committee's banned substance list, because it has shown to be a masking agent that reduces the side effects of steroid use and increased testosterone production. The drug is generally used in treatments for breast cancer in women. Yahoo! Sports

Two days after Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson called out Clippers star Blake Griffin for flopping and playing out of control, L.A. coach Doc Rivers said he wants Griffin to keep doing what he's been doing this season, even if that includes flopping. "That's Klay's opinion; I don't really care," Rivers said Friday. "I just keep looking at what Blake's done. If he's flopping, then keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me. So flop on. That's the way I look at it. Whatever he's done this year, I want him to keep doing exactly that. When the votes come for MVP, he'll be in the top three. "I'm good with anything anybody says. Blake, you just keep doing what you're doing. What's happening is Blake is kicking a lot of people's butts and they need something to say about him." ESPN.com

Griffin didn't want to get into a war of words with Golden State but acknowledged it would be impossible to leave his emotions behind when the Clippers and Warriors open their Western Conference first-round series Saturday. "I don't think you can leave the emotions behind," Griffin said. "I think both teams need that to a certain extent. You can't be too emotional where it's affecting your play, but you have to play with some emotion. You can't take that out of the game." ESPN.com

To understand the impact and influence Tyrone Green had on Joakim Noah, just go back to Noah's 2007 draft night. Wearing seersucker, a bow tie and an exuberant smile, Noah, minutes after he shook then-Commissioner David Stern's hand and walked offstage, ignored a question on live TV to get serious. "I just want to thank Mr. Green, who has been my mentor," Noah said that night. "I love you to death, Mr. Green." Green, an influential figure in New York youth basketball for 35 years, died unexpectedly last week at 63. Chicago Tribune

Noah missed Bulls practice on bereavement leave and coach Tom Thibodeau was hopeful Friday Noah would be back Saturday. Sources, however, said Noah's leave is open-ended and it's up to him how long he needs to grieve. A source close to Noah said he won't miss Sunday night's playoff opener against the Wizards at the United Center. Chicago Tribune

From his Twitter account, Lawrence wrote that a Jazz executive confirmed that the organization is “ready to pull the plug on Tyrone Corbin and go for a new coach.” He didn’t name any potential replacements. The Jazz and Corbin’s camp vehemently denied the validity of Lawrence’s report. “Not accurate. No discussion,” Jazz President Randy Rigby wrote in a text to the Deseret News while in New York for the NBA Board of Governors’ meeting. Deseret News

Dolan, who told staffers on the eve of the season that he felt the Knicks could contend for an NBA title, told the players on Wednesday that he was “disappointed by the season, that he had higher expectations,” the player said. “He said we left the fans wanting more,” the player said. The player said Dolan added the Knicks "have to start thinking about a championship and he told us that it starts [Thursday]. It was a great speech." Woodson was in the room for the speech, according to the player. But his future with the Knicks is unclear. ESPN.com

How does Chris Bosh get fired up for a game? He doesn’t. Bosh prefers to play classical music or jazz while he is buried in a book before games. It does not get his blood pumping any faster, but it does help settle his mind and prepare him for the mental challenge ahead. When Miami opens the playoffs at home against Charlotte on Sunday (3:30 p.m., ABC), Bosh plans to prepare himself by starting in on “The Art of War” because “it’ll put me in the mood for this time of year.” Palm Beach Post

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN NUGGETS HISTORY
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Carmelo Anthony is way up there, but can't beat two legends from the run-and-gun teams of the 80's.

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