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Hidden Subplots of the 2014 NBA Playoffs

Photo: Flickr/Mat Sadler

The Larry O'Brien trophy isn't the only thing driving this year's playoff field. There are deeper driving forces beneath the surface, and Derek has uncovered them all just in time for tip-off.

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I Can’t Wait For A Thunder-Grizzlies Rematch

May 13, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) guard Reggie Jackson (15) and forward Kevin Durant (35) walk off the court after game four of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis defeated Oklahoma 103-97 in overtime and lead the series 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

We've seen this movie before, the one in which David meets Goliath, Rocky Balboa fights Apollo Creed, William Wallace offers the bloods of thousands of Scots in return for a small taste of freedom. It's the one where the underdog, shorthanded for some reason, fights tooth and nail for a shot at something greater than they could've ever imagined.

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Fit Like A Glove: The Resurgence of James Johnson

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In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected James Johnson from Wake Forest with the 16th overall pick. While he showed flashes of potential in his rookie season in Chicago, it was one plagued with inconsistency. For every block, steal or offensive rebound, there were missed shots and turnovers, leading him to playing spot minutes off of Vinny Del Negro's bench.