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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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Report: Grizzlies Guard Nick Calathes to be Suspended 20 Games

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies were already at a disadvantage heading into their first-round playoff matchup against the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that features superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But now, Memphis has taken a hit of their own – effective immediately, guard Nick Calathes will be forced to sit out the next 20 games due to violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug Program, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

[RELATED: NBA Playoffs Preview: Memphis Grizzlies Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder]

Per Wojnarowski, the substance Calathes tested positive for was Tamoxifen, under the classification of a “performance enhancer” that reduces estrogen levels, which is occasionally used by “steroid-taking athletes.” Wojnarowski, however, does note that “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.’”

This is a big blow to the Grizzlies, a squad that heavily relied on Calathes to provide sufficient backup point guard minutes in place of Mike Conley Jr. In his absence, the torch will most likely be passed to Beno Udrih, the veteran guard who was picked up by Memphis via waivers in February.

The 25-year-old rookie averaged 4.9 points on 45.7 percent shooting, dishing out 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.

 

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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.