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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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The Sampling Period

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There comes a time in every person’s life where multiple paths are laid out and must be narrowed to one. For some, the traditional path is the one most obviously trodden; others may find themselves, as Robert Frost once did, on a road not taken.

In the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference panel “10,000 Hours vs. The Sports Gene,” authors Malcolm Gladwell and David Epstein debated myriad ways in which an athlete transitions from who they can be to the athlete they were meant to be.

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Fighting Father Time: Derek Fisher Refuses To Change

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We've seen players from the 1996 come and go in this league, and while some have arguably had more successful careers, no one's persistence is quite as surprising as Derek Fisher's.

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A Work In Progress: Kevin Durant Struggles In Russell Westbrook’s Return

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In the past, the Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled without Russell Westbrook in their lineup, which doesn't come as a huge surprise seeing as he's a top five player in the league when healthy. However, ever since he went under the knife again before the New Year, the Thunder have been one of the NBA's hottest teams, posting a 20-8 record over a two month period which has helped hold their position at the top of a crowded Western Conference.