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Clippers, Thunder scuffle

Serge Ibaka and Blake Griffin have a bit of a history, so it's no surprise that an innocuous bit of contact between the two turned into a dust-up during the Clippers' win over the Thunder on Wednesday night. As scuffles go, it wasn't terribly vicious -- the worst that happened was Ibaka bringing his hand back like he was going to throw a punch but never actually throwing said punch -- but it did result in ejections for Ibaka and Matt Barnes and a technical foul for Griffin. Barnes actually tweeted during the third quarter after being ejected, but we can't repeat what he said.

  • Who was most at fault in Wednesday night's shoving match between the Clippers and Thunder?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 30,164)

  • Which team would win a seven-game series on a neutral court?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 72,960)

  • Should Matt Barnes have been suspended for his third-quarter tweet after being ejected from the Clippers-Thunder game?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 14,841)

  • Which is the best team in the Western Conference?

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A power forward's job is to control the low block area -- they are able to play with their backs to the basket as well as step out to nail a mid-range jumper. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are known to have that skillset. Some are also known for their ability to intimidate with powerful dunks, like Blake Griffin. Then you have the Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki types who can pretty much do it all, from inside the paint to outside the arc. How do you round out the NBA's best at the four position? NBA insider Bradford Doolittle had his say and so did the NBA 5-on-5 crew, but now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

Rank 'Em: Point guards | Shooting guards | Centers | NBA teams' under-25 talent

NBA Power Forwards

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland Trail Blazers
2012-13: 21.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Pelicans
2012-13: 16.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Knicks
2012-13: 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis

Pelicans
2012-13: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

Spurs
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.7 BPG

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

Nuggets
2012-13: 11.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.0 APG

Derrick Favors

Derrick Favors

Jazz
2012-13: 9.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Nets
2012-13: 14.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

Lakers
2012-13: 13.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Clippers
2012-13: 18.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Al Horford

Al Horford

Hawks
2012-13: 17.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG

Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Thunder
2012-13: 13.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.0 BPG

LeBron James

LeBron James

Heat
2012-13: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG

David Lee

David Lee

Warriors
2012-13: 18.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.3 BPG

Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Timberwolves
2012-13: 18.3 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 0.5 BPG

Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap

Hawks
2012-13: 14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.0 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Mavericks
2012-13: 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.7 BPG

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph

Grizzlies
2012-13: 15.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Pistons
2012-13: 17.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.2 APG

David West

David West

Pacers
2012-13: 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Your Rankings

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For the second consecutive year, ESPN Insiders David Thorpe and Kevin Pelton have ranked the best players in the NBA under the age of 25. Now it's your turn to rank them. We've picked the top 15 from Thorpe and Pelton's list below. Just click on the images to rank them. You must pick at least five for your vote to count.

Stats through Jan. 21, 2013.

Best Players Under 25

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Age 24
Oklahoma City Thunder
29.3 PPG, 3.0 APG, 6.7 RPG

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Age 24
Oklahoma City Thunder
22.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 5.3 RPG

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Age 23
Los Angeles Clippers
17.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.6 BPG

James Harden

James Harden

Age 23
Houston Rockets
25.8 PPG, 5.3 APG, 4.4 RPG

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

Age 24
Chicago Bulls
21.8 PPG, 7.9 APG, 3.4 RPG*
*2011-12 stats

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Age 20
Cleveland Cavaliers
23.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.6 RPG

Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Age 23
Oklahoma City Thunder
13.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.8 BPG

Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Age 24
Minnesota Timberwolves
18.3 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 0.5 BPG

Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez

Age 24
Brooklyn Nets
18.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 BPG

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Age 24
Golden State Warriors
20.6 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.1 RPG

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

Age 23
Denver Nuggets
12.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday

Age 22
Philadelphia 76ers
19.4 PPG, 9.0 APG, 4.2 RPG

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis

Age 19
New Orleans Hornets
13.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.9 BPG

Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe

Age 22
Detroit Pistons
15.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Age 24
New Orleans Hornets
16.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.2 APG

Your Rankings

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Kevin Durant cried after the Thunder lost the NBA Finals, and for good reason: Despite his best efforts, Oklahoma City simply couldn't challenge the Heat beyond five games. It's got to be a huge disappointment for Durant, but let's not forget that he and the rest of the Thunder's core are all quite young, which bodes well for their future as contenders. Are they at the level where they can be perennial threats to win the Finals, or do they need to consider making some changes?


A return trip?

Neither the Heat nor the Thunder is on track to lose any of their superstars in the near future.

SportsNation

Will either the Heat or Thunder get back to the NBA Finals next year?

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    11%
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    30%
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    24%
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    35%

Discuss (Total votes: 508,216)


Necessary move?

If a few things had gone differently, the Thunder still might be playing in these Finals, which suggests they should consider standing pat.

SportsNation

Do the Thunder need to make a move this offseason to ensure a return to the NBA Finals?

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    44%
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    56%

Discuss (Total votes: 102,229)


Westbrook's role?

Russell Westbrook was feast or famine in the Finals. Would Kevin Durant be more effective with a different point guard?

SportsNation

Should the Thunder retain Scott Brooks as head coach?

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    90%
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    10%

Discuss (Total votes: 57,808)

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The list of teams that have come back to win their series after going down 3-1 in the NBA finals is short. Actually, it's nonexistent. That's probably not what the Thunder want to be thinking about after losing Game 4, especially considering the awkward fashion in which they fumbled the game away. Russell Westbrook had a costly and bizarre foul after an otherwise stellar performance, James Harden was a non-factor, and Kevin Durant started looking an awful lot like a guy who can only score. There's a first time for everything, but history is against the Thunder as they gear up for Game 5.


Westbrook's night?

Russell Westbrook was unstoppable for most of the game, but seemed to think that the shot-clock had reset when he fouled Mario Chalmers with only seconds remaining.

SportsNation

What do you make of Russell Westbrook's performance in Game 4?

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Discuss (Total votes: 41,596)


Harden a factor?

James Harden was supposed to be the Thunder's secret weapon in these playoffs, but last night, he managed a mere eight points in 37 minutes.

SportsNation

Whom do you blame most for the Thunder's loss in Game 4?

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LeBron's injury?

LeBron James seemed to be hurting after a hard fall late in the fourth quarter, but the Heat may have just been careful with their superstar.

SportsNation

What is your take on LeBron James sitting out the final 55 seconds of Game 4?

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    46%
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Fans upset?

Thunder fans will no doubt not be happy if their team loses, especially in this fashion, but we know another fanbase that does not want to see LeBron James win a title.

SportsNation

Which group of fans will be more upset if the Heat win these Finals?

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    53%
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Discuss (Total votes: 42,629)

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