There are a lot of strong matchups in this year's playoffs, but the Thunder squaring off with the Rockets could be the most intriguing of them all. It's a pairing that didn't seem likely until James Harden & Co. started stumbling down the stretch, putting Houston in line for the No. 8 seed. Now, Harden has a chance to make OKC regret their decision to trade him and the Thunder get to show their old friend that they can still be a contender without him. Here's more on that and other items out of the Northwest..
- The parting of the Thunder and Harden absolutely had to happen, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. OKC's four-year, $53MM offer to Harden wasn't enough and there was no way the Thunder could have afforded to pay four players a combined $59MM next season and $61MM in 2014/15.
- Derek Page of HoopsWorld questions if the Pelicans made the right choice in taking Anthony Davis No. 1 instead of Damian Lillard. Teammate and fellow top-10 pick Austin Rivers credited Lillard for having a strong rookie season but said that he is 100% confident that New Orleans made the right call.
- An exciting offseason awaits the Jazz and all of their free agents, writes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News. Sorensen sees Utah letting Al Jefferson go and instead retaining either Paul Millsap or Mo Williams, but not both.