As the postseason clock slowly ticks its way towards midnight, there are several teams whose playoff runs will come to an end sooner than they would have liked.
The good feelings that resulted from opening-round victories will be short-lived for half of the squads left in the NBA's version of the Elite Eight. The intensity of the conference semifinals is at a different level than it was just a series ago: The whole "win or go home" mantra seems much more tangible now that the Larry O'Brien Trophy is a distinct possibility.
With the cream set to rise to the top in short order, a number of teams will soon be forced to involuntarily begin their offseasons. And while they'll put up a good fight before they leave, there isn't much they can do to prevent their departure.