National Basketball Association playoffs should be entertaining

17 April, 2019, 11:40 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Who will be the new king in the East?

Story line: After rolling to the NBA's best record, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks open against a team they toyed with on their way to Milwaukee's first 60-win season since 1980-81. It all starts with the eighth seeded Detroit Pistons, whom the Bucks defeated all four times they played this season. The Nets won two ABA championships but haven't won an National Basketball Association title, though they made the Finals in 2002 and 2003. If Griffin is healthy, he and Drummond are two powerful forces down low. The Bucks are a truly elite defensive team that is top this year in team Defensive Rating, Team Rebounding, second in Blocks and were 1st in opponents field goal percentage.

No. 2 Raptors vs. The Celtics have floundered all season, struggling to establish locker room chemistry, shoot the three ball and incorporate players such as Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown. No. 2 Toronto draws No. 7 Orlando, with the Magic in the postseason for the first time since 2012. Nearly everyone can agree that there are two front-runners for the award this season: the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Houston Rockets' James Harden.

Stat to know: The Nets improved by 14 wins and exceeded all expectations this season to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

Cousins has played in 565 regular-season games and zero postseason games.

It could be Philadelphia, with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons anchoring perhaps the most talented starting five outside of the Bay Area. He typically dominates the Brooklyn Nets when he plays them. Meanwhile, D'Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert are averaging 21 and 19 points per game respectively. This is an opportunity for this young team led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to make a huge statement to not only the Eastern Conference but also the rest of the league that their time is now.

In each of the last seven seasons, and nine of the last 10, the No. 5 team in the West has beaten the No. 4 team in the first round. As there is every year, there were a ton of memorable performances from a number of players this season, and these are the five of the absolute best. Now Boston hopes to begin showing it can still be the team it was expected to be. Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and Domantas Sabonis have been excellent since Oladipo's exit. Neither team is particularly potent so needs to rely on being solid defensively. On the other end, Kenny Atkinson and the Nets have been throwing out weird defensive looks all season, including some zone and matchup-zone type of sets that the Sixers could struggle against, especially considering their lack of spacing.

With or without Griffin, Detroit are facing the NBA's best team.

Perez thinks Newcastle are safe after scoring the victor at Leicester
The Senegalese worldwide joined Newcastle from Hull City in 2016 and has gone on to become a first-team regular at the club. Newcastle were very drab at Arsenal the other week and even worse at West Ham a bit before that.

Jurgen Klopp sets target for Liverpool as title pursuit hots up
He took one touch to his left boot before a lightning-quick second tap with his right foot. He was brilliant, the way he [gets] players involved in the game and the chances he had.

Raptors and Leafs playoff games highlight Toronto's super Saturday
Muzzin, a trade deadline acquisition who missed the final regular-season game with an illness, assisted on Marner's first goal. If the stretch pass worked any better this season than the feed Nazem Kadri gave Nylander, we must be forgetting it ...

Milwaukee had 45 double-digit wins this season, the most in the National Basketball Association. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson for Golden State.

This is going to be one of the most interesting matchups in the first round.

Curry knows he can't let Beverley get under his skin.

- This is a series that could be tough for the second-seeded Nuggets.

But the start of the playoffs is a time for positive thinking, not pessimism. But he's another guy that's coming off a very disappointing postseason. He leads his team in nearly every statistical category while playing only 33 minutes per game. Here's the experience factor again: Malone has been on the sideline for zero playoff games as a head coach, while Popovich has coached 277.

They came through a testing opening-round series with the Sacramento Kings and a seven-game Conference Finals series with the Portland Trail Blazers before overcoming the Pacers in six games in the Finals, O'Neal racking up 41 points in the close-out game and adding Finals MVP to his league MVP award.

Season series: Thunder, 4-0.

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