National Basketball Association playoffs are underway
National Basketball Association playoffs are underway
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
17 April, 2018, 10:39
The Golden State Warriors will be without Steph Curry early on, Cleveland's mid-season capitulation, Boston's injuries, Toronto's composure in the playoffs and Houston's James Harden can not have a meltdown as he did last post-season.
Kevin Durant helped the defending champions get defensive in a hurry, finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the Warriors returned to their old dominant selves at playoff time to beat the cold-shooting San Antonio Spurs 113-92 on Saturday.
There were winners, and, naturally some losers from the Game 1 action across the US. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were knocked off in Game 1, giving James his first loss in the first round since 2012.
The Warriors are trying for a third title in four seasons, and will play this first round more than likely without Curry while he continues recovering from a knee injury. Three 76ers scored over 20-points, and it looks like they are back as serious contenders since the days of Allan Iverson.
One intriguing point made by Thorpe and backed up by Lowe: in the four regular season matchups between Houston and Minnesota, the Rockets were willing to allow James Harden to be switched onto Karl-Anthony Towns. He went 2-for-4 from behind the arc and was 3-of-8 from the field in Game 1. Jimmy Butler's return has boosted their stock by at least 50 percent, but because they have been clicking and firing on all cylinders for the whole season they should win this in five games. They have gone 17-wins in a row and are not merely beating teams; they are embarrassing their opposition.
The Portland Trail Blazers fell at home in their opening round game against the New Orleans Pelicans 97-95, but they may just need more Zach Collins.
Injury update: Warriors star Stephen Curry and Spurs star Kawhi Leonard both remain out, but there's no new major issues for either team. No wonder Charles Barkley became so enamored with the National Hockey League version of the postseason - that's a sport that actually doles out some real drama once the regular season is over. This all makes for exhilarating match ups and potential upsets.
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The Sixers crowd roared as Embiid, the self-proclaimed "Phantom of the Process", waved his arms toward the crowd and exhorted them to get louder. Out east, the Toronto Raptors surprised many by grabbing the conference one seed. It works in Game 1, but Giannis finds a way to assert himself and wins the series before it gets back to Boston for Game 7.
Past year saw the Bulls nearly cause quite the upset, going two games up on the number one seeded Boston Celtics.
No active players have appeared in more regular-season games without any getting any postseason run than Casspi and Cousins. They traded their best player Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in a move that signalled a rebuild, but instead, in improved to win 48 games and finish 5th! Betfair has them (Celtics) as favorites at 1.66, while the Bucks are at 2.25. These teams are more evenly matched than what it looks like on paper, and this series will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting to follow.
He had the first double-double in the postseason by a rookie in his debut since 1986 (Terry Catledge) and it was also Philadelphia's highest-scoring playoff game since 1986. Cleveland is down, but not yet out, though it does look that way.
Popovich's San Antonio Spurs just didn't have enough answers for Golden State in Game 1 of their Western Conference series, and Spoelstra's Miami Heat offered Philadelphia absolutely no resistance in a second-half meltdown that opened their Eastern Conference series. Game 2, 8 p.m., TNT.
The final two games will also be exhilarating and punters have some excellent odds to choose from. The Western Conference-leading Rockets will breeze past the Timberwolves, and Betfair Sports agrees at 1.18 to 5.50.
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Wade, who also had seven rebounds and three assists, was backed by 20 points from Goran Dragic and 18 points from James Johnson . The Heat began applying fullcourt pressure and didn't allow the Sixers much room to operate at all on the three-point line.
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