Thoughts on the first weekend of the National Basketball Association playoffs

Thoughts on the first weekend of the National Basketball Association playoffs

They have an experienced closer in Dwyane Wade who may be past his prime now but with the balanced playoff schedule, can perform in clutch times when called upon.

The Canadian team, lead by Demar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry, got most of their success due to their much improved defense. I will give an upset pick by choosing the Wizard to win in seven games.

A year ago saw the Bulls nearly cause quite the upset, going two games up on the number one seeded Boston Celtics. This matchup unfortunately will not feature a full caliber Boston team, because their star player Kyrie Irving will miss the playoffs.

But the most intriguing should be the Golden State-San Antonio matchup - because once again, just like a year ago, the Spurs will nearly certainly be without Leonard.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out in overtime. This may be a quick round.

Embiid was a spectator in Game 1 of the first-round series because of a broken orbital bone around his left eye.

76ERS 130, HEAT 103: In Philadelphia, Ben Simmons had 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in his playoff debut, and Philadelphia romped again without Joel Embiid, earning its 17th straight win.

This might be the most interesting matchup in the first round, as these two teams appear to be the most evenly matched.

Tom Van Arsdale (929) is the record-holder for most regular-season games without seeing postseason play, followed by Otto Moore (682), Nate Williams (642), Sebastian Telfair (564), then Casspi and Cousins.

Belinelli and Ilyasova combined to hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter that helped shift the tone from physical and foul-filled to a long-distance game that allowed the Sixers to put away this one. And over in the East, the team everyone is expecting to win is the No. 4 seed Cavaliers, but the No. 1 seed Raptors are looking to prove they're a legit contender. Indiana's defensive strength (and Cleveland's defensive weakness) should probably get the Pacers a couple of wins, but the Cavs are definitely favourites here. ESPN will broadcast the Eastern Conference Final (they'll also broadcast the National Basketball Association draft lottery before Game 1), while TNT will do the same for the West.

In fact, the last time a team seeded 6th or lower won a playoff series was four seasons ago as the sixth-seeded 2014 Brooklyn Nets.

Few players have consistently delivered in big moments as Lillard has, so the expectation is that he's going to be better as the series moves along.

San Antonio will try to adjust before Monday's Game 2, but the Warriors looked so much better than them on Saturday, I have a hard time believing that the Spurs stand much of a chance to win a game in this series. The absence of Kawhi Leonard will hurt the Spurs and so they lose to the Warriors in five games. Portland's legendary home court advantage should make sure the Moda Center is loud, but New Orleans has a fighting chance. The Pelicans have the best player in the series and are keyed in as a team defensively.

"I think the fans are more relieved than we are", Wright said.

Utah dropped Game 1, 116-108, to Oklahoma City but looked like it was feeling things out. Even the most recent League MVP has not been able to click together.

For a Cleveland team that doesn't play with enough energy and effort, Osman provides both - and should be playing over Green.

As I have listed my matchups and results, however I have described to you the difficulty of this round to do the team matchups that are featured.

"We'll see how much of an impact that has, but my sense is we're still going to have some work to do".

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