Eastern Time to close out Saturday's first day of action.
Toronto is assured $803,222 while Boston and Golden State are up to $704,169. That's roughly the difference between a 64-win and 30-win pace over an 82-game season. But they earned the No. 2 seed anyway, and hear the whispers of naysayers suggesting they're vulnerable.
Since the 1983-84 season, winners of Game 1 have gone on to win the series 79 percent of the time.
Portland Trail Blazers (3) vs. The Sixers come into the playoffs riding a 16-game winning streak.
Saavedra: I'm interested to see how the Philadelphia 76ers do against the Miami Heat. The 76ers are young, brash and backing it up, while the Heat have the confidence of knowing that they can knock off Philly. He's one of only four players with top-20 ranks in all three categories, alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.
His absence would boost the Spurs' chances, but it has been far from a vintage season for Gregg Popovich's side with All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard sitting out all but nine games of the campaign due to a quadriceps injury.
If the Warriors are able to make it past the Spurs without much of a problem, the Warriors would face the victor of the Blazers-Pelicans series in the second round.
Miami have been steady this term with domineering center Hassan Whiteside the focal point of their starting unit, while veteran former champion Dwyane Wade provides invaluable experience.
The Warriors have met the Cavaliers in each of the last three finals, with Stephen Curry's All-Star crew besting LeBron James and company twice.
Another thing that distinguishes the National Basketball Association bracket challenge from that of the US NCAA is that unlike in the latter in which one wrong guess will totally end your bracket challenge stint, you have a chance to bounce back from a busted bracket as you can revise your predictions after each round.
Mbah a Moute is a key rotation player for the Rockets, who have the best record in the National Basketball Association.
After a season of chatter about how the merger of newly arrived stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook wasn't working, the Thunder still wound up with home-court advantage for the first round of the postseason.
The Manila Times had followed the games through the wonders of electronics media since the season started and prepared a comprehensive study on the playoff matchup-outlook and who's playing who in the East and West that might interest its readers.
Houston Rockets - Right now? Season head-to-head, Houston, 4-0.
It's been a special year for both James Harden and the Houston Rockets as a whole.
The Wolves get the 1-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of the Playoffs.
What the playoff seeding really does for Golden State is give time for players such as Curry, Andre Iguodala and Pat McCaw to heal from various injuries and get them healthy to defend their throne.
Season series: Warriors, 3-1.
The San Antonio Spurs announced today their local broadcast schedule for the first round in the best-of-seven NBA Playoffs series against the Golden State Warriors. Heck, I even did a column on why he deserved it fair and square.
"There is no pressure on us", Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge said.
San Antonio Spurs - For once, there's pretty much zero pressure on the Spurs heading into this playoff to do well.
No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers vs. Season head-to-head, 2-2. Defense was the key for New Orleans in OT; they boasted a 93.9 defensive rating in the extra period this season, the third-best mark of any team to appear in at least five overtimes. Guys like Mirotic, Rondo, and Holiday will be very impactful on this series. So does James Harden, but he might have a few more shots than his backcourt mate could have left. And Holiday will score quite a bit himself.
No. 4 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (48-34) vs. And when it comes to generating those extra possessions - and more scoring as a result - no team is more proficient than the Thunder (+3,300).
Oklahoma City will win this series in seven games at home in front of their home fans. Combining his Cleveland and Miami years, James' teams have won 46 of their last 51 first-round games. But without Irving? Making the series against the Bucks a close one will probably be an impressive achievement.
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