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National Basketball Association playoffs are wide open, for once

15 Avril 2018

On Sunday, the games are Milwaukee-Boston, Indiana-Cleveland, Utah-Oklahoma City and Minnesota-Houston.

After dipping last season, the NBA's average television viewership rose to a four-year high in 2017-18.

The Heat come into the playoffs as the sixth seed, facing the Philadelphia Sixers in the first round.

Start with the East pairings: Lowry and the top-seeded Raptors play No. 8 Washington, No. 2 Boston faces No. 7 Milwaukee, No. 3 Philadelphia gets No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Cleveland - with LeBron James bidding for an eighth consecutive appearance in The Finals - opening against No. 5 in, a surprise team at the start of the season and one that isn't a surprise anymore. Finishing ahead of them were the first-place Toronto Raptors, whose stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have finally matured into legitimate threats. The Philadelphia 76ers are right there in the top half of the playoff standings for the first time in years, largely due to their young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

ClutchPointsWho are some fun, lovable underdogs to get on board with?

It's not just me fighting for Snyder. Will the Dubs recapture their winning form?

"The job he has done is freaking insane", Bryant said.

Despite his best efforts, the Thunder need to be more than just Russell Westbrook plus four and the Paul George who averaged in excess of 20 points per game in his final four could prove key in this one.

This was the toughest decision for me. But he has piled up the games played and the minutes, and he will run out of gas against this team.

Nine of this season's 14 best records came from the Western Conference.

The Thunder have been a middle-of-the-road defensive team since losing Andre Roberson in January, and that figures to make the difference here - the Rockets will shoot 35-40 3-pointers per game against OKC, a team that has allowed opponents to make 39.1 percent of their 3s over their final 25 games.

Look, Simmons had an awesome year.

What potential second-round matchup do you want to see?

Who'd Mitchell have to back him up?

If you're looking to throw some money on a series in the West with a good return, look no further than this one.

In my opinion, Harden is the best player in the National Basketball Association right now. Well, he does now.

But that guarantees nothing - over the last seven years, four teams have lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals and gone on to win the championship anyway.

Seeing Portland in the third seed may come as a shock to many, purely because they finished eighth previous year. If Steph is 100% or close to it I still think they get past the Rockets. Here you go. Also: Chris Paul needs a ring.

As pathetic as it may seem to some, I shed a couple tears watching Ingram scoring bucket after bucket.

No active players have appeared in more regular-season games without any getting any postseason run than Casspi and Cousins. So does James Harden, but he might have a few more shots than his backcourt mate could have left. Not since 2010 has LeBron James not been in the NBA Finals. That doesn't factor into my pick for MVP. Cole clearly an avid fan of the pro game, also warns: "Watch out for the quiet ones, they bring the storm".

Regardless of age, James is still having one of the most impressive seasons in the history of the game.

Of course, it's not all about stats.

Houston posted the league's best record (65-17), and it's hard to bet against a team that has James Harden. I think this actually bodes well for Boston considering what the matchup could've been.

Meanwhile, James had to dig his team out of "Strugglesville". However, with Kawhi Leonard most likely out of the postseason and the Spurs taking up the seventh seed, they are definitely an underdog team going into the playoffs.

National Basketball Association playoffs are wide open, for once