National Basketball Association playoffs kick off


The eight top teams from each Western and Eastern conference will play each other in a series of seven games. "I think it is important to point out someone getting in their first year not going to be working 14 of our playoff games".

"Individually you have great players who haven't had the great fortune of winning championships", he said, "but by and large I don't think it's unfair to put that pressure on winning championships because that is the name of the game: to win championships".

The matchup: Toronto has been a consistent playoff contender for years now, but a second half decline by the Celtics and Cleveland's struggles have allowed them to seize control of the top spot in the eastern conference. 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 Raptors, number one in the conference with the second-best record (59-23) in the league, have been shaky under the DeRozan-Lowry era every post-season, and despite how well they've played this season, have continued to be easy pickings for LeBron. However I believe that with the return of John Wall adding an all star frontcourt this can cause some troubles for Toronto. They will be going up against playoff LeBron James though, which nearly certainly spells defeat.

They match up well with the Bucks, having several big strong wing players that could disrupt Giannis Antetokounmpo in James Johnson and Justise Winslow. This may be a quick round.

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Jack Armstrong returns with his thoughts on the Toronto Raptors Game 1 victory, Anthony Davis and the Indiana Pacers' defence.

The most worldwide teams are the Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia 76ers with 7 players, followed by San Antonio, Boston and Toronto (6). Curry is already out for the first round of the playoffs, so his health will be a big factor in answering who will win this matchup. The Pacers won the season series 3-1, but that was before the trade deadline when Cleveland redid the roster. For the San Antonio Spurs to have a chance, they will need to disrupt the Warriors offense with some typical well organized and hard-nosed defense inspired by head coach Gregg Popovich. Let's now take a look at the 16 teams left in the running for the much coveted Larry O'Brien trophy.

First the No. 1 seed Houston Rockets set their franchise record with 65 regular season wins and they are looking to keep their magical season going against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It will go all seven games, but Hoston will still move on. Last year, they got 42 wins, finished 7th in the East, and were swept in the playoffs by Cleveland. On paper, the Wizards would seem like they have the right pieces (Beal, Gortat, Morris) to be able to pull off an upset but it's tough to see that happening with the way the Raptors have been playing and executing on both ends of the floor. Saturday's games kick off with the Golden State Warriors taking on the San Antonio Spurs on ABC. The Portland Trail Blazers have impressed everyone and have been a surprise to many as they have earned the 3-seed. Without their best player - the NBA's one-man offensive revolution - the Warriors turned in a performance that could, indeed, beat any team in the league. But the Sixers have more up-front talent and depth, and they should wear Boston down.

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.